Fiberglass Info

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Fiberglass Info

Postby Dog Pound » Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:34 pm

Hey guys a noob here. I am in the final stages of my first tear. I have decided on fiberglass as an exterior for the simple reason that it will prevent rot and WILL NOT LEAK, a common problem with RV's.

If any of you have any real experience with using glass on a tear I would greatly apreciate any advice as my glass experience has been limited to cars.

Q#1: Since I constructed the walls out of 3/4 ply and the top outa' masonite do I have to use mat or will the epoxy be enough? Will the glass crack without the mat?

Q#2: Gelcoat spray or hand apply? I have never sprayed gel before but have done a bit of painting and would be willing to buy a gel gun if someone can give me specific instructions on how to spray it.

Anyone aware of any good books/manuals on fiberglass and gelcoat?

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Postby GPW » Sun Apr 23, 2006 6:58 pm

Dog , from my glass experience , I'd think you'd have to lay down a nice lightweight cloth over the TD , then add the resin ... some very nice lightweight cloths are available and would give you a durable surface .... But once dried , if you want it glossy , it's alot of finish work to get there , especially if surface prep isn't right ... Strong , leakproof , and Matte' finish .... That's Cool with me ...but I'm building a BUGOUT , not a COOL TD...
I'm sure these guys have a better method ... I really think the resin alone isn't gonna' do it for you "down the road"...
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Postby Chris C » Sun Apr 23, 2006 7:04 pm

Dogpound, you might want to check with Steve Frederick. He applys glass to all his trailers.
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Re: Fiberglass Info

Postby Steve_Cox » Sun Apr 23, 2006 7:22 pm

Dog Pound wrote:Hey guys a noob here. I am in the final stages of my first tear. I have decided on fiberglass as an exterior for the simple reason that it will prevent rot and WILL NOT LEAK, a common problem with RV's.

If any of you have any real experience with using glass on a tear I would greatly apreciate any advice as my glass experience has been limited to cars.

Q#1: Since I constructed the walls out of 3/4 ply and the top outa' masonite do I have to use mat or will the epoxy be enough? Will the glass crack without the mat?

Q#2: Gelcoat spray or hand apply? I have never sprayed gel before but have done a bit of painting and would be willing to buy a gel gun if someone can give me specific instructions on how to spray it.

Anyone aware of any good books/manuals on fiberglass and gelcoat?

TIA! Love this forum. :twisted: [/code]


Gel-coat Oh Boy, Wish DestinDave was around to talk about it.... In a nut shell, gel-coat looks great when it is sprayed in a highly polished mold, then fiberglass is added in on top of it. To spray gel-coat as a top coat will give you a really dull almost mat finish that gets dirty easily, it's blotchy and downright ugly. I've seen the results, the efforts gone to, and the disillusionment by the person that worked really hard and ended up with poor results....but, don't despair, the best way to finish off that fiberglass that needs a solid color coating is paint. And if that is the way you go, there are many people right here to tell you about the paint they used and why they did or didn't like it.

If you choose gel-coat I'd roll on about 3 layers, that way it will be thick enough to put a finish on it. Then, start with 80 grit on a dual action sander to knock down the high spots. Keep your pad flat. Go to 150 grit, then 220, then 400, then buff with a good medium compound, and finally a fine compound, or rouge made for the gel-coat. Lots of work that's for sure, but at least you will be an expert at making dust when you are through.

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Postby Gern Blanston » Sun Apr 23, 2006 10:58 pm

I would echo what has been said above. I refinished a sailboat hull once, thinking I could apply gelcoat over the glass. It's very difficult, and not very satisfying. I would suggest using an epoxy paint made for boats. If you have the technology to spray it, it would be better, but a rolled-on finish lays really good too.

Check out http://www.westsystem.com/ They have several online tutorials about fiberglass & epoxy.
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Re: Fiberglass Info

Postby angib » Mon Apr 24, 2006 6:18 am

Steve_Cox wrote:.........then buff with a good medium compound, and finally a fine compound, or rouge made for the gel-coat. Lots of work that's for sure, but at least you will be an expert at making dust when you are through.

Any attempt to get a smooth gloss finish over fiberglass will involve this sort of work - you are starting with a slightly rough dimpled surface and you have to get that smooth and flat - and no paint will do that for you.

The only benefit of using paint would be that you can use primers that are easier to sand - but even then you have to get a smooth surface first and the easiest way to do that is to apply epoxy fairing compound (epoxy resin with a lighweight fairing filler mixed in) to the fiberglass and sand that smooth.

By the way, Dog Pound, fiberglassing will only prevent rot if water doesn't get in - and the molded fiberglass RV forum has plenty of people replacing plywood floors that have rotted because the windows and/or roof vents have leaked in trailers with watertight skins - fitting those in ways that do not subsequently leak is just as important as fiberglassing the skin.

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Postby Krob » Mon Apr 24, 2006 11:20 am

I wish my boat knew that fibreglass doesn't leak or allow rot :cry: . Replaced a lot of areas above and below the waterline that were "protected" by glass.
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Postby angib » Mon Apr 24, 2006 3:02 pm

Krob wrote:I wish my boat knew that fibreglass doesn't leak or allow rot :cry: . Replaced a lot of areas above and below the waterline that were "protected" by glass.

Ah, so you are part of the target market for my new product.

I will shortly make my fortune and retire to the Caribbean - once I invent Smart Rain™ which is rain that can understand instructions given to it about where it should (and shouldn't) flow, dribble or seep. But until I've got it perfected, you're stuck with regular rain.....

I've just repeated this from a similar discussion a year ago! Aint nuffink new.

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Wow, thanks for the input...

Postby Dog Pound » Tue Apr 25, 2006 8:02 am

Yes, I am aware that I must control leaks in and around openings and must seal any fasteners that penatrate the epoxy. My goal is to hopfully eliminate joint leaks...

I am use to doing "High End" style auto paint jobs (blocking, filling, blocking, filling, priming, sanding, priming... well you get the picture) and am a complete perfectionist so the labor is not an issue for me, but is the end result gonna' be worth the effort?

What other methods are a vailable for getting a automotive type "piano" finish? Any suggestions? Would an epoxy paint work? HELP!!!!
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Postby WOLFPUPPY » Tue Apr 25, 2006 8:33 am

Dog Pound

Welcome aboard, Glade to see another builder in the area.
I can't help much with fiberglass never used it other than to patch
a boat.
My tear "The Dawg House" is almost complete.Still needing a couple of
cabinet doors and a final coat of paint.

So get-r-done and lets go camping !!!!!!
David
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Re: Fiberglass Info

Postby Miriam C. » Tue Apr 25, 2006 12:34 pm

Dog Pound wrote:Hey guys a noob here. I am in the final stages of my first tear. I have decided on fiberglass as an exterior for the simple reason that it will prevent rot and WILL NOT LEAK, a common problem with RV's.

If any of you have any real experience with using glass on a tear I would greatly apreciate any advice as my glass experience has been limited to cars.

Q#1: Since I constructed the walls out of 3/4 ply and the top outa' masonite do I have to use mat or will the epoxy be enough? Will the glass crack without the mat?

Q#2: Gelcoat spray or hand apply? I have never sprayed gel before but have done a bit of painting and would be willing to buy a gel gun if someone can give me specific instructions on how to spray it.

Anyone aware of any good books/manuals on fiberglass and gelcoat?

TIA! Love this forum. :twisted: [/code]


Mercy, All that. :lol: Just joking. :lol:
Welcome if it wasn't said earlier (or if it was).


"Try Steve Fredericks is building again" in the General Discussion of this forum. Steve does fantastic wood work that includes fiberglass. His manual might include Glassing.

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Re: Wow, thanks for the input...

Postby asianflava » Tue Apr 25, 2006 2:25 pm

Dog Pound wrote:What other methods are a vailable for getting a automotive type "piano" finish? Any suggestions? Would an epoxy paint work? HELP!!!!


You could check some build sites for experimental aircraft to see how they finished and painted their project. I've seen a lot of fiberglass experimental aircraft that use Imron paint. It being an airplane, it was glass smooth.
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Postby mosportsmen » Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:35 pm

I have built a couple little boats. I did the luan coated in glass on the bottom. The rest of the wood was just painted with epoxy. It is a bit tough to get it glass smooth....I did not worry about that cause I was just building mud, blood, fishing, hunting boats.

I will cover the top of my tear in glass cloth and the exterior walls will be just epoxied.

I have had good luck with this epoxy dealer
http://www.jgreer.com/

He is a bit less expensive than the big guys and I am very happy with the 2 to 1 mix epoxy he sells. I just painted some primer over some of it today. The oil based paint is workig well. I painted the boats with latex...I can scratch it off with my finger nail. The thing about this and most epoxies is that they need protection from the sun so you have to cover it with paint or UV resistant clear finish. Lots of boats are made glass smooth with this method......just not mine.
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Postby doug hodder » Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:12 pm

Dog Pound....I'd just roll the exterior with several coats of epoxy and then paint it out...I've done a couple of boats and tears and have really good success...no cloth or mat...just epoxy...sand between coats...when finally smooth, you can shoot paint right over the epoxy without primer, it doesn't need it to bond, like on a steel fender....I then shot clear over the whole thing....sand and polish the clear as you want...I used base/clear polyurethane automotive...the real beauty if finishing up with a natural wood is that the epoxy will build the depth, the clear gives the UV protection...on my boats, I paint right over the epoxy...no problems so far...1 is 6 years old, still looks great except where I scraped the hull on the beach....Doug
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Thanks for all the info....

Postby Dog Pound » Tue May 02, 2006 8:27 am

Guys I apreciate all of your input. I have decided to combine my automotive experiences with some great advice from the group. I have inlisted some help from a local boat repair and supply guy and a local painter to do a poly over fiberglass lamination (Corvette tear LOL).

I have a couple rolls of film shot already and should have the tear ready for glass by Saturday. I will post photos as it goes...

This is the point of no return... wish me luck!!!! Thanks again guys.
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