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Awlgrip Application Guide - Troubleshooting

The Awlgrip Application Guide is in five basic parts:
  1. General Guidelines - Includes recommendations and tips for:
    • Surface cleaning.
    • Application equipment selection.
    • Air compressors and compressed air.
    • Sanding and masking materials.
    • General paint environment.
  2. Above Waterline Application Systems
  3. Below Waterline Application Systems
  4. Troubleshooting
  5. General Information - includes
    • Glossary of Paint Terms
    • Maintaining the Topcoats
Complete Application Guide in .pdf format
Requires Acrobat Reader available from Adobe
If after reading the material you still have specific questions, call, fax, or write the Customer Service Department

  • United States
    1 East Water Street,
    IL 60085,
    Telephone: +1 847 599 6212
    Fax: +1 847 599 6209
  • Europe
    Bannerlaan 54
    2280 Grobbendonk
    Telephone: +32 (0)14 25 77 70
    Fax: +32 (0)14 23 08 80
  • Australia
    Unit E54
    Gold Coast City Marina
    76 Waterways Drive,
    Queensland 4209,
    Telephone: +61 7 5573 9655
    or 1800 007 866
    Fax: +61 7 5529 9329
  • Singapore
    449 Tagore Industrial Avenue,
    #01-03 Greatland Industrial Building,
    Singapore 787820
    Telephone: +65 6453 1981
    Fax: +65 6453 1778

Application Guide - Troubleshooting

  1. Basic rules
  2. Orange Peel and Dry Spray
  3. Solvent Popping
  4. Pin Holing
  5. Craters and Fish Eyes
Next Chapter - General Information
Previous Chapter - Below Waterline Application Systems
Back to top of page Basic Rules
Most application problems are a direct result of poor or improper procedures, marginal housekeeping conditions, inadequate equipment, or a combination of these factors.

Following a few rules and checking regularly that the rules are being followed can prevent many problems before they occur.
  1. When using compressed air, a clean, oil-free, dry air supply is a must. This is just as important for tool operation (e.g., grinders, sanders, etc.) as it is when spraying paint. General air quality, filters and dryers should be checked regularly. See our section for more information about compressed air.
  2. Make certain the products and procedures used in or near the paint areas are compatible with Awlgrip products and general paint procedures. Sealers, cleaners, lubricants and hand cleaners containing silicone should not be used in or around the paint shop.
  3. Machinery exhaust frequently is oil bearing and should not be allowed in the paint area.
  4. Keep quantities of clean AWLGRIP® Tack Rags available to tack off surfaces.
  5. Wear clean, cloth gloves during all stages of surface preparation and application to prevent contaminating the paint surface with skin oils.

Back to top of page Orange Peel and Dry Spray
Textured, uneven surface like the skin of an orange.

A smooth texture-free surface is the happy medium between surface preparation, component mix/reduction, spray gun adjustment, and application technique. The most common cause is under atomization of the paint, as a result of some combination of improper reduction, poor gun adjustment, and poor spray technique. However, there are a number of factors which can contribute to or cause orange peel.

  1. Hot surface.
  2. Improper gun adjustment or spray techniques.
  3. Improper pressure adjustment.
  4. Orange peel in primer is printing in the topcoat.
  5. Temperature is too low or too high.
  6. Viscosity is too high.
  7. Wrong choice of reducer.
  8. Improper spraying sequence.
  9. Improper recoat time.
  1. Smooth sand the surface. Clean with AWL-PREP® or AWL-PREP® PLUS. Re-paint using more appropriate reducer, correct air pressure, or correct spray technique and sequence.
  2. Select proper reducer, allow sufficient dry time between coats.
  3. Reduce to recommended application viscosity.
  4. Use correct spray technique and sequence.
  5. Do not paint hot surfaces. A surface too hot to comfortably hold your hand on is too hot to paint!

Back to top of page Solvent Popping
Tiny open blisters that appear in the paint film very shortly after
application. Usually occurs when too thick a film is applied to a horizontal surface in hot weather. Reducer choice and excessive air flow can also be factors.

  1. Wrong reducer selection.
  2. Too thick or too heavy an application.
  3. Premature surface skinning of the paint film before all the underlying solvent can evaporate.
  1. If possible, wash off the still wet coating with the appropriate reducer. If the coating is allowed to cure, smooth sand until all blisters are removed.
  2. Clean with AWL-PREP® T0008 or AWL-PREP® PLUS T0115 using the Two Cloth Method.
  3. Tack off surface, and re-coat using proper reducer while applying thin coats.
  4. At very high temperatures of 90°F to 105°F, increase the amount of reducer to 35% and apply an additional coat to ensure proper film thickness. The extra reducer will improve flow while helping to keep the film open to avoid solvent popping.

Back to top of page Pin Holing
Tiny holes in the finish caused by surface porosity or other imperfections
in the substrate. Pin holing is sometimes confused with or inaccurately described as solvent popping.

  1. Imperfections in the substrate.
  2. Substrate surface porosity.
  3. Insufficient amount of reducer.
  1. Clean surface with AWL-PREP¨ T0008 or AWL-PREP¨ PLUS T0115.
  2. Sand down to smooth surface, re-clean with AWL-PREP¨ or AWL-PREP¨ PLUS, and tack off the surface.
  3. Squeegee or knife apply AWL-QUIK¨ Sanding Surfacer into the pinholes.
  4. Smooth sand the surface, clean with AWL-PREP¨ or AWL-PREP¨ PLUS and tack off surface. Seal with 545 Primer and re-apply topcoat.
  1. Inspect the surface and correct porosity or surface imperfections in the substrate before applying the topcoat.

Back to top of page Craters and Fish Eyes
Small, crater-like openings in the finish caused by contamination on the surface being painted.

  1. Improper surface cleaning.
  2. Effects of previous repair.
  3. Contaminated equipment.
  4. Workers using a silicone containing hand lotion or cream.
  5. Old finish containing excessive fish eye preventer.
  6. Wrong spray technique/improper dry times.
  7. Wrong reducer.
  8. Wax on the surface.
  9. Water or oil in the air lines
  1. If the coating is still wet, wash off with the recommended reducer and properly clean and prepare the surface before proceeding with any further painting.

    If the coating has cured, wipe down with AWL-PREP® PLUS using the Two Cloth Method.
  2. AWL-PREP® PLUS will clean most surfaces thoroughly. In some cases, especially on fiberglass, extreme surface contamination such as mold release wax, silicone polish wax, diesel fuel or oil is present. In these situations, you must scrub the surface with a powdered household cleanser and a Scotchbrite® pad until rinse water applied to the surface "sheets out" over the entire area with no breaks or holes in the water film.
  3. Blow dry the surface and thoroughly wipe the surface to remove any cleanser residue and help remove moisture on the gelcoat.
  4. Smooth sand, then re-clean with AWL-PREP® PLUS.
  5. Tack off surface and re-coat.
  1. Clean surface thoroughly with AWL-PREP® or AWL-PREP® PLUS before and after sanding.
  2. Only use AWL-PREP® PLUS to remove wax. Other de-waxer solvents will melt wax into the pores of the gelcoat substrate.
  3. Solvent wipe the entire surface with AWL-PREP® PLUS or AWL-PREP® using the Two Cloth Method.
  4. Drain and clean equipment.
  5. Add CRATER-X® as recommended to AWLGRIP® and AWLCRAFT® 2000 Topcoats.
  6. Use proper spray technique, select proper reducer.
  7. Allow sufficient dry time between coats.

Original article from Awlgrip

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