How to Restore Shine to RV Fiberglass

Preparation

1.

Wash all surfaces with detergent and water. Rinse the RV thoroughly. Be sure it is dry before proceeding.

2.

Apply the polishing compound with a soft cloth. Use the orbital buffer to polish the gel coat. Move the buffer in a circular motion, pressing harder at first and then progressively lighter until you achieve a high gloss.

3.

Apply a coat of wax to the polished surface. The wax will not only enhance the shine, it will preserve it so this process need not be repeated too soon.

Tips and Warnings

  • If the gel coat is only slightly dull and is not chalky, you can skip the polishing and just give it a good waxing. If the gel coat is deeply damaged and pitted, it may be necessary to use rubbing compound prior to the polish. Deeply damaged porous gel coat may need to be wiped down with the solvent MEK after the washing to ensure that all grease and wax are removed.
  • MEK is a highly flammable organic solvent. Use only in open areas away from ignition sources, and wear proper protective gear. Electric buffers share the same risks as any power tool.
  • Some rubbing compounds and polishes may be too coarse for gel coat and will remove it unevenly. Use products made for fiberglass gel coats. The Meguiars company makes a line of products that are formulated for gel coats.
  • Fiberglass is a lightweight, strong composite that works well for constructing RV and car bodies. It consists of polyester plastic which is reinforced with layers of glass fiber fabric and an exterior layer (usually 15 to 20 mils thick) of gel coat. The gel coat is also a polyester plastic which contains the coloring, and it is polished to a high shine. Weather, particularly sunlight, will damage and dull the surface over time. With some work, the color and luster can be brought back to your RV.