Repair a mower deck is a task that you can do with the right tools and the right knowledge. So, if your lawn mower is a little rusty, you should repair it.
Our lawn mower experts are here to help you do exactly that! In our article, we’ll give you an in-depth look at all the steps needed to get your riding mower in good shape again.
- What Are the Main Steps for Repairing a Mower Deck?
- 1. Gather Your Tools
- 2. Prepare Your Workspace
- 3. Ventilate Your Working Area
- 4. Straighten the Rusted Area
- 5. Remove the Rusted Material
- 6. Treat the Affected Parts
- 7. Time to Cut the Fiberglass Matting
- 8. Mix the Resin and the Resin Activator
- 9. Apply Your Glass Matting
- 10. Sand Your Fiberglass
- 11. Apply a Finish Paint Coat
What Are the Main Steps for Repairing a Mower Deck?
The main steps for repairing a mower deck are to gather your tools first, prepare your workspace and ventilate it. Straighten the rusted area and remove the particles, and treat the part. Now, cut the fiberglass matting, mix the resin and apply it, smooth it, and apply the finishing coat.
Before getting into the steps, the most important task to carry out is identifying the problem. It can be a structural problem, like an engine mount, or as obvious as a hole in the deck. The latter is the most common and occurs when the deck gets affected by rust. When the exposed metal on the deck comes in contact with moisture and oxygen, it forms rust.
Most of us already know what the issue is with our mower, but we just put it off till the hole gets bigger and bigger to the point where the mower just stops working, and we end up looking for a mower deck replacement. But, if you repair mower deck with fiberglass in time, you can save yourself from googling ‘mower deck repair near me.’
1. Gather Your Tools
After successfully diagnosing that your mower’s deck is impacted by rust; you first need to gather the right tools. The hole can seem intimidating at first glance, but with the help of appropriate tools, you can fix it effectively and efficiently. The choice of the right tools determines the success rate of the process.
The tools you are going to need are the wire brush, filer, hammer, fiberglass matting, some paintbrushes, protective coating paint, and finishing paint. You will also need some scissors, sandpaper, a container, a resin and resin activator, a mixing stick, masking tape, and some paper bags. Moreover, you will also need some protective gear, which are goggles, protective gloves, and a mask.
2. Prepare Your Workspace
You need a lot of space as you need to tend to both the upper and lower side of the deck at the same time, leaving room to place the essential tools. Bring your workstation to the middle of the room, so you have plenty of space to move around and look at the deck from every angle.
The ideal space for the task is your garage or driveway, and you can even have your friend or partner on board to fix the problem quicker. Make sure that you have someone next to you if you find it necessary so that you would accomplish the task in a smooth process.
Now, tilt the mower so that you can access its lower side, and this is so that you can support the mower with the help of a paint tin or a jack stand, or anything that you know is fit to hold the deck in space. The resin dries pretty quickly, so make sure that the support is sturdy enough so that you do not go running for additional support at that time.
Before getting into the process, ensure your protective gear is nearby. Put on your gloves, mask, and goggles, so you are not exposed to the fumes. It is time to get it on and start cleaning your workspace because you do not wish to get anything that is not necessary to intervene in your task.
Note that with the help of your wire brush, clean the surface where the repair will take place. This means you should definitely dust away the leaves, twigs, grass, dirt, and anything capable of making the repair process difficult. You should have a clean and exposed deck to work on because when you are repairing and this debris gets into your work process, it would make matters go in a difficult way.
It is also important to clean the oil or grease from the mower. You can do so by taking a small amount of paint thinner on a washcloth and cleaning the upper and lower sides of the deck thoroughly. Allow the paint thinner to dry before you proceed to the next step.
3. Ventilate Your Working Area
If you have worked with resin before, you know how toxic its fumes are. So, make sure that your working area has good ventilation. Most of us do not have an extraction system, but opening windows and doors serves the same purpose.
Or even better, you can work outside too! Just make sure that children or pets are not close by. The released gas would have a toxic impact on the health of a person when they inhale it, so to avoid all these hazards, it is best that get air flowing into the area or take it outside if the weather is warm.
4. Straighten the Rusted Area
Now that you have a clean deck and can see what you are dealing with, grab your trusted hammer and toss any loose and hanging dust off the deck. Straighten the areas where the rust has moved out of its position; you should do this so that it would be way easier for you to work on it and to have a smooth texture in the end.
Remember that you are tending to the areas where the wire brush could not reach. Just be mindful not to exert too much pressure, as the dented parts are vulnerable to even the slightest force.
5. Remove the Rusted Material
Now that you have cleaned and straightened most of the deck, it’s time to move to get rid of the parts that are not worth stressing over, what is else wise called the rusted parts. You need to remove all the rust off the deck so that you are left with an oxidized metal at the end.
These rusted deck portions must be removed carefully as they are very fragile, and you should be protected well, especially if your hand has a wound; make sure it doesn’t get into contact with that area. Now, note that removing the rusted parts is extremely important so that you have a firm surface to see what you are working on.
Grab your metal file or a metal grinder if you have it handy, and remove the rusted parts. You are slowly preparing your deck for fiberglass; what you must do is repeat the last two steps and take your time with the right tools to improve your deck every time, and smooth this part out.
6. Treat the Affected Parts
With the rusted material removed, and you have made the deck more workable, coat the tended areas with a rust-inhibiting paint and brush. Let the first coat sit and dry for at least minutes before you proceed with the second coat.
The rust-inhibiting paint contains tannic acid that converts the rust into iron tannate, which is a durable material. In simple words, the rust converter changes the rust into a black protective coating and saves you the trouble of applying a primer before painting the deck and letting it dry so that the new and repaired look would be away from this. Now, you do not reach to worry about the areas you could not reach, but if you wish to use a thinner brush, you may try doing so.
7. Time to Cut the Fiberglass Matting
It is time to cut the fiberglass. With the help of scissors, cut the matting to cover the hole. We suggest leaving a two-inch overlap to be on the safe side. You will have to observe the case and think accordingly, which means if the hole, or patch, is five inches in diameter, cut the matting with a diameter of nine inches so that the matting gives you a two-inch overlap all the way around.
Eight matting layers mostly give one-quarter of an overall thickness, so we recommend that you prepare at least eight pieces of the matting to help you with the epoxy repair mower deck process. Afterward, what you must do is set all the pieces aside after you have cut them for later use.
8. Mix the Resin and the Resin Activator
Moving to one of the most exciting steps of the process, mixing the resin and the resin activator. But, to be on the safe side, ensure you have gone through all the steps. Double-check for everything or your time and effort will be wasted.
After you have ticked off all the boxes, grab your resin, resin activator, any container to mix things up, and a mixing stick to ensure the activator works equally everywhere. Take only a little or too much of either because it is likely that you will not get the desired results.
Make sure that you would always read the product’s instructions carefully and then navigate through them. The instructions on the product are set for a specific measurement, but you can adjust it according to the size of the hole on your lawn mower deck.
9. Apply Your Glass Matting
Take a clean paintbrush and apply a good amount of the resin mixture at the mouth of the mower’s deck, which you need to fix. This is the step where your pre-cut glass matting comes into use. Take a piece of the glass matting and lay it on a flat surface and adjust it right.
Now, apply the epoxy generously on the glass matting with the help of the same paintbrush or a new one if you prefer it that way, and get all the ends of it. Whichever you prefer, do not hesitate and apply a nice coat of epoxy. Make sure that you would have a smooth process when patching a mower deck.
We recommend that you apply the epoxy on the alternate sides of the matting, one time on the upper side and one time on the lower side. Continue applying until you have done the same for all the matting pieces, and go all over again to ensure that no piece is left behind. You must do this one night prior so that the epoxy has plenty of time to dry up.
10. Sand Your Fiberglass
Once you have let the epoxy take it’s due time to dry, grab the sandpaper. Take the fiberglass and gently sand it, so the paint has something to stick to. An eighty or hundred-grit sandpaper is fit for the job.
Moreover, you should also try to mount the fiberglass to a long upright board if you work with a large component. Use a rubber sanding block for smaller or intricate areas to help you follow the piece’s shape, and to get an even and smooth surface you may also sand the fiberglass till it has a dull finish.
However, ensure you only sand some of the ways to the fiberglass itself. It leads to two problems. Firstly, it weakens the component’s strength. Secondly, it can create holes in the fiberglass that cause it to snap through the paint later.
You can use the gel coat to guide the initial sanding to avoid such incidents. Sanding your gel coat just enough so that the appearance gets dull is a way to know that you have sanded it just to the right amount to help it stick to the paint.
11. Apply a Finish Paint Coat
Your job here is almost done, but you just have to know that it is time to take your finished paint coat and give your repaired deck a much-needed makeover. Make sure you select the paint color closest to the mower’s color. Matching the shades will hide the rust-scraping and sanding, making it look like you have not done anything to your mower, good as new.
You also need to cover the rest of the parts of the mower with the help of paper bags. To ensure that the paper bags do not budge, secure them to the mower with the help of masking tape.
Paint the upper side of the deck and allow it to dry before moving to the lower side. For the lower side of the deck, we recommend using a two-part epoxy, high-durability paint so that the protective coat lasts for a long time. It can be a little heavy on the pocket, but it is a good way to prevent your lawn mower from rusting soon.
You are now geared to expertly repair your mower’s deck using the information you obtained from our article!
Before you leave, here is a recap of the main points once more:
- The right choice of tools is a very important factor that helps you set the pace for rusted mower deck repair.
- Having a clean and ventilated working area allows you to see properly what you are dealing with.
- Get rid of all the debris from the mower, so you can easily see the affected area and then fix it.
- Make sure not to sand your fiberglass all the way through. Sand it to the point where it takes on a dull appearance.
- Finish the task with high-quality paint and save yourself from ending up at the paint shop again and again.
Now that you have all the recommended techniques, you can repair your lawn mower’s deck expertly. Get your tools and protective gear and start repairing. Check out for more information if your mower deck is from nexite or steel.
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