How to Gelcoat a Kevlar Canoe- 8 Simple Steps with Warnings

One of my friends bought a kevlar canoe several years ago. He regularly makes trips to dangerous watery sites. A few days ago, his canoe body had some dings and scratches. Moreover, the surface of the canoe’s hull became discolored. To fix the problems with the canoe, he applied Gelcoat, but it didn’t work well.

The reason behind it was he didn’t care for maintaining precise instructions. So, to ensure long-lasting and better finishing, following a well-structured procedure is more worthy.

Many of you may not have enough knowledge about how to Gelcoat a kevlar canoe. We are here to provide you a step-by-step process to apply Gelcoat on a kevlar canoe just as you are repairing kevlar canoe or restoring kevlar canoe.

What Is Gelcoat?

Here we share some information about gelcoat to make it a familiar ingredient to you so that you can understand the application of gelcoat on canoe. Gelcoat is a final finish you see on the surface of any component.

Gelcoat makes any surface durable and protects it from ultraviolet degradation. It is a material that people use to get a lovely, shiny, bright, and smoother outer coating.

In the Canoe gelcoat repair kit, there is a small bottle of color-matched gelcoat. There will also be a small bottle of catalyst, mixing stick, and instruction sheet.

Materials You Will Need

It is a good idea to accumulate all materials well in advance to get them in hand when required. The tools you should collect are:


Reason To Buy 

1. SandpaperMiady Assorted Grit Sandpaper

Key Features:

  • Good for wet and dry sanding
  • Multifunctional 
  • Ensures the grit distributed homogeneously

Available On Amazon

2. Dust mask- Honeywell Nuisance Disposable Dust Mask

Key Features:

  • Lightweight and humidity-resistant
  • Protection against non-toxic dust, pollen, mold, dander, and common airborne irritants
  • Provide a secure, customized fit

Available On Amazon

3. Gloves- Heavy Duty Extra Long PVC Chemical Gloves

Key Features:

  • Easy glove removal
  • Flexible, textured finish for superior grip
  • Protects against harsh liquids and chemicals

Available On Amazon

4. Masking/ painter’s tape- KIWIHUB Painter’s Tape

Key Features:

  • Quick-stick with easy removal with no adhesive residue
  • Balance of strength, flexibility, durability, and removability
  • LAB Tested

Available On Amazon

5. AcetoneOnyx Professional 100% Acetone 

Key Features:

  • Sturdy and decent quality
  • Works great
  • Lasts a long time

Available On Amazon

6. Gelcoat- FIBRE GLASS-EVERCOAT CO Gel Coat Repair Kit

Key Features:

  • Makes a slick, no sand finish quick and easy
  • Cures glass-hard in one hour
  • Permanently repairs nicks, gouges, and scratches 

Available On Amazon

How To Gelcoat A Kevlar Canoe

Before going to gelcoat a kevlar canoe repair, the first task is to decide whether you need to use it to the whole body surface or a specific part of it. When there is a scratch on any portion of the canoe, you won’t require a gelcoat on the entire surface. However, if you follow the steps presented here describing how to Gelcoat a kevlar canoe, you will reasonably get the job done simply for kevlar canoe scratch repair too.

Step 1: Remove The Existing Gelcoats

The kevlar canoe’s surface may already have a cote of gelcoat. Use sandpapers to remove the loose gel coats. Wear gloves and rub the sandpapers over the surface. You can also use 150 grit instead of sandpaper for sanding. It will produce dust. Wear a mask to protect yourself from dust.

Step 2: Clean The Kevlar Canoe

The next step is to clean the canoe to make it dirt-free. If the canoe has any dirt left, gelcoat coating will not create a more reliable seal. To clean the canoe, you can spray and use some solution of boat cleaning.

Step 3: Wipe It With Acetone

After cleaning the canoe, wipe it with acetone to ensure there is no grease or dirt left on the canoe. Use a blow-dryer to dry the canoe. It will make a better gelcoat bond.

Step 4: Outline The Repair Area

If there are some scratches in specific areas, outline or mark the area with masking tape. Look for quality masking tape to protect the canoe surface. You should skip this step If you are to gelcoat the entire canoe rather than a part of it.

Step 5: Prepare The Gelcoat Solution

Take the appropriate color that matches your canoe. Several colors are available for kevlar canoe, such as forest green, white, orange, red, yellow, and blue. Mix up some catalysts with gelcoat to prepare a thick dissolution. A thick solution will provide a glossy finishing.

Step 6: Apply Gelcoat

Use a paintbrush to apply gelcoat like you are painting a kevlar canoe. Give two thin coats on the canoe’s surface.  Try to apply it as early as possible after mixing the catalyst. Otherwise, the outside temperature will make it hard. Leave it to dry after applying gelcoat.

We recommend you get in touch with the kevlar coat manufacturer for any essential tips. Each gelcoat manufacturer produces different gel coats with different ingredients that may have specific instructions for gel coat repair canoe.

Step 7: Give A Layer Of Wax

Provide a coat of wax over the gelcoat layer. Use wax with an ultraviolet inhibitor. Any car wax will also hold good for application. It will protect the damages through abrasive materials in water and sun damages. The wax coat will also ensure a smooth surface over the gelcoat.

Step 8: Use A Buffing Compound

To achieve a final shine, use a buffing compound. This step is optional.


  • Do not allow much temperature in the working area. Keep the temperature between 65 to 72 degrees.
  • Do not go too deep while sanding.
  • Work in a brightly lit and well-ventilated place.
  • Read the instruction sheet which the gelcoat manufacturer provides. It is a must to avoid any risk or mishap.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How thick should a Gelcoat be?

The ultimate thickness of the Gelcoat should be not more than 20 mils.

How much time does Gelcoat take to cure?

After spraying of applying, it takes at least 2-4 hours to cure. But if you keep it overnight, it will be the best.

How to get rid of oxidation in kevlar canoe after Gelcoat?

Average oxidation removes while you use polishing compounds. But we suggest using a rubbing compound to avoid heavy oxidation.

Can you Gelcoat with a paint gun?

Using a spray gun is better than brushing. So it’ll be useful if you use paint guns for Gelcoat.

Wrapping Words

People who use kevlar canoes prefer to have it always glazing. Due to wave action, water diffusion, and other activities, it gets too challenging to maintain the attractive outlook of the canoe. Using Gelcoat facilitates the users to get back the previous appearance of the canoe.

It is now pretty easy for you if you have checked out this article on how to Gelcoat a kevlar canoe.