Fiberglass is a fairly durable material that can withstand more than the average bumps and dings. Therefore, a fiberglass door should look pristine for years, even with little to no maintenance. Despite being a durable material, dents can still appear on the material. But now you’re wondering how to fix a dent in a fiberglass door. We consulted industry experts to help give you a concrete answer for that concern.
To repair a dent in a fiberglass door, you need to follow the correct procedure. Otherwise, problems can appear during and after the repair job. Here's a quick overview of the steps to fix a dent in your fiberglass door:
- Inspect and measure the severity of the dent.
- Remove the dented area.
- Ready the surface to repair.
- Laminate the repaired area.
- Review the final output.
It might look like a simple job, but one misstep can lead to costly mistakes during the repair process. Continue reading to learn more about fiberglass and a detailed guide on how to fix a dent from a door made from that material.
Can Fiberglass Doors Be Repaired?
Yes, you can repair fiberglass doors. You can fix these doors if issues like cracks and dents appear. However, repairing glass fiber objects can become a complicated and tricky process. This is due to the involvement of sanding fine particles, working with the correct composite materials, and laying the new mixture on surfaces.
How to Repair a Dent in a Fiberglass Door
Before beginning the repair procedure on your fiberglass door, you should take note of a few fundamental principles to help you complete the fix properly. A successful glass fiber door repair can help reduce the risks of extra costs for additional damages, as well as expensive door replacement prices.
Repairs Can Differ from the Original Material
Structural repairs happen differently than when the original piece was constructed. They are made by a different process and require a different resin to obtain the same bond. Once a part becomes damaged, initial and succeeding repairs use secondary bonds attached to the original structure. Additionally, the strength of the resin used to make the repairs also depends on the strength of the bond to the surface.
Repairs Can Increase Surface Strength
Since surface adhesion is the main factor that influences the strength and durability of a fiberglass repair, increasing the bond line's surface area will help enhance its toughness. A taper or scarf sanding method can be helpful to increase the surface area of a damaged fiberglass composite structure.
That method works by removing the excess surface area gradually, which generally results in an inch or more of area per ply of composite. Thankfully, you can use a sander or sandpaper to flatten and even the applied material for a cohesive look.
Repairs Should Match the Original Material as Much as Possible
While adding composite to a dent differs from the original material, it’s still important to duplicate the composition and thickness of the original fiberglass material to ensure that the repair job remains functional. When introducing composites to the original material, the addition of different components can cause material fatigue and failure.
After understanding the fundamentals of fixing dents in fiberglass doors, it’s time to start with the repair job. The following steps start from assessing the damage to checking for errors after the operation:
1. Assess the Damage and Measure the Scope of Repair
You may only need a small amount of fiberglass resin filler for reasonably minor repair jobs. With that said, take a good look at the dent on the door to check how much product you need to use for the fix. Then, use a marker with a visible tint to highlight the damaged area.
This method will help you identify the size and scope of the problem. Otherwise, it’s going to take extra time and effort to frequently check the dented area during the repair operation.
2. Remove the Damaged Material
After marking the area, remove the damaged portion from the original object. Make sure to cut around the dented area. This step will help relieve the stress on the door when doing the repair job. Additionally, it allows the material to return to its original shape. Also, make sure to leave enough material to provide a solid laminate.
3. Support and Prepare the Part to Repair
Position the damaged part so it doesn't distort during the repair process. Next, prepare the bonding surface by carefully grinding or sanding the material by a layer or two. Make sure to grind or sand around the damaged part. Start at the center of the dent, but be careful not to overdo the sanding or grinding to avoid increasing the crater. Use the marker again, but this time to depict the outer edge of the taper.
For instance, if the damage is circular, mark concentric circles with ½ inch per ply in the laminate. In turn, it will give you a final diameter of seven inches to work on your repairs without promoting significant risks to the original material. Take note that this step can be messy and should require the use of a respirator and protective clothing.
4. Prepare the Repair Patch
Pre-cut the primary material and the reinforcement plies for the part to fit the main surface. To make a taper or step, cut each ply to the size that fits into the prepared area. Some doors need the smallest piece to go first. Stack the reinforcement pieces by the order in which they’ll go into the door. For instance, the first player goes on top of the pile of the bonding area.
5. Measure, Combine, and Apply the Composite Resin
Target a 50:50 resin to fiber ratio for your patch. Once the reinforcements are set, add a catalyst or hardener with the resin. Then, pre-wet the entire bonding area to create an evenly distributed resin film across the entire surface. Pouring each ply of reinforcement into the offending spot will ensure proper orientation.
Allow the patch to compact by stopping after every few layers. Take note that debulking the entire patch is important to prevent staining and fading. Use a squeegee or a fiberglass roller to flatten and even out the surface.
5. Inspect the Repair
You can use the coin tap technique to check the repair job on your fiberglass door. To use this technique, use a coin and tap it across the different areas of the door, including the repaired area. The sound should be reasonably identical across the different tapped locations if the procedure is successful.
How Much Does Fixing a Dented Door Cost?
A statistics report studying 8,608 cost profiles saw that the average door repair cost range is $158 to $235. The prices can differ depending on the severity of the damage and the door’s material. In some cases, replacing the door can be a less expensive option than a thorough repair. If so, the average range for the costs of replacing a fiberglass door is $400 to $3,000, according to this cost guide.
Are Fiberglass Doors Durable?
Fiberglass doors are sufficiently durable, but they’re not impervious to dents. Still, it can take a reasonably strong force to put a dent on a fiberglass door.
To understand the strength of fiberglass doors, take a look at some details about compression strength. According to the standards for concrete from the American Concrete Institute, the average compressive strength, which is a material’s resistance to breaking when compressed, is within the range of 10 to 60 Megapascal Pressure Units (MPa). Take note that a high-powered water pressure cleaner can shoot water at 3000 pounds per square inch (Psi) or 20.7 MPa.
Now, a glass fiber composite made with unreinforced polyester resin has a compressive strength of 140 MPa, as per a 2012 study. This composite material is also one of the weakest fiberglass mixes used on doors and other glass fiber products. Therefore, it should take about seven times more than the force brought by a high-powered water pressure cleaner to dent fiberglass doors.
A fiberglass door is reasonably durable but a strong force can put a dent on the surface. Repairing this material can be challenging since it requires precision and patience to finish the job with little to no errors. Don’t forget to inspect the repair job after finishing the project to reduce and prevent the risks of further damage to the door.