Fiberglass Boat Repair Cost
While fiberglass boats are seen as relatively low in required upkeep, repair work might still be needed eventually to fix cracks or bubbles on the flooring or hull, for instance. In many cases, repair work will be required to fix the surfaces back together.
The expense of fixing the fiberglass of a boat depends upon what materials and tools are required to fix the surface area, where will the unit be serviced, and the rate of labor for the project.
Safety Tips For Working With Fiberglass
Fiberglass resins and hardeners can be toxic, and its important to keep them off of your body and out of your lungs.
Personally, I only work with fiberglass outside, but any well-ventilated area will do.
Also, if youre working with polyester resin, youll want to wear a respirator. Not only is polyester resin toxic to breathe, but it smells awful. The smell is so bad that I wont even leave the closed bottle of polyester resin inside my house for fear that it will make the house smell bad.
You dont want to get resin on your skin or your eyes either. Wear protective clothing, gloves, and safety glasses to prevent this from happening.
For additional protection, you can also get a lotion that will work to coat your hands. This way, if the resin gets through your gloves, youll have an extra layer of protection between the resin and your skin. If the resin does end up getting on your skin, be sure to wash it off immediately.
People have been known to develop allergies to epoxy resin, and once you get this allergy, youll never be able to be around epoxy resin again.
Using Polish To Restore Shine
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Can You Repaint A Fiberglass Boat
Fiberglass boats come new with a colored gel coat, not actual paint. Gel coats eventually fade and can not be cleaned or waxed to look new. Painting the fiberglass is the only way to get the boat looking new again. Preparing and painting fiberglass is unlike preparing and painting metal or aluminum.
It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better
Many boat owners look for the quick fix solutiona simple putty they can put in their hull, the equivalent of duct tape for boats. But a fiberglass hull is more subtle than that. Like cleaning out the kitchen cabinetsit will look worse before it looks better. Thats because one of the best ways to repair a gouge is to use a high-speed die grinder or rotary tool featuring a burr nose. This gives you a chance to smooth out the edges a bit, which in turn makes it possible to add the gel coat more effectively.
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Spotting Leaks In Fiberglass Boats
Sometimes leaks spring up from nowhere, with no warning or indication theres a problem. The truth of the matter is that unless youve had a bad collision recently, the hull seems perfectly intact. Often, leaks are caused by tiny holes after a minor collision and while its not immediately noticeable, it slowly gets worse. Its likely the first time you see any signs of a leak are when it starts spurting in probably while youre in the middle of the lake.
Its pretty scary and youll be left confused about how it happened. Thats why you have to maintain your boat and conduct regular checks. Its essential and something most neglect. However, if you want to spot a leak in a fiberglass boat, its what you need to do before it gets any worse.
Which Is Better In
You have the option to make long-term repairs in-water and out-of-water. Here is what you need to know about them both to find the best option for you.
- Making In-Water Repairs
In-water repairs are ideal if the leaks are above the waterline. For instance, if your window frames have cracked and are letting in water, caulk could be added to plug the leak. Its a quick repair that shouldnt cause too much trouble for you. However, if youre using caulk, always follow the instructions. Of course, there are some repairs you cant make in-water, especially when its to the boats hull. While you might prefer to opt for in-water repairs, its not always possible.
- Making Out-of-Water Repairs
While you have to spend time removing the boat from the water, its sometimes a necessity to carry out effective long-term repairs. When leaks occur under the waterline, the boat needs to be removed from the water. Some repairs, fittings, for example, are fairly minor but these have to be replaced and should be done on dry land. Also, the sealant must have ample time to dry.
If theres a hole in the fiberglass hull youll need to make extensive repairs. This can be done by a professional or yourself. Again, its only possible on dry land.
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How To Patch A Hole In A Fiberglass Boat
A major fiberglass repair, such as patching a hole, can be a daunting task. Watching a professional do the job can help you get on the right track and be confident in doing the repair yourself. This step-by-step video tutorial produced by Sea Hawk Paints will show exactly what needs to be done when patching a hole in your fiberglass boat.
Note: Before attempting a repair by yourself, get a professional opinion. Always wears Personal Protective Equipment when sanding or working with chemical compounds! Respirator, safety glasses and gloves are always recommended.
Here is a list of products you will need for the repair:
Can Fiberglass Boats Be Repaired With Flex Seal
Flex Seal is hugely popular and it may even be possible to fix a minor leak onboard. Unfortunately, this is not a long-term repair solution. Flex Seal, while can be useful for minor leaks, is a temporary fix. While its good to have around in an emergency, it isnt going to solve all of your hull problems. Youll have to carry out a full repair to ensure your boat is safe to use.
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Repairing The Floor And Deck
The first thing you should do before making any repairs to the deck or the floors is to check to see how severe the damage is.
Often-times, decks and floors are made from wood, and if they are spongy or have holes in them, the wood is probably rotten underneath.
Before making any repairs to the fiberglass, youll need to take out this rotten wood and replace it. What seems like a small repair, in the beginning, can often end up being an extensive repair. If you dont believe me, just look at all the free project boats listed on Craigslist.
Oftentimes youll see that the person giving it away received the boat for free himself, thinking that he could do the repairs and get a free boat.
Once he started to tear the boat apart, he realized just how much work and money would be needed and decided to give up on it.
Once you do know what youre in for, start replacing the decking and flooring, making sure to keep the materials dry until they are encapsulated with new fiberglass and resin. Also, be sure to make a note of where the different pieces of hardware are connected to the deck, as youll need to put them back on when your repairs are complete.
If youre careful, you can use the old decking that you pull off the boat as a template for creating your new decking.
If you have a large area to do, youll be tempted to make larger batches but dont do this as youll only end up rushing the job or finding the resin sets up prematurely.
How To Fix A Hole On A Fiberglass Boat Complete Diy Guide
Nothing can sink a boat faster than a hole, and even the smallest hole could sink a ship. This is hopefully not something every boat owner will need to worry about, but it is a good idea to know how to fix a hole on a boat just in case the unthinkable ever happens to you. If your boat springs a leak, you should take it out of the water right away and get it repaired before going back out.
This past summer I was having coffee with a friend I hadnt seen since I was young, and I told him how I bought my first boat recently. He started to tell me a story that has been stuck in my head ever since he told it to me. He told me how a few summers ago his family rented a cottage with friends of his, and the cottage came with access to a boat down at the dock. One of the teenage boys in the group had taken the boat out and must have hit a rock or something, because the next day when they all went back down to the dock, there was about 8 inches of water in the boat. When the owner showed up he took the boat out of the water and pointed out stretches and a crack in the bottom left side of the hull. Needless to say, that man will probably never include his boat for strangers to use again.
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Chipped Hull Down To Fiberglass How To Repair
View Full ProfileyupitsnugeMaiden voyage for the new parker 2320 in 25 MPH winds and she did awesome! I didn’t realize how much the pilot house would get blown in the wind! That bow goes where the wind wants you to go. It’s a big step up from a little 18cc. Well, everything went great until we were loading her onto the trailer by hand. The stern kissed the dock and of course there was an exposed bolt which took a nice chunk out of the gelcoat right down to the fiberglass. Luckily it’s above the waterline but I want to fix this ASAP before we wrap it for the winter. How should I go about fixing this chip?tonyc69View Full ProfileBryan A.Get matching gelcoat from Parker.Disregard any suggestions of Marine Tex or any other epoxy based fillers.Wet-sand and buff after sufficient gelcoat is built up and you will not see the repair.Easy fixAnyone have a good fiberglass guy on Long Island? Hopefully in the Huntington area?View Full ProfileView Full ProfileView Full Profile
Fiberglass Basics You Should Know
Fiberglass is a wonderful material that can be used to repair all sorts of things.
Learn how to work with fiberglass, and you can repair boats, vehicles, bathtubs, and many other items.
You can even learn to create your own parts, canoes, and even coolers. An entire lifetime could be spent learning how to build and repair things using fiberglass.
But first, you need to know how fiberglass works as well as what it is. Fiberglass by itself is just a sheet of glass fibers woven or matted together. By itself, it is not hard, waterproof, or useful for anything.
However, once you apply a chemical resin to the fiberglass, it becomes waterproof, hard, and incredibly durable. It also remains lightweight, which makes it great for applications such as aircraft, automobiles, and boating.
The type of resin you use, the type of fiberglass you use, and the core material you use will determine just how hard and durable the constructed fiberglass becomes.
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Getting Your Fiberglass Boat Fixed
Repairing a large hole is easier on a fiberglass boat than other types of materials used to construct boats. By following the necessary instructions, your hole will disappear after a few hours of work on it.
And if you get your smooth surface right and do a good job with your painting, the repair job will be invisible to someone who never saw it.
One note of caution though: if the hole in your boat is below the water level, and you have no experience with repairing a fiberglass boat, let a professional do it.
Its riskier as there is no margin for error. You dont want your shabbily done job caving in at the middle of the sea. Get a professional to do this for you. But you can attempt anything above the water level yourself.
Dont let that large hole scare you today, you got it covered.
How Can You Save Some Money
Go for a fiberglass boat repair work kit for smaller-sized repairs to save money on the labor rates. Highly-rated sets, for instance, can cost less than $30 and will consist of all of the products needed to finish the project.
If you have the required skills and you are positive that you can get the repair work done, think about fixing the fiberglass of the boat yourself. There are in-depth guides offered all around the Web, especially at DIY sites and on YouTube. As long as the fractures or the location in question is very small, it will not be as difficult as you might think.
Compare the rates provided by various boat repair shops around you. You should try to get at least 3 to 5 quotes prior to devoting to one shop for the project.
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How To Tell Your Boat Has A Leak
The majority of leaks occur after a minor bump or from general wear and tear, and while some leaks are easier to spot, many wont be. Fortunately, you dont have to wait until your boat fills with water to know theres a problem. Have you noticed paint breaking away from the hull? Has the paint started to bubble on the interior of the boat? These are signs the boat has a leak somewhere. Its the same when corrosion has formed on metal fixtures and fittings. Any discoloration may be a sign of a leak.
As said above, you need to conduct routine checks to ensure your boats in the best condition possible. Inspecting it once a month may enable you to spot the signs of a leak and repair it before it gets worse. Prevention is sometimes the best cure of all.
Repairing Holes In The Hull
To repair a hole in the hull, you may need to get some new core material. Try to match the new core material with the existing core material. Make sure the remaining core material is dry.
Once you have the core material, youll need to fit it into the hole. Next, measure and cut your fiberglass cloth. Lay the fiberglass over the area, using fiberglass tape if you have to. Once everything is in place, mix up your resin and apply it over the damaged area. You may need to do multiple layers.
For professional repairs of ocean-going hulls, the surrounding fiberglass is ground back on a slope of 1:12 to make a large area to be repaired a 1/2 thick fiberglass structure would be ground back 6 in every direction from the hole.
The patch is then built-up with increasingly larger pieces of fiberglass mat and resin. Again, you need experience before trying this.
Your final coat should be a gel coat that matches the color of your boat.
Alternatively, you could repaint the boat after the repairs have been made.
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How Is The Fiberglass Applied
There are a few different ways that fiberglass can be applied.
- Roll it on with a paint roller
- Paint it on with a brush
- Spray it on with a spray gun.
When doing fiberglass boat repairs, youll most likely be painting or rolling it on in small batches.
The way youll do this is youll mix up a small amount of resin that you can successfully paint on over the fiberglass within about 15 to 20 minutes. This is about how much time youll have before the resin begins to dry and harden. If you mix too much resin, youll end up wasting it, so its important to start small until you get a feel for working with it.
Also, keep in mind that all of your fiberglass should be laid out over the area youre repairing before you begin mixing your resin.
Once your resin becomes active, you wont have time to go back and cut out pieces of fiberglass.
General Tips For Working With Fiberglass
As we alluded to earlier, fiberglass must be mixed before it can become active. This is usually done with a hardener. The manufacturer will tell you just how much hardener needs to be added to the resin.
Gel coats can also be added to the resin, but this shouldnt be done until you are on your final layer.
If you apply the gel coat too early, youll end up having to sand the layer down before you can add any additional layers.
Also, keep in mind that fiberglass resins are meant to be used at different ambient temperatures. If the temperatures are too high or too cold, the resin will not cure properly.
Youll know the resin didnt cure correctly if the fiberglass feels tacky afterward.
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