Epoxy, Fiberglass and Composite Tools FAQs
What tools are used to apply epoxy?
Applying epoxy with the proper tools greatly streamlines the process and produces better results. This includes epoxy rollers, notched epoxy spreaders, epoxy squeegees, syringes, and glue brushes.
Epoxy preparation tools such as mixing pots, mixing sticks, syringes, and epoxy resin spreaders all have glossy surfaces. Ideally, they are also made of smooth plastic. This enables the cured epoxy to easily pop off the surface after you gently flex it back and forth.
What are epoxy rollers?
During the fiberglass wetting-out process, you use an epoxy roller (also called an epoxy laminating roller) to press the resin into the composite cloth or fiberglass fabric. Laminating rollers contain grooves and fins to release air and prevent bubbles from forming. By removing unwanted air, the mechanical bond between layers is stronger, improving the overall structure and integrity of the fiberglass lamination.
Look for high-density polyurethane foam roller covers such as the West System 800 cover. The 800 covers thin foam helps prevent runs and drips, maintains a uniform epoxy film thickness, for better overall results.
Be sure to choose roller covers that have a low nap and solvent-resistant core. Otherwise, solvents found in epoxy will cause the roller cover to disintegrate during use.
What is the difference between a paint roller, a roller cover suitable for epoxy, and a laminating roller?
Foam paint roller covers are ideal for evenly distributing paint on a flat surface. However, foam rollers have a shorter useful life compared to traditional rollers. Economy-grade roller covers for marine paints are designed for use with undercoats and bottom paints.
High-density solvent-resistant roller covers are the only type suitable for solvent-based primers, paints, and epoxies. If you choose another roller cover, it will rapidly disintegrate
Fiberglass laminating rollers with fins and grooves help produce the best results for laminating applications. Laminations refer to the multiple layers of fiberglass cloth (or similar fabric) that have been wetted out with resin.
What is the best kind of roller cover for epoxy projects?
Low-nap, solvent-resistant 3/16 epoxy roller covers make it easier to uniformly spread epoxy.
How do you spread epoxy?
- Pour a little epoxy (blend of resin and hardener) near the middle of the fiberglass cloth.
- Use a plastic epoxy spreader tool or squeegee to methodically spread epoxy throughout the cloth surface. Ensure that all dry areas get coverage.
- Utilize a brush or a foam roller to distribute the epoxy into the fabric on vertical surfaces. If desired, you can use the brush or roller on horizontal surfaces as well.
- Minimize the amount of squeegeeing, as manipulating the wetted surface can cause tiny air bubbles to be suspended in the epoxy.
- Work towards the edge of the fabric, repositioning the cloth and smoothing wrinkles as needed.
- If you see dry areas, apply more epoxy before taking the next step.
Why are some epoxy spreaders notched?
Some plastic epoxy spreaders feature graduated notches on three sides. These notches make it easy to evenly apply epoxy over large areas, or when working with resin that has been thickened with fillers or additives. Smaller notches are ideal for fairing compound.
How do you use a syringe to apply or dispense epoxy?
Sometimes you need to bond hardware together or complete a small plywood repair. Or, you must squeeze epoxy into a tight spot, such as a void or crack. When spreaders or squeegees will not fit into the small space, a reusable epoxy syringe is a handy tool.
The syringe can do triple duty, as it is also useful for precisely measuring out resin quantities or even extracting excess resin from a defined space. A smaller curved-tip syringe enables easier application.