How to prepare a fiberglass boat for respraying

Written by kevin mclain
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A fibreglass boat requires frequent maintenance to protect the boat and the fibreglass. Before respraying a fibreglass boat, first properly clean it with soapy water. After the cleaning the fibreglass, remove any grease or wax residue with the proper type of grease and wax remover. Wet-sand the fibreglass after cleaning and degreasing to create a smooth surface to absorb the respray. Prime the fibreglass after sanding to provide a surface for the paint to adhere.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Water
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Sponges
  • Dry cloths
  • Safety glasses
  • Protective gloves
  • Degreaser
  • Wax remover
  • Fine-grit sandpaper (400-Grit)
  • Fibreglass paint primer
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paint rollers

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  1. 1

    Wash the fibreglass down thoroughly with a mixture of clean water and liquid dish soap. Use a sponge or a clean rag to wash the fibreglass. Rinse the soapy water off with clean water.

  2. 2

    Apply the degreaser or a type of wax remover with a clean cloth to remove any grease stains and hardened wax from the fibreglass. Use another clean cloth to thoroughly clean away the degreaser or the wax remover from the fibreglass.

  3. 3

    Sand down the entire area of fibreglass to be painted with a wet piece of fine-grit sandpaper. Use the sandpaper in a circular motion when sanding down the fibreglass surface.

  4. 4

    Clean away the excess grit from the sandpaper with a wet soapy rag. Rinse the fibreglass down with clean water until all grit has been removed from the fibreglass. Inspect the fibreglass to ensure that all of the grease and wax has been removed and the fibreglass surface is smooth from the sanding.

  5. 5

    Dry the surface of the fibreglass off with clean cloths. Apply the fibreglass paint primer to the fibreglass surface with a paintbrush or a paint roller until the entire surface to be painted is completely primed. Add two coats of primer if necessary to get a thick coat of primer across the fibreglass surface.

Tips and warnings

  • You can also use a electric sander to sand the fibreglass surface. The key is to remove all dirt, grease and old wax from the fibreglass before sanding and priming the fibreglass surface. The smooth surface from the sanding will allow the primer to absorb into the fibreglass evenly.
  • Wear protective gloves and safety glasses when applying degreaser and when sanding. Do not use a heavy grit sandpaper on the fibreglass surface. The heavy grit sandpaper could damage the fibreglass by leaving pits and gouges in the surface.

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