Last month we looked at core repairs on fibreglass hulls and the easy parts. It’s easy to identify where repairs are needed on a fibreglass hull and repairs can often be done at home. The key issue is to identify the extent of the damage and this can be done with test holes drilled into suspected affected areas or with moisture meters. Drill holes can show where rot is and how deep it runs. It’s important to mark these holes to identify how big the affected area is. So now we are taking a look at the more in-depth steps to repair your fibreglass hull.
Exposing the Extent
It’s a must to keep the area affected dry and the best way to do this is to have your fibreglass boat dry docked, and under cover. You will need to remove as much of the moisture as possible, drilling holes at the bottom of the affected area is the most effective way of assisting the water to drain away. If you marked the drill holes where rot is present, connect these holes with a marker to get a visual of the area, you will need to then cut the fibreglass skin back and remove the rotted core. This way you can then lay your fresh fibreglass material in the affected area. You will need to be careful not to remove the supports for the area so where the damage is in the hull, going at the area from the underneath is the easiest way to ensure the area is still supported.
This is also the best point to decide if the affected area is too significant for your skills. The connected drill holes will give you an idea of whether this rotted core area is too large or if perhaps a professional would be better suited to help get your fibreglass boat back in ship shape. The team at Advanced Fibreglass Techniques are experienced in repairs both large and small and are more than happy to assist in repairing your pride and joy.
Using a chisel, remove the rotten core, and be sure to take a little margin area around the rotten or delaminated core area, this will ensure any core materials affected by the rot, but still visibly sound are taken to ensure the rot is completely gone and doesn’t reappear soon after your repair. Professionals, like our team at Advanced Fibreglass Techniques always take an appropriate margin of what appears to be healthy core to ensure the problem doesn’t reappear.
If the affected section is still wet or damp, give it time to completely dry before continuing. If you are time conscious, you can use acetone to accelerate the drying process, but be sure to take all recommended safety measures when using chemicals of any kind. Now you can cut your replacement core materials and dry fit them to the area. You will now need to seal the drill holes; masking tape is usually most effective. Once sealed you can apply your liquid epoxy to your new core material.
Disposable foam brushes are a really handy and cheap tool to have for this next part. Generously apply the epoxy mix to the inner skin area and then to a side of the new core material and layer together, cover the area and hold in place until the epoxy is set completely. Depending on the size of the area, you may consider a section at a time.
If your affected area is near any hardware or fixtures that have to be secured to your new area, drill holes for the mounts larger than required and backfill with epoxy before drilling the right size. This can help prevent further water intrusion.
For a couple of hundred dollars in materials and plenty of patience, you can make an old boat new again.
Mark, Nigel and the team provide our clients across industrial, private and commercial fibreglass our professional design and development services as part of the project. We enjoy the challenges presented in boat restoration and take great satisfaction in achieving the customer’s desired result. We use the latest techniques to repair your watercraft, whether it be a small cosmetic repair or a structural modification. Contact Mark or Nigel today, on (08) 8182 4877 or drop in for an obligation free quote.