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FIBERGLASSING A PLYWOOD DECK OR DECK ROOF
Fiberglassing A Plywood Deck or Roof by www.FiberglassSite.com
More and more it is becoming popular to fiberglass plywood decks or roofs, and the good news is that most anyone can do it following our directions.
THESE DIRECTIONS ARE GOOD FOR:
AN OUTDOOR DECK
OUTDOOR DECK ROOF
OR ANY APPLICATION OF CHOPPED STRAND MAT TO PLYWOOD
KEEP IN MIND IT MUST BE 60 DEGREE F OR ABOVE TO WORK WITH POLYESTER RESIN. First you must decide on materials. You will be using Chopped strand mat for your fiberglass and polyester resin for your resin. 2.0 ounce chopped strand mat is adequate for most applications, it will give you a hard waterproof finish, however if you want to go that extra mile, or if the area is going to be subjected to high or commercial traffic or heavy weight usage, we would recommend using two layers of 2 ounce chopped strand mat. Roofs that will not be walked on can be done with 1.5 ounce chopped strand mat. Most residential decks will be done with one layer of 2.0 Chopped Strand Mat.
DO NOT USE PRESSURE TREATED WOOD WHEN FIBERGLASSING !
Step one is to calculate how much mat and resin you will need. ( IF YOU JUST SEND US THE SQUARE FOOTAGE OF YOUR DECK, WE WILL DO THIS FOR YOU, DO NOT SEND US YOUR MEASUREMENTS, SEND US THE NUMBER OF SQUARE FEET OF MATERIAL IT WILL TAKE TO COVER YOUR DECK, INCLUDE YOUR ZIP CODE SO WE CAN GIVE YOU A PRICE WITH SHIPPING.)
Chopped strand mat comes in a 50 inch width, so let’s call it four feet wide. Therefore each linear yard is 12 square feet. For our sample deck, we are going to use the measurements of 12 x 25.
A 12 x 25 foot deck will need 300 square feet of material. 300 square feet divided by 12 = 25 linear yards of mat . You take the square footage of the deck (300) and divide it by 12 to get the number of linear yards you will need for your project.
Next, how much resin. We will do the calculations for 1.5 ounce chopped strand mat, and 2.0 chopped strand mat. The rule of thumb is for each square foot of 1.5 you will need 4 ounces of resin . So our rule of thumb is going to be 4 ounces per square foot for 1.5 ounce, and 5 ounces per square foot for 2.0 ounce. (remember that the first step is going to be to prime the bare wood deck with mixed resin, this will be explained below. you will need about 1 gallon of resin to prime 200 square feet)
This is how you do the calculations: You take the number of square feet of your deck times the number of ounces of resin. For our 300 square foot deck it goes like this.:
For 1.5 ounce mat 300 x 4 = 1200 ounces Then you divide by the number of ounces by WEIGHT in a gallon. The number of ounces by weight in a gallon is 150. So 1200 ounces divided by 150 gives us 8 gallons. For 2.0 ounce mat 300 x 5 = 1500 ounces 1500 oz Divided by 150 = 10 gallons of resin. Just take the number of square feet of your deck times it by either 4 or 5 then divide by 150 to get the number of gallons of resin you will need.
REMEMBER, JUST SEND US YOUR SQUARE FOOTAGE OF YOUR DECK TO FIBERGLASSSITE@COMCAST.NET AND WE WILL ESTIMATE YOUR MAT AND RESIN FOR YOU (INCLUDE YOUR ZIP CODE.)
Now what else will you need before getting started.? You can get the Chopped Strand Mat, and Resin from www.FiberglassSite.com (that’s Us) , you will also need a couple of Laminate rollers. Laminate rollers are not for spreading the resin, they are for pressing the resin down, and popping out the air bubbles. They look like 40 little pizza cutters linked together on a roller. FiberglassSite.com sells these also.
Whenever you are not using laminate rollers, and other tools that come in contact with the resin, keep them soaking in acetone, this will make it so you can use them over and over again.
Here are a list of things you will need to get from your Home Depot, or Lowe’s;
- Acetone for clean up
- Rubber gloves
- Eye protection
- 5 quart plastic mixing buckets, marked of in quarts
- Paint stirs
- Paint stir attachment for your drill
- Disposable foam rollers, (not foam rollers), and some smaller disposable putty knives. These will be used to spread the resin.
- Mini Disposable paint rollers 4 inch ( not foam rollers)
-Full size disposable foam paint rollers .....(not foam rollers)
Now to get started.
SEAL COAT; Before laying down the mat you will need to seal the plywood with resin First. The plywood must be bone dry, any moisture at all will stop the resin from soaking in, and you will have wasted your time and money. Sweep or blow off any dust from the deck.
In this step you will mix the resin with the hardener, and spread a coat of it on the dry raw plywood do this before applying the chopped strand mat (the resin is unwaxed leave it that way do not add wax). Mix the resin, pour it onto the surface, and spread it around with a plastic straight edge. This is will get the most resin to soak in, and the least wasted resin. As soon as it is dry you can go to the next step.
Now, pre cut your pieces of mat to fit your deck. Once you get going you will not want to stop to do this, so do it ahead of time.
Lay down the first section of mat. Now it must be between 60 and 90 degrees F when you are doing the work. If it is too cold the resin will never set, if it is too hot it will set to quickly. Never work in the direct sunlight when it is hot outside.
For your First batch, mix a small amount of resin, one or two quarts. (You must mix the resin with a power drill attachment for one minute, a complete mixing is very important. Mixing with a power drill and paint mixer is much, much better.) This first batch will give you a feel for the working time of the resin. You will usually have ten to fifteen minutes per batch, so have all your ducks in a row before you add the hardener to the resin. Do not add the wax to the resin because when you are finished you are going to paint the deck with boat deck paint, or Gelcoat. You can also use Marine No- Skid paint, so do not add the wax.
Now lay the mat down like a piece of carpet. Take the resin you have mixed, and pour it directly onto the mat. Gently spread the resin like butter on bread with your disposable non foam roller. You do not want to move the strands of mat around, just the resin so be gentle . When an area is properly saturated with resin, it will turn from white to clear. Keep moving the resin from the wet areas to the dry areas.
This is a two man job. One person will pour and spread the resin, the other person will follow behind with the laminate roller. The purpose of the laminate roller is to force the resin into the mat, get out any air bubbles, and to make the mat lay flat and as smooth as possible. This first batch will give you an idea of your working time, and how much resin you will need to mix each time.
Before we move on some cautionary notes. Resin builds up heat when it is in the mixing bucket. The more resin, the more heat. The more heat the shorter the working time. So , mix the resin, and get it out of the bucket ASAP! , or you will end up with a hot bucket of hard resin. Also, Polyester resin is nasty stuff, you must wear all proper safety equipment, you do not want to get it on your skin or in your eyes, or you will end up with an injury. The fumes are also quite strong, so we recommend a proper respirator.
Back to work.
For each section overlap the mat at least one or two inches to ensure a waterproof deck. Keep laying out the mat, and spreading the resin until the entire deck is finished.
Flashings and overhangs; If you want to run the mat 4 to 6 inches up the wall to get a waterproof seal , just fold the mat and rest it against the wall, use a disposable mini roller to roll the resin onto it,( or just use the plastic straight edge to pull it up the wall) and press it down with the hard palstic laminate roller. The same goes if you want to do a lip around the deck, let the mat hang over the edge , bend it down, roll resin on it with the mini roller, then press it down with the laminate roller.
After 24 to 48 hours, apply your deck paint or gel coat. Now you are finished, and if you did it right, it can last anywhere from 20 to 25 years. We have taught several home builders to lay decks by this method, and they have had a good experience with it. It is not that hard to do. If you need help with any of this please call FiberglassSite.com at 1-800-507-2003 www.FiberglassSite.com