What are Marine Detailing Compounds?

If you ever wonder how the shiny boat you see out on the water keeps its shine, proper marine detailing is the answer. Though there are multiple steps to fully detailing a vessel, compounding is the first step. Marine compounds range in type and use, but at a high level, they are used to get damage, oxidation, scratches, and other dirt or grime off of the gel coat of your boat. Once the compounding is done, you can follow it up with polishing and finishing process to get the shine, but without compounding as the first step, you’ll never solve the root of the problem.

When Should I Use a Compound?

As mentioned, compounding should be the first thing you do when completing a detailing job. The abrasive properties of compounds help remove scratches, scuffs, damage, and oxidation from your boat. This type of damage can pile up; with sun rays, salt in the water, and other harmful materials, your boat is up against a lot.

Compounding will give an even, clean surface to continue the detailing job with. It may require a bit of time and extra elbow grease, but the longevity of your vessel depends on regular compounding to keep its gel coat protected.

Types of Compounds

The number of compounds on the market can get overwhelming, but once you start getting a feel for the products you like and the problems they solve, everything will fall into place. Compounds usually come in one of three types: light compounds, medium-cut compounds, and heavy-cut compounds. The worse the damage that you’re addressing, the heavier cut compound you will need.

Light Compound

Light compounds are great for removing minor scratches and scuffs, but will not be able to tackle the same level of damage that heavier compounds will. Many light compound products also work as finishing polishes, reducing the amount of time it takes to touch up that shine on your boat. One of our favorite light compounds is Starke Ignition Finishing Polish. This 2-in-1 product is wonderful to have on hand at all times.

Medium-Cut Compound

When addressing more advanced scratches, a medium-cut compound can work through damage with ease. This is also a great product to use when following up after a heavy compound, trying to reduce finer lines and swirls before polishing. If you’re looking for a trustworthy medium-cut compound, check out Starke Elevate Medium Compound.

Heavy-Cut Compound

For those big scratches or majorly damaged areas, a heavy-cut compound is the first line of defense. Once you’ve sufficiently worked the solution into the boat and reduced the scratches, you can move to a lower-level compound to address what’s left. We recommend Starke Level R Heavy Cut Compound.

Don’t Skip the Compounding Step

It might take some time to get an idea as to which compounds work best in certain instances, but whatever you do, start with compounding. If you skip ahead to polishing and finishing, you will simply be covering up the damage, not fixing it.

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