Fiberglass versus aluminum hull houseboat?
by Steve Koon
(Boulder City, NV, USA)
What's better? Fiberglass or Aluminum Houseboats?
I am considering buying a used Gibson houseboat. I was told by an owner that they have to be removed from the slip, and the fiberglass hull sanded, epoxied where needed, and painted every ten years.
This at a cost of $15,000. They are moored on Lake Mead (fresh water). The only two owners I know have done this and repaired water damage to the transom and other structural repairs in the hull. These are 25 year old houseboats.
Is what they are telling me about maintenance of the hull true? What are your thoughts?
I am thinking an aluminum pontoon houseboat would be much less upkeep.
Thanks, Steve. Reply - Answer
Well Steve, that's a good question. Yes, a complete bottom job, stripping, sanding, epoxy, transom, stringer, deck & roof water damage and repairs can get quite expensive.
Not all fiberglass houseboats deteriorate or age at the same speed or rate. Some are in covered slips, some not, and some are better made or designed, and some not. Some are better maintained, and some get neglected resulting in major
repairs and costs.
Fiberglass versus Aluminum hulls is a common question that gets discussed in many marinas around the world.
Fiberglass does require a certain amount of maintenance compared to aluminum, but both have their qualities.
If you are looking at an older fiberglass houseboat, be sure to have a qualified marine surveyor examine the hull, transom, stringers, decks, upper structure etc... for water damage and delamination.
If your looking at an older aluminum houseboat, get a qualified marine surveyor look at the hull and structure for galvanic corrosion, pitting, stress cracks and structural integrity.
I happen to like both aluminum and fiberglass houseboats, since each one can be found around the world, and both have proven themselves in regards to value, durability, and both are repairable.
This should become quite a large article since you're question is like asking what's better "a Ford or a Chevy".
Hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their houseboat experiences to give you an even larger perspective and opinions.
IAN from all-about-houseboats
Free Bonus OfferTo show our deep appreciation to all of our readers and visitors, here is the link to our free houseboat magazine, the INSIDER. Go ahead click the book and sign-up, it's free and filled with great articles, tips, information and website updates.