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Old 04-25-2015, 08:10 AM   #1
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Wax or Polish?

I searched the forum for a thread on this topic and couldn't seem to find anything. I am interested in feedback regarding if you guys use a wax or a polish and maybe any learned lessons as you were determining what worked best in your situation.

I have a 1995 Carver 355 and the gelcoat in places hit by the sun is a little chalky. I have used Mequires one step wax applied with a Turtle Wax palm random orbital waxer. It last for about 4 weeks before it is time to wax again. Have heard good things about Mequires Flagship wax as well as NuFinish polish.
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Old 04-25-2015, 09:39 AM   #2
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I have used NuFinish car polish on my lobsterboat's hull since 1974. No compounding. The gelcoat looks like new (built 1972) and many remark that it [U]must[U] be repainted. Water beads on it when I haul out. I am on a mooring so no TLC or rinsing during the year.
That said, I am not in the GA sun and it is hauled and covered 5 months of the year.
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Old 04-25-2015, 10:19 AM   #3
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I've used Finesse-it White Marine Paste Compound almost every year for 16 years on the fairly dark green of New Moon's hull, and white topsides. Does a great job of removing minor oxidation and smoothing the gel coat for subsequent wax application, without removing too much material. Finer and less aggressive than many other rubbing compounds. Watched my boat builder use it for final finish work, and he strongly recommended it. Great stuff.

http://www.amazon.com/3M-06039-Finesse--Marine-Compound/dp/B0006BJRH0/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1429887451&sr=8-5&keywords=3m+finess
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Old 04-25-2015, 10:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n36511 View Post
I am interested in feedback regarding if you guys use a wax or a polish and maybe any learned lessons as you were determining what worked best in your situation.

I have a 1995 Carver 355 and the gelcoat in places hit by the sun is a little chalky. I have used Mequires one step wax applied with a Turtle Wax palm random orbital waxer. It last for about 4 weeks before it is time to wax again. Have heard good things about Mequires Flagship wax as well as NuFinish polish.
Wow... loaded question & answers may be as mixed & controversial as anchors... but here's my $0.02

It sounds to me like you are beyond what the one step cleaner/waxes are meant to do if the shine only lasts 4 weeks. So you probably need something more aggressive. All the major manufacturers have a variety of products to remove varying degrees of gelcoat oxidation. My opinion is any major manufacturer's product will work and while they claim theirs is "best" I'm not sure there is all that much difference in the prep products (oxidation removal). Whether you can do it by hand, will need some mechanical assist or need a professional depends on the degree of oxidation and you ability / energy.

Lots of info on the Web re fiberglass care & restoration... Here's one summary that may help
Restoring the Shine to Fiberglass By Don Casey

The best advice if you are doing it yourself...
Consult w/ someone knowledgeable that can assess your gelcoat condition & recommend product(s) / steps or read product descriptions & do trials starting w/ the least aggressive products moving to more aggressive only as req'd.
Rotational buffers are the most effective but dangerous in the hands of amateurs - I use & would recommend casual users stick to random orbit RO or dual action DA machines when using mechanical equipment. I have tried several buffers and have invested in a Flex DA unit - caution they also make a straight rotational buffer - again recommend staying away from those. I believe Flex is the only unit that drives both actions vs the "giggle polishers" that are not as effective.
What pad to use w/ each product is a study in itself - I'm just getting into that now that I have the Flex polisher.

Once you have removed the oxidized gelcoat material you can then wax to keep it looking that way - choose a wax you like or look through the many test / comparisons online - there are lots of these - just be sure to only consider ones that are neutral / impartial not "mfg comparisons"

I have seen earlier reports from Practical Sailor / Power Boat Reports that indicate Collonite paste wax lasted better than others they compared it to. I have used their paste wax and it seems to stand up very well - but it is hard to apply / remove - you MUST follow directions, stay w/ small areas and avoid working in sun or warm surfaces or it's nearly impossible to get off. So I use it when conditions are right and in the areas where I'm looking for the most protection. I also have used & like the Collinite cleaner but is has little / abrasives and is not meant for oxidation removal - it does do a nice job of cleaning / preping the surface & removing old wax.

Funny you mention NuFinish - I have also seen reports re: NuFinish being long lasting compared to other products. It is a sealer / polish not a wax and does little / nothing to remove any oxidation. Big advantage is it can be used in direct sunlight without major problems. So I use it when conditions don't permit applying other waxes and on areas where areas are not the most exposed / or don't need the "ultimate" protection longevity... it's easy to use not a pain to put another coat on a little sooner. The admiral usually helps w/ spring prep and on my previous Carver has done the lower hull up to rail w/ NuFinish - lasts a season & looks great w/ water beading all season - in all fairness the lower hull gets the least direct sunlight vs fwd deck, etc.

I see - but have never touched - the "one step" products that claim to restore shine back to oxidized gelcoat - these are the "coatings" that in my mind at least, cover the problem up so until I'm convinced otherwise I've chosen to avoid them - just my opinion and as yet I haven't heard from anyone that I value / trust that has used / endorses them... just saying!
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Old 04-25-2015, 12:19 PM   #5
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And my advice remains, do what the paint manufacturer or boat builder recommends. Every surface is slightly different. What you can do with gelcoat vs paint varies. Awlgrip vs. Alexseal. Many very good paints have very different care requirements. Waxing can harm some.
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Old 04-25-2015, 12:55 PM   #6
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Great feedback everyone! My two biggest challenge areas are my hardtop roof and the visor. The rest of the boat shines very well. These two areas catch the most sunlight. I have considered having a pro just do those two areas to get them back in shape and then I can maintain it going forward.
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Old 04-25-2015, 03:35 PM   #7
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Great feedback everyone! My two biggest challenge areas are my hardtop roof and the visor. The rest of the boat shines very well. These two areas catch the most sunlight. I have considered having a pro just do those two areas to get them back in shape and then I can maintain it going forward.

Visor/brow and hardtop are the two biggies on our boat as well. I did them (and the rest of the boat) with 3M Perfect It and a large buffer some ten years ago. Used various liquid nano-waxes after that. when I start getting a smudged appearance, particularly on the brow, I use Meguire's RV cleaner wax (blue plastic bottle). That stuff does a nice job of pulling the old wax off and leave a great, durable shine, but it's fairly aggressive on the gel coat. So I'm back to nano waxes almost exclusively. By the way, if you want to strip old wax, another method is the purple stuff spray cleaner...but you have to do a small area and then immediately wipe it off with a wet rag, followed by a good rinse from the hose.
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Old 04-25-2015, 03:51 PM   #8
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And my advice remains, do what the paint manufacturer or boat builder recommends. Every surface is slightly different. What you can do with gelcoat vs paint varies. Awlgrip vs. Alexseal. Many very good paints have very different care requirements. Waxing can harm some.
To clarify - if there was any confusion - all of my comments were in regard to Gelcoat as that was what the OP referred to.
I absolutely agree w/ B&B re: paint... and the paint mfg do a better job of detailing care instructions than boat mfg do for gelcoat... at least from what I've seen in owners manuals for the boats I've owned.
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Old 04-29-2015, 11:04 PM   #9
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I recommend the following called Extreme Cut.
http://www.topoftheline.com/32ozexcutpow.html
With an electric polisher using an eight inch round pad the job gets done quick.
Periodically just rinse the pad out with water, high speed spin it and your back in business.
Afterwards use what ever wax floats your boat.
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Old 04-29-2015, 11:18 PM   #10
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Try Buff Magic and Pro Polish.
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Old 05-29-2015, 09:04 PM   #11
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Thanks for all of the responses. Trying to follow through here so others may benefit. Used meguiars oxidation remover (west marine) with my turtle wax 7" orbital machine. Then followed it with one coat of Nu Finish. Couldnt be more pleased with the results on my 20 year old carver. Still have a lot of work to do but this represents one hour of work. Click image for larger version

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Old 05-30-2015, 02:34 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Bacchus View Post
I have seen earlier reports from Practical Sailor / Power Boat Reports that indicate Collonite paste wax lasted better than others they compared it to. I have used their paste wax and it seems to stand up very well... I also have used & like the Collinite cleaner but is has little / abrasives and is not meant for oxidation removal - it does do a nice job of cleaning / preping the surface & removing old wax.

I see - but have never touched - the "one step" products that claim to restore shine back to oxidized gelcoat - these are the "coatings" that in my mind at least, cover the problem up so until I'm convinced otherwise I've chosen to avoid them - just my opinion and as yet I haven't heard from anyone that I value / trust that has used / endorses them... just saying!
+1 on the Collinite stuff. I've used their Fiberglass cleaner followed by their liquid wax for the past two years, and I'm very happy with the results I get. It's no more time consuming than comparable products and lasts all season. They're located about 20 miles from me, and when I ran out of cleaner this spring, I decided to wander into the shop to get more, rather than order from West Marine. Nice guys in there. Very helpful.

I let optimistic naivete get the better of me this spring. I tried an expensive bottle of one-step compound and wax from 3M. I have some chalky areas on my foredeck and radar arch. I followed the directions carefully, and spent a good amount of time and energy on it. No effect at all. Nothing. A complete waste of time and money.
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Old 05-30-2015, 09:19 AM   #13
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Wax or Polish?

I cut polished Phoenix Hunter two years ago followed by 2 coats of Macquire's carnauba paste wax. It was a big job. Stains removed with "On and Off". After cleaning this year on the hard, I was able to get away with a single coat of Macquire's. No chalkiness and no cut polishing. The cabin and pilothouse are a different story. Waxing is helpful, but it doesn't shine as brightly as the hull. I won't be able to afford a paint job anytime soon.


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Old 05-30-2015, 10:01 AM   #14
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Wax or Polish....Two different products / two different steps in detailing. Polish does just that.... polishes. Wax is the protective layer. One polishes first, followed by wax. Not many people know this, especially at car detail shops. They advertise to polish your car; No wax. Then a few months later your car is no longer nice and shiny. Wax is the protective layer. While I'm on car washes....lol, Beware of the ones that use high powered jets to wash your car instead of soft brushes. To remove dirt build up, they use harsh chemicals that will also remove your wax! Yes your car is nice and clean, but now has no protection on the paint.
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