Can You Fiberglass a Wooden Boat | Guide

Yes, you can fiberglass a wooden boat! In fact, it’s a great way to protect the wood and keep it looking new for years. There are several steps involved in the process, but it’s not too difficult once you get started.

Fiberglassing also protects your wooden boat from water damage, does not compromise the boat’s buoyancy (unlike steel or aluminum), and reduces weight. Be warned that if your wooden boat is an antique, then by law you cannot restore or alter it in any way that will diminish its value as a collectible or artifact. Check with local marine authorities about their rules on this before proceeding.

Fiberglass is used in boat construction because it is a strong and lightweight material. It is also corrosion-resistant, which makes it a good choice for marine applications.

Boat-builders have several options when it comes to fiberglass. They can choose from more than a dozen varieties of glass cloth, each with different properties, including the appropriate trade name depending on where the product was manufactured. Fiberglass boat parts are also available commercially for everything from floorboards to running lights. These are usually made in large batches, which brings down the overall cost.

Why do You need To Fiberglass Wooden Boat?

Fiberglass is actually an integration of glass and plastics, which provide high strength and low weight. The combination of this with great flexibility makes it a perfect material for boat building as well as for fiberglassing wooden boats.

Choosing the right type of fiberglass to use over your wooden boat depends on a number of factors, such as the size and type of boat, and also on the location where it will be used. For instance, if you will be cruising in warm waters then you would probably want to use an 8 oz fiberglass cloth because this has a lesser tendency to get punctures or tears.

Applying fiberglass over your wooden boat gives it added protection against water seepage. This happens because fiberglass is porous but has a thin plastic or resin coating that prevents the penetration of water into the wooden body.

If you take your wooden boat in saltwater then you must apply fiberglass over it to keep the wooden structure in top condition. You can apply it yourself or find someone who specializes in simply fiberglassing wooden boats. If you do not, then every time your boat is exposed to saltwater for a long period of time, the wood will expand and contract faster than normal procedures. This could be dangerous because cracks and warping could be the results.

The first step in fiberglassing your wooden boat is sanding off all the old paint and varnish, as well as any type of surface contaminants. You might need to make some repairs to dings or cracks.

When do You need to fiberglass a wooden boat?

If you have an old wooden boat and want to make it look new and shiny again, then the best thing to do is apply fiberglass. It will keep your boat protected from water damage and any other type of corrosion. Always use a good quality marine-grade resin and high-quality glass cloth when applying fiberglass over your wooden boat.

You might also need to restore or repair some wooden parts on the boat, and fiberglassing is a good option because it will also keep all other surfaces in top working condition for years.

If you are making your own DIY wooden boat then you could use fiberglass cloth to help create your boat. It will give it lots of strength and durability. Fiberglass can also be used in several other parts of the boat, such as providing support for the seatbacks in a rowboat or connecting the transom with the hull in a canoe.

How Do You Fiberglass a Wooden Boat

1. Sand off all the old paint and varnish from the boat, as well as any other contaminants. Repair all dings or cracks.

2. Apply resin over the entire boat, making sure to spread it evenly and thoroughly over each surface.

3. Once the resin has started to gel but not yet completely hardens, apply fiberglass cloth onto it by taping one end of the cloth onto the boat at one corner then stretching the other end as straight and taut as possible.

4. Keep applying fiberglass where necessary, making sure to overlap the joints by approximately 50%. Use a roller or brayer to press it down firmly on the resin then cut off any excess with a sharp utility knife.

5. Allow the resin to dry overnight before using your boat for anything else.

6. The next day, use fine sandpaper to sand away any rough edges on the fiberglass. Apply resin over the same area and add another thin layer of fiberglass cloth. Allow it to harden then sand away any rough edges from this new layer once again. Repeat the process until you have a smooth finish without any roughness or pits on the fiberglass.

Why Are Resins Used In Fiberglass Boats

Resin is used in fiberglass boats because it has a number of qualities that make it an excellent choice for this type of project. It is a very strong material that can withstand a great deal of stress, and it is also resistant to water and other types of corrosion. Additionally, the resin is flexible so it can expand and contract without causing any cracks or damage to the fiberglass.

Precautions Needed While Fiberglassing Your Wooden Boat

When fiberglassing your wooden boat, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to ensure a successful project. First, make sure you sand off all the old paint and varnish from the boat, as well as any other surface contaminants. This will provide a smooth surface for the resin to adhere to.

The best time of day for fiberglass is during the morning or evening, at temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (10-27 Celsius). If you are working in more extreme conditions then make sure to bring your resin inside for a few hours to warm up before applying it onto the boat.

Never smoke or use an open flame near the fiberglass boat because it will set the resin on fire.​ Don’t apply resins with bare hands.

When you are ready to fiberglass your boat, always wear gloves, goggles, and a respirator mask for protection. After finishing the project, it is recommended that you wash thoroughly with soap and water, and then let the boat dry before using it again.

Be sure to dispose of all waste material properly by double-bagging it and bringing it to a hazardous waste disposal center.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Fiberglassing your Wooden Boat

The pros of fiberglassing your wooden boat are that it will make the boat stronger and more durable, and it will also protect the wood from water and corrosion. Additionally, the resin is flexible so it can expand and contract without causing any damage to the fiberglass.

Fiberglassing protects your boat from wood rots and warping, and it is also the easiest way to repair cracks.

The cons of fiberglassing your wooden boat are that it can be a difficult process, and it is important to take all the necessary precautions to avoid any accidents. It is also important to dispose of all the waste material properly.

Regular maintenance of fiberglass boats includes removing all the weeds and trash on the exterior, scrubbing the hulls with soapy water or a special mild detergent, re-coating them with wax or polish, and checking for cracks in any wooden parts of the structure, changing oil levels if necessary.


Whether you want to restore an old wooden boat or make your own DIY one, fiberglass is the perfect material for that. It will keep water damage at bay and any other type of corrosion as well! Fiberglass can also be used in many parts of a canoe or rowboat.