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DIY Repair Guide: How to Fix Cracks and Holes in Fiberglass Bathtubs

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Fiberglass, also called glass fiber, is basically a material made of very fine fibers of glass. It is used as reinforcing material for a lot of polymer products, scientifically known as fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) or Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP). In popular terms, this is called as fiberglass. These are used in a wide variety of applications because of its high surface area to weight ratio. Interestingly, the strength of these fibers is the maximum when they are virgin i.e. fresh and thin.

Fiberglass is the top choice these days when it comes to electrical insulation, thermal insulation, production of heat and corrosion resistant fabrics, automobile bodies, corrugated fiberglass roofing, surfboards, fiberglass swimming pools and many more things. But tough as it is, it is not resistant to cracks and holes. So if someone has any thing made of fiberglass, it is always good to know fiberglass repair instructions. In case you have fiberglass surfboard or bathtub, here is how to repair fiberglass.

How to Repair Fiberglass

The Supplies

Resin roller, gel coat, polyester resin, fiberglass mat, methyl ethyl ketone peroxide, grinder, de waxing solvent, razor and tape.

The Method

* There are times when the fiberglass damage is not very explicit and clear. In that case, you need to detect the damaged spot. For that, tap the fiberglass using a hard tool. The damaged spot will give a dull sound, contrary to the normal fiberglass, which will emit a sharp and tight sound.

* To give the repair work a good finish and appearance, start the work from the inner side. This will give a seamless appearance to the repaired spot.

* Now, the next thing is to cut the damaged area and with the help of the grinder, taper the fiberglass hole. For the final repair to be perfect and foolproof, a good taper is essential.

* Now, use the de waxing solvent for treating the exterior edges. This will add strength and solidity to the bond of the new fiberglass.

* To ensure that the rest of the resin does not come in contact with the undamaged area, apply paste wax around the hole. Then at the bottom of the hole, screw or tape a waxed backer. While you are patching the hole, this wax backer will provide you with the requisite hard surface.

* Coat the waxed backer in a gel coat, which is a pigmented resin for carrying out the repairs. For this, you would require to match the color. For the undamaged fiberglass, this will act as the smooth exterior finish.

* Now measuring the size of the hole, cut the fiberglass fabric and mat accordingly. After two layers of mat, place a layer of mat and then fabric. If you use more than 4 layers of fabric, it will weaken the bond, so preferably avoid that.

* For patching up the hole, use polyester resin or epoxy and fasten and secure the mat and fabric. Using a laminating resin with polyester resin will further increase the durability and strength of the bond. But it does not work in the open air. So sealing it off from air totally using plastic would cure it fully.

* As a catalyst to harden the polyester resins, you would require a methyl ethyl ketone peroxide. For the amount to be used, check out the manufacturer's fiberglass repair instructions.

* If there are any bumps or air bubbles, remove them with a roller. Finally, if there are any exterior imperfections, get rid of the wax backer and fill the irregularities with gelcoat. If necessary, sand and polish.

All this might seem easy but one needs to be careful with fiberglass hole repair. The fiberglass might cause irritation to your skin and eyes. So while you get to know how to repair fiberglass, it is imperative to take precautions too.

These were general fiberglass repair instructions, accompanied by actually how to repair a fiberglass. I am certain now the next time your fiberglass artifact gets cracked, you know how to fix it ! It is sure going to be a 'glassy' affair for you! All the best!

1 comment

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Posted on Aug 16, 2010

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David Stevens

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