Fiberglass Bonding Adhesives - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-10-2018, 03:34 PM   #1
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Fiberglass Bonding Adhesives

I am looking into the various types of adhesives used in fiberglass trailer construction, repair, etc. to use in my Lil Hauley buildout. I will be bonding wood to fiberglass (gelcoat). Here are 3 that look acceptable, Methyl Methacrylate (MMA), polyurethane and epoxy.


ASI MP 55310 MMA 3000+ psi and flexible.



3M 5200 polyurethane strength is 700 psi, is flexible.


ASI MP 5405 epoxy strength is 2400 psi, flexible impact resistant



What did you use? What were you doing? How was it to work with? Prep work required? Any failures? etc.


Any real life experience in this area would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-10-2018, 04:18 PM   #2
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Hey Carl, been hacking on our '74 boler since 2003 with many fiberglass mods, ad ons etc.
I only use polyester resin and glass. That is what the trailer was made with and takes just a little prep to add more. Lots a pics and lnfo in a thread called "there's a hole in my boler" or something close to that.

In the 80's I did a lot of stockcar racing and built body panels from polyester and glass.
I don't remember ever having a delamination on anything. Those stockcars took a lot of abuse too!
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Old 11-10-2018, 06:24 PM   #3
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It is hard to beat epoxy from West System. A stronger bond to old fiberglass than the poly stuff. You will need to sand through the gel coat or it may pull off. 5200 is a really good sealant but it may not hold up to constant hanging weight. I am not familiar with the other,
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Old 11-10-2018, 07:10 PM   #4
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Carl,

Fred knows more than I do about using polyester, but I can tell you, from boat building, that 5200 is a permanent way to glue wood to fiberglass. It is a one part caulk gun fed material, about the consistency of toothpaste, so it fills gaps and it will not let go. Plus, no mixing. Just squeeze some onto the piece and push it into place. Great for mounting blocks to the hull to screw things to.
If you want to mount a bulkhead directly to the hull, you can run a bead of 5200 along the edge and set it in place. That allows the joint to flex a bit. For even more strength, glass over the joint with 2" wide fiberglass tape and either polyester or epoxy resin. I used many gallons of System 3 brand epoxy over the years and it bonds to polyester very well. But remember, polyester does not stick to epoxy very well, so if you go with epoxy, you should stay with it.
If you need a high viscosity glue for filling large gaps, you can add a thickener to epoxy, or add saw dust from your project until you get the consistency of peanut butter.
Another easy to use epoxy is Marine-Tex. It's white and has the consistency of putty. It is good for repairs and mounting blocks of wood to fiberglass.
Polyester may be easier to work with in some cases, but I'm not familiar with it.
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Old 11-11-2018, 07:04 AM   #5
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I use epoxy, typically the MAS brand as it does not contain skin sensitizers. I use epoxy because I am right smack in a boat building community and I can get it easily and for a more affordable price. If your budget it tight then the cost of it is likely a deal breaker even though it is reputed to be stronger.



For bonding wood to the fiberglass I thicken the epoxy with a filler. I feel the filler is important because the fiberglass shell is rarely perfectly flat. A thicker epoxy will give you a better bond plus for vertical applications or overhead work it does not drip and run.


For filler sometimes I use wood flour other times I use the Mas brand of Cell-o-fill. It is not all that critical for bonding wood blocking to the walls which one of those two I use. The choice is more to do with what do I have on hand or what was the store sold out of that day.



If I need a lot of strength such as bonding wood to the ceiling where it might need to support the weight of a cabinet I would also add in some thickening fibers that are made for higher strength situations. But those fibers are somewhat coarser and more difficult to spread so if I don't absolutely need that extra strength I don't use them.



The weather is cooler now, that makes epoxy slower to set. At this time of year because where I am the outside temp is in the 40s 50s or low 60s so I put the part A and part B containers into a hot tap water bath. That will accelerate the cure time to about the same as on a warm summer day. Otherwise you might be in a situation where getting a proper cure is iffy because you are at the low end of the recommended range for product use.
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Old 11-11-2018, 07:26 AM   #6
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I know people in the boating world who call 5200 "devil's glue". Only used if you never intend to remove something. If you were to try removing it in the future, it could damage the surfaces it's on.

I'd recommend epoxy or polyester resin and use a filler to thicken it
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Old 11-11-2018, 12:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan-NS27 View Post
I know people in the boating world who call 5200 "devil's glue". Only used if you never intend to remove something. If you were to try removing it in the future, it could damage the surfaces it's on.
If you want to remove a block of wood previously glued to fiberglass with 5200 you don't pry it off, you split the majority of it off with a chisel and sand the rest away with a coarse disk on a high speed sander. Prying it off will separate the fiberglass. Be sure to wear gloves when applying it. 5200 is moisture cured. What you get on your hands will cure to where you can't wash it of. If you don't wash it off within a few minutes with paint thinner, it will take about a week to wear off. It is similar to what is used to bond the upper and lower shells together on fiberglass trailers. There is no stronger or easier way to bond wood to fiberglass. No mixing or thickening required.
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Old 11-11-2018, 12:30 PM   #8
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Lots of good advice. Thanks.


From what I read MMA adhesives are what boat builders and I think Lil Snoozy use to bond the fiberglass shells together. I saw some big tubes of Acralock MMA at Lil Snoozy when I visited the factory in the spring. MMAs require little prep work and hold like death. It is also quite expensive. Bond strength is 4-5 times stronger the 5200, however, if 700 psi is not enough to hold stuff together in a trailer then I am probably doing something wrong. If you think about it, a 4 square inch block bonded to the roof of a Lil Snoozy would be strong enough to pick up the whole trailer! I will attaching walls, cabinets, shelves, etc.. I plan on having the weight of these items transferred to the floor thru wood components, such as the bed divider, shower wall, floor to ceiling cabinets, etc. That being said the adhesive will only be required to keep stuff attached to the walls so they don't tip over, which is a relatively small load. It looks like MMA is overkill and epoxy is also overkill and requires fillers. 5200 remains flexible when cured (good for vibration), provides a permanent bond, (which I want), fills gaps and has minimal surface prep. Even though it is rather expensive ($20-$25 per 10 oz tube), it sounds like the best solution so far.
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Old 11-11-2018, 02:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlD View Post
Lots of good advice. Thanks.


From what I read MMA adhesives are what boat builders and I think Lil Snoozy use to bond the fiberglass shells together. I saw some big tubes of Acralock MMA at Lil Snoozy when I visited the factory in the spring. MMAs require little prep work and hold like death. It is also quite expensive. Bond strength is 4-5 times stronger the 5200, however, if 700 psi is not enough to hold stuff together in a trailer then I am probably doing something wrong. If you think about it, a 4 square inch block bonded to the roof of a Lil Snoozy would be strong enough to pick up the whole trailer! I will attaching walls, cabinets, shelves, etc.. I plan on having the weight of these items transferred to the floor thru wood components, such as the bed divider, shower wall, floor to ceiling cabinets, etc. That being said the adhesive will only be required to keep stuff attached to the walls so they don't tip over, which is a relatively small load. It looks like MMA is overkill and epoxy is also overkill and requires fillers. 5200 remains flexible when cured (good for vibration), provides a permanent bond, (which I want), fills gaps and has minimal surface prep. Even though it is rather expensive ($20-$25 per 10 oz tube), it sounds like the best solution so far.


I had a problem awhile back with a wood bulkhead pulling away from a fiberglass wall. I used 5200. Two things I didnít like . It was too runny and after a year it failed. Looking back it is possible I failed to get the silicon properly cleaned out of the crack. But I just canít trust 5200 now. Thatís just me. sad because I have always got good service from 3m products.
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Old 11-11-2018, 03:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlsara View Post
I had a problem awhile back with a wood bulkhead pulling away from a fiberglass wall. I used 5200. Two things I didnít like . It was too runny and after a year it failed. Looking back it is possible I failed to get the silicon properly cleaned out of the crack. But I just canít trust 5200 now. Thatís just me. sad because I have always got good service from 3m products.
That's why silicone is generally a bad thing with fiberglass. Once it's used, it's hard to get anything else to adhere to the same surface.
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Old 11-11-2018, 07:55 PM   #11
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Yes I know. I will never use the stuff in a trailer.
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