How to Fiberglass a Boat Floor

How to Fiberglass a Boat Floor
When you "fiberglass" a wooden boat's floor, you don't use fiberglass. Fiberglass is used in boats to provide a foundation for the epoxy resin and hardener; you already have a wood deck to provide that foundation, so you don't need to add fiberglass cloth: the deck is already a firm foundation. You can proceed directly to the process of adding the resin and hardener to protect your deck from water, fish that jump into the boat and friends who now track mud all over the place.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Plastic milk container, 1/2 gallon Jack knife Marine epoxy resin Marine epoxy hardener Paintbrush Palm sander 100-grit sandpaper Clean cloth Water
  • Plastic milk container, 1/2 gallon
  • Jack knife
  • Marine epoxy resin
  • Marine epoxy hardener
  • Paintbrush
  • Palm sander
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • Clean cloth
  • Water
Step 1
Cut the plastic milk container with your jack knife so that it forms a container in which you can mix the resin and hardener, and into which you can dip your paintbrush.
Step 2
Mix the resin and hardener in the milk container, in small batches that can easily be applied by a paintbrush before the resin dries. Mix the ingredients according to the instructions on the resin.
Step 3
Dip the paintbrush into the resin mixture and apply the mixture to the floor (deck) of your boat liberally. A "thin, even coat" is great for paint, but you can slather the resin on like a heavy coat of paint. Work the resin into every nook and cranny in the floor, and into the joint between the floor and the sides of the boat as well. As you empty the container of the mixture, mix more and repeat the application process until the floor is completely covered.
Step 4
Apply the last brush stroke, completely covering the floor of the boat and filling in the joint between floor and sides. Let the boat sit, undisturbed, until the resin has completely cured. This may take up to 72 hours, depending on how thickly you applied the resin.
Step 5
Sand the floor with a palm sander and 100-grit sandpaper (the "grit" number is a measure of roughness) until the lumps are gone. Wipe up the sanding dust with a clean, damp cloth and allow the floor to dry once more.

Tips & Warnings

 
If any caulking needs to be done, do it before you start mixing the resin and hardener, and allow it to cure completely before proceeding. Work from the center, out to the sides.
 
If any caulking needs to be done, do it before you start mixing the resin and hardener, and allow it to cure completely before proceeding.
 
Work from the center, out to the sides.
 
Resin dries quickly once the hardener is mixed in. Try a "test patch" on some scrap wood to see how much "working time" you have before it begins to harden.
 
Resin dries quickly once the hardener is mixed in. Try a "test patch" on some scrap wood to see how much "working time" you have before it begins to harden.

Article Written By Will Charpentier

Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.

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