Step by Step Fiberglass Boat Repair Guide

See how to patch a small hole in your boat’s hull using West System epoxy kit and this fiberglass boat repair guide.. (Video Rating: 3 / 5)

Step-by-Step Fiberglass Boat Repair Guide

Step by Step Fiberglass Boat Repair GuideStep 1.

Examine the pattern and location of cracks in your boat’s hull to determine their cause. If the pattern or location indicates flexing, examine the interior side of the panel to determine the best location for additional reinforcing. If the cracks are a result of impact, examine the interior side of the panel to determine whether damage extends through the entire laminate.

Step 2.

Remove any surface contaminants such as wax, oil or mold release from the surfaces you examined in step 1 of the Fiberglass Boat Repair Guide. Wipe an area at least twice as large as the damaged area with a wax and silicone remover (Dupont Prep-Sol® #3919S), acetone or other appropriate solvent. Dry the area with clean paper towels before the solvent evaporate.

Step 3.

Open the cracks for repair. Use a sharpened “V” shaped tool to scrape down to the bottom of the cracks. A puncture-type can opener with the tip sharpened to about 90° works well. Beveling the sides of the crack provides more bonding area for the repair. It may be more effective to grind out an entire area of many, closely spaced or deep cracks. Scrape or grind as deep as necessary to reach solid, undamaged material. The depth of the crack will determine which course of repair to follow in this Fiberglass Boat Repair Guide:
  • Shallow cracks or scrapes that affect only the gelcoat layer may be repaired with the gelcoat repair techniqe. If necessary, reinforce the laminate to reduce flexing as described in Section 2.3. Some small cracks or chips can be filled with a gelcoat touch-up kit.
  • Minor cracks or scrapes that run through the gelcoat into the first chopped strand mat layers of the laminate should be repaired with epoxy using the procedures described below. Finish with the gelcoat repair technique. If necessary, reinforce the laminate to reduce flexing.
  • Deep cracks extending into woven fabric of the laminate require a structural repair before beginning the cosmetic gelcoat repair. If the crack extends into or through the woven fabric of the skin, follow the procedures. If a core has delaminated or is damaged from moisture penetration or impact, follow the appropriate procedure.
For better and more detailed explanation of the fiberglass boat repair procedures described in this fiberglass boat repair guide you should look into the official West Systems Epoxy Repair Guide which can be found at

Step by Step Fiberglass Boat Repair Guide

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