Fiberglass is composed of fine glass fibers. Traditionally, it has been used in substituting asbestos in most industrial processes since the 50's. Nowadays, we commonly use these materials in repairing fiberglass items. You should follow several rules in working with fiberglass if you want to attain best results.
These are the things that you have to keep in mind when working with fiberglass.
- Check the surface of the project that you will work on. Inspect and measure the spot. Doing this will help you analyze the amount of materials that you will need in repairing.
- Get the tools needed. It is important to have the appropriate materials for the job. You will need the following: gel coat, a solvent for clean up, a fiberglass mat or cloth, epoxy resin or polyester, paint and a mask. You might also need a body filler, a sander and rags on hand.
- Observe safety when working with fiberglass. Always protect yourself and wear appropriate clothing. You should wear old pants and long sleeved shirts that can be discarded after use. Do not forget to wear a dust mask, gloves and goggles.
- Before you start working, you have to prepare your working area. You have to be sure that the surface that you will be working on is dry and free from debris. Remove any crushed or cracked spots for a better result.
- Cover the spot of the project that you are working on with either fiberglass cloth or a fiberglass mat. You can use a fiberglass cloth if you want to ensure the strength of the material or just use a fiberglass mat if your budget is tight because it is not as expensive as the cloth and it can be used for irregular and rough surfaces. You should cut the mat or the fiberglass cloth and trace it in the spot‘s shape. If you have to build the spot up, you can add layers of smaller patches of fiberglass cloth or mat.
- Put the appropriate amount of polyester or epoxy resin in a shallow container. Then, mix it up.
- Brush the polyester or epoxy resin under the fiberglass cloth or mat and put it on the spot of the project that you are working on. Put some resin or polyester above the first layer of the mat or cloth then add the smaller patches for the next layer. Do this process until you're done. You should work fast because polyester and epoxy resin dry up quickly. Make sure that you are done before they dry up.
- Lay the patches smoothly and gently to keep bubbles from forming and prevent the cloth or mat in having wrinkles.
- You should immediately clean your tools after working for preventing the resin or polyester to dry up. Use solvent like acetone in cleaning them.
- Smooth the surface with sand paper when it dries. Wipe the dust off and fill in small holes using filler, such as Bondo. Scour it off again when it dries and apply a clear gel coat.
Fiberglass has the same chemical components as asbestos. This means that fiberglass can also cause some health problems so you have to be really careful in handling them. Fiberglass can cause irritation to eyes, skin and throat. It can also cause respiratory problems especially when your job involves long fiberglass exposure.