Staining of fiberglass from vinyl

unclebun

Active Member
vinyl stains.jpg
This is a photo a customer sent me. We are doing a new name for the boat and he took off the old name himself. It was black vinyl with a tan vinyl shadow. It had been on the boat for some time, but he doesn't know how long; it was the previous owner's name. He said he has removed all the adhesive and to touch there is no roughness or anything to indicate that any adhesive is left on the boat. It looks like the black vinyl has stained the fiberglass. I've been doing this for 30 years, hundreds of boats every year, and have never seen this. Anyone else have experience with staining like this? What we usually see is the opposite--perfect shiny white fiberglass behind the letters and the rest around the letters is yellowed and dull.
 

ewded

New Member
So first of all the vinyl doesn't touch the surface, the glue does. Not sure how this helps but could be a good starting point
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
I saw it a long time ago, but with red vinyl and the area was kinda pinkish when removed. We removed it. Showed the guy and he insisted we did something to it. I believe we used some compound and elbow grease and pretty much buffed it out. I figured it was just some kinda chemical reaction, perhaps with cleaning or polishing and it just somehow transferred through.
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
edit: Ya know what, I take that back. I think it was a forest green color vinyl we removed, but it turned pink underneath.
 

Johnny Best

Active Member
They make gelcoat in hundreds of different tones of white. I bet this was the original color and from cleaning, waxing and scrubbing over the years the vinyl has kept the original color underneath. Compound it out and reletter with new name. On the good side the owner can't blame you for it.
 

Notarealsignguy

Arial - it's almost helvetica
It's not coming out and it's not a stain. Gelcoat needs to be waxed like a lacquer paint job. There is little to no UV resistance and the pigment in the surrounding areas is gone. No amount of buffing is gonna bring it back but it will eventually fade away like the rest.
 

rjssigns

Active Member
I also work on boats/yachts and the only thing you can do is a cut and buff. Sometimes you get stuff like this, it will never be perfect. We did one that was so bad we had to cover the ghosting with a partial wrap.
We called that boat the crispy critter, because it spent its entire life outside in Texas. Fiberglass was absolutely hammered.
 

unclebun

Active Member
It's not coming out and it's not a stain. Gelcoat needs to be waxed like a lacquer paint job. There is little to no UV resistance and the pigment in the surrounding areas is gone. No amount of buffing is gonna bring it back but it will eventually fade away like the rest.
That is what normally happens. But in this case, the surrounding color is still the original color--white. It's a Formula boat. They are always white, pure white. It's behind the letters which has darkened. That is what makes this unusual.
 

Notarealsignguy

Arial - it's almost helvetica
Vinyl definitely does something to the surface, like the adhesive or colorant migrates. Here is a truck we stripped the paint on, the numbers weren't even on the truck when it got here. It was on both sides and the hood. You can also see ghosting into bare steel after we sandblast sometimes of the lettering has been on for a long period of time.
PXL_20220621_171351304.jpg
 

d fleming

New Member
Instead of compound try glaze. It comes in varying degrees of abrasive. get the roughest you can and wail away at it for a bit.
 

unclebun

Active Member
Instead of compound try glaze. It comes in varying degrees of abrasive. get the roughest you can and wail away at it for a bit.
We're not doing it. We have the customer contact their detailer or dealer to handle it. On this one I told the customer they may have to sand off the surface until the staining is gone and have the gelcoat redone if the staining is deep.
 

CanuckSigns

Active Member
We're not doing it. We have the customer contact their detailer or dealer to handle it. On this one I told the customer they may have to sand off the surface until the staining is gone and have the gelcoat redone if the staining is deep.
Good, there are a ton of threads on here asking how to clean various car/boat paint issues, and the correct answer should always be, have the Client take it to a body shop, why would a sign shop take on the liability of someone's expensive boat or car?
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
That's an easy one, because most people are desperate and it shows. They don't wanna lose any part of a job, then lose the whole thing, because someone at the body shop says..... we can do that part for ya, too. Lettering it is the easy part.
 

Notarealsignguy

Arial - it's almost helvetica
We use a local detailer if we need to cut/buff. Had one here today to fix a brand new truck that my wife scratched up while she was wiping it off. Good thing she did the whole truck before saying something so the scratches would kind of blend in.
 

unclebun

Active Member
The real question in my mind is what caused it to happen on this boat and was it preventable. I've never seen this happen before, and if there is a preventable cause, I'd like to know about. Like, was it due to a certain kind of vinyl? I quizzed the owner, and it was solid colored vinyl, not a digital print. And there was a tan shadow, which did not stain the fiberglass.

If the vinyl caused it, then that is something a sign shop could be made liable for, damaging the boat.
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
Yeah, but how many people are gonna stand behind something after so many years ?? Besides, the lettering is meant to go on and not come off. So, removing for whatever reason, voids any warranty. I've seen this happen with painted MDO boards, also. And I've seen it on trucks, but usually on the hood, where there tends to be a substantial heat buildup. It could just be cooking itself to death. Maybe the back end of that boat always faced the setting sun or something. Maybe a squid peed on it. Who knows ??
 
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