CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - If you're a homeowner, having to fix broken things around the house is a fact of life.
A product called FiberFix claims it can make those fixes fast, permanent, and watertight, but does it work?
The makers of FiberFix claim the "ridiculously strong" sandable, paintable repair tape can fix anything from a broken shovel to a busted waterline.
To test out the product's seemingly outlandish claims of being as strong as steel and 100 times stronger than duct tape, we turned to Beau Schau. Schau is a graduate assistant in the Polytechnic department at Southeast Missouri State University.
Schau works in the materials lab and breaking stuff is kind of his job.
"In this lab specifically we break things," said Schau. "We break materials to see how strong they are, and measure things like tensile and torque."
Schau set up an experiment to make FiberFix and Duct Tape go head to head in a feat of strength.
Schau's tensile testing machine collected data to help determine which repair tape is stronger and offered data to show exactly how strong each is.
"What'll happen is the machine will just slowly keep pulling further apart with greater and greater force until it finally fails," said Schau.
Schau put Duct Tape to the test first. He wrapped a split metal crossbar with six layers of Duct Tape.
The machine then pulled the crossbar apart alerting Schau when the Duct Tape failed.
"Eight-hundred-three pounds," said Schau. "That's what it took to break it. It reached the max amount of force it took before it started stretching out and breaking."
Up next, Schau followed the instructions for FiberFix. He soaked the roll of repair tape in water as instructed, wrapped it six times around the same crossbar used in the Duct Tape experiment, wrapped the FiberFix in a provided vinyl strip and let the tape cure for 15 minutes.
Then Schau placed the bar in the tensile testing machine and removed the vinyl strip to see what FiberFix could do.
FiberFix held strong until the machine reached 5310 pounds of force and then it failed.
"So nowhere close to steel," Schau said. "But it definitely beat duct tape by – a lot."
Still, the experiment debunked the product's claim of being 100 times stronger than Duct Tape. Our test proved FiberFix is only about 6.6 times stronger.
"It still holds like 2.5 tons. So it's pretty impressive," Schau said.
The product's commercial also says it can repair leaky pipes. We tapped the talents of plumber John Miinch of Hacker Plumbing, Heating and Cooling to help with that portion of the test.
The plumbers cut a slash in a pipe attached to a garden hose and then turned off the water to allow the FiberFix to work.
Miinch followed the instructions and allowed FiberFix to cure for 10 minutes before testing.
When we turned the water back on, the leak was no longer a spray, but it was still dripping.
"It's leaking out of both ends," Miinch said. "It didn't seal up… At least the water's not spraying the ceiling like it was. It's just dripping. It's an improvement, not a fix."
Miinch gave FiberFix two stars for plumbing. Schau gave the product four stars for strength. We split the difference and gave FiberFix three stars on this Does it Work test.
We purchased our FiberFix on Amazon.com, but it can also be purchased locally at the Plumbers Supply store on Good Hope Street in Cape Girardeau.
After this Does It Work test aired, the company reached out to us and offered some notes on why the product may not have given the same results they received when they tested it.
According to Kirsten Garber, with marketing and social for FiberFix: