Our Fiberglass and Gelcoat Technicians are the best of the best. We can make almost any damage dissappear. Our services include but are not limited to: dock rash, minor dings, scrapes in the gelcoat, major fiberglass damage or punctures, structural repairs, transom replacement and stringer repair or replacement.
What is a Fiberglass and Gelcoat Repair?
A fiberglass repair is the process of patching, reinforcing, filling, and replacing a damaged fiberglass area or ‘core’. Fiberglass and core material lie underneath the gelcoat or paint. Sometimes, you must remove any layers above the fiberglass in order to start the repair process; this could mean grinding or sanding gelcoat and painted surfaces. There are a few different materials that make up a fiberglass repair; chop strand fiberglass, woven roving, bi-axial, core material, high strength marine filler, and polyester or epoxy resin.
A gelcoat repair is the process of refinishing, filling, or spraying gelcoat (an epoxy or polyester resin-based polymer) where damage has occurred. It is extremely important to repair damaged areas in a timely manner so that your boat is not compromised structurally. Before repairing gelcoat, you must ensure the color of the repair material matches the color of the boat.
How do you Repair Fiberglass and Gelcoat on a Boat?
The first step is identifying all of the damage to your gelcoat and fiberglass. This is crucial, as there may be much more damage than meets the eye. We like to do things the right way, not just cover or disguise damage so we will inspect all areas surrounding the obvious damage to ensure your boat or yacht remains structurally sound. In some cases, we have to remove damage in order to fine the end of the crack, water, dry or damaged fiberglass.
We then prepare the areas needing repair. This consists of protecting all parts of the boat from debris, fiberglass and paint. Then we cut away any compromised pieces or areas, sand the appropriate sections and clean all areas that will be repaired. We then install the appropriate materials to fill and build up damaged fiberglass areas. This consists of fiberglass, resin and other high quality marine fillers.
From this point on is what we would consider a gelcoat repair. After the area is sanded and cleaned, we spray the area with gel coat sanding-primer. Once cured, another round of sanding and cleaning prepares us for the last steps.
We match the color of your gelcoat or paint - this process can be a time consuming matter for darker colors (we try to obtain gelcoat from the manufacturer before putting our color match specialists to work). After the color match, we mix the proper ratios of gelcoat, reducer and catalyst then spray the area (aiming for 25mm thickness). Once the gelcoat is cured, we move to an extensive polishing procedure starting with a low grit sandpaper, move through the grits until we get to 1500 and then start compounding, polishing and sealing. This blends the repair making it close to impossible to see the repair area - Now you are ready for the water!
Will the Fiberglass Repair or Gelcoat Repair be Visible?
We can match almost any boat’s gelcoat. We have completed extensive training and obtained industry leading certifications to ensure we can get the most accurate gelcoat color match so that your boat or yacht looks unmarred. For darker and more complex colors, we will call the manufacturer to obtain the original gelcoat so we have a good starting point in the color match.
Once the damaged area is repaired, it will most likely be the best looking spot on the watercraft. We suggest detailing your watercraft after we repair the area because we compound and polish the repair and the area around it to ensure the repaired gelcoat color matches. Once this is done, you will see no sign of any damage or repair. If your boat has been detailed recently then you will most likely not need a detail!
What is the Cost of Fiberglass Repairs and Gelcoat Repairs?
The cost greatly depends on the damage on your boat. If you send us pictures via text or email we can get you a price range in minutes. If you would like definitive pricing, we come out to the boat and inspect the fiberglass and gelcoat at no charge. For major repairs we will need to inspect the vessel and identify/uncover all damaged areas. We then give you a quote or estimate.
Why are Fiberglass and Gelcoat Repairs Expensive? There is an art to fiberglass and gelcoat repairs and if done correctly, even small repairs can be time consuming. Repairing a boat’s fiberglass and gelcoat professionally takes preparation, time, skill and quality materials. Many companies will skimp on some of those categories. We believe that you 'get what you pay for!'... and with Boat Brothers, you get the best.
We ensure every step of the repair process is done in the correct fashion, even if that means more time. All of our gelcoat experts share the same process so there is never a lapse in service you receive.
Fiberglass and Gelcoat Pricing
The pricing listed below is to give a rough estimate and a reference so you can compare our pricing to other shops. Note: It is typical for boat owners to underestimate the extent of damage and the cost to repair said damage.
Fiberglass & Gelcoat Rate: $120/hr
We maintain the lowest labor rate in our market however, we take extra steps to ensure every repair is structurally sound and of the highest quality. All of our repairs are guaranteed against defects.
Bottom or Keel Repair: Starting at $650
Estimated Starting Costs
Keel/Bottom Repair: $550+
Minor Hull/Topside Repair: $350+
Moderate Hull/Topside Repair: $650+
Major Hull/Topside Repair: $950+
Severe Damage: Quoted In-Person
Non-Skid Repair: $300+
Can Insurance or Warranty Cover the Cost?
Most insurance policies allow you to use a repair shop of YOUR choice, if you are told differently, refer to your agent or policy. Use a reputable shop and one you trust.
Auto Insurance is different than Boat Insurance in many cases. For auto claims you simply call your insurance company, drive your car to an authorized shop, and a few days later you pick up your car, sign a document, and you're on your way. Boat claims are different because of the vast differences in boats, the lack of standardized repair parts, and the challenges of making sometimes complex repairs using a much smaller pool of repairers. Boat repairs also are often significantly more expensive than owners expect. Here are the typical steps to filing a claim and getting your insurance to over the cost:
Step One: Reporting the Claim
The first step is pretty similar to how auto insurance works: you contact your insurance company, either by phone or online. If you call by phone, a claims representative will take a "first report of loss" from you. They'll ask you several questions regarding the loss, such as how and where it happened, then give you some instructions, as well as a claim number. Then the company will assign you a claims adjuster, who will assist you through the claims process and will contact you within a day or so. They'll also ask you to provide a statement about what happened. (Note: This is a good time to take photos of the damage for your records.) The best way to avoid a potential coverage issue is to report any sort of accident immediately, so that the insurance company has every opportunity to determine the cause, nature, and extent of the claim.
Step Two: Protecting Your Boat
All policies require that an insured take all necessary steps to protect the boat and its equipment from further loss. Let's say a storm comes through and rips off your canvas canopy, exposing your electronics to more rain. Throwing a tarp over everything will reduce the possibility of further damage.
If your boat sinks, immediate notification of the loss is critical so that the insurance company can make arrangements to have the boat salvaged. Once the boat is raised, you would need to make arrangements to have the engines flushed and pickled to avoid further damage while awaiting repair. If your boat is hit by lightning, it needs to he hauled out to inspect for hull damage. These things will mitigate damage, and the policy will pay reasonable expenses for them under the Sue and Labor provision, which is in addition to hull coverage.
Step Three: Get and Estimate
The next step illustrates another difference between auto and boat policies. Because of the millions of claims auto insurers deal with every year, they often contract with body shops who do the estimate, repair, and billing. With a boat claim, on the other hand, the insurance company will usually send out a representative, who could be a general adjuster or marine surveyor depending on the extent of the damage, to investigate what happened.
For smaller claims, they may be able to prepare a damage appraisal on which your settlement will be based. For more extensive damage, you'll need to get estimates from reputable shops. It's your boat, so find a repair facility you're comfortable with, because your settlement will be based on their estimate. Tip: Don't use an automotive repair facility. They often don't know the need for special ignition-protected items in the engine room, and an auto body shop may not be able to adequately repair a fiberglass hull to withstand pounding on the water. If you've been assigned an adjuster or surveyor, try to schedule a time to be present during the inspection.
No one knows your boat better than you do and surveyors welcome the opportunity to go through the damage with you. You might see problems you weren't aware of if you had not been there. Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you can, find recent maintenance records to send in with your estimate. Certain items, such as canvas or mechanical parts, have a limited lifespan and are depreciated over time. Don't sign anything related to your claim without contacting your claims adjuster.
Step Four: Submit Your Estimate
Once you have the estimate from your chosen repair facility (or if an adjuster or surveyor provided the estimate), the claims department will review it. If it's fair and reasonable and related to the loss, the claims department will approve it and provide you with a settlement letter detailing your loss-related settlement. Payment will be made (minus your deducible and any applicable depreciation), and you can then authorize your repair facility to begin repairs to your boat. This list of steps and the content are references from BoatUS.com
Step Five: Get Your Boat Fixed
Call Boat Brothers and schedule a service! We have some of the fastest turn around times in Northeast Florida and maintain highest quality of work so you have peace of mind.
Different manufacturers have different warranties on their hulls. The first step is to see if the damage is covered under warranty. You will need to take a picture of the damage and first contact the dealer. They will approve the damage for repair if it is covered. If they reject the claim, it is always worth trying again but instead going directly to the manufacturer. Many times the dealer will have someone they use to fix warranty repairs. If they don't, or if they are booked out too far, you can usually use the repair shop of your choice once the repair is approved.