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How Do You Make Fiberglass Last Longer?

Fiberglass is an incredibly useful composite material made of plastic reinforced by fine glass fibers. It’s lightweight yet strong, which makes it ideal for everything from boat hulls to swimming pools.

However, even the most durable fiberglass structures can deteriorate over time when exposed to the elements.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to extend the life of your fiberglass constructions and keep them looking pristine for longer.

How do you Make Fiberglass Last Longer?

1. Shield Against Sunlight

Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight can cause fiberglass to lose its color, become brittle and crack over time.

Regular applications of high-quality marine wax containing UV blockers create a protective barrier against the sun’s rays.

Even indoor fiberglass structures and components should be shielded from constant light exposure which can also degrade the materials.

Keep them covered or place UV film on nearby windows whenever possible.

2. Stay On Top of Maintenance

It’s essential not to neglect general fiberglass maintenance if you want it to remain in flawless condition.

That means keeping it clean by promptly removing any debris, repairing minor cracks as soon as they appear and reapplying protective coatings before they wear off.

You should wash your fiberglass boat or whatever at least twice per year using mild detergent and rinse it thoroughly.

Pay special attention to any folds, crevices or hard-to-reach areas where grime tends to accumulate.

3. Use Care When Repairing Damage

If your fiberglass does sustain more significant damage like deep cracks or delamination, take care when repairing it yourself.

Thoroughly clean the area then apply fiberglass resin designed for repairs by following all label directions closely.

Avoid over-catalyzing the resin mix and work in thin layers to prevent excess heat buildup as the resin cures. Sand and buff all repairs smoothly when finished.

4. Reinforce Structural Weak Points

Some fiberglass structures like boat hulls flex a great deal in the water, which can compromise their integrity over many years.

Strategically bonding cut-to-fit fiberglass sheets with resin at tradition weak points reinforces them against stresses.

This improves overall durability and prevents cracks or holes from forming prematurely. It’s smart preventative maintenance for older fiberglass constructs.

5. Keep Surfaces Sealed

Unsealed fiberglass is vulnerable to moisture intrusion which can cause swelling, deterioration of the resin and glass fibers, corrosion issues and freeze damage.

Ensure all exposed edges and uncoated interior surfaces are properly sealed with a fiberglass-compatible sealant.

Reapply sealants whenever wear is evident. Keeping your fiberglass sealed airtight blocks out moisture and prevents leaks.

6. Avoid Chemical Cleaners

It’s tempting to use harsh chemical cleaners like bleach, ammonia or abrasives to remove stubborn stains from fiberglass surfaces.

However, these can strip away gel coatings faster and damage the resin binders.

For best results, always try gentler cleaners first like vinegar, mild dish soap or products labelled specifically for fiberglass.

Test cleaners on small inconspicuous sections before using them more widely.

Final Thoughts

With some diligent care and preventative maintenance, quality fiberglass constructions can last for decades looking shiny and new.

Be sure to address any minor issues promptly and reapply for protective treatments as directed.

Keep your fiberglass out of sunlight when not in use, reinforce potential weak points and avoid using corrosive chemicals which can erode the materials prematurely.

Follow these fiberglass care tips and you’ll enjoy the benefits of this versatile composite for years on end.

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