Fiberglass Hull Repairs

A fiberglass hull may endure stress while it is floating in choppy waters. Large waves, fluctuations in temperature, and sharp objects that come into contact with the hull could shorten the service life of your vessel. Signs of damage that will require repair techniques to be implemented include cracks, holes, and inconsistencies in the shape of the hull.

Fiberglass Sheets, Resins, And Substrates

Fiberglass sheets contain glass fibers. A continuous-filament process or a staple-filament process manipulates thin, long strands to create webbed fiberglass products. A chopped fiber manufacturing process uses shorter glass strands that are the same height and thickness. The strands are used to create a mat.

A binder is used to hold strands together in any fiberglass manufacturing process that is being used. Many fiberglass products require the use of a resin and a substrate. An epoxy resin or a polyester resin will bond with a fiberglass sheet and hold it in place. A substrate (core material) is used to strengthen the hull.

This material is typically added to the hull of a boat, prior to applying a fiberglass layer. Any type of hull repair will require that a hardener be added to the resin product. A hardener will need to cure, prior to adding a gel coat to the top of it. The application of a gel coat is the final step necessary to restore the appearance of a hull.

Repair Strategies

Small holes, cracks, or deformities can be repaired by a novice. Epoxy and hardener products need to be mixed according to a manufacturer's guidelines. Large damage to the body of a boat will require a professional fiberglass application. If a boat is going to be used for long excursions, it is best to seek the guidance of a watercraft repair specialist.

The damage to a boat may not appear to be too extensive but may actually be extreme. Wooden decking that becomes waterlogged due to a hole in the hull would require that the decking materials be removed and replaced. This type of work should be conducted first.

Afterward, a repair person will clean and sand the hull of the boat. They will use a substrate to fill in the hole and will apply a fiberglass sheet, resin, and a hardener over the substrate. The resin and the hardener will need to dry completely. After this has occurred, a second sanding process may be conducted. A gel coat will be applied afterward.

Contact a local boat fiberglass repair service to learn more.