Clear coat vs waxing the belly band - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-16-2015, 09:14 AM   #1
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Name: Tony
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Clear coat vs waxing the belly band

Ok...our Scamp trailer is almost done being painted. The belly band has been polished. The question is now, do we clear coat it with a product from Por15 or something similar, or do we just wax it? If we wax it, what do we use? Thoughts are greatly appreciated!
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Old 05-16-2015, 09:56 AM   #2
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You can call me Mr Shine because I have polished every piece of aluminum on my Boler by hand using white polishing compound bars and a 3/4 hp 8" power polisher.

If you truly polished the belly band using polishing compound and power polishing wheels applying a clear finish over the aluminum will actually reduce the shine. Again if you did a proper polishing job simply applying a product like Autosol Aluminum Polish (my prefered product) once or twice a year will maintain an extremely high level of glass and protect the finish.

If the belly band was just chemically polished with polishing cream and a cloth then a clear coating will work and make it appear glossy, but not to the extent that a true polished aluminum provides.
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Old 05-16-2015, 10:04 AM   #3
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We followed some advice on the forum and used Mother's and some scoring pads followed by a clean soft cloth. Don't have access to polishing wheels. The band looks better than it did...And I am certain that no one polished it in it's 30+ years of existence. I would like to keep it looking nice, but I am not sure it's worth the cost to clear coat it.
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Old 05-16-2015, 10:22 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sohkraites View Post
We followed some advice on the forum and used Mother's and some scoring pads followed by a clean soft cloth. Don't have access to polishing wheels. The band looks better than it did...And I am certain that no one polished it in it's 30+ years of existence. I would like to keep it looking nice, but I am not sure it's worth the cost to clear coat it.
In that case I think you will be happy using the POR coating product.

To explain the original mill finish aluminum under a microscope actually has a surface that looks like small hairs, each of these hairs increase the exposed surface area and will oxidize causing the dull finish. When you use a power polisher with the correct cutting compound you actually remove these hairs making the surface glass smooth, this reduces the surface area and the reflection actually comes from the aluminum surface. Because the polished surface has less surface area it is less prone to oxidation and a simple wipe will maintain the surface.

Chemical polishes like Mothers will dissolve or actually convert the oxidation and remove it but the surface area remains the same which means it will oxidize faster and be harder to maintain. Using scotch pads or coarse abrasive pads leaves a uniform textured surface made up of small scratches in the same direction which, although looking good, will not directly reflect light, also the surface area is greater and therefore will oxidize faster.

Here is a before and after picture of the Jalousie window side operator arms power polished.
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Old 05-16-2015, 11:51 AM   #5
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Hello Ian,

I love your thorough comments, am happily re-organizing the little BIOD and will use your polishing method. I have been trying to find fiberglass mats and liquids. No luck yet ;-( Need to fiberglass some woodblocks to intererior, in order to hang the reconfigured top cabinets. Already have new flooring, but would like to have those cabinets and the blocks installed first.
Hope you see this!
Marijke
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Old 05-16-2015, 02:06 PM   #6
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If you are in Calgary, you can try Industrial Plastic and Paints. Great store for plastic containers as well.
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Old 05-16-2015, 02:25 PM   #7
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Thanks Claire!
Am in Edmonton, but come through Calgary sometimes. Will check them out tehn.
Enjoy the long weekend!
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:55 AM   #8
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You CAN polish the alum. by hand with rubbing compound/wax to get the desired "Chrome" look. And yes, I've done it. Since the bellyband is such a small area (basically top and side) it wont take THAT long...just a little "elbow" grease. I wouldnt attempt this on an "Airstream" though.

I almost forgot....also try some fine "steel wool". It will nearly give you the same effect. BUT, you CAN do both. It's fun to experiment with. The bottom line is, you can get it to look nearly chrome without an expensive buffer.

Here's some polish to experiment with...not expensive and would be an excellent "chaser" to steel wool:
Turtle Wax®Renew Rx™ Rubbing Compound - Walmart.com

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sohkraites View Post
We followed some advice on the forum and used Mother's and some scoring pads followed by a clean soft cloth. Don't have access to polishing wheels. The band looks better than it did...And I am certain that no one polished it in it's 30+ years of existence. I would like to keep it looking nice, but I am not sure it's worth the cost to clear coat it.
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Old 05-20-2015, 01:00 PM   #9
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After polishing and cleaning look up sharkhide.
Sharkhide

Allot of the hot rodders and bikers have gone to using this stuff for its long lasting polished qualities. Probably too expensive for a belly band but if you have other toys with polished aluminium its worth the expense.
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Old 05-20-2015, 02:29 PM   #10
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We decided to just clear coat the band. We got the Rustoleum Clear (pic attached). We did this for a couple of reasons: 1) Cost. One can covered the entire bellyband, the door threshold and the drip guard. It cost less than $4. Per instructions, we wiped the bare aluminum down with mineral spirits, then wiped it dry, then sprayed. Looks good so far. The por15 was 10 times that. 2) Time. we need to get the trailer put back together and to wait to have the por 15 clear coat shipped was too long. 3) Convenience. Should the band start looking ratty again, we can just remove it, remove the clear coat with mineral spirits and elbow grease and start over. Hopefully, this will last longer than a regular wax job which we were told would need to be done more frequently. For better or worse, we will give it a go and see how it holds up.
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Old 05-20-2015, 05:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
You CAN polish the alum. by hand with rubbing compound/wax to get the desired "Chrome" look. And yes, I've done it. Since the bellyband is such a small area (basically top and side) it wont take THAT long...just a little "elbow" grease. I wouldnt attempt this on an "Airstream" though.

I almost forgot....also try some fine "steel wool". It will nearly give you the same effect. BUT, you CAN do both. It's fun to experiment with. The bottom line is, you can get it to look nearly chrome without an expensive buffer.
You can definitely polish aluminum by hand with the correct polishing products but it is a huge amount of work (I will qualify this by saying more effort you put into it the a shinier surface be).

Steel will WILL NOT polish aluminum nor give you a finish anywhere near polished. This process will give you a grained or "scratched" finish similar to the look on stainless steel appliances.

You don't need expensive polisher, I used a $75 8" bench grinder with 8" cotton buffing wheels, the larger size is beneficial in making the work go faster but you can also buy smaller cotton buffing wheels that can be used in a drill, it is just more difficult to get an even consistent mirror finish with smaller and narrower buffs
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Old 05-26-2015, 09:13 AM   #12
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PPG makes two products for aluminum that were recommended to me when I wanted to restore some aluminum rims.

After your all done polishing
Use DX579 that is a metal cleaner.
followed by DX501 Aluminum conditioner.
The conditioner leaves the aluminum slightly grayish. You will loose the miror like shine but the aluminum will be protected.
Then you can wax or clear coat.
I used clear coat on the Jeep mag rims and after almost 10 years are still looking good after many snowy salty winters in Ohio.

I've recently embarked on doing the same for the 18" rims on my Silverado that are corroded where the bead seats doing one at a time using an extra rim I got.

The belly band Casita uses is anodized and won't shine up unless you remove all the anodizing first.

Joe
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Old 05-26-2015, 09:28 AM   #13
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I didnt realize Casita's BB was anodized. Clear anodize I take it?

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The belly band Casita uses is anodized and won't shine up unless you remove all the anodizing first.

Joe
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Old 05-26-2015, 09:45 AM   #14
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Clear as it gets but it's kind of grayish.
I used to work around aluminum shower doors 40 some years ago and anodized ones were available as an option. Our shower doors came in shiny (polished), anodized that was available in grayish or gold and they didn't shine like the standard polished ones.
Before the stock pieces were sent out to be anodized they were polished.
Consistency of the anodized color was not too good.
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