Fiberglass hull & accessories repair

Now a few words on the fiberglass rigid hull repair. Overall, it’s necessary to say that the technology of the repair works on fiberglass and gelcoat is not so easy and it actually should be done by professionals. One can repair some minor damages that do not affect the hull structure, however even with minor repair works done by a non-professional, one can cause even more problems to the boat.

If you still want to try, here’s some general info about fiberglass. Fiberglass is a composition of two main components: polymer resin and glass fiber. Think of this composition as of the concrete – the resin(with the hardener) is the cement, glass fiber is the reinforcement of metal and rubble. There are two most popular types of resins: epoxy and polyester. Everybody MOSTLY uses polyester for fiberglass RIB boats production, however sometimes epoxy also finds its use. It’s very important to know the type of resin your RHIB boat has before starting the repair, as different resins are not compatible. Glass fiber manufacturers also make different glass types: rawing(glass fiber wound to bobbins), glass mat and woven glass fabric. Rawing is mainly for industrial use, but the mat and fabric could be easily used in hand repair. And to finish it off, for better appearance, every fiberglass part of your inflatable watercraft is covered with an exterior decoration layer – the gelcoat, which is actually also a kind of a polymer resin, by the way. You should also know that, in case of gelcoat repair or replacement of some full parts(e.g. consoles), the area or the full part made with the new gelcoat most likely will have a slightly different color tone than the original – this is completely normal and cannot be avoided.

Now some common recommendations for the most typical defects and damages, they are mostly happening to the external layer – the gelcoat:

Gelcoat scratch – if the scratches are not too deep (to 0.2mm depth), but you care about the looks – you can just slightly grind it with the emery paper(grades 800, 1200, 1500) and polish it till mirroring surface with the proper polishing paste. In case the scratches are deep and the gelcoat layer is damaged sufficiently it’s better to roughen the damaged area, apply a portion of appropriate gelcoat(with hardener), grind it till it’s flat and then polish it till mirroring.

Gelcoat crack – if you find a gelcoat crack, the first thing to do is to check if it’s only a gelcoat crack and the hull’s body is not damaged. Gingerly gouge the crack area to 4-5 mm wide till you reach the polyester and inspect if the body is unharmed. If the polyester is OK – fill the groove with the gelcoat, grind it till it’s flat and then polish till mirroring.

Through-hull crack / hole – these defects are the most complicated to repair and should be always done by professionals only. So, in case you’ve found a through-hull crack or a hole – take your boat to the dealer near you.

Fiberglass hull & accessories repair
Product added to compare.