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Mark My Words: Restoring shine to fiberglass

This material is provided courtesy of Escapees Club.

Q. We have a 3-year-old Excel fifth-wheel manufactured by Peterson Industries in Smith Center, Kansas. I have used Dri Wash ‘n Guard and, more recently, Wash Wax All to clean and protect the exterior of our unit. Both products claim to have UV protection.

However, over the last year the front- and rear-end caps and the fiberglass roof have lost their shine and a chalky residue has formed.  This residue can be washed off, but the shine is gone. My questions are, how do I restore the shine to these fiberglass components and then better protect them from UV damage in the future?

Norm

A. I love Dri Wash ’n Guard. I have been using it on all my vehicles for many years. The fiberglass in RVs is not too dissimilar from that used in boat hulls, and the marine industry has a plethora of products designed to restore and protect fiberglass. Just be sure that you are dealing with an unpainted fiberglass surface, commonly referred to as gel coat.

For the gel coat, you can try any commercially available gel coat restorer product, as long as you are absolutely sure it’s gel coat. Take a look at this article: www.marinestore.com/vertglas.html?cart=3364196598640711

I have not used any of these products myself, but they are commonly used in the boating community. Here is a how-to article: powerboat.about.com/od/maintenanceandrepair/tp/Gelcoatrestoration.htm.

Another option is to overcoat with a clear acrylic: www.gelcoatrestoration.com.  Try a small test area with whatever product you choose, to be sure it will not further damage the finish before tackling larger areas.

About Mark Nemeth

In 1997, Mark quit his aerospace engineering job and became a full-time RVer. For almost five years he traveled the country while maintaining his website, Mark’s Fulltime RV Adventure (www.marxrv.com) posting monthly travel logs. Mark now travels part-time and works as the RV Safety Education Director for Escapees RV Club providing technical training at Escapees Boot Camp seminars, as well as assisting in many other areas of the club. He is also technical advisor for Escapees magazine. Learn more about Escapees RV Club at www.escapees.com.

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