Blisters will have to be completely exposed at this time. When sanding is complete, the whole surface must be cleaned thoroughly. Fiberglass is a composite material made of glass fibers in polymer resin mix. It is critical that all damaged areas are fully identified so they can be prepared correctly in the next procedure. Keep this filler slightly below the surrounding surface if gel coat is the intended topcoat. When removing damaged material, try to remove as little material as possible, so the scope of the repair does not grow larger than necessary. Uses of fiberglass include surfboards, kayaks, automobiles and boats. Acetone removes not only dirt and grime from your fiberglass surfaces, but also any set-in stains like rust and pen marks. Begin sanding in the center until the deepest layer is exposed. The sponge can soak up the cleaner from the fiberglass surface. Submitted by Lorene Bartos, UNL Extension Educator. Polyester resin products do not offer a strong enough physical bond to adhere to this surface. Use the white polishing compound a few times a year to keep the fiberglass sparkling. A good boat wax polish will create a protective shield on the gel-coat fiberglass surface, protecting the boat from the elements. Our position is that the manufacturer’s instructions supersede all other information we provide and should be followed completely. Many people fear tackling cosmetic work because they assume it requires expensive spray equipment for satisfactory results. dangers of inhaling fiberglass dust or the possibility of it causing eye or skin irritation. The Heartache of Fiberglass Damage. Step 1. Crazing is typically caused by either over-stressing of the part, thermal issues, or stress between or across the layers. Is My Gelcoat Damage Permanent? Stop every few layers to compact and debulk the patch as much as possible. PVA is best used for spot repairs, or where access is easy while the gel coat is still wet. If a lamp is used, however, don’t place the part too close or leave it for too long. Continue stacking the repair plies until all the fabric that was removed has been replaced. Be sure to remove material slowly so that the taper progresses evenly. Driscoll received her Masters in Public Health from the Colorado School of Public Health in 2016. This article was co-authored by Michelle Driscoll, MPH. By tapping a coin around the surrounding area, you can quickly and easily generate an audible difference between a solid laminate, a crushed material, and a potentially delaminated area. Do not use a razor blade to remove glue on fiberglass. The final diameter of the prepared area will be seven inches. ", "This is great general knowledge for when I commence cleaning.". Acetone can be used indoors and outdoors. It cleans dried latex paint, uncured lacquers and label adhesives. Remove epoxy resin with acetone. This article has been viewed 159,246 times. For marine repairs, use the 1/32 inch milled glass putty filler as described previously. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. Wear thick gloves when cleaning using acetone or paint thinner. Clean with Barkeeper's Friend and … This additive will allow for an open—air cure, thin your gel coat, and reduce orange peel. Once you understand what type of damage you have, we recommend that you use a contrasting marker to outline the boundary of the damage. Avoid using any solvents on your tub to prevent damage. One may also ask, how do you remove gelcoat paint from fiberglass? For most repairs, Duratec® Surfacing Primer is the best material for the task. You can use vinegar to activate the baking soda after it sits on a fiberglass surface for deeper cleaning power. How do I clean a fiberglass roof on pergola? Can all of these methods be used on gel-coated siding on RVs? Fiberglass dust can cause internal damage, though this is extremely rare when only cleaning fiberglass. Lightweight, Durable, and Extremely Sharp. ... Test a small area of the fiberglass with the acetone solvent to ensure no damage is done to the material. Worse, these often create a direct path into the structural layers, causing even larger problems. A final surfacing layer can then be added to cover the entire area. You can also make a homemade cleaner easily by combining vinegar with regular dish detergent. Warning. It is this surface that most people will look at and judge the whole structure. This exposure could become serious depending on the length of exposure and the size of the fibers that you come into contact with. For stains that the vinegar cleaner won’t remove, make a paste of baking soda and water and let it sit for a while on the stain. However, it should still be soft enough to prevent damage. Since this can be a dangerous cleaner, make sure to wear rubber gloves. Acetone is a chemical used to make products like nail polish remover and paint remover. •Blisters Blisters are bulges appearing on the surface of a part. Gouges and Blisters will require both filler and gel coat, while scratches and crazing can typically be repaired with gel coat alone. It is possible to repair fiberglass on RV as a DIY project, but for a major damage it is always recommended to go for a professional RV repair service. This will stave off any damage from the water and keep your boat looking nice. No, it will not; in fact, it’s a good mild scrubber for more stubborn stains. Since a structural composite repair will typically be followed by a cosmetic repair, we will start with the instructions for the more severe damage. That means we will provide you with the fundamentals for a wide variety of repairs—from cosmetic gel coat repairs, to intermediate boat and auto body repairs—all the way through structural composite repairs. If grinding cannot take place for structural reasons, fillers can be mildly added to smooth irregularities and sanded to a smooth feather, but the patch will then always be visible. It is ideal for cleaning fiberglass tools and dissolving two-part epoxies and superglue before hardening. Don't scrub, as it will most likely damage the glass or plastic you are using. email this page to a friend. Using mismatched fabric can cause complications, Make sure the resin you choose, suits the needs of your project. Step out one—half inch and sand down to the second deepest layer and so on, until all five steps are prepared. If paint is your top coat, a surfacing primer is worth applying underneath. Gingher® Featherweights are versatile enough to tackle most jobs in the workshop. This means you don’t need to add wax that would require additional labor, your gel coat will be easier to spray, and you will have less sanding and polishing to finish your repair. From rust stains to soap scum, fiberglass attracts it all. How do I remove moss from the outside of a fiberglass oil tank? One inspection tip we can offer is the coin tap test. Parts made with SMC are typically produced in compression molds, causing them to be smooth on both the inside and outside—typically the first clue to identifying them. Keep track of … Will acetone damage an acrylic tub? Sometimes this is as simple as affixing a few strips of 2—inch wide masking tape, other times it is as elaborate as a custom-made clamping structure. What can I use to clean under the treads? Last Updated: May 16, 2020 As mentioned above, this typically involves grinding or sanding a taper or steps in the material around the damage. We have other articles that can help with some basic knowledge, including getting started in composites, the fundamentals of fiberglass, about resins, about reinforcements, and molding fiberglass. There is four main categories for composite damage, your repair may involve one or all of these categories depending upon the severity of the impact or failure. No, it will not; in fact, it’s a good mild scrubber for more stubborn stains. that can wreak havoc on an acrylic surface. Polyester resin can be thinned out using no more than 10 percent acetone. Since these materials can harm the fiberglass, only use them to tackle especially bad stains. These compounds will quickly remove the fine scratches left by 600—1000 grit paper while also removing overspray and some of the halo effect commonly left around spot repairs. Sheet molded compound (SMC) is a composite material that is frequently used in the automotive, industrial, and personal watercraft market. Acetone and paint thinner should only be used for stains such as oil or paint. If your part was originally made with polyester resin, polyester filling compounds and gel coat are suitable for the repair. These cleaning tools are also too harsh for fiberglass surfaces. Photo credit IStock Photo. unlocking this expert answer. In order to maximize the strength of your repair, you will want to identify the sequence and orientation of the material as it is removed layer by layer. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. There are a few fundamental principles that, once understood, allow most composite repairs to be completed successfully. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Take your time and ensure your repair is performed correctly. The entire structure should resonate with the same solid sound. Since these materials can harm the fiberglass, only use them to tackle especially bad stains. Use acetone to clean the damaged area. This will allow you to ensure you have removed all damaged material, and you should continue grinding or cutting away until all damaged material is removed. For below—the—waterline repairs on marine projects it is recommended that you use a surfacing agent like PVA or Styrene Wax to ensure a thorough cure. If there’s any mildew on the boat, add 1 cup (240 mL) of bleach per 1 gallon (3.8 L) of your cleaning solution to kill it. The Step 2 polish will give your repair the high luster you want for your final shine. Acetone is clear, aromatic (strong smelling), and boils at 133 degrees Fahrenheit. Scrape paint off the fiberglass tub carefully with a plastic scraper. As you scrub, use a circular motion and a light touch so you don’t scratch the finish. Most paint systems will stick to cured epoxy, so be sure to check your paint for primer recommendations prior to use. Acetone is a popular solvent that is used to remove contaminates from the repair area, preventing potential complications, PVA, or Polyvinyl alcohol, can be sprayed onto the surface of the repair area in order to give you a tack-free, sandable cure, Sanding the repair area allows you to bevel the edges of the repair area to a taper, making the repair process easier, Spray guns allow for the most even application for gel coats during the application process, With the correct additive, your gel coat will spread more evenly, and require less sanding and polish to finish, When working with a paint top coat, it is recommended that you apply a surfacing primer underneath, PVA can be great for marine spot repairs, or areas where it may be hard to reach with other agents, Learning Center - The Ultimate Fiberglass Repair Guide, Inspect and measure, identify and determine, Removing the damaged material and prepare the surface, Removing damaged material and preparing the surface. Measuring supplies and tools can aid in this, Most resins will need to be combined with a catalyst or hardener like MEKP. As you expose each layer, write down the fabric type and orientation so that you can replace it in the same way. With a little care and consideration, you can prevent damage to your acrylic shower or tub. A wide variety of items found in homes and workplaces are made from fiberglass, including sinks, showers, bathtubs, lighting fixtures, and boats. Focus the sanding effort only on the high spots until everything is flush. Only apply the white polish compound with a soft cloth after cleaning the fiberglass. Learn More, 385 Carr DriveBrookville, OH 45309Phone: 800-838-8984Fax: 937-833-6555, Join our email list and get exclusive sales, Will baking soda scratch an acrylic tub? A part’s outer cosmetic finish is designed to hide and protect the structural reinforcement below, while also being aesthetically pleasing. Step 1: Chop Off the Damaged Parts. If the part fails prematurely, even if the failure occurs away from your repair, it should be discarded. Wear thick gloves when cleaning using acetone or paint thinner. How do I remove brown stains from the fiberglass surface of my RV that happened when I was parked under a tree when it was raining? As a safer alternative, try cleaning water stains with a paste made of white vinegar and baking soda. Drill out the damaged fiberglass. This results in a considerable growth of the repair surface and allows the fiber orientation to be evident in each step. Once the extent of the damage and the type of material is known, you should determine whether the part in question should be repaired or whether you’re better off replacing it. In this section we will provide guidelines for cosmetic composite repairs, including fiberglass crack repair, fiberglass gel coat repair, and composite repair finishing. For both gouges and blisters, you will need to be sure that unsupported surface material is removed. If your part passes its inspection, you’re ready to proceed with the cosmetic repair. Acetone drips can result in uncured spots in the lay-up. Minimize the amount of bare skin that can be exposed to fiberglass. This will relieve the stress on solid laminates, often allowing them to return to their original shape with little or no force. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. For more critical structures, a testing laboratory or specialized equipment may be necessary before sign—off. For tips on how to remove hard water stains from fiberglass, read on! Use acetone to clean your vinyl interior components when extremely dirty. Support wikiHow by The categories are as follows: Once you understand what type of damage you have, we recommend that you use a contrasting marker to outline the boundary of the damage. 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