After thirteen years outdoors, our RV’s fiberglass outer skin was looking a little bit faded when we purchased it. This comes as no surprise. Unfortunately, a good RV paint job will easily run five figures, and we’re not about to deface the rig by doing a rattle-can and housepaint job on it (not that backyard paint jobs aren’t cool, but many RV parks won’t allow you in if you look too much like a hippie bus).
Fortunately, there are products that promise to renew the luster of old fiberglass. PoliGlow and NewGlass2 are the first names that come up when doing a search online. Both products started as primarily nautical products, used to refinish the hulls of boats, but RV and boat fiberglass aren’t all that different so the market is starting to cross over.
Though representatives of both companies insist that their formulas are completely different, PoliGlow and NewGlass2 work similarly. Both products are applied like a household varnish, returning a “wet-look” shine to the exterior fiberglass. As it ages, fiberglass oxidizes and loses its gloss. After a thorough cleaning, PoliGlow and NewGlass2 promise to restore this gloss, with a shine that is easily renewed and will last for up to twelve months in most circumstances. Think of it as varnish for your RV, and you won’t be too far off the mark.
To test the restorative properties of each product, we did one side of the Incorrigible with PoliGlow and the other with NewGlass2. Both products were applied on the same weekend, with partly cloudy skies and seventy-degree temperatures.
The process is nearly identical for both products, and took much less time than I expected. The basic ingredient is elbow grease; first, the exterior of the RV must be cleaned with an aggressive cleanser (PoliPrep for PoliGlow, and Pre Treat for NewGlass2) and allowed to dry. Then, the “varnish” is applied with a sponge pad (also provided) in several successive coats. The first coat of the restorative smoothes over the oxidization in the fiberglass, and the subsequent coats restore the shine to the finish. Each coat dries quickly, so four or five coats can be applied in an hour. Working in sections, I found that NewGlass2 got the faded surface of the Incorrigible shining nicely after five or six coats. The slightly more viscous PoliGlow worked faster, bringing back the shine after three or four. PoliGlow also resulted in a smoother finish, though from five feet away the shine on both sides is identical.
Both products performed as advertised, giving the Incorrigible an almost showroom-new look and erasing the chalky, faded appearance of the fiberglass. They also helped to even out the color ofthe faded spots on the sides and rear where we peeled off the fading (and gaudy) dolphin decals. Previous to the application the silhouettes of the dolphins were clearly visible; now you’ve got to look closely to see where they were.
While we were making the Incorrigible shiny, we also updated the vinyl decals. The Dolphin featured blue stripes with a burgundy accent when it was new, but the burgundy had faded to a depressing pink. A quick trip to Murray’s Auto Parts yielded several rolls of black pinstriping, which Lexie applied, and in about an hour, the Incorrigible’s stripes were nicely renewed.
Both PoliGlow and NewGlass2 say that waxing isn’t required once their products have been applied, though annual touch-ups are recommended. I’ll report back as the year goes on and let you know how the shine holds up.