How To Repair A Fiberglass Boat Hull From The Outside

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You take good care of your boat, paying special attention to
even the smallest cracks and dings that form in the hull. That’s why a hole in
your hull can be so alarming. If it’s not addressed, it threatens the integrity
of your boat to a degree well beyond surface dings and marks. But what if a
hole in your hull came from the outside? Here’s what you’ll need to know about how
to repair a fiberglass boat hull from the outside.

Prep Your Materials

Working with fiberglass is different than working with a
material as straight-forward as, say, wood. It’s important to have the right
materials before you get started, which includes:

  • Fiberglass
    patching kit.
    Patching fiberglass includes a lot of variables. You’ll need
    layers of fiberglass, liquid epoxy, and more. Browse around for a complete
    fiberglass patching kit and get a sense of what’s involved before proceeding
    any further.
  • Construction
    materials.
    Gather sandpaper for sanding the outside edges and an epoxy
    brush for applying the epoxy for the fiberglass. You’ll also want the tools you
    might not always think of, such as The Stick, which comes in
    handy in ensuring smooth application and corners.
  • Adequate
    cleaning supplies.
    The first step is to clear the area of debris and clean
    out the affected part of the fiberglass boat hull. Use Boat Cleaner as an effective, non-damaging cleaning agent.

Fiberglass Boat Hull
Repair Steps

Fiberglass boat hull repair sounds complicated—and it can be
for first-time boat owners. We break it down into its essential steps:

  • Preparation.
    Clear the area of any remaining debris, clean it out, allow it to dry, and sand
    down the affected area for a smoother application later on. You’ll also want to
    procure some fiberglass backing material if the hole goes straight through the hull.
  • Measure
    and recreate.
    Measure the precise size of the hole. Your fiberglass
    patching kit will include pieces of “fiberglass cloth”. The first piece you cut
    out should be about the same size as that hole. You’ll cut out in larger layers,
    which you can then place below this
    first piece in ever-larger circles. Then use the mixed epoxy in your fiberglass
    patching kit to wet the area you’ve sanded out on the exterior of your hull and
    subsequent layers of fiberglass.
  • Cure.
    Allow the applied fiberglass to properly cure—taking care to follow any
    instructions in your kit. This should give you a relatively even patch. Once
    cured, you’ll be able to sand this area down for even consistency. Your
    fiberglass patch kit should give you a second step of epoxy to apply next for
    greater consistency. Apply per the instructions and allow time to cure in a
    dry, well-ventilated place.

Fiberglass can feel complicated the first time you have to
address an exterior fiberglass hull issue, but when you know the essential
steps, you’ll have a much clearer picture of how it should all take place. And
it doesn’t hurt to have a few boating products in your
corner, either. Browse BoatLIFE for all the other cleaning and repair materials
you need to maintain a quality boat. 

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