How Much Resin Do I need? and everything you need to know about fiberglass
NO NEED TO BUY IT JUST PRINT IT OUT !
How Much Resin Do I need?
Chopped strand mat:
The figures given below are under laboratory conditions. In the real world you need to add 15% - 25% .
Add 15% for cloth 20-25 % for chopped strand mat.
You must also add in more for what will soak into the wood.
For chopped strand mat , if you just send us an e-mail telling us how many SQUARE FEET of product you are going to use, and if you are using 1.5, or 2.0 chopped
strand mat, we will do the calculations for you. e-mail to FiberglassSite@comcast.net , don't forget to include you zip code so we can calculate shipping.
MATERIAL - GALLONS
1.5 OZ CHOPPED STRAND MAT = 1 gallon covers 4.2 square yds
2.0 OZ CHOPPED STRAND MAT = 1 gallon covers 3.4 square yds
Call us if you need help with this. 1-800-507-2003
Here is a helpful table for cloth:
There are about 150 ounces per gallon by weight
- 1.5 ounce cloth ( cloth not chopped mat) - 1 gallon wets out 40 square yards
- 2.5 ounce cloth - 1 gallon wets out 25 square yards
- 4 ounce cloth - 1 gallon wets out 15 square yards
- 6 oz fiberglass cloth - 1 gallon wets out 10 square yards
- 10 ounce cloth - 1 gallon wets out 6.5 square yards
- 18 ounce woven roving - 1 gallon wets out 4.5 square yards
- 24 ounce woven roving - 1 gallon wets out 3.5 square yards.
- 1708 Biaxial mat - 1 gallon wets out 4 square yards
Please remember several things:
- these are estimates not hard and fast rules.
- if you are laminating over wood, the raw wood will soak up some resin, which is good, but you will use more resin on the first layer.
- thin resin goes farther than thick resin.
This information is supplied to our customers free of charge. You have permission to download or print this page as many times as you wish, as long as you do not remove the www.FiberglassSite.com logo.
EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT FIBERGLASS
A COMPLETE GUIDE TO FIBERGLASS PRODUCTS AND USES. WRITTEN IN EASY TO UNDERSTAND TERMS.
www.FiberglassSite.com WWW. FiberglassSite.com is dedicated to supplying the highest quality fiberglass cloth, woven roving, and chopped strand mat, at the lowest prices in the USA
Customer service is our #1 goal. That is why when you call 1-800-507-2003 you do not speak to an order taker, you speak to someone who knows fiberglass, and will be glad to answer your questions.
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HOW MUCH RESIN DO I NEED ?
1. TYPES OF REINFORCEMENTS
- E- GLASS
- S-2 GLASS
- WOVEN CLOTH
- CHOPPED STRAND MAT
- WOVEN ROVING
- COMBINATION MAT
- BIAXIAL CLOTH
- CARBON FIBER
- GENERAL PURPOSE RESINS
- LAMINATING AND FINISHING RESINS
3. GEL COATS
4. MOLD RELEASE AGENTS
5. TOOLS EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES
7. GEL COATS
www.FiberglassSite.com LOWEST PRICES ON THE NET , OR ANY WHERE ELSE!
The main purpose of this book, is to de- mystify the world of fiberglass for the first time user, explain the materials and processes, and to show how to complete the most common and simple projects.
There is nothing more satisfying then a job well done. Those of us who love to “do it yourself” will find that fiberglass is one of the strongest and most versatile materials to work with. Fiberglass, and the FRP (fiberglass reinforced plastic) process are a mystery to most people, and many people are afraid to start a project using FRP. However, once you know what you are doing, you will find yourself completing projects with ease, and getting results that are better than you had imagined.
This book sets out to de-mystify the FRP process for the average layman. By explaining products and processes in easy to understand terms, and clear illustrations. We hope to give every do it yourselfer the confidence to take on any FRP project with confidence.
Properly constructed, FRP products can be lighter and stronger than metal. We have found that the first FRP project is where you will learn the most about the process. Unless you are only doing a simple repair, you will probably make some small mistakes in your first effort. Learning from mistake is often the best way to learn, so don’t be discouraged!
What is FRP?
FRP stands for FIBERGLASS REINFORCED PLASTICS. An FRP is made by combining two elements: The reinforcement ( fiberglass cloths ) and the resin. By combining these two materials that are both very strong, but not very useful without each other, we end up with a finished product that is very strong and useful.
When we think of fiberglass, the first thing we think of is boats, and boat making probably is the most common use of FRP. But if you take a look around, you will find that very many products are made with fiberglass, including, motor homes, canoes, kayaks, car bodies, children’s toys, sporting equipment, surfboards, spas, shower enclosures, water tanks, the list could literally go on and on.
It is by combining the two products that we come up with the stronger end result.
This of course is a very simplistic explanation, but in the following chapters, we hope to make you understand the two components of FRP, and the best way to choose and combine the two to complete the project at hand.
If there are any terms you do not understand in this book, or any other reference material you are using, please refer to the glossary of terms at the end of the book. You will find it most helpful.
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CHOPPED STRAND MAT
- THE GENERAL RULE FOR CHOPPED STRAND MAT IS YOU WILL NEED 1.5 TO 2 TIMES THE WEIGHT IN RESIN AS YOU HAVE IN CLOTH . SO 1 POUND OF CLOTH WILL NEED 1.5 TO 2 LBS OF RESIN. TO MAKE IT EVEN MORE SIMPLE, 1.5 OUNCE CHOPPED STRAND MAT WILL NEED 4 OUNCES PER SQUARE FOOT, AND TWO OUNCE CHOPPED STRAND MAT WILL NEED FIVE OUNCES PER SQUARE FOOT. BUT REMEMBER , THE SUBSTANCE YOU ARE FIBER GLASSING OVER WILL ALMOST ALWAYS SOAK UP RESIN ALSO, SO WE ADVISE OUR CLIENTS TO USE 4 OUNCES PER SQUARE FOOT FOR 1.5 OUNCE CHOPPED MAT, AND 5 TO 6 OUNCES PER SQUARE FOOT FOR 2 OUNCE CHOPPED STRAND MAT.
MATERIAL - GALLONS
- 1.5 OZ MAT = 1 gallon covers 4.2 square yard
- 2.0 OZ MAT = 1 gallon covers 3.4 square yard
THESE FIGURES DO NOT ACCOUNT FOR THE MATERIAL YOU ARE fiber glassing OVER SUCKING UP MORE RESIN.
HERE IS A MORE HELPFUL TABLE FOR FIBERGLASS CLOTH
(NOT CHOPPED STRAND MAT) 1 GALLON OF RESIN WETS OUT;
- 1.5 ounce cloth - (not chopped strand mat).1 gallon wets out 40 square yards
- 2.5 ounce cloth - 1 gallon wets out 25 square yards
- 4 ounce cloth - 1 gallon wets out 15 square yards
- 6 ounce cloth - 1 gallon wets out 10 square yards
- 10 ounce cloth - 1 gallon wets out 6.5 square yards
- 18 oz woven roving - 1 gallon wets out 4.5 square yards
- 24 oz woven roving - 1 gallon wets out 3.5 square yards.
- Biaxial mat 1708 - 1 gallon wets out 4 square yards
www.FiberglassSite.com LOWEST PRICES HIGHEST QUALITY, COMPARE AND SAVE! Chapter 1
Types of Reinforcements, and Their Uses
Most fiberglass cloths are made from two different types of fibers, E-glass, and C-glass. The most commonly used , and the one we will be discussing, is E-glass. Almost every cloth sold in the USA is E-glass.
E-glass is made by melting down glass marbles in a furnace, and then forming them into fine fibers by forcing them through very tiny holes. The fibers are stretched, and then wound onto spools . The strands will vary in size from .0001 inches to .0005 inches in diameter. They are then combined to make yarns. The strands are treated with a chemical to make them able to accept resin more easily. The most common type of treatment is called silane sizing and it allows the cloth to accept both polyester, and epoxy resins. More about this later. E- GLASS WILL WITHSTAND TEMPERATURES UP TO 900 DEGREES F , S GLASS WILL WITHSTAND TEMPERATURES UP TO 1400 DEGREES
There are literally hundreds of types of fiberglass cloths.
The three main types that you will be using in most projects are: woven cloth, chopped strand mat, and woven roving, and some combinations woven roving and chopped strand mat. S-2 GLASS
S-2 glass is a registered trademark of the Owens Corning Corporation. S glass is 20% stronger than e-glass, and usually costs twice as much. It is used when extra strength is needed , and extra weight is not desired.
TYPES OF REINFORCEMENTS
* Woven cloth
Fiberglass cloth is made much as any other cloth is . It is woven on textile weaving machinery. It can be woven several different ways, plain weave, long shaft satin weave, and unidirectional weave. (fig 2-1). There are also other more complicated weaves, such as twill weave, but we will stick to these three types for our purposes.
Fiberglass cloth is measured by ounces per yard in the USA, and grams per square yard in Europe. Cloth sold in the USA can vary from one half ounce per square yard, up to over 50 ounces per square yard. The most commonly used weights for most projects are four, six, and ten ounces per square yard.
Most cloths that you will find yourself using are plain weave. Plain weave cloth usually has the same number of strands running it’s length and width( warp and weft). Plain weave produces a stiffer end product than most other weaves, and because it has the same number of strands running in each direction it is easier to keep the laminate strength balanced.
Plain weave cloth is ideal for large and simples molds, and flat, or nearly flat surfaces.
For each kind of cloth we will explain it’s benefits and it’s limitations. Woven cloth gives the most strength, but is the least thick. Cloth requires the least amount of resin, this makes the cloth very strong, but it lacks stiffness. Also, it does not give good waterproof ness because of the small amount of resin. It is the resin, not the cloth that gives you the waterproof ness. To solve this problem, cloth is usually layered with chopped strand mat. More about mat later.
* CHOPPED STRAND MAT
Chopped strand mat is made by laying down chopped strands of glass fibers in a random pattern on a flat surface. Each stand is about two inches long. A bonding agent (usually a powder) is used to hold the strands together. The result is a mat of even thickness , made up of fibers going in every possible direction. This will give you strength in every possible direction.
CSM as we will call it, is sold in ounces per square foot. All other reinforcements are sold in ounces per square yard. It can be purchased in weights ranging from ¾ ounces per square foot, up to 4 ounces per square foot. In the USA the two most used weights are 1.5 ounce, and 2.0 ounce per square foot.
The CSM that you find in stores, in plastic packages is 1.5 ounces per square yard, and it is overpriced. Compare the prices to the prices on www.FiberglassSite.com.
CSM usually comes in widths from 38 to 50 inches. In can be purchased by the yard or in large rolls.
CSM Is the least expensive of all reinforcements, and it is very versatile. CSM soaks up more resin than any other reinforcement. The advantage of this is that is gives more waterproof ness than any other type of reinforcement. CSM produces the stiffest laminate, and because the strands are in a random pattern, it gives strength in every direction.
For repairs jobs , CSM is the easiest material to use. It is easy to wet out, or saturate with resin. In it’s dry state it is fairly stiff and will not easily go into tight curves, but when saturated with resin, the binder holding the individual strand together breaks down, and this allows the mat to be shaped into any configuration.
When using mat on curved surfaces, 1.5 ounce per square foot is recommended. 2.0 ounce is better suited for flat surfaces, and for buildup, because it is stiff.
It takes about 20 layers of 1.5 ounce CSM to make a laminate 1 inch thick. In most repairs , two layers of CSM will be sufficient, but you can make it as thick as you wish to get the desired strength.
* Woven Roving
Fiberglass woven roving (see picture below) is different from fiberglass cloth. Fiberglass cloth is made from glass fiber thread that is twisted like yarn, woven roving is made from continuous strands of glass fibers that are grouped together. Woven roving is a thick cloth like reinforcing material. In the 18 and 24 ounce weights, it is as thick as a blanket. The two most common weights for woven roving, are 18, and 24 ounces per square yard.
Woven roving is mostly used for buildup when thickness is needed. It is alternated with layers of chopped strand mat to fill in the heavy weave pattern of the woven roving.
The combination gives good thickness and strength. On a weight basis, woven roving is cheaper than cloth, and more expensive than chopped strand mat.. The advantage of using woven roving, is that is gives a quicker buildup of thickness , compared to using cloth. Because of the heavy thick weave, you are not going to get the nice smooth finish of cloth when you use woven roving. , that is why it is generally used for buildup, after you use cloth for your first layer , to get the smooth finish. Like cloth. Woven roving uses less resin then chopped strand mat. That is why in situations that require waterproof ness, chopped strand mat is used in combination with woven roving.
* WOVEN ROVING 24 OUNCE PER Sq YARD COMBINATION MAT. BIAXIAL MAT
There is a product available called “combination mat” or Biaxial mat . it is a “combination” of woven roving , and chopped strand mat. They are stitched together. It is sold in various weights. It is also called stitch bonded mat. This is used to save time when very heavy buildup is needed. It is flat instead of woven and has a better appearance than woven roving. It also has the advantage of saving on resin because you are doing two steps at one time ( roving and mat). In most projects resin will be your highest expense, so the higher expense of Biaxial mat may be worth it. Many of our clients have switched to it. SEE PICTURE on this web site
* CARBON FIBER
Carbon fiber looks much like woven roving, except that it is usually black in color. Each strand of carbon fiber is made up of 3,000 or more individual strands of carbon fiber thread. The resulting product is so many times stronger than E, or S glass . Carbon fiber is used when great strength is needed, but light weight is desired. One layer of Carbon Fiber is equal to many layers of Fiberglass cloth. It is used and applied in the same manner as any other reinforcement. The big drawback is the price. It is very expensive. It is used in race cars, speed boats, wind turbines, airplanes, any place where you need superior strength, and light weight.
* Fiberglass Resins
Resin side bar. Here is a quick rule of thumb that will save you a lot of headaches. When you apply resin to your fiberglass, the fiberglass is properly saturated when it becomes completely clear. “If the cloth is clear, there is nothing to fear” With apologies to the late great Johnny Cochran.
There are many types of resins that can be used to saturate fiberglass reinforcement material. But for our purposes , we will only be discussing polyester and epoxy.. Why, because these are the two kinds of resin sold to the general public.
Polyester resin is a thermosetting plastic. Thermosetting means that it is set or cured by heat, which can either be applied chemically from the inside, or from the outside. An accelerator or catalyst, commonly know as the curing agent is added to create the internal heat. Polyester resin is used at room temperature. When the curing agent is evenly mixed in, this causes an internal heat, which in turn causes the resin to cure, or harden. You can control the working time of the resin by the amount of catalyst you use. However, if you use too little, it will not cure at all. Most of the time you will be buying the resin in quarts, or gallons. It will come with a clear liquid (usually MEKP) in a small plastic container . The resin will come with a chart that will tell you how much of the catalyst to use to get the desired working time .
Working time can range from 5 minutes to one hour. Caution: all resins have a shelf life. Usually about one year FOR POLYESTER, AND THEE YEARS FOR EPOXY. After that they are no good. Fiberglass reinforcement can last for years and years in dry storage, and will still be good, but old resin is useless. This is why we recommend that you buy your resin from a reputable company like FiberglassSite.com .They get there resin in fresh on a regular basis because they sell so much of it. Polyester resin is available at Home depot Lowe’s, and boat supply stores, but the resin from the home stores is generally very low quality and not marine grade(and old), and the resin from the boat stores may have been on the shelf for over a year.. The epoxy resin is available at boating supply stores but is generally very expensive there.
The Polyester resin you will most commonly buy is called a “general purpose resin.” this means that it is good to use for most any job that you re going to do. Polyester resin is used when you are stating from scratch, epoxy resin is used when you are. Bonding. Epoxy is used when you are bonding new fiberglass to old fiberglass, or bonding fiberglass to metal or plastic, etc. Epoxy is also used when you are going to need flexibility, polyester is rigid and not flexible.
LAMINATING AND FINISHING RESINS
Many types of polyester resin have been developed for specific purposes. The two basic types are laminating, and finishing (also called surface) resin.
The laminating, or lay up resin is air inhibited, which means that in the presence of air it will not cure fully. This will leave the surface tacky. This condition is actually desirable when additional layers of fiberglass are to be added to the laminate, as there is no waxy surface to prevent the next layer to adhere properly.
Finishing, or surface resin, is non-air inhibited, which means that it will fully cure in the presence of air. This is desirable for the final layer of a laminate. Non air inhibited resin has a wax or similar ingredient added. When the catalyst is added, the wax rises to the surface, sealing off the air, and allowing a complete cure. The surface then can be sanded.
Laminating, or lay up polyester resin can be made tack free by adding a special wax to the resin , prior to application. Another method of achieving a cure when laminating or lay up resin is used is to seal the surface from the air. This can be achieved with a layer of cellophane or plastic. All possible areas where air could come in must be taped off.
When finishing surface resin is used, it cures with a waxy surface. If you intend to add another layer to this, the wax must be removed. You can either sand it off, or wipe it off with acetone .
The general purpose resin we spoke of earlier gets around all of these problems. Some pros look down on general purpose resin, but most people who use it find that it is satisfactory for most types of fiberglass repair work, and small jobs.
For large jobs, study up on the laminating and finishing resins, rather than a general purpose resin.
* EPOXY RESIN
Epoxy resin is usually twice as expensive as poly. Instead of resin and hardener, epoxy comes in a two part system. You can not control the working time of epoxy resin, so start with small quantities until you get your experience. You use epoxy resin just like poly. Saturate the cloth until it becomes clear, work out the bubbles, and wait for it to set.. FiberglassSite.com has an excellent epoxy resin kits / Epoxy two part systems come with clear instructions, read them, that stuff is expensive and you don’t want to waste it!
APPLYING RESIN OF EITHER KIND
First read and follow mixing instruction on the can. Wear all proper protective clothing, have proper ventilation, and use a respirator. The best and easiest way to apply resin is to mix it, and then pour it directly onto the surface you are working. If you are fiber glassing over plywood, you must first apply resin to the wood to let it soak in. With polyester resin, you can roll on a primer coat, let it dry, then continue, with epoxy , you have more working time, so apply epoxy resin to the bare wood then lay down your cloth or mat. Lay the dry cloth down on the surface, pour the resin on, then spread it out with plastic disposable putty knives you can get at your local home store. Spread the resin around. When the material becomes clear, it is properly saturated. Move the resin from the clear areas to the dry areas. You will need a laminate roller, or bubble buster roller to get the air bubbles that are trapped under the resin. When it is not possible to pour the resin on, use disposable paint rollers. For mixing you can buy containers that are marked in ounces and quarts at your local home store.
* GEL COAT
Gel coat is a type of polyester resin. It’s main use it to form the protective color coat on the outer surface of a fiberglass mold. If you have ever seen a fiberglass boat, you have seen the shiny gel coat surface.
Gel coat comes in clear, or colored, or you can add your own pigment. Gel coat is applied over the mold release agent that is first applied to the mold. Then the various layers of reinforcement are added. Gel coat touch up kits are available at most boating stores, just follow directions.
* MOLD RELEASE AGENTS
Whatever type of mold you are using, wood, metal, plastic etc. , you must first apply a mold release agent to the entire surface of the mold. If you do not, you will not be able to remove the finished product from the mold.
( you do not use mold release agent when you are applying fiberglass to a surface that you want it to stick to forever, like a surfboard, or the deck of your boat) Most mold release agents have to be applied in several layers, but there is a one part mold release agent on the market. See what your local boat supply store has , or look at a boat supply internet store, which is more likely to have the latest thing. All of the release agents come with full directions. After applying the release agent, be careful when applying your first layer of reinforcement. If you scratch of the mold release agent, the mold will stick in that area.
* TOOLS EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES
Mixing containers are used for mixing your resins, for holding solvent agents for cleaning brushes and tools, etc. Disposable mixing containers are sold very cheaply at boating supply stores, and Lowe’s and Home Depot. Do not use paper containers , because they usually have a wax coating that will contaminate your mix. Disposable plastic containers are most desirable. Most of them come with ounces and cups measured on the side. Always buy more than you need. You will want to mix your resins in amounts you can use before they cure up. You can pour the mixed resin directly onto your project, and then work it around with a plastic squeegee.
* MIXING STICKS
Here is another no- brainier . Wooden mixing sticks are either very cheap or free at most paint stores. Get more than you think you will need, and dispose of them after each use.
* PAINT BRUSHES
Paint brushes can be used to apply resin to small areas, or to hard to reach areas. We recommend cheap throw away brushes. You can clean up a brush with acetone, but it will be more time and trouble than it is worth.
Here is another cheaper that you must buy more of than you think you will need. Plastic squeegees cost about 69 cents, but they are worth their weigh in gold when it comes to spreading resin. On a flat mold, you can pour on some resin, spread it with the squeegee, then lay on your cloth, pour on more resin, and spread it evenly with the squeegee. Each time a squeegee gets fouled up, set it aside and start a new one. Sometimes when the resin dries, you can bend the squeegee, and the resin will break off evenly and you can use it again. Get a few different size Squeegees for different size areas.
A good pair of cloth cutting scissors will cut any reinforcement that you are using. Eclectic scissors are available for big jobs.
* MASKING TAPE
Keep a good supply of masking tape handy to mask of areas you don’t want to ruin, and to tape off plastic barriers if you choose to use the,
Rags are a mans best friend when working with resins. Buy a bag of cheap disposable rags. Always use white rags only because resin will dissolve the dyes in colored rags, and make a mess!
* PUTTY KNIVES
Flexible putty knives come in various sizes. They are useful for applying putty and fillers.
As we discussed before, there are times when you have to seal off a project from air. Cellophane is good for small areas, plastic is better for large areas. UTILITY KNIVES
Keep a good supply of blades on hand. You can cut cloth on a hard surface with a utility knife, and you will find yourself needing the knife for many other uses.
* SAND PAPER
There are many different kinds of sand paper, and all kinds can be used on fiberglass. Sanding is usually done by starting with the heavy grits, and working down to the finer grits. 80 grit is extremely coarse, 150 is medium, and 600 grit is for very fine sanding.
FIBERGLASS RUBBING AND POLISHING COMPOUND
This is used for making gel coat repairs, and for the maintenance of gel coats. Read and follow directions.
* LAMINATING LAY UP ROLLERS.(bubble buster rollers)
These are used to remove air bubbles from your project as you lay on the resin. After laying on the fiberglass , and using the Squeegee to evenly apply the resin, use the roller to work out any air bubbles. Work from the center, and push the bubbles out to the sides, and then away. These rollers are available wherever resin is sold.
* PAINT ROLLERS AND TRAYS
Paint rollers are very useful for applying resin to large areas. As always, buy cheap throw away roller covers, and plastic disposable tray liners. Paint rollers can also be used for another neat trick that will save sanding time. While the resin is still wet, lay clear plastic film over the wet surface. Gently use the roller to smooth the plastic over the surface. Then slowly remove it before the resin dries. This will save sanding time in the end.
* CUTTING WHEEL
Every home store sells a cutting wheel attachment for your drill. You will find this very useful in cutting away the parts of the finished product you do not need. Wear your respirator.
* PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
We can not stress enough the importance of protecting your eyes, skin, and lungs from the fiberglass, and the resins. Always cover your skin completely, wear gloves, respirator, and eye protection.
FIBERGLASSING A PLYWOOD DECK OR DECK ROOF
Fiberglassing A Plywood Deck or Roof by www.FiberglassSite.com
More and more it is becoming popular to fiberglass plywood decks or roofs, and the good news is that most anyone can do it following our directions.
THESE DIRECTIONS ARE GOOD FOR:
AN OUTDOOR DECK
OUTDOOR DECK ROOF
OR ANY APPLICATION OF CHOPPED STRAND MAT TO PLYWOOD
More and more it is becoming popular to fiberglass plywood decks or roofs, and the good news is that most anyone can do it following our directions.
First you must decide on materials. You will be using Chopped strand mat for your fiberglass and polyester resin for your resin. 2.0 ounce chopped strand mat is adequate for most applications, it will give you a hard waterproof finish, however if you want to go that extra mile, or if the area is going to be subjected to high or commercial traffic or heavy weight usage, we would recommend using two layers of 2 ounce chopped strand mat. Roofs that will notbe walked on can be done with 1.5 ounce chopped strand mat. Most residential decks will be done with one layer of 2.0 Chopped Strand Mat.
Step one is to calculate how much mat you will need. ( IF YOU JUST E-MAIL US THE SQUARE FOOTAGE OF YOUR DECK, WE WILL DO THIS FOR YOU, DO NOT SEND US YOUR MEASUREMENTS, SEND US THE NUMBER OF SQUARE FEET OF MATERIAL IT WILL TAKE TO COVER YOUR DECK, INCLUDE YOUR ZIP CODE SO WE CAN GIVE YOU A PRICE WITH SHIPPING.) E-MAIL = FIBERGLASSSITE@COMCAST.NET
REMEMBER, JUST SEND US YOUR SQUARE FOOTAGE OF YOUR DECK TO FIBERGLASSSITE@COMCAST.NET, AND WE WILL ESTIMATE YOUR MAT AND RESIN FOR YOU (INCLUDE YOUR ZIP CODE.)
Now what else will you need before getting started.? You can get the Chopped Strand Mat, and Resin from www.FiberglassSite.com (that’s Us) , you will also need a couple of Laminate rollers. Laminate rollers are not for spreading the resin, they are for pressing the resin down, and popping out the air bubbles. They look like 40 little pizza cutters linked together on a roller. FiberglassSite.com sells these also. In most cases we provide at least one of these free of charge, for larger decks we supply two or three.
Whenever you are not using laminate rollers, and other tools that come in contact with the resin, keep them soaking in acetone, this will make it so you can use them over and over again.
Here are a list of things you will need to get from your Home Depot, or Lowe’s;
- Acetone for clean up
- Rubber gloves
- Eye protection
- 5 quart plastic mixing buckets, marked of in quarts
- Paint stirs
- Paint stir attachment for your drill
- Plastic squeegees, such as disposable mud knives 8’’, and some smaller disposable putty knives. These will be used to spread the resin.
- Mini Disposable paint rollers 4 inch
- Full size disposable paint rollers
SEAL COAT; Before laying down the mat you will need to seal the plywood with resin First. The plywood must be bone dry, any moisture at all will stop the resin from soaking in, and you will have wasted your time and money. Sweep or blow off any dust from the deck.
In this step you will mix the resin with the hardener, and spread a coat of it on the dry raw plywood do this before applying the chopped strand mat (the resin we supply you is unwaxed leave it that way do not add wax). Mix the resin with the hardener , pour it onto the surface, and spread it around with a plastic straight edge or roller . This is will get the most resin to soak in, and the least wasted resin. As soon as it is dry you can go to the next step.
Now, pre cut your pieces of mat to fit your deck. Once you get going you will not want to stop to do this, so do it ahead of time.
Lay down the first section of mat. Now it must be between 60 and 90 degrees F when you are doing the work. If it is too cold the resin will never set, if it is too hot it will set to quickly. Never work in the direct sunlight when it is hot outside.
For your First batch, mix a small amount of resin, one or two quarts. (You must mix the resin with a power drill attachment for one minute, a complete mixing is very important. Mixing with a power drill and paint mixer is much, much better.) This first batch will give you a feel for the working time of the resin. You will usually have ten to fifteen minutes per batch, so have all your ducks in a row before you add the hardener to the resin. Do not add the wax to the resin because when you are finished you are going to paint the deck with boat deck paint, or seal it with gelcoat, so do not add the wax.
Now lay the mat down like a piece of carpet. Take the resin you have mixed, and pour it directly onto the mat. Gently spread the resin like butter on bread with your thin nap roller. You do not want to move the strands of mat around, just the resin so be gentle . When an area is properly saturated with resin, it will turn from white to clear. Keep moving the resin from the wet areas to the dry areas.
This is a two man job. One person will pour and spread the resin, the other person will follow behind with the laminate roller. The purpose of the laminate roller is to force the resin into the mat, get out any air bubbles, and to make the mat lay flat and as smooth as possible. This first batch will give you an idea of your working time, and how much resin you will need to mix each time.
Before we move on some cautionary notes. Resin builds up heat when it is in the mixing bucket. The more resin, the more heat. The more heat the shorter the working time. So, after you mix the resin, get it out of the bucket ASAP! , or you will end up with a hot bucket of hard resin. Also, Polyester resin is nasty stuff, you must wear all proper safety equipment, you do not want to get it on your skin or in your eyes, or you will end up with an injury. The fumes are also quite strong, so we recommend a proper respirator.
Back to work.
For each section overlap the mat at least one or two inches to ensure a waterproof deck. Keep laying out the mat, and spreading the resin until the entire deck is finished.
Flashings and overhangs; If you want to run the mat 4 to 6 inches up the wall to get a waterproof seal , just fold the mat and rest it against the wall, use a disposable mini roller to roll the resin onto it,( or just use a plastic straight edge to pull it up the wall) and press it down with the laminate roller. The same goes if you want to do a lip around the deck, let the mat hang over the edge, bend it down, roll resin on it with the mini roller, then press it down with the laminate roller.
After a couple of hours, apply your deck paint or gel coat. The polyester resin will stay tacky for about two days. It is best to get the paint or gelcoat on the deck during this time. Now you are finished, and if you did it right, it can last anywhere from 20 to 25 years. We have taught several home builders, and dozens and dozens of homeowners to lay decks by this method, and they have had a good experience with it. It is not that hard to do. If you need help with any of this please call FiberglassSite.com at 1-800-507-2003 or e-mail fiberglassSite@comcast.net