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Fiberglass Boat Repair

By: Don Stec

The most common repair failure I see in the shop is "Do It Youself" fiberglass repair. Let's explore repairing holes and cracks in fiberglass boat hulls.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of products available to the general public that will stick to fiberglass. Most common are epoxy putty, gel coat chip repair material, and automotive body filler used for filling dents in cars. These products are rigid and will fail if they are applied to a surface that is flexible.

You have to understand that a fiberglass boat hull may seem rigid, but it flexes when the boat is in motion. To repair damage to a flexible area on the bottom of a boat hull with a rigid product is inviting a chance for failure.
It does not matter how strong epoxy putty is advertised to be. If it does not flex, its chance for failure is great. Epoxy putty is best for repairing small nicks and small screw holes on the upper deck. Auto body fillers are not suitable because they have little tensile strength.

Another common mistake is brushing fiberglass resin over stress cracks, only to discover the cracks reopen and look identical to the original cracks. Fiberglass resin is weak and not flexible. Only when fiberglass fibers are properly added does it become flexible and very strong. A proper fiberglass repair will flex with the boat hull and be a permanent repair.

If you do not have the expertise to do a repair to the bottom of your boat, I strongly advise you to have an expert repair it. Remember that improper upper deck repairs may cause your fish finder or drink holder to come loose but a failure of a repair in the bottom of a boat could result in sinking the boat.

Coachmaster is known primarily as an automotive and truck collision repair center. We also repair RVs of all types. Our marine repair division has been insurance approved for over forty years. We have repaired thousands of damaged areas to boats and all kinds of watercraft and have never had a failed repair.

Got a problem with your vehicle?  Coachmaster is a full service collision repair shop, specializing in total vehicle alignment, using laser beams and blueprints.  Check us out at www.coachmasterautobody.comor give us a call. 

530 - 243 -1310, 6851 Eastside Road Redding CA.