How to Patch a Fiberglass Canoe

  • 2-6 hours
  • Beginner
  • 30-75
What You'll Need
Electric Drill
80 grit sand paper
Clean Cloth
Gel Coat with a Hardener
Felt Roller

A fiberglass canoe is a narrow boat that is pointed towards the ends and propelled by paddles. This type of boat is made out of fiberglass because of the material’s outstanding features like durability and strength. However, as the boat is exposed to rough/harsh surfaces, it might give way to damage which might cause cracks or holes. As it is expensive to replace a canoe or get professional assistance, follow the simple steps below to effectively patch your fiberglass canoe yourself.

Step 1: Cut a Hole Around the Damaged Area

Use a knife to cut the dented area of your canoe, and feather the fiberglass around that area using an electric drill. Then, use an 80 grit sandpaper to sand around the feathered area. This step will allow you to create and set up a solid base for the repair process. See to it that the outside hole is 2 to 3 inches wider than the inside edge so as to offer an ample space for the patching substance to adhere.

Step 2: Use Acetone

Once you have sanded around the hole, wipe off any dust or dirt leftover around that area. Then, clean it with a cloth saturated in acetone, which is a highly flammable chemical. During this step, take safety precautions to work in a spacious and airy area with an appropriate ventilation system and to properly dispose of the cloth after the area has been cleaned.

Step 3: Cover the Hole and Prepare the Fiberglass

Place a piece of cardboard covered in a plastic wrap over the hole as precisely and smoothly as possible (to avoid possible wrinkles). Once this has been done, cut the fiberglass in layers (usually 5 layers of 6 to 6.5 ounces of fiberglass are sufficient) to fill up the hole. See to it that the shape of the hole with each layer remains consistent and that every layer of fiberglass is larger than the previous one so that the feathered edges can be completely covered up.

Step 4: Prepare and Use the Epoxy

Mix the epoxy as per the instructions given on the cover, and put it on the fiberglass until it is wet with the glue. Carefully follow any safety precautions mentioned on the epoxy packaging. Lay the layers into the holes, moving from the smaller pieces to the bigger ones, and then remove the cardboard.

Step 5: Sanding and Gel Coat

Sand both sides of the repair, and then feather the patches into the canoe. Finally, mix the gel coat with a hardener as recommended on the packet, and apply it using a felt roller. Let it dry until the area is solid and cool to handle.