If any item made of fiberglass has ever broken in your household before, I am willing to bet that you have thrown it away or replaced it. This is extremely common in modern households because very few people are familiar with fiberglass repair techniques. That’s right, it is possible to repair it and thus you can save yourself money in the process. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you learn!
Step One: Identifying Damage
The first step in undertaking fiberglass repair techniques is actually identifying the damage. Mark the damage area with a marker pen or other similar technique and then test the local area using the edge of a coin to see how widespread the damage actually is.
The sound that is made on the area you have located will be very different from a healthy area and so tapping around the damage will allow you to gauge how big an area is affected and alter your parameters accordingly. You should then check with any manufacturers instructions that you have to hand as to whether the size of the area makes it possible to repair. If the area is retrievable, then continue onto step two.
Step Two: Removal And Bonding
Before implementing fiberglass repair techniques, remove any loose material that surrounds the damage because it cannot be filled and bound if that is still present. Tapping the area will loosen anything still in place and reduce further damage to the area and scratching around it.
You could then try to brush it out with a paintbrush or use adhesive tape to pull it right out. The latter technique is preferable because it as no impact on the rest of the area.
In order to continue with fiberglass repair techniques, you must remove any excess oil or moisture that may contaminate and weaken the area once it has been repaired and acetone usually works wonders.
Dab it on with an old cloth before buffing the surface dry and sandpapering the edges of the damaged area. Roughening the surface will make it easier for any bond or filler to settle and thus make the impact of your repair more long lasting.
Step Three: Resin
Prepare the filler you will be using to carry out the fiberglass repair techniques but always make sure that it is the right consistency before applying because it may otherwise damage the surrounding area as well.
Use 1/32 inch milled glass fibres in resin putty because that will effectively strengthen the structure as opposed to weakening it. Apply it with a squeegee or small workman’s knife to make sure that it completely fills the area. Level off the top of the hole as far as possible and then leave it to dry before sanding it down. This whole process, including drying time, should take three or four hours.
Step Four: Finishing
Fiberglass repair techniques are completed with a colour match gel or paint finish, depending on the material that was used for its original finish. Mixing it with a substance containing a high gloss additive may be advisable because it actually serves to settle the finish straight away without blistering. The repair will then make the item as good as new and should cause very little, if any, surface weakness.
Fiberglass repair techniques are not used enough on superficial damage. They are easy enough to carry out and do not weaken the make up of the original item because fiberglass is a composite. It is well worth the little spent on repairs if you compare it to the cost of buying new, so save yourself some money and get into DIY.
Photo by Steve Snodgrass, Creative Commons Attribution