03 Jan There’s A Hole In My Yacht! Repairing Fiberglass – The Right Way!
Whether your fiberglass has simply worn away, or an accident has caused a hole to form in the hull of your boat, you may be wondering what the next step is for fiberglass repair.
Serious hull damage often requires professional yacht restoration and yacht repair services. However, if you have a relatively small hole in your fiberglass, you may be able to repair it yourself – which can save you some money, as long as you have the skills necessary!
In this article, Chi Yacht Refinishing will go over the process of yacht surface restoration with fiberglass, and help you understand how to repair the fiberglass of your hull! Let’s get started.
- Know What You Can – And Can’t – Fix Yourself!
Typically, you should turn to an expert repair service for holes that are larger than around a foot in diameter – professional-grade products will be required to ensure that the repair holds, and that your yacht is seaworthy. For serious damage, consult a professional like Chi Yacht Refinishing right away.
- Start By Cutting Away The Damage
The first thing you should do is use an angle grinder or another cutting tool to remove any fiberglass around the point of damage that has been delaminated. Cut generously around the affected area, in an oval or a circle, and remove any delaminated fiberglass material.
- Dewax The Area
If your boat has been recently waxed, you’ll want to remove any wax around the affected repair area. You can use a standard dewaxing solvent to accomplish this step.
- Bevel The Edge Of The Fiberglass For A Better Hold
Using a disk sander, create a 12-to-1 bevel around the area of damage – this will look like a shallow circle radiating from the area of damage.
- Work From Inside, If Possible
It’s always better to repair the bulk of the damage from inside the hull, if at all possible. Because you’re going to bevel the fiberglass, it’s much easier to repair the smaller interior hole than it is to repair a larger, exterior hole.
- Mask And Mold
Use a generous portion of paste wax on the exterior of your boat to ensure that any resin from the interior fiberglass doesn’t “run” and adhere to the exterior. Then, place a piece of Formica or Plexiglas on the outside of your boat, and screw it into place.
- Use Both Fiberglass Mat And Cloth
You’ll want to use alternating strips of fiberglass mat and fiberglass cloth. Cut them to about a foot wider than the hole you’re treating, to ensure adequate structural integrity. Use the appropriate resin, epoxy, or gelcoat for your boat to adhere each layer to your boat. By layering dense fiberglass mat with more delicate fiberglass cloth, you can achieve plenty of strength, while adding minimal weight to your boat.
Continue applying fiberglass to the hole until you’ve reached your desired thickness, and the hole is even with the interior of the boat. Then, apply your catalyst (if using polyester/vinyl resin) or finish with a final layer of gelcoat to bond the fiberglass permanently.
- Finish The Exterior With One Layer Of Mat And Cloth
Apply a single layer of fiberglass mat and cloth to the exterior of your yacht. Bond them into place, and apply resin or gelcoat. Seal it with plastic, or polyvinyl acetate (PVA). Fill in any imperfections with gelcoat, and allow it to cure fully.
Then, simply sand, buff, and wax the repair for a totally seamless, beautiful look. You’re done!
Not Up To The Task Of Yacht Restoration? Contact Chi Yacht Refinishing!
Refinishing and repairing fiberglass requires specialized tools and techniques – as you can see from the above guide! If you’re not feeling up to DIY yacht repair, let Chi Yacht Refinishing help. We can take care of every step of the process – and restore even the largest, most difficult-to-repair fiberglass holes.
Contact us today to learn more, and make an appointment.