Fiberglass paint consists of volatile organic compounds, polymers, and pigment. Volatile organic compounds are liquids which quickly evaporate. They keep the pigment, or color, in suspension while the fiberglass paint is applied and dries quickly. The polymer is the binder, which causes the pigment particles to bind together. It is a plastic chemical compound which contains polyurethanes, polyesters or epoxy. Other types of paint binders may include acrylics, melamine resins, or oil, but these will not produce an effective result on fiberglass.
To understand fiberglass paint, it is important to understand fiberglass itself. Fiberglass is a thin, yet light, material that hardens into a substance much like plastic. Both water and sunlight damage it over time, due to water incursion or sunlight causing the resins to break down. Painting the fiberglass does not only improve the way it looks, but also creates a barrier between it and the elements. This paint is commonly used for fiberglass doors, bathtubs, showers, boats, fiberglass car fenders, and more.
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There is a significant cost and amount of work that goes along with the use of fiberglass paint, so the cost that you are willing to put into the job is the first consideration. There are also different types of fiberglass, such as epoxy resin, for which epoxy-based paint will produce the best results. For polyester-based resin, polyester-based paint should be used. Using similar compounds will make the paint adhere better to the surface.
Preparing the surface for painting is important, as is the climate in which it is painted. Humidity should be below 60 percent and temperature should be between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If there is too much humidity, water droplets will be trapped in the paint and the coating will be dull, and can also cause the laminate to break down. If the ambient temperature is too low, the paint will not harden, and if it is too high, it will harden almost immediately. Paint needs time to level out and become smooth.
Fiberglass paint will not adhere well to oily, greasy or glossy surfaces, so cleaning and sanding the fiberglass is an essential step before painting. A fine sandpaper should be used to ensure just enough roughness for the paint to adhere. Using a primer will help provide a bond between the surface and paint, and will add an extra moisture barrier.