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Author Topic:   silicone removal ????
Kevin D posted 02-28-2003 11:24 AM ET (US)   Profile for Kevin D   Send Email to Kevin D  
Does anybody have any suggestions on how to remove silicone from the gel coat without harming the finish,Thanks Kevin
Tom W Clark posted 02-28-2003 09:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Silicone is tough. There is no solvent that will cut it. The only way to remove it mechanically. This can mean anything from just grabbing it and peeling it off to having to cut it off with a razor blade.

Not all silicones are created equal. There are hundreds if not thousands of different silicones out there. What kind of silicone are we talking about here? Where on your boat are you trying to remove it?

On Whalers that I have owned I have encountered silicone several different places. Silicone is typically used to seal the mounting bolts on the outboard motor and when the motor I have removed the motor from a hull it would become necessary to remove the residual silicone before reinstallation. If the silicone used is a low grade, homeowner, retail level type and the surface is smooth and flat like the gel coated transom of a Whaler, then removal is as easy as rubbing it off with your thumb.

On the other hand, I once removed some teak trim from the center console that the previous owner of my Outrage 18 had bedded in clear silicone (brand unknown). After I removed all the screws that were attaching it, the teak still would not budge. I ended up putting all my 175 pounds on it and finally sheared it off the face of the console. The silicone took some gel coat with it!

If you encounter some really tough silicone, like the silicone that is used to seal the joint between the fuel tank cover and the hull on an Outrage or Revenge, my best advice is to cut off as much as you can with some fresh straight edge razor blades. It may be possible to then rub off any remaining thin traces of silicone with you bare fingers. It is painful and can cause blisters, but sometimes this is the only way to do it without damaging the gel coat.

witsendfl posted 02-28-2003 10:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for witsendfl  Send Email to witsendfl     
On a flat surface. Sometimes it will loosen up with acetone. It will not hurt gelcoat. The use of a dull puddy knife can be used also.
Take you time and be patient.

WHITE 5200 is another story...

witsendfl JimK

Dick posted 02-28-2003 10:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
Tom has pretty well said it all.
I have used a product called Release by BoatLife and it has worked well. Don't know if it will work on all silicones but it worth a try.
AC posted 03-01-2003 11:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for AC  Send Email to AC     
I've had success using a combination of the techniques and solvents mentioned above, plus another by accident. After cutting away much of the bulk with a razor knife, I've applied both Acetone and Release by BoatLife and rubbed the silicone off with my fingers and/or a dry cloth. Personally, I felt like the Acetone worked better than Release. Some oxidized gelcoat came off when using a dry rag (but not when using only my finger), but the amount was miniscule. I should point out that I've only tried this on old silicone on older hulls.
Moreover, I have seen more than one brand of teak oil loosen silicone caulking on an old Robalo I had, and not just once. I don't have a bottle on me, but if my memory serves me correctly, the label on those teak oil bottles warns that the stuff is bad for sealants. It never stained my beige gelcoat. If you have some around, you might consider checking the label and trying it on a small test area.

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