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Thread: Fiberglass

  1. #1
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Hassai Frich's Avatar
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    Fiberglass

    hiya
    as promised i will try to make a small guide in the use of fiberglass.

    it should be said i am not trained in the use of fiberglass as such, i have learnt a lot from mistakes over the years.
    i started using fiberglass years ago doing styling and stereos in cars as a way to make some extra cash on the side, since then i have worked with a couple of local builder to help them with bigger projects (mainly boats) as time allowed.

    so anyone having any good advice when it comes to using fiberglass in building ponds will be very welcome since i am new to ponds and i will be upgrading my pond this coming spring (if time allows)

    some basic "rules" on fiber glassing.

    get yourself a proper active carbon mask before you start, this stuff is not to be taken lightly. the main active component is styrene and it will be bad for your health, even in outdoor uses due to the size of most ponds the time you will be exposed is kinda high.

    use old clothes or even disposable suits, along with chemistry gloves (preferably class 3 or better) when you get this stuff on yourself, and you will, it doesn't come off again that easy so don't wear your favorite suit

    make sure everything is prepared before you mix the resin, once it is mixed you have a limited time to use it before it cures too much.

    as for the use of fiber glass it's actualy very simple, you have 2 parts to it

    1 glass fibers, this comes in alot of different shapes, but got ponds the cheapest is pretty much what to go for, it's normaly a chopped strand matt. personaly i go for the emulsion version of it since it's easyer to soak with resin.

    2 polyester with an activator. normal mix of this is around 1-2% resin in a mix, this is temperature specific, at 10-15 degrees you need around 2% (maybe even 3% but then you need to work fast) once the temperature starts to increase to around 15+ you lower your activator amount, once you hit 25 degrees your down to 1% and it's still kinda hard to control. so never mix more then you can use before it cures.

    for the best strength you need to put minimum 2 layers on top of each other while they are wet, with an overlap between sheets, minimum overlap should be around 5cm and try not to overlap in a corner.

    it is very important to completely soak the first layer before adding the next layer, dry fiber has no strength at all, and once you get the second layer soaked you need to make sure to get all the air out between the sheets. if the work is halted for any reason make sure to complete the fibers you have started on, and when the work resumes you have to wait till it's is completely cured and sand down the overlaps before adding new polyester.

    for a pond with a proper concrete backing i would go for a dual layer of 450grams per m2 of fiber with a polyester soak of 1-1,25kg per m2 of fiber (2-2,5kg for finished with both layers).

    the concrete needs to be fairly smooth on the surface without holes in the surface, a medium or fine mortar mix should do this just fine, just make sure to give it a good coat of polyester just before you add the fiber matting, it makes the fiber soak faster and it makes it stick so you dont have to hold onto the fiber mat while applying polyester.

    once the fiberglass is completely cured you need to apply 1 or 2 coats of topcoat, in order to seal it. fiberglass will suck up water over time if it isnt sealed properly (takes time but it will happen) so you need the coat, and it also gives the pond it's color. before you coat you have to do a light sanding of the fiberglass to remove any rough bits so that you get a nice smooth surface once it's cured up.

    if you try to work with fiberglass in direct sunlight on a nice warm day you will most likely fail. sunlight acts as a turbo switch for polyester curing, it's allmost impossible to work with it unless you cover the area or somehow work in the shade.

    for thouse that is interestet in doing fiber work, i have a small test you can try before you commit to a job on the scale of a pond. i have posted this in one of the other threads but i will drop it here aswell.

    the test is simple and cheap.

    you need
    approx 1m2 of 300grams chopped fiber matting
    approx 1kg of polyester with activator
    1 old football (preferably plastic)
    tools (plastic mixing bowl, brush mixing stick)

    now try to cover half the football with fiberglass, simply by putting the fiber on the ball and then maxing your polyester and applying it. once it's cured you take the fiber off the ball and you have a bowl. if you want you can try with 2 layers and you will most likely be able to find alot of air bubbles when it is cured

    the purpose of this test is to see if you have the skills (doesn't realy take alot) and the interest in working with the materials.

    i will try to grab a couple of pictures of the tools i use when i get back home this weekend, i had a couple on my phone that i will upload here so you can see it. at the same time i still try to make a couple of Pictures of the different stages of the polyester, and i will see if i can make a couple of failed bits so you can see how should and shouldnt look

    not sure this is what you where looking for but feel free to add comments (good or bad) and i will try to edit the post accordingly, i have most likely forgotten half of what is needed since it's not something i think about when i work with it.



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  3. #2
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Hassai Frich's Avatar
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    Chopped fiber and gloves
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1414531085.079055.jpg
    roller for removing air between fiber sheets (i made my own when i started by using m6 washers and having a mix of big and small washers to make the same principle)
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1414531113.978040.jpg
    sticker from the fiber i am using atm to line my indoor tank
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1414531143.211507.jpg
    the type of mask i am using, it's an activated carbon filter mask
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1414531170.547892.jpg

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  5. #3
    Moderator Rank = Supreme Champion miles41's Avatar
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    Nicely detailed and I'm sure will be a help to others in the future
    1630 Gallon raised pond
    4" 'Avenue' bottom drain
    Estro sieve
    Econobead EB60 bead filter
    Sequence 18000 pump, 6000 pump on skimmer line
    Elecro 2kW in-line heater
    Evolution Aqua 70 air pump
    Standard wall skimmer
    Hozelock Vorton 55watt UV
    and some nice koi

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  7. #4
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Sansai Wanna veccy's Avatar
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    Absolutely brilliant

    Like you say if you could show what the defects are and the difference between good and bad,I know I would truly be indebted to you.

    Thank you so much for the time and effort you have already spent.

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  9. #5
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Mature Champion des68's Avatar
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    Excellent write up Frich and well detailed. Brilliant.
    1500 gl in ground pond
    Retro BD to multibay with vortex, brushes, alfagrog, flocor, moving K1 bed, jap matt
    Oasis 3 bay multifilter, brushes, alfagrog, jap matt
    50 watt pro clear UV
    Hi-Blow 40 air pump
    Aqua forte 60 air pump
    Bermuda 2500 pond skimmer
    2kw Elecro pond heater
    Wireless pond thermometer


    DES.

  10. #6
    Great write up Frich, you've inspired me to have a go!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #7
    That's excellent frich just what I wanted to know you have inspired me to have a go myself just like John I have s mate that does a bit of fibreglassing on boats so with his help I might even do a half decent job ha thank yiu again for an excellent post chris

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  13. #8
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Grand Champion john1's Avatar
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    Thanks for the post Frich,I am thinking of building a new pond next spring with fibreglass,could do with this being a sticky to help others.
    John

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  15. #9
    Moderator Rank = Supreme Champion miles41's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john1 View Post
    Thanks for the post Frich,I am thinking of building a new pond next spring with fibreglass,could do with this being a sticky to help others.
    John
    All done John, good idea
    1630 Gallon raised pond
    4" 'Avenue' bottom drain
    Estro sieve
    Econobead EB60 bead filter
    Sequence 18000 pump, 6000 pump on skimmer line
    Elecro 2kW in-line heater
    Evolution Aqua 70 air pump
    Standard wall skimmer
    Hozelock Vorton 55watt UV
    and some nice koi

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  17. #10
    That's a brilliant write up mate. Many thanks for taking the time

    Most ponds that Ive seen on here work straight onto to King span or Celotex, I imagine you proceed in exactly the same way as you've described?

    Also how would you suggest to tackle the plastics parts (bottom drain, returns) as fiber glass doesn't stick (or so I've heard!) to these parts? I think these are the most daunting areas and cause for concern when it comes to any leaks!!

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  19. #11
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Hassai Frich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flash View Post
    That's a brilliant write up mate. Many thanks for taking the time

    Most ponds that Ive seen on here work straight onto to King span or Celotex, I imagine you proceed in exactly the same way as you've described?

    Also how would you suggest to tackle the plastics parts (bottom drain, returns) as fiber glass doesn't stick (or so I've heard!) to these parts? I think these are the most daunting areas and cause for concern when it comes to any leaks!!
    yeah the surface doesn't realy matter as long as it is smooth and with no sharp corners (around 2-3cm radius in the corners is fine)

    will be testing this soon, since I will be adding a BD to my indoor tank.

    my first plan of attack would be to lay the fiber ontop of the BD edge and then make a seal with a sealant designed for submerged use, to make it watertight between the edge of the fiberglass and the BD.

    but yes fiberglass doesn't bond well with plastics, optimal is a rubber seal but that is kinda not possible due to the workflow. kinda hard to lift up the pond and attach it to the bottom afterwards.

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  21. #12
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Sansai Wanna veccy's Avatar
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    Would roughing the plastic up with a coarse sandpaper not give a good key for the resin to bond too.

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  23. #13
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Hassai Frich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanna veccy View Post
    Would roughing the plastic up with a coarse sandpaper not give a good key for the resin to bond too.
    for the most parts plastic is based on oil products, and that doesnt go well with styrene bonding.

    i dont know what a standard BD is made from, but i do know plastics like PP and PE is pretty much impossible to get polyester to bind on even if you sand it and clean it with Chemical cleaners/primers.

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  25. #14
    Moderator Rank = Supreme Champion miles41's Avatar
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    Interesting thought Frich, but then you wonder how the 'professionals' manage to seal the various plastic outlet pipes, drains etc. when fibreglassing.
    1630 Gallon raised pond
    4" 'Avenue' bottom drain
    Estro sieve
    Econobead EB60 bead filter
    Sequence 18000 pump, 6000 pump on skimmer line
    Elecro 2kW in-line heater
    Evolution Aqua 70 air pump
    Standard wall skimmer
    Hozelock Vorton 55watt UV
    and some nice koi

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  27. #15
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Hassai Frich's Avatar
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    pretty sure they use a sealent (silicone)

    it's no different from sealing around a BD or inlet using a liner. i know the pipes i have installed in my filter (fiberglass filterbay) is just Sealed with something called Sikaflex 521 UV

    it's basicly an industrial grade silicone with no antimold agents and it's UV resistant. main thing thou (and very important) is that it will never turn hard, it will keep being flexible. if you use something that goes hard it will eventualy crack and you get a leak.

    but i would love to know what the ones here on the forum that have a glassed pond, did for sealing the BD ?

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  29. #16
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Yonsai d34n0's Avatar
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    Could using two rubber gaskets on a BD designed for a liner be the best option?

    Sent from my HTC Desire 500 using Tapatalk

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  31. #17
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Hassai Frich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by d34n0 View Post
    Could using two rubber gaskets on a BD designed for a liner be the best option?

    Sent from my HTC Desire 500 using Tapatalk
    to be honest i havent looked at the BD i have “back home, it's still in the box. so i dont know how the flange is made up at the moment

    it's an airated BD no idea about the brand i think it's a noname thingie.

    i will look into in when i get home this weekend and try to see what would be the best solution, using rubber seal will definatly hold if you make sure the flange is smooth (pretty easy to do just requires abit of extra Work when your done with the glassing)

    but i think what most do is to set the BD and then do the glassing of the pond, when you do it that way you dont realy have any chance to do a propper rubber seal, so i would still say the best is to glass it to 5mm from the edge of the BD and then fill in the last 5mm with a proper silicone.

    but i will look into it in the weekend

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  33. #18
    My expertise amounts to fibre glassing a total of one pond but the way I sealed the fibre glass to the bottom drain, the skimmer and the return fittings was like this:

    Before tackling the main part of the job, I roughed up the surfaces of each plastic fitting then fibre glassed a patch that extended a few inches around them.

    The patches had a hole in them that was a bit smaller than the diameter of the hole in the fittings. I frayed the edge of the patches so that I could resin the frayed ends neatly into the fitting by about an inch. As soon as that resin had begun to harden, I put a second patch over the first then took a one inch strip and resined it over the frayed ends just inside the fitting, pressing it as firmly against the walls inside the fitting as possible so as to make a neat finish.

    Once that reinforcing ring has hardened, it's impossible for the fibre glass patches to lift away from the inside walls of the fittings. The proper sheets of matting will then be bonding to matting and resin rather than trying to bond to a plastic surface.

    It didn't take long to do each fitting in turn and the main job could start as soon as the last fitting was done so the bond between the patches and the main matting should last forever.

    If anyone wants to try this, the bottom drain is fairly easy to do so that would be a good place to start in order to gain a little practice before tackling the return pipes which are a little more fiddly but not too difficult if you have the patches and the one inch strips already prepared.

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  35. #19
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Supreme Champion pondwithnoname's Avatar
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    As a suggestion, if you want to see if fibre glassing is within your skills range, buy a £10 car repair kit and see how you get on glassing a small cardboard box.
    You may well save yourself a lot of money and heartache.
    Regards
    Pwnn (Steve)

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  37. #20
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Hassai Frich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manky Sanke View Post
    My expertise amounts to fibre glassing a total of one pond but the way I sealed the fibre glass to the bottom drain, the skimmer and the return fittings was like this:

    Before tackling the main part of the job, I roughed up the surfaces of each plastic fitting then fibre glassed a patch that extended a few inches around them.

    The patches had a hole in them that was a bit smaller than the diameter of the hole in the fittings. I frayed the edge of the patches so that I could resin the frayed ends neatly into the fitting by about an inch. As soon as that resin had begun to harden, I put a second patch over the first then took a one inch strip and resined it over the frayed ends just inside the fitting, pressing it as firmly against the walls inside the fitting as possible so as to make a neat finish.

    Once that reinforcing ring has hardened, it's impossible for the fibre glass patches to lift away from the inside walls of the fittings. The proper sheets of matting will then be bonding to matting and resin rather than trying to bond to a plastic surface.

    It didn't take long to do each fitting in turn and the main job could start as soon as the last fitting was done so the bond between the patches and the main matting should last forever.

    If anyone wants to try this, the bottom drain is fairly easy to do so that would be a good place to start in order to gain a little practice before tackling the return pipes which are a little more fiddly but not too difficult if you have the patches and the one inch strips already prepared.
    have been thinking abit in the same lines, and it's one of the Things i want to try and make when i get home.

    will post Pictures

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