Fiberglass Kayak Repair Instructions

Fiberglass Kayak Repair Instructions
If a fiberglass kayak is not sealed properly or if breaks occur in the epoxy, water can enter and damage the kayak. The problem is easy to repair and can be fixed using a few simple tools such as fiberglass cloth, chisel and resin. The repair process requires some attention to detail. Once the damaged area is repaired, you can take your kayak back on the water.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Sandpaper
  • Chisel
  • Cloth
  • Acetone
  • Resin
  • Gel coat
Step 1
Look for damage. Cracks and holes in a kayak will allow water and other debris to pass through the fiberglass, so repair all visible damage, including dark spots. Dark spots are the result of water damage below the surface of the kayak. As a general rule of thumb, you'll need to repair at least 12 inches below the area in need of repair.
Step 2
Fit a chisel into the center of the damaged area. Slide the chisel as far down into the crack as it can pass. In some cases, you may find a larger hole underneath a crack or dark spot. Press down on the chisel to pass it through to the lowest depth of the hole.
Step 3
Sand around the hole to rough up the area using 120 to 220 grit sandpaper.
Step 4
Clean the damaged area with acetone, which is available at hardware stores. Wet a cloth with acetone and use it to wipe the surface of the kayak surrounding the damaged area. This will remove contaminants and help the adhesion process.
Step 5
Place a piece of cardboard on the outside of the kayak where the repair is located. Coat the cardboard with a plastic film before applying. This will stop excess fiberglass cloth and resin from spilling out, which could make the shape of the kayak appear lumpy or uneven.
Step 6
Wet the fiberglass cloth with resin. Add a thin layer of resin, mixed according to the manufacturer's instructions. Squeeze a small amount from the tube or bottle, generally no more than a dime size and brush it onto the cloth. As a general rule of thumb, you need 12 inches of fiberglass cloth for every 1 inch of damage.
Step 7
Use a chisel to force the fiberglass cloth down the hole, if necessary. Continue to press down until the hole is completely plugged. Add a small amount of resin to the top of the hole.
Step 8
Sand the repaired area, using 120 to 220 grit sandpaper.
Step 9
Seal off the area with masking tape. This will allow you to add a new gel coat without going outside the repair area.
Step 10
Apply two to three layers of a gel coat over the repair. Apply per the manufacturer's instructions, using a brush.
Step 11
Cover the repair with a plastic film, which will seal out air and permit the gel coat to cure completely.
Step 12
Sand the repair area after the gel coat has cured, using a 400 grit sandpaper. Sand until the repair is smooth and flush with the rest of the surface of your kayak.

Tips & Warnings

Wear a face mask to protect yourself against harsh resin and epoxy fumes.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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