5 Tips on how to use Brushable Gelcoat

Brushable gel

Brushable Gelcoat is a specially formulated product that is made to be applied like paint and eliminate the need for spray equipment. It has excellent leveling, Water/Osmosis resistance, UV light Stability, great Gloss Retention and a fantastic long-term durability. It comes in many different colors and can be bought online or in our stores! So, let’s talk about some tips on how to get the most out of the Brushable Gelcoat.

  1. Don’t add Patch Booster or Sanding Aid! You heard that right, you don’t need to add sanding aid to Brushable gelcoat to have it dry tack free! The self-leveling technology added doesn’t require any additional products or additives.
  2. Proper gelcoat application requires you apply your coats about 15-20 mils thick,
    mil-gauge-2
    Mil Gauge

    using a mil gauge.

  3. Allow the gelcoat to cure overnight and then lightly sand it and buff it for an outstanding shine!
  4. Use Acetone for your cleanup. Just like other Polyester-based products, Acetone is the best cleanup material!
  5. The most important step: Adding the proper amount of Catalyst. We recommend 1.5%-2% Catalyst ratio. After adding the catalyst, you will want to mix for two minutes, preferably with a mechanical agitator (drill mixer). For your reference, here is the catalyst chart so you know exactly how much catalyst you need.

BONUS TIP: In the hot Florida weather, working time is tough for any gelcoat. So our FGCI Pro Tip is to chill the gelcoat down to 70 degrees before mixing. This way you can get a bit longer working time.

 

DID YOU KNOW: That FGCI Colormatches gelcoat? We can make as little as a gallon to nearly any sample you have. Call us for details!

  1. catalyst-chart-copy

A Glossary of 122 Industry Terms –

In the world of gelcoat and resin, like every industry, there are terms used that are considered common-place. We have an extensive glossary to help with those terms. Have some others you think we should add? Message us and let us know!

A

Accelerator – An additive to polyester resin that reacts with the catalyst to speed up polymerization. This is required in room temperature cured resins. See Promoter.

Acetone – In an FRP context, acetone is primarily useful as a cleaning solvent for removal of uncured resin from applicator equipment and clothing. Very flammable liquid.

Additive – Substance added to resin mix to impart special performance qualities, such as ultraviolet absorbers, flame retarding materials (antimony trioxide, chlorinated waxes).

Air-drying – To cure at room temperature with the addition of catalyst but without the assistance of heat and pressure.

Alligatoring – Wrinkling of the gelcoat film that resembles alligator hide.

B

Bag molding – A technique for forming and pressure-hardening plastics or plastics laminates by means of air pressure, vacuum and/or heat in a flexible or semi-flexible bag or autoclave, usually in connection with a rigid die or mold.

Barcol hardness – A determination of surface hardness of a polyester using a Barcol Impressor.

Benzoyl Peroxide (BPO) – The catalyst used in conjunction with aniline accelerators or where heat is used as an accelerator.

Bi-directional – An arrangement of the reinforcing fiber strands in which half the strands are laid at right angles to the other half, a directional pattern that gives the maximum product strength to those two directions.

Binder – A resin soluble adhesive that secures the random fibers in chopped strand mat or continuous strand roving.

Blister – A flaw or air pocket between layers of laminant or between the gelcoat film and the first layer of laminant.

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Norox MEK-P Catalyst Guide

catalystWe have talked about catalyst long and hard on this blog, a post you can read HERE. But now we are going to look a little more closely at the different Norox products offered in gallon size and up. There are some differences, which most people aren’t aware of, so, let’s highlight those differences here so you can be sure you are getting the perfect product for the job.

These products are offered in both red and clear. The red catalyst is preferred for resin applications so you can easily see if the resin and catalyst is properly mixed. The red color isn’t used for gelcoat as it will affect the color.

Norox MEK-P 9 – The standard catalyst for Noroc, the MEK-P 9 gives consistent room temperature performance with both resins and gelcoats. A reliable product of high purity assures quality in every system.

Norox MEK-P 925 – High dimer content gives excellent performance in most Vinylester resins. 925 also performs well when used with General Purpose and Isophtallic resins. This product is what is used for the 1 oz, 2 oz, 8 oz, pint and quart bottles. This is what is used when a customer wants “high-point 90.”

Norox MEK-P 9H – This product features a reduced level of hydrogen peroxide. 9H is particularly useful in critical gelcoat applications. Another application is in heated, continuous mixing systems for polymer concrete.

Noxox MEK-P 30 – A reduced strength version of the 9, the 30 provides the fabricator more accurate metering control in hot weather or with a highly reactive resin. This is a favorite during the hot summer months.

Tech Blog – 5 tips on Thinning Gelcoat

maxresdefaultWhen it comes to applying gelcoat, you really only have two kinds of methods; you can brush our brushable gelcoat, or you can use our standard gelcoat and spray it. Most go with spraying the gelcoat to give you the best finish. When spraying gelcoat, you will need a spray gun with a 3.0 tip or larger. If you don’t have a tip that large, most people generally thin the gelcoat. Everyone asks what you use to thin gelcoat, and everyone has an answer. Let me start by saying we don’t recommend thinning gelcoat if you can avoid it. Our techs liken it to chicken soup; the more water you add to it, the less like chicken soup it will be.

  1. Do NOT use Acetone. I have heard people recommend this, but it can cause all kinds of problems for gelcoat from running to fish-eyes to a yellowing of the colors.
  2. We recommend Patch Booster. Patch booster is an additive that will thin out your gelcoat while preventing running. The product will not affect colors like styrene or acetone and is added up to 25 percent by volume to your gelcoat (one quart per gallon). You will want to catalyze the gelcoat at 2% when you add this additive.
  3. We also recommend Duratec High-Gloss additive. This product has the added benefit of giving you a glossy shine without having to sand and buff at the end. The product also thins the gelcoat and will not affect the colors like styrene and acetone will. It can be used up to 50 percent by volume. If there is one tip we could offer, it would be to wait 24 hours before buffing when using this product. Buffing will give you a new-car shine. You will want to make sure you catalyze this product at 2%.
  4. We do not recommend Styrene for one main reason; it can affect colors. Styrene, when added up to 20% will thin your gelcoat but does often cause the gelcoat to yellow and any more than 20 percent will cause fish-eye.
  5. Both the Patch Booster and the Duratec affect your catalyst rate, so make sure you catalize properly before spraying and be sure to clean your gun carefully after each use (for that, you CAN use Acetone).

Tech Tip: Let’s talk Catalyst

Catalyst is an essential element to most processes in our business. Without the catalyst, no chemical reaction takes place and you might as well just pour water over your fiberglass or table. You would think catalyst would be an easy product to work with, and sometimes you are right, but you have to follow the directions exactly. It’s not pretty when you don’t (trust me).

catalystMEK-P or Methyl Ethyl Keytone Peroxide, not to be confused with Methyl Ethyl Ketone, a solvent, MEK-P is one of the most common catalysts. MEK-P is used for polyster and vinylester style resins. It is very specific on ratios and requires the most attention.

Vinylesters require a hotter catalyst we sell, called Norox 925, sometimes referred to as “High-Point 90.” It’s a hotter catalyst that works better for the Vinylester. You will also see Vinylester requires a ratio of 2% by volume, as opposed to gelcoats and resin which are closer to 1.5%.

catalyst chart small

Gelcoat and Polyester resin, including Boatyard use a standard catalyst, or the 925 catalyst. These resins only require about 1.5% catalyst and are quite specific on the ratios, especially in hot weather. You will also use the same ratio’s for Polyester-based putty, like our OEM Super Poly Fill, or our gelcoat putty.

B.P.O. or Benzoyl Peroxide is a cream hardener that is used for most Auto Body and Bondo-like putties. It’s a bit easier and more forgiving on the mixture and comes in Red, White and Blue. The ratio is 1-1 oz tube per quart, or a 4 oz tube per gallon.

epoxyEpoxy activators are all proprietary, depending on the product. They range from a 1:1 ratio, like with our Table Top Epoxy, to our standard laminating epoxy allowing a 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1 and 5:1, allowing for different ratios that effect hardness and gel time. With different ratios, the higher the ratio, the quicker the pot time and the harder the epoxy.

 

With all these activators, sticking to the ratio is key, so if you were planning on eye-balling it, may I suggest picking up a couple of mixing buckets, or a squeeze bottle and take the guessing out of the equation.