Zooming off in uncharted waters with your own fiberglass boat is not a thing you would give up on. But this glorious plan could go down in dumps if your favorite boat is going through a rough patch. It needs a damage control. Even though fiberglass, made from thin fibers of glass is a tough material, it is bound to undergo some wear and tear at some point of time. Furthermore, floor damage is the most common type of damage which occurs in these boats. In such cases, you either have to call an expert or do the repair by yourself. If you choose the latter and are thinking how can you go about it, here is what you can do.
How it is Done?
Fiberglass mat, fiberglass gel coating, Bondo, supports (if curved piece), sandpaper, and cleaning agents. The tools needed are orbit sander, scraper, scissors, tape measure, coping saw/jig saw, and cleaning supplies.
Accessing the Damaged Spot
First things first, you have to identify where does the repair needs to be done. Ideally, in the case of a boat floor, one can access it better from the back side of the floor. However, this is not possible in all the situations. Where it is, make sure you remove anything you might have stored there, to provide convenient and easy restoration.
Get the Edge
After detecting the damage, cut out the damaged section in a way that the edges are as smooth as possible. This will facilitate in easy hole repair.
For maximum adherence of the epoxy, you require a clean surface. So, after you cut the faulty piece, clean the area around it thoroughly, as all the marine impurities cannot be seen. Further, avoid using agents similar to bleach. They do not gel well and are not suitable with epoxy. Before applying epoxy, affirm that the floor surface is dry.
Now, in a situation wherein the faulty part involves a curved section of the boat, repairing it could be tricky and you might need some support to carry out the same. For that, cut consecutive shapes of plywood and put them together. In the circumstance where you feel you are not going on track, you could refer to the repair kit for it as well.
Rough up the fiberglass around the damaged area with a steel brush so that the epoxy would have a base to get attached to. Then, cut a piece from the fiberglass sheet which will just be enough to give in 3 inches of overlap to the faulty section.
When the Floor is Curved
In this case, make a foam shape approximating the curve and for matching the curve, cover using a Bondo. Then, follow this up by sanding the Bondo smooth in thin layers. After that, put the sheet over the bondo and for getting the requisite shape, apply epoxy. Once the shape is cured, get the shape in place with several layers of fiberglass. Finally, smoothen the new shape by rubbing it with sandpaper. This is very important for the floor repair.
The Other Side
After the support is set well in its proper place, check out if the facing side is clean. Now, cut the fiberglass in a shape that it will include roughly a 3-inch overlap of the affected area. Now, to the deck and underside support, lay out the epoxy and fiberglass. Get rid of any bubbles or wrinkles from the fiberglass mat, which is wet. For a perfect and finished look, this is very crucial.
Use of Sandpaper
The repair is not complete without a proper sandpaper treatment. Thus, have a 400-grit paper at your disposal and move upwards, while smoothening the surface. Between the grits, though, make sure that the surface is clean. Apart from that, if there is any kind of painting to be done, use the sandpaper after the patch which you think is smooth. Painting would highlight irregularities in the surface.
Following the aforementioned guidelines, might prove beneficial. If at all you face a problem, there is always a repair kit to help you out.
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