How to Repair a Plastic Boat Hull

Written by nathan adlen
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How to Repair a Plastic Boat Hull
Plastic hulls can be fairly easy to fix. (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Various forms of plastic are used in boat hulls. Compared to steel, plastic is cheaper to use and easier to form. Plastic is a strong, easy to shape and lightweight, which makes in a suitable material for boat hulls. Unfortunately, it can also be brittle and difficult to repair. There are a variety of patches that are effective stopgap measures that can be used for repairing plastic boat hulls. Fibreglass patches are often the best option. Fibreglass is fairly inexpensive and can effectively seal large holes in a plastic hull.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Respirator
  • Cleanser and scrub brush
  • Plastic cutting saw
  • Sand paper
  • Fibreglass patching kit
  • Putty knife
  • Resin brush
  • Paint (matching the hull's colour)
  • Paint brush

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  1. 1

    Clean the boat. Wash and dry your boat's hull in and around the hole, removing all dirt and debris.

  2. 2

    Sand the hole. Use sand paper to remove paint from at least two inches around the hole's circumference. The larger the hole, the more paint that should be removed, as this is where the fibreglass will bond with the plastic.

  3. 3

    Size the fibre-covering material. Fibreglass kits come with filler, like a cloth or fibre-based material, which must completely fit over the hole. This material will be covered with the fibreglass resin.

  4. 4

    Mix the fibreglass resin. Follow the kit's directions to make the resin. You must be ready to apply the resin once the hardener is added. It only takes 20 to 30 minutes for the resin to set once the hardener is combined. Be sure to make the consistency roughly that of peanut butter. Normally, a pea sized dollop of hardener is needed for every ¼ cup of resin. Verify the precise mixture rate with the fibreglass kit's directions.

  5. 5

    Cover the entire hole from the exterior with resin. Use the resin brush and make certain the resin is applied evenly. Use the remaining resin on the interior of the hull. If the depth of the hole exceeds ¼ an inch, use ample material on the inside of the hole. Be sure to eliminate all bubbles and smooth the resin before it fully hardens.

  6. 6

    Allow time to for the resin to fully dry. Allowing at least 24 hours is a safe bet.

  7. 7

    Sand the surfaces where the resin was applied until the smoothness of the patch matches the feel and shape of the rest of the hull.

  8. 8

    Paint the patch so that it matches the rest of the boat hull.

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