Halfords Fibreglass vs West System

NigelBirch

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I need to cut open my deck and check for water ingress before glassing back over with matt and Epoxy. Is there anything to be said for the West system or is the stuff from Halfords adequate?
 

yoda

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OK, the stuff at Halfords will be a polyester resin which is fundamentaly different from West Epoxy. Exactly what do you need to do? Epoxy will allow you to form some very strong bonds, fillers and laminate with woven matt. If restoring strength is important then probably the way to go but will be more expensive and more suseptible to temperature for curing. I find Polyester resin (which can be found cheaper than at Halfords quite easily) easy to work with and less fussy. With a well prepared surface you can still get a very acceptable bond. Once complete do you need to re-gelcoat or is the work hidden behind panneling?

Yoda
 

TQA

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I need to cut open my deck and check for water ingress before glassing back over with matt and Epoxy. Is there anything to be said for the West system or is the stuff from Halfords adequate?

How big a hole are we talking about? 2 inches by 2 inches or two feet by two feet. If it is the latter then the very fact that you are asking about Halfords polyester v West Sytem epoxy suggests that you could be in over your head.

What are your plans if you find the core saturated with water? You will often find that neither epoxy or polyester will set properly if in contact with moisture. You get something with the consistency and strength of chewing gum.

If you know you have a deck problem I would leave it alone untill you are ready to do a proper job.

Do a google on recoring decks and read about it.
 

NigelBirch

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Ah, I hadn't realised that the Fastglass stuff was polyester rather than epoxy. I don't need to gelcoat over the top as it will be covered by deckpaint so was planning to use epoxy for strength. So it sounds like the west stuff is the way to go....

I've got a hairline crack (approx 75mm long) through the deck near one of the stanchions. So I want to cut a piece of deck away to take a look at what's going on underneath and then reglass over the top.

I'm not anticipating much damage to the balsa core. There isn't any indication of soggy core by tapping around the crack.
 
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Bajansailor

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Just a thought - for a 3" hairline crack, cutting away the deck seems a bit drastic - would it be possible to do an initial investigation with a die grinder or similar, and just enlarge the crack in a vee shape, and then see if you can get an idea of the condition of the core by digging out a bit when the bottom of the vee is perhaps 1 - 2 mm wide?
Being optimistic, the crack might not even go the whole way through the fibreglass - or do you know for certain that it does?

And before you do this, do you know anyone in the vicinity with a moisture meter? If you put a meter on the deck in way of the crack, and the needle goes ballistic while not moving when you move away from the crack, then you probably have got nasty things happening within, and it is worth investigating further.
If the meter hardly deflects in comparison to the surrounding fibreglass, then the odds are that the core in way of the crack is good.
In which case you could still then grind it out in a vee, and then just fill / fair it.
 

macd

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So it sounds like the west stuff is the way to go....

Perhaps that's only because the stuff is widely known and freely available and in some ways convenient to use. There are plenty of excellent alternatives at less cost, many of which don't have West's drawbacks (notably a propensity for amine bloom, especially in UK conditions).

I've got a hairline crack (approx 75mm long) through the deck near one of the stanchions. So I want to cut a piece of deck away to take a look at what's going on underneath and then reglass over the top.

Epoxy and cloth is definitely the medium for such a repair. No wish to tell granny to suck eggs but be sure to have a wide feather to the old edges (equivalent to a scarf joint in wood).
 

ccscott49

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The crack is probably a gelcoat stress crack and wont go all the way through, grind a vee in it and either re-gelcoat it or use epoxy filler, make sure it is scrupulously clean, dry and grease free, use acetone to clean the area.
I used to get these all the time with my Marcos car. Havent had a fibreglass boat.
 

gjgm

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I need to cut open my deck and check for water ingress before glassing back over with matt and Epoxy. Is there anything to be said for the West system or is the stuff from Halfords adequate?

Wessex now do little kits for about £25. They also do some very good guides, and a good selection of fillers to mix in- so you are paying a small bit for convenience and good instructions.
The main advantage of epoxy is the increased strength over polyester. For the sake of a few quid, I'd get the Wessex pre-pack.
Edit. Just to add, Wessex say gel WILL set onto epoxy BUT the epoxy MUST be 100pct set (2 weeks in warm weather. as an estimate)
 
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oldsaltoz

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I would grind along the crack with an angle grinder fitted with a 40 grit 4 inch wheel.

This will expose the core material so you can check the moisture content and, leave a good feathered edge to work to.



Good luck.:)
 
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