Fiberglass canoes are very durable. They can take various damage, if the frame has been accidentally damaged while in use, or is simply faced with wear and tear. Restoring fiberglass canoe will cost less if you do it on your own rather than hiring professionals do it for you.
How to Restore Fiberglass Canoe
Restoring an old fiberglass canoe or rowboat will prove to be a long process. But the result is a fresh-looking boat that you can rely on.
- Inspect the hull of the fiberglass canoe or skiff for cracks or holes.
- Sand the edges of any hole(s) with medium-grit sandpaper so that the edges are smooth and have a concave face.
- Measure the crack or hole with a tape measure. For a crack, cut two pieces of fiberglass patching cloth with dimensions that extend 2 inches around the crack. A patching cloth will be 1/32 inch when dry, so if your hull is 1/2-inch thick you need 8 cloths.
- Tape a layer of plastic wrap over the outside of the hole. This provides a solid base for placing your patch
- Mix the epoxy from your patching kit in a disposable paper bowl with an old popsicle stick or something like it. If you are patching a crack, coat the first patch with epoxy and lay it smoothly over inside the crack.
- Leave the patchwork to set overnight. Return the next day and pull off the cardboard and plastic wrap.
- Sand the surface of the patchwork so it is flush with the hull of the canoe or skiff. Remove most of the excess fiberglass with rough-grit sandpaper.
- Sand the scratches out with rough-grit sandpaper, then produce a smooth finish. If you intend to paint the canoe or skiff as part of the refurbishing job, you may wish to sand the entire hull.
- Pull off any old stickers by warming them with a heat gun or pouring boiling water onto the sticker. Remove the gummy adhesive left behind with a putty knife or an acetone solvent.
- With masking tape, tape off end caps, gunwales, and other points on the canoe that you do not want to paint.
- Sand the entire surface of the canoe with fine-grit sandpaper, unless you already did this while removing scratches. Rinse off the hull and let it dry.
- With either a roller or brush, apply a light layer of fiberglass primer to the hull of the canoe or skiff. Allow this to dry for at least eight hours.
- Apply at least two coats of fiberglass paint or marine paint to the hull. Allow each coat at least eight hours to dry before applying a second coat. Keep an eye out for streaks forming behind your painting strokes, and push out any streaks with a foam brush.
- Pull off the masking tape used to protect areas from paint. If it looks like some of the paint will come with the tape, use the putty knife to control the peeling.