Boat Deck Repair: How to Build a Fiberglass Deck

Lead Image
  • 4-12 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 250-3,000
What You'll Need
Fiberglass resin
Fiberglass cloth
Fiberglass catalyst
Sturdy Scissors
Putty knife
Fiberglass roller
Polyester body filler (Bondo)
Sandpaper (80-100 grit)
Clean plastic buckets
Roller frame
Roller pan
Disposable pan liners
Protective gloves (optional)

If you own a lakeside home, you will probably someday need to do some boat deck repair. After becoming weathered, faded and bleached from UV rays, rain and other weather elements, almost all decks will eventually need to be repaired in some way. One way you can repair your weathered deck and protect it against further wear is to cover it with a fiberglass laminate. Use the 6 steps below to build your fiberglass boat deck.

Step 1 – Prepare the Wood Surface

If the wood surface you plan to repair has been exposed to weather, has lost some of it's natural color and has become rough, you can remove some of the weathered look by sanding it with 80-100 grit sandpaper. If you find splinters on the surface that are too big to remove by sanding, remove them from the wood surface.

Step 2 – Fill Splinter Voids and Cracks

Apply wood filler to cracks, gaps between deck planks, and voids you have created when you removed the large splinters from the wood surface. When the filler has dried and hardened, sand it down until the new epoxy surface is flush (level) with the original wood surface, then clean from the surface any dust or debris left from your sanding.

Step 3 – Seal the Deck Surface

Use acetone to mix a batch of fiberglass resin. The resin consistency will need to be thin enough to allow it to penetrate the grains of the deck wood. When you have the right consistency, add the catalyst. Apply the mixed resin without delay to prevent the epoxy from hardening. Then begin immediately to roll this resin-acetone mixture onto the deck surface using your epoxy roller. Be sure you don't leave spots uncovered when using the resin. This resin coat will seal the deck and prepare it for the fiberglass cloth you will later apply to it.

Step 4 – Cut Fiberglass Cloth Strips

Roll out and cut strips of fiberglass cloth to a length that will fit the length of your deck. To prevent fraying of the cloth ends, use sharp scissors to cut it. Place these cut strips side-by-side with each side butted against the next strip. When you have cut enough strips to cover your deck, remove the strips from the deck and put them aside.

Step 5 – Apply 2nd Coat of Resin

Add epoxy catalyst to a second batch of resin and roll the resin onto the surface of the deck where you applied the sealer.

Step 6 – Lay Out Your Fiberglass Cloth

Lay the cloth strips on top of the fresh layer of resin. Stretch out the cloth strips to remove any wrinkles, then roll a second resin coat over the cloth. Be sure the cloth is completely soaked with the resin. Repeat this process. First lay out a layer of cloth, then soak it with another coat of resin. When you have added the third coat of cloth and resin, allow it to harden.