New Product Spotlight: FGCI Mil Gauge

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We talk a lot about gelcoat on this blog. We have stated on multiple occasions that gelcoat has to be applied with a certain thickness, generally 15-20 mils thick. How do you know exactly how thick your gelcoat coverage is? The answer is that you use a mil gauge, also known as a wet laminate gauge.

A mil gauge is a simple piece that you place on to your sprayed surface when the gelcoat is wet. When you pull it up, you look to see which teeth have gelcoat on them. You look at the highest number that has coating on it and it will give you a mil thickness; simple, right?

We have a new batch of mil gauges that are now online through Amazon and Ebay and available on our website, www.FGCI.com or in our showrooms. Pick yours up today.

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Interior vs. Exterior Gelcoat

Brushable gelGelcoat is a big part of our business here at FGCI. When looking at gelcoat, there is a wealth of options to choose from. The most obvious first choice is the color of the gelcoat; we have a vast array of over 25 stock colors with the ability to color match to a sample you provide. Once you have the color figured out, comes whether you want to brush the gelcoat or spray it, as we have the ability to do either. Lastly, however, is the option many people have a question about; interior or exterior. Let’s look at both options so you know which you will want for your job.

Exterior Gelcoat is our tried and true standard. If our gelcoat doesn’t specify interior or exterior, then the answer is automatically exterior gelcoat. It doesn’t mean that the gelcoat is only good for external use, or the outside of a boat, it means, simply that it does NOT have wax or Sanding Aid mixed in. This means that the lack of Sanding Aid will result in a tacky finish. If you want to avoid the tacky finish, you will want to add something like Sanding Aid, Patch Booster or Duratec to the mixture. This is mainly used as your primary coat or coats as you do not have to sand between coats, given you don’t wait too long.

Interior Gelcoat doesn’t mean the gelcoat can only be applied inside, it means it has Sanding Aid or Wax mixed in. Interior Gelcoat is used as a final coat, due to the Sanding Aid allowing it to dry tack-free, it will give a nice finish. You will not want to add Duratec or Sanding Aid to this product. If you use this product as your primary coat and look to add another coat, you will need to sand it first.

Now that you know which product you need, you can buy your gelcoat with confidence. And as always, remember that we are here to help with any questions you have!

Product Spotlight: OEM Sandpaper

oem-sandpaperA product that we don’t often talk about here at FGCI is sandpaper. Sandpaper is used with nearly every job because you need to treat the surface before applying most resins, gelcoats and paints. You also use sandpaper to get any old resin, gelcoat and paint off of your surface before applying a new coating. So, with all this use, you need a product that is inexpensive, but most of all; reliable.

With that, we present OEM Sandpaper by FGCI. FGCI OEM Sandpaper is perfect for almost any job. It uses a Pressure Sensitive Adhesive (PSA) backing and is offered in 5” and 6” sizes. They are sold in rolls of 100 and run anywhere from $14.75 a roll to $27.80 a roll. At that price, it’s convenient and easy to buy the many grits we offer for any job you have.

The best part about OEM sandpaper is the longevity. You know you have been there when you replace a sheet and start sanding only to see the brand new paper completely useless moments later. With OEM sandpaper, you will get a fantastic life from your paper at a minimal cost.

OEM Sandpaper is available in our stores in St. Petersburg and Ft. Lauderdale; online at www.FGCI.com and now on Amazon, too!

Estimating Gelcoat Coverage

Brushable Gelcoat PhotoOne of our most popular questions is exactly how much gelcoat will I need to complete a job. The answer isn’t always extremely simple, but we will try to make it as simple as we can.

To start off, you need to specify exactly how thick you plan on applying the gelcoat. The gelcoat is measured by a mil gauge. When looking at the thickness, gelcoat is recommended to be about 15 mils thick, or roughly the thickness of a credit card. You can apply up to about 20 mils, but anything thicker can result in cracking.mil gauge 2

Once you know your thickness, at 15 mils, you will get about 25 square feet per quart or 100 square feet per gallon. Another way to think of it is a quart will cover a 4’ x 8’ sheet of laminate.

Estimating your job is an important step. If you are looking to figure out how much gelcoat your pool will require, we have a handy tool on our website you can find by going here: (FGCI Pool area calculator).

8 Solvents for Cleaning Up your next Job

solventA major part of our business here at FGCI is dedicated to solvents. Solvents are used for many things, but especially for cleanup. When you finish a project, you want to be able to clean up your mess, right? Everything from cleaning spray guns and brushes to wiping down the project afterwards, solvents are an important part of your project process. When you start a project, you want to make sure you pick up something to clean up, but which one works best? Let’s look!

Acetone

Acetone is a necessity for cleaning up polyester resins and gelcoats. Acetone is also a very important step in treating your part before spraying gelcoat, as it helps get any and all oils off the part to avoid blemishes. This is probably the best overall cleaner.

Lacquer Thinner

Lacquer Thinner is a must for removing oils. You will see a lot of mechanics use this for parts cleaning and washing as it is great for removing a lot of the grease left by engines. You will also see this product offered in different degrees of purity, from the wash-grade to the medium to the high-grade.

Isopropyl Alcohol

Our Isopropyl Alcohol is 99% water free. This product is great for cleaning epoxy, especially for wiping down a new epoxy bar-top.

Mineral Spirits

Mineral Spirits are a tried and true paint cleaner you will see used by anyone painting a polyurethane or enamel paint as it breaks down the paint very quickly.

Styrene

Styrene is a common solution found in resins and gelcoats, sometimes called ‘wax.’ Styrene is commonly used to thin down resin to allow it to seep into wood easier. We don’t recommend using it to thin gelcoat, however.

Toluene

Toluene is a great multi-use product as it’s great for cleaning epoxy, but it also works for cleaning paint as well. Toluene is mainly used for cleaning up silicone and it does a great job on 5200.

T-12

T-12 is a very volatile solvent used mainly for cleaning epoxies. This solvent dries extremely quickly, but you will see it used frequently for cleaning brushes between uses.

Xylene

Xylene is used mainly as a thinner for enamels. It can also be used for cleanup for paints as well.

The most important thing to remember with all of these solvents is that they all require proper protection. Gloves and some sort of clothing protection would be the least you can do. You may also consider respirators and eye protection as well. You also want to remember that all of this material is flammable, so be cautious and store it properly.