From Screw Holes to Major Collision Damage, We Make It Disappear
Fiberglass work is as much an art as it is a science, and experience is critically important. We've seen it all — from holes left by #8 screws to boats broken nearly in half by accidental impacts — and we know how to approach each job.
Structural vs. Gelcoat Repair
A lot of boat owners think of any sort of hull repair as a fiberglass repair. That's not strictly true. Many scratches, gouges, dings, wear areas, and even cracks are only in the layer of gelcoat that covers the fiberglass laminate. While it's important to address many types of gelcoat damage before they worsen, fiberglass repair is a different animal.
When the laminate of fibers, resin, and coring (whether wood or composite) that forms the structure of the boat is either damaged by force or weakened by water intrusion, it needs to be repaired quickly and correctly.
Collision and Grounding Damage
A good portion of structural damage is the result of impacts — with another boat, the bottom, docks, pilings, trailers, etc. If something happens that causes structural damage, your first concern — after the safety of you and your crew — should be keeping the area as dry as reasonably possible. Broken edges absorb water, and repairing dry laminate is easier, cheaper, and more effective.
We can make even major structural damage essentially disappear, and the result is typically at least as strong — if not stronger than — the original. We also work regularly with numerous insurers to complete covered repairs. Because fiberglass damage isn't always readily apparent after an impact, we encourage you to schedule a free evaluation and estimate.
Even the best made fiberglass boats deteriorate gradually over decades of wear and tear. The not-so-well-made ones sometimes deteriorate much more quickly. It comes most often in the form of cracked, detached, or broken stringers; soft spots in the deck or elsewhere; or transoms falling apart internally or coming apart from the rest of the hull.
Common symptoms include new noises from the boat, noticeable flexing and shuddering, discoloration or softness, cracking in stress areas like the splash well, and visible "jiggling" of outboards in rougher water. We have extensive experience diagnosing and repairing a range structural issues, in both wood-core and wood-free boats.
Screw Holes, Gauge Cutouts, and More
We all move accessories, upgrade electronics, and so on from time to time, and it usually leaves at the least some screw holes and at most a gaping hole where a gauge or throttle control box was. The truth is that if you're not overly worried about appearance, you can fill screw holes sufficiently on your own with either thickened resin or a commercially available material like Marine-Tex.
On the other hand, getting an exact color match can be difficult. We specialize in color matching and blending with either gelcoat or paint. Also, a solid, permanent, invisible patch on a larger hole like a gauge cutout requires skill and experience. Give us a call to set up a free estimate.
One Size Doesn't Fit All
There's nothing formulaic about fiberglass repair. Doing it well requires hard-earned experience and broad knowledge of building techniques, layups, and materials. It requires knowing what cloth (or combination of cloths) to use for each application, how different resin types behave, and how to select specific resin products within those types.
Epoxy resins, for example, are the strongest option but don't play well together with the polyester resins that are used in most production boats — nor with gelcoat. Vinylester resin, while more expensive than polyester and not as strong as epoxy, is less sensitive to ambient conditions than either, meaning it's a good choice in repairs where some moisture is unavoidable.