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Old 09-07-2019, 08:41 PM   #1
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Wax before winter layup - cold climate

Hi...Well, my apologies upfront if this has already been discussed anywhere on this forum since the beginning of time, because, if it has, I can't find it.


I'm in northern Wisconsin. It gets cold here and boats are taken out of the water, winterized, and shrink-wrapped. We get a few days of -30 degree weather, with most days in the 10 degree to 35 degree range.


I have asked this question of "professionals" and their answers fall into two categories. The first are the professional cleaners who are incredibly busy. They say no, wait until spring and they will try to fit me in. The second are the professional cleaners who really have time on their hands. They say yes, they will squeeze me in before layup.


So, I ask you folks. If I have my boat waxed and buffed before layup, then: firstly, will shrink wrap somehow damage the wax and buff job, and secondly, if not, will my boat be pretty nice and shiny come spring, OR would I just be wasting money having it done now?
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Old 09-07-2019, 09:01 PM   #2
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The heat from the shrink wrap could cause issues with the wax if they allow it to get too hot. Some guys really pour the heat on while some keep the gun moving and make many passes until the wrap is tight. I'm assuming your wrap guy uses a propane-based gun. I'm sure it's the same with an electric unit.
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Old 09-07-2019, 10:10 PM   #3
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The purpose of wax is first to protect the paint or gelcoat. Second, it makes it much easier to clean and wash the boat. IMO, boats always seem to be dirty after the winter when shrink wrapped. Having a waxed boat should make it easier to clean in the spring.

If the heat from the shrink wrap process would effect the wax, it can't be good for the paint or gelcoat.

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Old 09-08-2019, 06:19 AM   #4
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I'm with Ted
I have "waxed" in the fall when I have time and notice a difference in the spring in that the dirt from storage comes off much easier.
The only place you might need to reapply some wax is at the bottom of the shrink wrap where they usually fold the bottom up to form a hem around a rope "drawstring". They need to heat it enough to stick the 2 layers together and press them together against the hull.
If you have the time energy or $ twice a year is the ultimate.
The buffing should last and not have to be done every time just occasionally or in spots that see the most exposure.
I'm a fan of polymers and have switched from waxes to polymers on boat, motorhome and cars.
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Old 09-08-2019, 06:32 AM   #5
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We have not 'waxed' a boat with true wax in well over a dozen years now. Since we changed to sealants we find they are easier to apply, easier to take off, do not black streak and last longer on the hull.
These sealants are easier to apply in cold weather and we always use them to 'wax' in the fall with no issue. The one we use is "Gelcoat labs" but there are plenty of good ones out there.
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:19 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by smitty477 View Post
We have not 'waxed' a boat with true wax in well over a dozen years now. Since we changed to sealants we find they are easier to apply, easier to take off, do not black streak and last longer on the hull.
These sealants are easier to apply in cold weather and we always use them to 'wax' in the fall with no issue. The one we use is "Gelcoat labs" but there are plenty of good ones out there.
Nu Finish. You won’t be disappointed. Good for a year here in New England. Spring or fall. Goes on easily. Will still bead water a year later. 8 bucks a bottle. Used it for 15 years.
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:39 AM   #7
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My Winter storage prep has been the same for my last 2 boats, an Island Packet and my current Nordic Tug. Boat is hauled and winterized. I wash the hull and topside, and smear a thick layer of wax (cheap carnuba paste or liquid like Kit or Turtle) over the boat. Let it dry and sit over the Winter UNCOVERED. In the Spring I'll wash the wax off with Dawn detergent and go through a Collinite cleaner and waxing process. When I sold my 19 year old Island Packet, surveyor asked when I had repainted the hull... "never, just covered in wax over the Winter". Leaving a boat uncovered in the Winter presumes you don't have any leaks. I'll throw a tarp over the cockpit to keep the snow from piling up, and if we have any significant snow fall, I'll go down to the boat and shovel it off.
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:45 AM   #8
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Nu Finish. You won’t be disappointed. Good for a year here in New England. Spring or fall. Goes on easily. Will still bead water a year later. 8 bucks a bottle. Used it for 15 years.
I used new finish first car sealant first - I was disappointed with it so changed to the newer sealants like Gelcoat labs but they are not $8 a bottle.
Perhaps as a test - try the Gecoatlabs or equivalent on one section and do the rest with whatever you have been using.
See the results over time on your own boat....
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Old 09-08-2019, 11:01 AM   #9
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Thank you very much to all who replied so quickly. I will check with the boatyard. The boat is a Meridian 469 (the only one ever made) that is new to me. It is being brought up the Mississippi River by a Captain who is very familiar with the river, to Stillwater, MN. I will talk to the haulout people about what I want, and I am going to try to arrange "waxing" by some guys I've seen working on other boats. They seem to be very exacting, and that's what I want. I will definitely ask what they are using and make sure it is a sealant and not wax.


Thanks again. My wife and I are taking off Tuesday on vacation and I will see the boat when I return, likely before it gets "waxed" and shrink wrapped.
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