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How to Repair Fiberglass Decks

Fiberglass decks on boats receive damage after years of use. Paying for deck repairs on a boat is expensive, but many repairs are easily done by the boat owner. Repair dents, holes or damage in fiberglass decks without paying high prices. Fiberglass repair materials cost under $100 for most repairs which is a fraction of the cost paid for professional repairs. Fiberglass repairs aren’t complicated, but take some time especially if there is a lot of damage.

Repair fiberglass decks yourself, and save money.

Step 1

Tap around the damaged area of the deck with the handle of the screwdriver, and listen to the sound. If it has a sharp, hard sound, the area isn’t damaged. If the area doesn’t sound sharp, the fiberglass lamination is damaged, and needs replacing.

Step 2

Scrub off any wax from the damaged area on the outside of the deck. Don’t worry about de-waxing the inside.

Step 3

Cut away the damaged area from inside the hull using a reciprocating saw. If the damaged area is 1 inch wide, bevel the cut, so the damaged inch is cut out on the outside, and the area removed inside is 5 inches around.

Step 4

Sand the area around the damaged area, so it bevels the area towards the hole. Smooth the edges at the hole with the sander.

Step 5

Coat one side of the Plexiglas with paste wax, and lightly spray over the waxed area with PVA mold release. Cut the Plexiglas using the sheet rock ripper, and put the Plexiglas into the beveled area inside the hull. Screw the Plexiglas into the bottom of the damaged area of the deck.

Step 6

Cut 10 pieces of fiberglass fabric, so it fills the area beveled with the sander. Cut 8 pieces of 6 ounce cloth the same size as the fiberglass fabric.

Step 7

Mix the epoxy resin and catalyst following the manufacturer’s instructions. Put one layer of fiberglass fabric on the Plexiglas on the side you screwed into the deck. Paint a layer of the mixed resin over the fiberglass fabric. Quickly add another layer of fiberglass fabric, and coat it with the mixed resin. Put a layer of 6 ounce cloth over the fiberglass fabric, and coat it with the mixed resin. Let the resin cure before adding the next set of layers. Keep repeating this procedure until the area is almost smooth.

Step 8

Cut 2 pieces of fiberglass fabric 1 inch larger than the hole. Place it on top of the hole with the edges extending 1/2 inch past the edges on all sides, and coat with mixed resin. Add the second layer the same way.

Step 9

Mix the gel coat according to manufacturer’s directions. Fill the top layer with gel coat, and pull the squeegee across the top smoothing the surface. Let the gel coat cure completely.

Step 10

Mix more of the gel coat. Brush a 1/8 inch thick layer into the hole from the top side of the deck.

Step 11

Cut 10 pieces of fiberglass fabric and 8 pieces of 6 ounce cloth the size of the hole from the outside of the deck. Put one layer of fiberglass fabric into the hole on top of the gel coat. Paint a layer of mixed resin on the fiberglass fabric. Add another layer of fiberglass coated with resin, and then a layer of 6 ounce fabric with mixed resin on top. Let it cure before adding the next set of layers.

Step 12

Continue adding layers in this order 2 layers of fiberglass fabric with mixed resin between, and then one layer of 6 ounce cloth. Let the resin cure between every 3 layers. Continue in this pattern until the deck is slightly below the top of the deck.

Step 13

Mix the gel coat according to manufacturer’s directions. Fill the top layer with gel coat, and pull the squeegee across the top smoothing the surface. Let the gel coat cure completely.

Step 14

Sand the area lightly using the fine sanding pad. Wax the area with the paste wax, and buff until shiny.