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post #1 of 13 Old 05-19-2007 Thread Starter
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Sanding and Fairing teqnique

I am repairing and painting a fiberglass deck that is nearly 30 years old. I have injected resin into delaminated areas, filled holes, faired other areas, and sanded as many as four layers of paint and non skid buildup in some areas. Needless to say, even after days and days and days of sanding, the surface remains less than perfect. What are some techniques I can use to insure that the deck looks great after the paint goes on? Is there a particuliar primer that I can apply, and then use more filling compound and sanding, and then re-apply to get a nice surface?

Thanks in advance, Dusty White
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post #2 of 13 Old 05-19-2007
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Believe it or not, regular ole Bondo will fair things up, esp on bare fiberglass.
You put it on and then sand it smooth. After all it's just a thick polyester resin. Now I'm not talking in thick layers where it flexes and may crack...
If you use a good paint like Interlux Brightside, you can put it on with a brush and it will flow out smooth and shiney as if it was sprayed on.
Another trick is to use a thick non-skid to hide imperfections. I've also seen (folks with alot of time and $$) strips of teak put down to strengthen and beautify a deck.
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post #3 of 13 Old 05-19-2007
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If you really want a nice even surface... why don't you give it a skim coat of thickened epoxy and then sand it all after the epoxy cures. That should give you a very smooth base for the paint.

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post #4 of 13 Old 05-20-2007 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
If you really want a nice even surface... why don't you give it a skim coat of thickened epoxy and then sand it all after the epoxy cures. That should give you a very smooth base for the paint.
Sailingdog,
Okay, do you know of any good guides on how to perform this? Will epoxy stick to the remaining paint/non-skid/gelcoat or do I need to sand everything down to the fiberglass?
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Unfortunately, for the best adhesion, you're going to have to sand. I'm sure that there are sections in either Nigel Calder's or Don Casey's various books on doing this.

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Epoxy is good and will stick to most anything. But it is only as strong as what it is stuck to. It's not overly flexible, so if your deck flexes any, it may develope hairline cracks or crazing. It is very hard to sand, so place it carefully. The main reason gelcoat cracks and crazes, is that the structural polyester resin/glass flexes and the gelcoat doesn't.
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If the deck's soundness is even somewhat suspect, adding a few layers of fiberglass to the surface before fairing it would add considerable strength to the repair. Don't forget to wear a dust mask whenever you are sanding epoxy, as the dust isn't very healthy to inhale.

USCGRet1990 is right about gelcoat, which if applied too thickly, will craze and crack fairly readily. If applied in a thinner coat, it does flex with the underlying laminate fairly well.

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post #8 of 13 Old 05-20-2007
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Straight epoxy is hard to sand, if you add silica filler it is about like trying to sand a piece of granite. On the other hand, if you load the epoxy with micro-balloons and/or other lightweight fillers, it is much easier to sand. I agree with the post above about putting it on carefully; the better job you do of spreading the filled epoxy the less sanding you will have to do. The West System booklets have the info you need on how to mix epoxy and fillers to serve as a fairing compound.
For the best job I would remove all old paint down to gelcoat or fiberglass, otherwise you are relying on the bond of the old paint to the gelcoat.
If I am fairing a hull I always use a longboard to sand the epoxy down flat, on a deck that will be covered with non skid, maybe not.
Regular bondo is polyester resin based, not especially water proof and likely to crack if you need to build up any thickness. I think epoxy is better.
The easiest way to go would be to use a really coarse non skid, you won't be albe to notice any imperfections in the underlying surface. I have sailed on a boat where the non skid was coarse walnut shells in paint; it looked great and you never slipped, which was good, because you didn't want skin to contact the walnut shells.

John
Chuck Paine Sarah 32 under construction
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Oceanandmts-

I don't know of anyone who fairs with straight, pure epoxy...aside from the difficulty of sanding it, it is also much more expensive to do it that way, without using some sort of filler to reduce the cost of the fairing job.

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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickbwells
I am repairing and painting a fiberglass deck that is nearly 30 years old. I have injected resin into delaminated areas, filled holes, faired other areas, and sanded as many as four layers of paint and non skid buildup in some areas. Needless to say, even after days and days and days of sanding, the surface remains less than perfect. What are some techniques I can use to insure that the deck looks great after the paint goes on? Is there a particuliar primer that I can apply, and then use more filling compound and sanding, and then re-apply to get a nice surface?

Thanks in advance, Dusty White
I guess your going to have to post a picture of your deck, so we can decide what you need to do....
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