Repairs to Fiberglass

I recently purchased a used, 17’ fiberglass canoe for a extremely good price, but it is a bit of a fixer upper. Canoe was left out in the sun for a few years and has developed some crack lines on the bottom of the hull.

So, what is the best way to repair this problem, if it is unrepairable what is the best way to ensure these cracks don’t become a problem?



How deep are the cracks?
If the cracks are merely surface crazin, that’s a fairly easy repair. Deeper cracks need something more difficult.

gel coat cracks?
If the cracks are just in the gel coat, they are not structural and you could just leave them alone. They are fairly easy to repair, though.

West Sysyems has an inexpensive pamphlet available at most marine chandlers and probably on line that tells you how to repair fiberglass and it is well worht the investment.

The cracks are just very small and topical, it seems like they are just the outer layer, and not very important, however, my concern would be that they become worse with use.

They can become worse
with time. But are actually easier to repair when worse. The West System User Manual for epoxy products is on thier website, I think that could be the pamphlet referred to earlier.

Sounds to me like they are cosmetic and could be left alone.

Maybe one more thing.
Gelcoat is a polyester resin and is water permeable. The spider cracks will admit water and will retain it. Probably not much of an issue if you take the canoe out of water and dry store it properly.

I would give the canoe an aggressive cleaning and polishing, followed with several coats of good boatwax to restore lustre. Any good marine store or decent chandler could help with that.

Boat stores
like West Marine sell gel coat repair stuff. Not cheap. A 1/2 oz tube is $12.99. Saw it this afternoon.

See if you can find a fiberglass supplier in your area. Even if you don’t have a commercial account you will save a bunch over the marine chain stores.