Basics On Gelcoat Color Matching

This is part 5 of the series, “There’s a hole in my boat!”. In this video we go over the basics of gelcoat before diving in and walking through the color matching process. Yea, I know there’s quite a bit of talking in this episode, but it’s all relevant info for the overall process!

The two websites that I mentioned in the video are Express Composites and Spectrum Color

Express Composites is where I order most of my composite materials. Setting aside the benefit of only being a few hours away (which is great for shipping) they also have some of the best pricing and staff that I’ve worked with. If you are interested in getting one of the gelcoat ‘fan cards’ to help with your color matching, give these guys a call or send them an email.

One thing that I would like to mention, is that although they are a supplier, please don’t expect them to field specific questions about a project, or try and trouble shoot how to do something πŸ™‚ They know their products inside and out and are happy to assist with product info, but knowing what to use and how to properly use it isn’t their responsibility (That’s where I come in!!)

Spectrum Color is the source I mentioned for getting factory matched gelcoat for your project. Depending on how new your boat is, they may be able to supply you with what you need.. If you have any questions about availability or would like to know a little more on what they do, give them a call or contact them via email πŸ™‚

If you’re new to the color matching process, here is a site I came across that I think may be helpful. It’s an easy way to experiment with different color combinations to see how they mix and what the resulting color is.

I hope this is helpful! Please remember that the video’s for color matching are a 2-parter.

7 Responses to “Basics On Gelcoat Color Matching”
  1. bob k says:

    andy great video but I am curious how you decide on which colors to mix in like black. what purpose does that serve in the overall scheme of things….to try to dirty up the mixture? also do repairs change over time. I did a repair on my Harbor 20 sailboat which is essentially almost the same color as your video and it was dead on when I sprayed it and for the next year, but then it darkened up and now you can see the repairs. I guess i’ll have to sand it off and try again but i’m just curious why it happened

    • ~Andy ~Andy says:

      Hi Bob,

      Because of how bright the base white gelcoat is, I almost always add black first to darken it. When playing around with the pigments you’re not only trying to match color levels, but also the tone. That’s where the black come into the scene πŸ™‚

      As far as the repair spots on your boat, it’s always a little tricky when new gelcoat is applied to old. I would be willing to guess that the patches haven’t really darkened, but that the surrounding hull has lightened. One thing to try would be to take some heavy buffing compound (I kind of like Meguiar’s Oxidation Remover) with a wool bonnet and power buff the hull. There’s a good chance that the colors will even out again.. After that some polish and a coat of wax..

      Let me know how it works!


  2. Danger says:

    Great videos! I’m re-gelcoating a melges 24 and I looking for a technique to sanding the round edge where the deck joins the hull, which is about a 3″ round edge. Any ideas for a sanding block?

    • ~Andy ~Andy says:

      For radius’s I find it’s easiest just to do it by hand (no block), that way you’re able to follow the curves. Just be careful not to sand through πŸ™‚

  3. Brian says:

    Thanks for your great “There’s a hole in my boat” video series.

    You mentioned in your video series creating a gelcoat color with pigments or matching from a fan deck as options. There are also vendors who will custom match to a gelcoat sample. I’m hoping to find a match in a fan deck, but also wondering what’s involved in going the custom match route. Is there a less invasive way to take a gelcoat sample from a boat (1994 Mastercraft ProStar 190) than creating a through and through hole with a hole saw? I need to match a dark teal that is only on the outside of my hull, meaning a hole all the way through would require structural repair, a repair more extensive than the scrapes, small blister, and scatches I’m repairing.

    • ~Andy ~Andy says:

      Don’t drill any holes!! Honestly you’re best bet will be one of three options:
      – order a stock color that is close and fine tune it yourself.
      – Contact Spectrum Color to see if it’s a color that they have in their system. You’ll still need to fine tune it but it will give a close starting point.
      – contact MasterCraft to see if they still carry the factory gel. Again, you’ll still need to fine tune but it will be close πŸ™‚

      Hope this helps!

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