Ferrocement Boat Repair

At Custom Welding we have a lot of experience with ferrocement boat repair. We use high tensile steel and special concretes and we have that special touch that comes from building and repairing many concrete or ferrocement boats.  Repairing ferrocement boats requires both technological know how and an artistic touch to get the lines right.

If your ferrocement boat has been damaged and the repair is beyond your comfort level, send us a message.  We are quite prepared to gather all the requisite materials, fly to wherever you are and either lead you through the repair or manage unskilled workers through the process. The video below shows the repair of a rather large hole in a ferrocement boat.

Check out our new video on ferrocement boat repair

Here we show how ferrocement boat repair is done:

1st step: Remove all the damaged or cracked concrete and chicken wire leaving the rebar

Damaged ferrocement boat

A damaged ferrocement boat with the concrete and chicken wire removed.

The first part of the ferrocement boat repair process is to remove all the mortar or concrete and chicken wire so that the underlying rebar can be straightened, shortened and or replaced as necessary.  Use two hammers, working together, to crush the concrete. Leave a few inches of chicken wire at the edge of the repair area to ensure a good splice when the new chicken wire is applied.

2nd step: Cut and splice new rebar and reapply chicken wire inside and out

Ferrocement boat armature repaired

A ferrocement boat with armature repaired by Custom Welding

The second part of the ferrocement boat repair process is to straighten, cut or add rebar (we use high tensile spring steel) and four layers of chicken wire on the inside and outside leaving a clean metal framework that perfectly follows the line of the hull.  Getting the shape of the steel back to the original shape of the boat is all important. This is the art of the ferrocement boat repair. The rebar and each layer of chicken wire needs to be wire tied at each intersection of the rebar.  This hull (above) is now ready for plastering.

3rd step: Plaster the hull with special ferrocement boat repair concrete

Plastering ferrocement boat

A damaged ferrocement boat being plastered by Custom Welding

The next step is to plaster the boat with special ferrocement boat repair concrete.  In this case it was started at 8:00 in the morning and finished at 6:30 that night. One person is inside the boat and another is outside.  The inside person pushes the mortar into the wire mesh and the outside person pushes it back ensuring that there are no voids or imperfections.  The concrete is then floated and cured with any remaining imperfections being faired out with epoxy fairing compound.

Final step: After curing, paint the repaired area inside and out with epoxy paint


Ferrocement boat repaired and ready for launching.

Ferrocement boat repaired and ready for launching.

After the repair is properly cured, paint the repaired area both inside and outside the boat with a high quality epoxy paint and apply bottom or topside paint where appropriate.The final result is a hull that is smooth and strong and the repair is not visible when the epoxy and paint is applied.

Our Rates for Concrete or Ferrocement Boat Repair

Our rates are based upon a very reasonable $50 per hour per person.  Travel and any cost of materials is extra.  A repair of the above magnitude can take several weeks but much of the labor, such as concrete removal, can be performed by the owner and or unskilled workers.  If the hull is properly prepared and we have access to one or two unskilled workers, the part of the repair performed by Custom Welding can be completed in a week or two.

 If you need us, please contact us at Custom Welding so we can arrange your ferrocement boat repair.


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3 thoughts on “Ferrocement Boat Repair

  1. Zlatko Kljajic says:

    My name is Zlatko Kljajic, i am from Serbia.
    I found some ferrocement boat in Italy, can you please take a look, and tell me can it be repaired and how much aprox. would it cost.


    Thanks in advance.
    Zlatko Kljajic

    • Dear Zlatco,

      The boat does not seem to have any specific damage. Its hard to tell where the rust stains are coming from but it may be significant if water has penetrated significantly into the armature or metal (rebar and wire) framework from which the boat is built.

      In many cases a bit of rust is superficial and can be dealt with with epoxy and paint but without a close examination its impossible to know for sure. Its also depends on who built it.

      As far as cost… it really depends what you want to the boat to look like when you’re done. You can spend rather a lot on a boat on things other then the hull. Generally speaking ferro hulls do not need that much care. The same can not be said for wooden decks.

      As these decks appear to be teak over plywood I would look carefully to see if caulking has allowed water to penetrate into the plywood. If so you may have a lot of rot in the decks. Again, it depends on how the boat was built, high quality ply will contain the rot but cheaper plywood will wick the water up and down and rot out the whole deck.

      Another thing to check of course is the engine which will cost a fair amount if it needs to be replaced or refurbished.

      The rig is aluminum so it should be in fairly good shape.

      And don’t forget all the bilge pumps, pressure pumps, batteries, battery charges, nav gear, safety gear etc etc that will all have to be replaced… almost certainly.

      So expect 10’s of thousands of Euro’s before you’re done.

      If you have any further questions please let me know.



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