Why not use Fibre Glass for your next repair?
Using fibre glass is often overlooked, more often than not as a repair solution, because one associates it with only car body repairing or boat repairs. Well this is not quite correct, as there are literally hundreds of other applications in and around the home where you can use fibre glass. For instance you can fill holes virtually anywhere, in timber, brick or even concrete. You are able to repair your water tanks, water pipes, the guttering, even your furniture.
Ordinary resin or polyester-based filler paste can be used for repairing small holes and dents in metal and wood. To extend your repair kit even further, I suggest you include the conventional Fibre Glass materials, being resin and Chopped Strand Mat (CSM). This will allow you to repair anything from roofs to rusty storage tanks that can be patched. Make a Fibre Glass bandage to add strength to gutter or down-pipe joints, or if you have a burst water-pipe, a similar application for a successful interim repair.
Although there are many types of Fibre Glass products, for instance woven cloths (more strength less flexible) fibre tissue where appearance is of importance and not strength. To give a better finish fibre tissue is often used on top of the CSM material. You will find most repair kits that are available supply CSM, this product is actually a mat of randomly laid fibres which are loosely held together by an emulsion, of which dissolves upon contact with the fibre glass resin. This allows more flexibility and interconnection between the alternate layers of the fibre and resin.
Essential materials required, Chopped Strand Mat (CSM) or fibre glass tape, resin (attention this has a limited life) and hardener are for the fibre glass material. A measuring dispenser for the hardener, a grooved metal roller, important to remove any air bubbles, a stiff bristled brush, you will also need acetone or cellulose thinners for cleaning. Finally, an absolute must, Gloves.
Rather than buy a proprietary filler, why not make your own as you have the resin and hardener, almost any aggregate can be used together with clear general purpose resin and hardener. For instance, fine sawdust makes perfect filler for wood, powdered chalk or a cheap talcum powder makes dense filler of which can be used for cracked concrete, brickwork. Mix one part of aggregate to one part of resin/hardener solution when making up the paste, carefully turning the mix into itself, avoiding creating air bubbles until the mix is to a uniform color. Attention to the quantity you mix, as it may harden before you have had the chance to use it all. Damp and cold are not conducive to successful work, ideal temperature approximately 20 C.
Filling holes or dents, to repair minor holes or dents with filler start by scuffing the area with a sanding disk at least 25 mm around the affected area. Clean the area with a white spirit, if you are working with metal apply a coat of rust inhibitor. If the hole you are repairing is in metal and the repair is not to show above the surrounding surface,I would suggest you indent the area around hole with a ball head hammer, this way the indent can be filled and later sanded to a flat smooth finish.
Patching holes or cracks in a water-pipe, gutter, water cistern, here we use our CSM, resin and hardener, perhaps if necessary a small amount of filler for the final surfacing. First clean the area to be patched (water pipes, cisterns should be drained and carefully dried) cut away any unsound material around the damaged area, if it is metal you are working on grind the rust away, do not use chemical rust remover. When repairing timber, remove all rotten wood before attempting the repair. Clean and de-grease at least 30 mm of sound material around the repair to provide a good bonding key. In the case of a small hole in a water pipe, apply a single coat of resin/hardener to the area surrounding the hole with a brush, next wrap one layer of CSM around the pipe large enough to cover the hole and surrounding material. Soak the fibre glass with a coat of resin/hardener dabbing the mat with a stiff bristled brush until it becomes clear with no air holes. If necessary apply another layer of fibre glass, but beware the more layers do not make the work stronger/better. I would suggest maximum three layers because the heat given off in the final part of the setting can cause thicker layers to crack.
Patching larger holes, say more than 30 mm across you must provide a support for the fibre glass mat, an example, if it is a water down-pipe you can wrap galvanized wire around the missing/damaged area to form a profile of the missing material, this becomes a simple matter to coat the wire and surrounding pipe with resin/hardener and proceed as above. Patching a large hole in perhaps a water cistern, you must cover the whole space with a temporary support, for example stretch a sheet of polyethylene over a suitable sized piece of cardboard/hard-board or coat it with wax, now you tape it to the edges of the hole. The wax or polyethylene treatment is important because the fibre glass will not bond to it, this enables the support to be removed when the repair has set.
Once you have mastered these simple projects, you will find that next you will want to try your hand at creating moulds and making your own garden furniture, sinks, guttering sections garden pools etc, etc.
As an example, I have just finished a waterfall with a fish pond at the base for our balcony. Very briefly, it is/was a very simple project; I made a frame of inch PVC piping, contoured the spill-ways out of one inch chicken wire. Tied the chicken wire mesh to the PVC frame, laid the Fibre Glass (CSM) over the chicken wire mesh then tied the fibre glass into the many contours/ indentations of the mesh form,then finally I applied the resin and hardener mix.
The pond, similar procedure made a hexagonal form out of marine ply, then laid the CSM and applied the resin/hardener, when it was all set and dry, I sprayed both units with a “Granite” spray paint. The pump to re-circulate the water I hid in the pond section behind the waterfall. The waterfall, fish pond, and plants are all flood-lit and guests cannot believe it is only made from Fibre Glass, as they say, it looks more like a granite stone waterfall.
Hope this simple article will change you mind when contemplating your next repair.
Cheers for now Darryl.