No matter how sturdy or mechanically strong an equipment is, fractures, damages, and malfunctioning of the individual parts of the equipment is still bound to happen. Fiberglass ladders are no exception.
While these ladders are durable and can last a long time if maintained properly, accidents can happen at any time.
You hit the ladder on the wall and cause significant damage to a part of your fiberglass ladder either during transportation or storage. What happens then? Can you repair your fiberglass ladder or does that damage spell the end for your equipment?
- Can a Fiberglass Ladder Be Repaired
- How Do You Fix a Fiberglass Ladder?
- Can You Recoat a Fiberglass Ladder?
- What Is the Life Expectancy of Fiberglass Ladders?
- How Do You Stop a Fiberglass Ladder from Shedding?
- How Do You Refurbish a Fiberglass Ladder?
- Is It Time to Replace or Repair Your Fiberglass Ladder?
- How Do You Reseal Fiberglass on A Ladder?
- What Are the Best Fiberglass Oxidation Removers?
Can a Fiberglass Ladder Be Repaired
Many of these questions concerning repairs are asked by construction workers, factory workers, or people whose jobs may or may not pose a direct danger to these fiberglass ladders.
That means that if you solely use this ladder at home for some minor repairs and activities on the lawn, chances are you may never need to fix or repair your fiberglass ladder.
However, that does not mean that the knowledge on how to fix these kinds of ladders, if at all they can be fixed, is not going to come in handy someday. First of all, is it at all possible?
How Do You Fix a Fiberglass Ladder?
It is necessary to start with a note that it is not advisable to try to fix fiberglass ladders, especially if the damage to the parts is pretty severe.
This may lead to you having false assurances that your fiberglass ladder is as strong as it used to be, or it can support the weight it did when you bought it.
I do not need to tell you how that can lead to accidents while working. Fiberglass ladders also are not typically fixed because it is not easy to do so. It requires a certain level of skill and expertise to attempt to fix a damaged fiberglass ladder.
However, if you must fix a damaged fiberglass ladder, it would involve fiberglass resin, hardener, wood, etc. depending on the nature and extent of the damage.
If the base of the ladder is destroyed, or there is a severe crack on one of the rungs of the ladder, here are some steps you can use to fix your fiberglass ladder.
- Examine the extent of the crack or damage to the fiberglass. If the crack is very little and inaccessible, you may need to widen the crack a little in order to be able to apply the resin.
- Clean the crack carefully to ensure it is dry-free from dirt or particles. This is to ensure the resin sticks properly.
- Apply the resin generously to the cracked area. You must ensure you fill the crack with resin with an innocuous plastic applicator.
- Leave the crack to dry for 24 hours. After which you can smoothen the just fixed part with sandpaper.
Read More: Can Rebar Be Used For Ladder Rungs
Can You Recoat a Fiberglass Ladder?
Well, yes. Recoating fiberglass ladders is absolutely possible. As for the need, constant exposure to natural elements can be devastating to your fiberglass ladder.
It can cause steady and gradual changes in the appearance of your ladder. From colors to fibers and even the overall decline in glossiness, every aesthetic aspect of this ladder will be degraded over time.
Ladders in areas with higher amounts of UV rays exposure and high humidity are most affected. If the damage to the fiberglass is strictly aesthetic degradation, the only solution might be to recoat the ladder.
The first step to recoating fiberglass ladder tags is to smoothen the area with a Scotch Brite pad, and then proceed to wash the surface using denatured alcohol. After the surface has been left to dry.
What Is the Life Expectancy of Fiberglass Ladders?
Normally, fiberglass ladders are sturdy and stable and owners almost do not need repairs for their ladders in the first two years of purchasing them.
As for their life expectancy, fiberglass ladders have a life expectancy of at least 5 years.
How Do You Stop a Fiberglass Ladder from Shedding?
Over time, your fiberglass ladder might begin wearing out as a result of abrasions. To prevent further shedding of fibers, you will need to seal your fiberglass ladder. The steps are simple, and are listed below;
- Use 60 grit sandpaper to smoothen the surface of the area that has begun shedding.
- Ensure you properly clean the surface to remove dust and fibers.
- Proceed to spray the affected area carefully with lacquer, in a back and forth motion, and leave it to dry.
- Now, use 100 grit sandpaper to gently smoothen the surface, to allow the second lacquer coat to stick even better.
- Apply a second coat of paint to the fiberglass ladder and leave to dry for four hours.
You must inspect your fiberglass ladder every time to take it out of storage to use. This way, you can easily detect small patches of fiber shedding and fix it before it spreads.
Read More: How To Hold Paint While On A Ladder
How Do You Refurbish a Fiberglass Ladder?
The process of refurbishing a fiberglass ladder is a rather technical one, and must only be done as a last resort by fiberglass experts.
Typically, to refurbish a fiberglass ladder that you may have picked out from trash, you may need to supplement a few broken or damaged parts with other materials like wood, plastic, etc. To do this, you will also need copious amounts of fiberglass resin.
- First, you will need to measure out the damaged part of the fiberglass. It may be the legs of the ladder not being able to support weight as a result of it being broken during storage.
- Next, you will need to cut out the wood you plan to stuff the fiberglass ladder with to the same size as the damaged part of the ladder.
- Then, you proceed to cut out the same measurements on fiberglass paper which will help in permanently sticking the wood to the fiberglass ladder.
- Mix the resin with hardener properly for about 30 seconds.
- Generously apply the mixture on both sides of the fiberglass paper and ensure that it sticks perfectly in place.
- Apply the mixture to both sides of the wood and ensure you do not let it spill over to the side, or get hardened before you place them together.
- Place the wood in the damaged part and stick fiberglass paper on top of the wood before sticking it all together.
- Leave to dry for 24 to 48 hours to get a perfectly stable and refurbished fiberglass ladder.
Is It Time to Replace or Repair Your Fiberglass Ladder?
It might sound ridiculous if somebody asks you to throw out your fiberglass ladder as a result of a few cracks by the side.
Apart from the fact that it costs more than other types of ladders, it would feel like you are throwing out a perfectly stable ladder. This then raises the question, when should I throw out my fiberglass ladder rather than try to fix it?
There is absolutely nobody that will enjoy tossing out a ladder that you have used for only a few years, but as a result of wrong storage patterns and severe abrasions has developed into cracks and fiber shedding.
If it’s just a crack you can go ahead to fill the crack and repair the ladder, rather than just throw it out. However, if your fiberglass ladder is severely destroyed, replacing it with a new ladder is the only way to go to avoid accidents. This is why you must inspect your fiberglass ladder very carefully.
How Do You Reseal Fiberglass on A Ladder?
While it might just be easier to buy a new fiberglass ladder rather than resealing fiberglass on an old ladder, it is not economically advisable, especially as the process of resealing fiberglass has become much easier and does not require too many materials.
Whatever reason you may have for wanting to reseal your ladder with fiberglass, you must ensure the entire process is carefully done, with each step followed carefully.
- Use sandpaper to smoothen the surface of the fiberglass carefully and consistently. Although this process is optional, it is necessary if you want to give your fiberglass a smooth and consistent finish.
- Proceed to use a general-purpose thinner and a towel to clean the ladder carefully to remove dirt, dust, grease, etc that may be on the ladder. Ensure this process is repeated till every inch of the ladder is covered.
- Apply the first coat of any general-purpose aerosol top coat generously to every inch of the ladder. You can use a paintbrush or a spray can that can apply even strokes and cover the surface completely.
- After applying the first layer of coat on the ladder, leave to dry for some minutes in the open air. Usually, manufacturers indicate the amount of time to be left for drying.
- To ensure that the coat is properly dried, press your finger on the fiberglass, if it feels sticky when you try to take your finger off, then give it some more minutes to dry.
- After a while and the first coat has completely dried, proceed to apply a second coat over the ladder to complete the resealing process.
What Are the Best Fiberglass Oxidation Removers?
Are you in need of an effective fiberglass polish? Are you confused as a result of many fake oxidation remover products lining the shelves in stores?
Well then, you are in luck. Here are a few of the best oxidation removers available on the market that stand out from the rest.
1. 3M Perfect-It Gelcoat Heavy Cutting Compound, Fiberglass Oxidation Remover
If you are on the prowl for a product that will boost the appearance of your fiberglass, then this is the product for you.
The application of this oxidation remover can be done in several ways, either by spray cans, hand, etc. and its effects are long-lasting. You can mix this product with a little water to get your desired consistency.
2. Marine 31 Gel Coat Heavy-Cut Oxidation Cleaner
If you aim to remove heavy oxidation that has been present for a long time, then you should check out this product. It works well in giving your fiberglass a unique finish and glow.
No matter the state of the fiberglass, this oxidation remover is more than capable of saving the day.
3. Meguiar’s M4916 Marine/RV Heavy Duty Oxidation Remover
This easy-to-use oxidation remover is fast-acting and is guaranteed to remove oxidation within a short period.
There are other benefits of this oxidation remover, but none is more significant than the amazing results it produces.
This oxidation remover product does not lead to any stubborn drips, stains, or smudges. It is the perfect choice for fiberglass owners on the lookout for the absolute best.
4. Max’s RV MKRV-520 Heavy Cut Oxidation Remover
This product is gentle on your fiberglass and harsh on oxidation. It does not ruin the original paint of the fiberglass. It improves the paint and ensures that it leaves your fiberglass looking much better. It also produces quick and outstanding results.
5. STAR BRITE Liquid Rubbing Compound Oxidation & Scratch Remover
Over time as we use our fiberglass equipment, there is severe damage as a result of oxidation and exposure to UV rays.
Luckily, this product is excellent at removing not just oxidation, but damage to the fiberglass finish as a result of minor or major scratches.
Your fiberglass ladder is supposed to be stored indoors away from elements like water, snow, sunlight, etc. Read our guide on whether you should store fiberglass ladder outside or not.
If this continues to happen and is left unchecked, not only is your fiberglass ladder exposed to damage and cracks but is also at risk of oxidative damage.
How do you either eliminate or slow down this damage? Well, the answer to that is not at all straightforward. You should protect your fiberglass ladder from anything that can cause its degradation and shorten its lifespan.
Also, you may need to fix little cracks on your ladder so that it does not spread to other parts. And as for the oxidative damage, take your best pick of the oxidation removers, and fix it right away.
Joseph is the owner of LadderGeek. He is a home remodeling enthusiast. He has created this blog to share some of his knowledge on Ladder and accessories.