How to Lay Fiberglass Over Plywood

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Plywood can be greatly reinforced with a few layers of fiberglass.
Plywood can be greatly reinforced with a few layers of fiberglass. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Applying fiberglass over plywood can be a tricky process, whether you are covering a small piece or an entire deck. There are multiple benefits to the process, however. Fiberglass is strong and waterproof, two features that the plywood does not share. All of the materials for this project can be purchased at your local hardware store. If you are planning to cover a large amount of plywood, you should practice with a small piece first to learn the technique.

Things You'll Need

  • Palm sander
  • Sandpaper
  • Wet rag
  • Fiberglass cloth
  • Scissors
  • Fiberglass resin and catalyst
  • Bucket
  • Paint brush or roller
  • Saw
  • Protective gloves, clothing, goggles and mask

Sand the entire plywood surface using a palm sander and 80-grit sandpaper. The surface must be roughened for the best adhesion with the fiberglass.

Wipe the plywood with a wet rag to remove any sanding dust. Allow the plywood to dry completely.

Cut two sheets of fiberglass cloth slightly larger than the plywood surface. If you cannot find a piece big enough, you will have to join several pieces as you apply them.

Mix a batch of fiberglass resin with its catalyst in a large bucket. Follow the mixing ratio provided with the resin carefully: if you add too little catalyst the resin may never fully harden, but if you add too much it will harden too quickly to be useful.

Spread a layer of resin onto the plywood with a large brush. For larger projects, use a roller on a pole.

Lay one of the sheets of fiberglass on the surface. If you must use several pieces, line them up next to each other with as little gap between them as possible.

Brush or roll more resin onto the fiberglass, starting in the center and working your way outward. You want to both saturate the fiberglass with resin and work out any air bubbles.

Apply the second layer of fiberglass. If you are using multiple pieces, align them differently from the way the first layer was laid so that the seams do not line up.

Apply resin to the second layer of fiberglass, then allow the entire project to harden overnight.

Trim off the excess fiberglass from around the plywood edges. Sand the surface of the fiberglass as needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear protective gloves and clothing when working with fiberglass and resin.
  • Wear goggles and a dust mask when cutting and sanding fiberglass.

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