An aluminum boat is just perfect for getting the right speed when you are out on the water. These boats are incredibly lightweight, giving you everything that you need for cutting through the light waves.
However, if you have an aluminum boat, then you can certainly expect there to be plenty of weaknesses in your vessel. If you are gunning your boat up and down the lake or even taking it out onto the sea, then you might have already noticed some glaring issues.
Aluminum boats are prone to a lot of hazards that will compromise the hull. If you are taking your boat out on the water, you might already have noticed that you have lots of dents and cracks, which will be very difficult to repair. However, one of the plus points of one of these boats is the fact that you can repair the hull yourself.
In this article, we’re going to give you everything that you need to know in order to repair your aluminum hull. Luckily for you, these repair jobs are not hard, all you need are the right tools and a little bit of patience.
So what are the best methods of repairing the hull on your aluminum boat? How much will you have to pay to fix the hull on an aluminum boat? How can you seal holes and cracks with minimal effort? What are the tools that you will need to fill in the cracks on your hull? How best to fix corrosion damage on your hull?
Well, if you are struggling to fix your leaking aluminum boat, then we would suggest that you keep reading, as we have everything that you need to keep your hull in decent condition. We’ll show you all the quick fixers as well as what the best tools are for repairing the holes in your hull.
Common Issues On An Aluminum Boat
There are many issues that will affect the hull of your aluminum boat, two of which include dents and catches, which can cause superficial damage. However, the things you need to be more concerned about are holes and cracks which can lead to water leaking into the hull of your boat.
Before you start repairing your boat, you’ll need to make sure that you are moving it into a covered area in your garage. You’ll need to lift the boat off the floor entirely before you start any repairs. You’ll also need to wear a mask and gloves to ensure that you have no corrosive elements that might damage your eyes or throat.
Dealing With Dents
If you have ever dinged your aluminum boat on the rock, then you might experience some inward dents that will certainly look unsightly at first and will compromise your hull at a later date.
All you have to do to return your hull to its original flattened state is to ding the reverse side of the panel until your hull is completely flat. You’ll need another person to act as a backstop so that the dent does not get beaten too far out onto the other side of your boat.
Make sure that the flat of the anvil is completely flush to the surface of the boat so you can get that completely smooth surface. You might need a few different sizes of hammer which you’ll need to adjust for when you are getting those finer dents out.
Holes And Cracks
These problems with your hull usually require a lot more work, so you’ll have to make sure that you have the right tools for the job. First, you might have to determine how big the hole is in order to have the right amount of materials to fix your dent. Once you have done this, then you’ll need some aluminum strips.
Once you have your aluminum scraps for the repair, then take some epoxy strips and use them to repair the holes in your hull. You’ll need to make sure that you cover all the holes in your hull, so take pieces of aluminum with a wider surface area and use them to completely cover the hull.
If you do have a particularly nasty puncture, then we would recommend that you flatten some of the ripped edges before you commit to sealing them over with aluminum scraps. This will reduce the likelihood of your strips coming away and will give you a much neater sealing.
An important factor of aluminum bonding is making sure that you have a toned surface. You should make sure to soften those edges with 120-grit sandpaper, as this will give you a nice smooth edge to work with.
We would recommend removing the paint on the hull of your boat with a gristle disc. Take some glass fabric and start to make the patches.
You should always cut them based on the size of the hole. You’ll need only one patch for the outside of the rupture, although we would suggest three patches for the interior. You should make sure that each of these patches diminishes in size.
Each patch should be around 2 inches, with some extra material over the side for the overlap. Once the aluminum is fixed, then we would recommend that you cover it with epoxy glue on both sides to hold it firmly in place.
When you are using your epoxy glue, we would recommend using a brand that is completely waterproof. If you have noticed little areas of damage that need filling in, then we would recommend that you buy some silica, as this will make sure there are no air holes in your boat’s hull.
Once you have cut out your glass patches, then you should soak them completely in epoxy and then start placing them over the hole in descending order. Then you should place the patches on the inside of the boat with the same epoxy glue.
When you are placing your patches over the hole, we would recommend using a squeegee to block any air that might get into the cracks. You’ll have to keep applying the squeegee throughout this process to ensure that no air gets into your boat whatsoever.
Once you have applied your patches, then leave them in the garage to cure overnight. Make sure to remove all of the rough edges on your hole with a sander.
This is mainly for aesthetic purposes, but it also reveals any holes that might be on the outer edge of your gash that you should fill in with extra epoxy or silica.
We would recommend that you then wipe your patch with marine filler. This stuff is a great sealant and will ensure that you don’t get any water on the inside of your boat. Once you have fully cured the mixture and applied it to your hull, then you can start painting it.
We would recommend getting a proper aluminum waterproof boat paint, either replicating the original color of the boat or choosing a completely new style. This repair job might give you an excuse to revive the entire look of your boat
What Tools To Use
There are certain tools that are perfect for whittling down the side of your boat, here are just a few that will be invaluable to you:
Grinding Cone And Drill
For grinding down the jagged parts of your hole, then you’ll definitely need a grinding cone with a drill. This is perfect for bevelling the inside of the hole puncture, which will be perfect for wearing down the side before affixing your patches.
If you are wanting to seal the cracked area of your boat, then you will definitely need plenty of heat. This is where a propane torch will really come in handy.
If the surface of your gash is uneven, then we would recommend that you use a crosshatch pattern, as this will distribute the heat more evenly across your surface. You can also use a tig welder, as this will help you bind your aluminum patches to the inside and outside of your boat.
If you are using brass fittings to melt your aluminum patches, then make sure that the residue is cooled down sufficiently before brushing off the debris with wire bits.
How To Repair Corrosion
To repair corrosion on your boat, you have to apply a similar steel patch to the side. All you need to do for this is to make a mixture of sulphuric and chromic acid.
These types of alloy are wonderful for slowing down the process of corrosion. We would recommend that you dampen the corroded area first before you apply your composite mixture.