Spider Cracks: The Guide

Spider crack DYK

Spider Cracks are a thorn in many boaters side. They seem to appear out of nowhere, and for no reason. Fixing them can involve more than just slapping on some gelcoat, however, and that is where we come in!

The first step needs to be ensuring that your spider cracks are just that, and not a sign of a soggy core, or a broken support. If the underside looks solid, and the surface is steady, then a spider crack is just a spider crack.

For properly fixing a spider crack, you will want to open the cracks to properly fill them. Usually, the easiest way to do that is with a Dremel. Once you open the cracks to a good size, you can lightly sand the surface and wash it down with soap and water, or Acetone to get the surface clean.

From there, you will want some Gelcoat Putty. Gelcoat putty is sold in many sizes, and only requires you mix in a 1-1/2% ratio of MEK-P Catalyst. Once mixed properly, you can use a putty knife to work the putty in the cracks. Once dry, you will sand to a nice, smooth surface and you are ready for the last part.

Now that you have a nice, smooth surface, you probably notice your white patch is still, well, white. Now you want to apply some gelcoat over the top to cover your patch. We can match gelcoat to a sample you provide, or you can check out the stock colors we have. We even have a brushable gelcoat that just requires you to brush it on and be done.

So, there you have it! Your patch is done, and that pesky spider crack is gone, and your boat is good as new! If you have any questions, you can call our technicians or comment in the section below. We are here to help!

5 Tips for Using Brushable Gelcoat in the Summer

jorge-vasconez-642329-unsplashImagine sitting on a secluded beach with an ice cold beverage, listening to the waves crash on shore, and the birds chirping in the palm trees. Sounds relaxing? The summer months can be a perfect time for a vacation, but when working on a project, the heat can be a big problem. Here are some helpful tips on how to work with brushable gelcoat during the hot summer season.

  1. Cooling the gelcoat, by refrigerating the product to around 65 degrees, will give you up to 15 minutes of working time.
  2. Humidity can be another factor, so, make sure the mold and surrounding area is dry before applying your brushable gelcoa134054t.
  3. Make small batches of gelcoat at a time and catalyze at 1 ½ % to avoid the material from getting hotter. When spraying the gelcoat, make sure you catalyze at 2 %. If you choose to use Duratec, please note, the product must be cool as well.
  4. If you seek to roll on the gelcoat, the product should be applied evenly at 14 mil thick.
  5. Do not apply gelcoat in direct sunlight.

The Basic Guide to Sandpaper Grit

When a project calls for sanding, one must confirm the correct materials are being used. Reason being is due to the different sizing, backing and grit of the sandpaper. But, how can we identify what type of sandpaper is best? Subjected to the work needed for your project, grit size will come into play. Thus, we must make note that sandpaper is measured by its grit size while others are measured by both the grit and grade of the backing. When buying your sandpaper, check the item to confirm it states the pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) or the grit and size number. This will help when deciding which one is best for the project at hand.

 

123493-smlSandpaper Grit Sizing: If you are looking to remove a previous material such as gelcoat; begin sanding your surface with a 150 grit or lower. A low grit number determines the coarseness of the sandpaper which will give you the ability to remove materials and coatings. Sandpaper with a grit number in the 200’s and higher would be great for finishes such as buffing, polishing or the  removal of small scratches. A high grit number is equivalent to how small the grains are which will allow you to smooth the surface.

 

 

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Sandpaper Weight Grade: One may see grade letters ranging from A-E which represents the durability of the sandpaper, where E is the strongest. For example, (based on the figure above) the red Mirka Royal 40 grit disc would be ranked as the most durable, next the Mirka Bulldog 120 grit Gold, followed by the gray Mirka Bulldog 400 grit Gold .

 

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Here is a great tip!

If you are looking to conduct a wet or dry sanding, the  sandpaper coating must be waterproof. An abrasive that is waterproof will last you longer with end results you’re aiming for in a wet/dry process.

Need a special Gelcoat color?

fgci color chart copyWhen talking gelcoat, the most important aspect is the color. Everyone has their preference, and Fiberglass Coatings has a wide range of stock colors you can find on a daily basis. Did you know that we can match gelcoat for you, though? That’s right, we can take a sample you provide and make a gelcoat that will perfectly match your needs.

We have many customers who need to fix a blemish in the side of a boat, or even a pool. They need the gelcoat to match exactly. With gelcoat, it can fade in the sun and fun of Florida, so getting a factory color is not always an option. It may not match exactly and make a blemish stand out even worse. This is why we use a photospectrometer to match the gelcoat to a perfect match for you.

One of the more amazing products we carry is a brushable Gelcoat. This gelcoat is designed to be an easy way to re-apply gelcoat for fixing blemishes. When you order your colormatch, we can make a standard exterior gelcoat, or a brushable gelcoat. Be sure to check with your rep about what you need!

There are a few different ways to get us the color you need. The easiest way is to send us a sample, like a hatch or chip of gelcoat to match. You can mail it to

Fiberglass Coatings

4301 34th St. N.

St. Petersburg, FL 33714

You can also bring the sample in to one of our two showrooms in Florida. Now, if you don’t have the ability to send us a sample, I generally recommend going to a store that has color samples and picking out the closest one to send to us and have us match that.

If you just can’t find what you want, we also sell the neutral gelcoat and pigment jars to tint your own gelcoat! Let us know how we can help!

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If you haven’t read our end-all guide on how to apply the gelcoat, be sure to check it out HERE.

Product Spotlight: Duratec High Gloss Additive

123754-lrgAt Fiberglass Coatings, we have all the tools, materials and knowledge to help you with your job, whether it being a large commercial job, or just doing a project around the house. With that in mind, we are spotlighting a product we have had around for a long time, but not everyone knows about; Duratec High Gloss Additive.

This gelcoat additive is useful for several different reasons. The first, when adding this as a 50/50 mixture will not only produce a high-gloss, paint-like finish, but it will also thin the gelcoat without adding a yellow tint, like Styrene can do. This is why we recommend this product for thinning while spraying. In the process of adding this additive, you will not need to add Sanding Aid, as this would be the final coat. The only difference is that you will want to wait a full 24 hours before buffing to ensure the gelcoat has fully cured. In order to get a hi-gloss finish, 600 grit paper or higher, will be needed to sand, then buff with Aqua Buff 2000 Compound.

Another benefit of this product is eliminating porosity in tooling gelcoat. When you add this product as a 25% mixture, not only will it add an extra gloss to your tooling gelcoat, it will eliminate the porous surface by over 20 percent, allowing the surface to be waxed easier, and your part to pulled with less effort.

Check out the Tech Data Sheet HERE.

If you have any questions, be sure to contact us and we will be happy to help!