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Feedback on GRP restorer

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Posted (edited)

Can any of you can provide personally used products for GRP restorers and polishes please?

 

Would also like a review of THIS please, but only if you have used it.

 

Thanks

Edited by BOAC

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On 21/08/2019 at 13:49, BOAC said:

Can any of you can provide personally used products for GRP restorers and polishes please?

 

Would also like a review of THIS please, but only if you have used it.

 

Thanks

 

 

This question comes up constantly and in very simple terms, there is no such thing as a GRP 'Restorer' or magic product that you can wipe on and wipe off to bring back the shine on GRP.  If there was, we wouldn't be spending hours machine polishing GRP pretty much every day.

 

To explain:  GRP, which is commonly used on Caravans and Motorhomes has to be maintained.  By maintained I mean it has to have a regular coat of wax, with UV screens, or a paint sealer from new, or covered in the summer when not in use.  GRP is highly prone to UV damage, and will go dull, or yellow in as little as 12 months from brand new, if not protected.  Some GRP's are better than others, but only in longevity terms. 

 

When GRP panels go dull, or cloudy, this is where the surface is damaged by the sun, just like a human can go Red in direct sunlight, without suncream.  The only way to fix this damage is with very specialist compounds, and a machine polisher, but even this isn't as simple as it sounds.  You need the correct products, which aren't off the shelf items.  Correct polishing heads, correct machine speed and pressure (every surface is slightly different) on top of all of this, you need the skill not to burn the panel.  GRP sometimes needs excessive pressure with the machine, and this friction leads to heat, and it's this fine line that only experience will aid a successful result.  What we hear constantly is 'I've machine polished my GRP and it looks loads better, but not perfect, and it only lasts a few weeks'  This is all because one of the above variants is incorrect, or the surface would be perfect, and it would last.  

 

This question will come up as often as the Paintseal debates, and often with a huge degree of responses, many untrue and inaccurate from what I read, including several comments on other threads that can be misunderstood by a layperson, causing future issues.  This is the way of a forum, and a good rule of thumb is to take advice as a guide, but not always an accurate fact.

 

Lastly, the product in the link above is obviously not one we've used, but we have experienced a product  like this, with exactly the same methods and claims.  They are a varnish, or coating that simply apply over the dull fibreglass, and give what appears as a shine, but this won't look anything like a factory finish, and even more worrying is what we've seen these products do in the future.  We went to a stunning Vanmaster a few months ago to carry out our Restoration service, and noticed the front panel was a strange colour, but just assumed it was the normal type of sun tarnishing.  I quickly noticed that the front panel wasn't reacting the way it should as I was machine polishing, so I asked the customer to pop out.  After pointing out the issue, he sheepishly produced a can of the same product as above, and told us he'd painted this stuff all over the front panel, trying to restore the shine.  This finish would not come off with even the most extreme compound we used, so we tried to wet-flat the surface, just to get the varnish off, with absolutely zero success.  The outcome was the rest of the Caravan looked like new after we'd finished, but the most obvious part of the Caravan looked awful.  Tarnished, yellowing and patchy.  We gave the customer the option to stop the job, but he was happy for the rest of the Caravan to be Restored.  Needless to say, his wife was not happy, as she had no idea he'd done this, but understood why we couldn't fix it. 

 

I say this all the time.  We are not the only ones doing what we do, just the most well known.  We are a consistent 4 week lead time business, and a very small team.  I don't make these statements to give ourselves more exposure, or to scare people into thinking we are the only fix for dull GRP.  CaravanTalk has been very important to my business, and it's maintained my longevity over the last 12 years, so I will always stick my 2 pence worth of experience in any thread I think will either help a Caravan owner, or stop them from making a costly mistake that even we cannot fix. 

 

I hope this helps.

 

Paul

Edited by Tourershine
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Unfortunately the Owatrol product is for coloured GRP, not white - it says in the instructions "Do not use Gelcoat Restorer on white surfaces."

 

I used Farecla PRS101 on the front of our Dethleffs caravan, which did an excellent job restoring some very faded and chalky GRP.  It took about two hours of buffing with polishing pads on the cordless drill (there's no power at our storage) - as above, you need to be careful with polishing pads not to generate excess heat.

 

I used an initial heavy cut with Farecla PRS101, then a finishing cut with PRF101, then a final polish with Autoglym.

 

 

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Thanks for your reply Paul.

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My mate tried out Owatrol a few years back, it turned his white GRP yellow and left a funny coating which made it difficult to polish afterwards.

 

As others have said, I used to use Farecla or 3M products on my GRP boat however after 30 odd years you could see that in places it was wearing through the gelcoat, so dont use it often and use it carefully

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It's possible to use oxalic acid based products (there's one called Y-10 which is gel based).  Boats get brown staining on the sea just above the waterline, and it does a decent job, but it's a "pre-polish" activity, so you need to wash it off and apply polish over the top.  NB I use the term "polish" as a non-abrasive wax based product.... So many have abrasive products included in them...

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