What will this cost me? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-04-2009, 09:33 AM   #15
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I'm not entirely sure what fiberglass "delamination" would be on one of these trailers, as there's really nothing to "delaminate" per se. Fiberglass over plywood can delaminate, but most likely the "waves" you see are merely the fiberglass itself. You occasionally see that in pretty thin glass that was sprayed in rather than hand-laid, but it's not necessarily indicative of a problem. Raw fiberglass can "rot" or get soft with sun exposure, and the gelcoat can have hair-line "spider web" cracking from stress, but all-in-all it's pretty tough stuff. I used to get "blisters" on my boats, but that is common with water exposure and one of the reasons sail boat hulls are painted below the water line is to seal them.

If the gel-coat is really "shot" you'll be able to see bits of raw glass fiber through it. That's a big job, and mostly repaired by painting. If it's merely dull, there are a bunch of products out there that can clean it up and make it shine again. You just need to have the time and ambition to do it. It won't cost much. Gel-gloss is one of the easier and least expensive products to use, is easy to find, and it looks better with every application.

Frankly, I'd be more concerned about floor rot, window caulk condition, and axle condition than the gel-coat condition on 98% of these trailers.

Roger
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Old 02-04-2009, 06:05 PM   #16
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The way I re-do them,
is sand/repair/sand/Epoxy primer/spray rock guard,grey primer, then paint color of your choice.
Any body shop can do it for you.

Hope this helps.
Don't want to go off topic, but I asked these questions (with pics) when I got my 86 Cadet, but didn't get any replies...
This sounds like what I'm going to have to do, since I have a few screw holes to patch and some "blistering" (not sure what to call it) Pics are at the bottom of my album.

http://s183.photobucket.com/albums/x100/ke...?albumview=grid



I might need to ask you some more questions when I start my repairs..

Ken



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Old 02-04-2009, 07:39 PM   #17
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Kenny,

It's hard to tell from that photo if that's a paint job gone bad, or issues with the original gelcoat. In either case, the first step is probably to remove and see what you've got going on with the substrate, after which you can forumulate a plan for repair (I can't imagine that you won't end up taking it all off anyway, but you could do just a representative area first to see what's going on and to test your removal method(s)). Sanding, scraping, stripper... it all depends on what's really going on there. I'd probably start with some sandpaper, and then work from there.

Gelcoat and paint:

It's true that you can re-gelcoat something fiberglass once it's out of the mold, but there's typically little reason to in this day and age of two-part LPU paints, such as Awlgrip or Alexseal (to name two specific brands), which I would consider superior in a later application (indeed, some high-quality boat manufacturers are now simply painting straight away and skipping gelcoat altogether).

Gelcoat is in its element when you can spray it into a female mold, which is what you do when you're molding up something like one of our trailers. After that you lay in the reinforcements and resin, let it set up, and then remove the mold (or the item from the mold, depending on how the mold is set up). Voila.

Spraying it on later... well, you can... but there's not really any benefit to doing it later. It's not really being used in its best element then, if that makes sense. Gelcoat can be sprayed, but it's not really how it works best. If you've done the necessary prep, and you have the access to (or are paying someone for) professional spraying equipment, then why not put on a two-part linear polyurethane paint? (My opinion here.)

I know that when I first got into boatwork, I had that feeling that "Oh, I want gelcoat! Paint is a later coating, and must be inferior." Now paint CAN be an inferior coating, and like any finish, the prep work is directly related to the final outcome, but it's no longer something that is necessarily slapped on later and is not as "strong" as original gelcoat (assuming using something like a two-part LPU in a sprayed application). A paint job like this can still be hard and shiny more than 20 years later.

Of course there are lots of paint applications that have the "put on with a broom" look, which is probably why people think "Ewww" when it comes to paint. There aren't that many "home-broomed" gelcoat jobs, so you don't see those, and many people are probably comparing the "home broom" paint job to the "professional" gelcoat job, and thus not seeing the amazing paint jobs that are done now. After all, no-one gelcoats their car when they make it into a street rod

Raya
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:00 PM   #18
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Thanks for the quick reply. It could be one of 2 problems, there are areas where it's obvious it's been painted (lighter spots) OR it could be fire/heat damage (I stripped most of the inside and there are black sooty areas) I was told it was parked next to a trailer that caught fire.

I took the tounge box off, and will work on it to see if I have the skills (ie patience) to do it right. I'll have to research the two-part linear polyurethane paint you mention, but might leave the final spraying to a pro..
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:25 PM   #19
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I'm not entirely sure what fiberglass "delamination" would be on one of these trailers, as there's really nothing to "delaminate" per se.
In the simplified case of our trailers, compared to large boats, delamination would separation of the gelcoat from the fiberglass. One of the functions of the gelcoat is to protect the fiberglass from the effects of weather because the basic fiberglass isn't as waterproof as it seems at first -- Boats use many different kinds of materials and forms (mats, roving, cloth, etc.) for the different requirements in different areas, like strength at corners and beams, etc., so there are lots more opportunities for delamination where two or more types of glass and resin meet.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:27 PM   #20
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I would actually think of delamination as the separation of the laminates (i.e. the layers of "cloth" or other cloth-like reinforcements [mat, etc.]); or, in the case of a cored structure, the separation of the fiberglass layer from the core. I wouldn't have thought to use that term for separation of gelcoat from glass (actually I've never seen gelcoat "separate" in that way); I've seen gelcoat "failure" but not really delamination, per se. (?)

Kenny,
I know fire can damage fiberglass, but I don't know if what you're seeing would have been caused by heat

One note on the two-part LPU paints: They can be dangerous and toxic (what makes them good, of course), so you need to wear protective clothing, a good organic-vaport cartridge respirator, etc. And even with all that, you should not spray it. You can brush it with that level of protection, because it's not being atomized.

For spraying, you actually need a supplied-air respirator - I would count on pros for that.

Raya

PS: If you test sand an area, I'd love to see what you find.
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:44 PM   #21
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Link to a thread from a couple of years ago talking about getting the shine back. There is some discussion on repairs and I provided a link to a video that was available on gel coat and repairs. The video talks about various problems encountered with gel coat.
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:52 PM   #22
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Quote:
not sure what to call it
Neither am I Ken, that is probably why you may not have gotten too many responses initially.
The picture you provided looks like blistering (almost like water got underneath and froze) but it also looks like various forms of impact marks there are small dents of multiple sizes. Then there are the 1/2 circle indents looks like something was banging into the gelcoat. It almost looks like the end of a bolt or something. It is really hard to say if there is a single problem or multiple. My guess is the latter.

Is the whole trailer like what you posted, or only one specific area?

Roy
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