How to Remove Paint From a Fiberglass Hull

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How to Remove Paint From a Fiberglass Hull
Use a chemical stripper to remove paint from a fibreglass hull. (boat hull in drydock image by pearlguy from

A hull is the frame or body of a ship. It is commonly constructed of fibreglass due to its light weight, durability and relatively low maintenance requirements. Fibreglass is water-resistant and can easily be treated with paint and varnish. Removing the paint from a fibreglass hull requires the proper solvent, a chemical paint stripper that will dissolve the finish. The solvent combined with the proper tools will restore the hull to its original condition.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Respirator
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paint stripper
  • Applicator
  • Putty knife
  • Scouring pad
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Rag

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  1. 1

    Put on a respirator and solvent-resistant gloves before applying the paint stripper. All effective varieties of this chemical compound are at least semi-toxic and are hazardous when inhaled in excess.

  2. 2

    Prepare the paint stripper according to the instructions on the product label. You may need to apply it to the hull using a rag, brush or paint roller. Follow the manufacturer's recommendation. Begin with a manageable area of the fibreglass surface, then allow the stripper to stand for no more than two to three minutes.

  3. 3

    Carefully scrape the paint from the hull with a putty knife immediately after the chemical stripper has dissolved the coat. Otherwise, the solvent could eat into the fibreglass if allowed to settle for too long.

  4. 4

    Reapply the chemical stripper until all of the paint has been cleanly scraped from the hull. Dip a scouring pad in denatured alcohol and rub the fibreglass in order to neutralise any remaining stripper.

  5. 5

    Wipe the hull with a clean rag until the rag comes away clean. Allow the fibreglass surface to dry for at least two hours before preparing it for a new finish.

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