THE FIBERGLASS STORY
Fiberglass resurfacing has been used in the swimming pool for over 30 years. However the techniques and methods have evolved over these years. There is a vast difference between application methods and materials used.
HAND-LAY METHOD VS SPRAY-METHOD
The "hand-lay" method for fiberglass pool finishes was used early on in the industry with varying degrees of success. This technique requires the applicators to roll the materials (resin and fiberglass mat) onto the pool surface, using paint rollers. A lot of white pigment is added to the resin, which helps give the appearance of solid coverage. This method does not provide a uniform finish and the finish coat cannot achieve the thickness compared to that of a sprayed-on application. The hand-lay method is now not as common in the industry, as many applications suffered from poor surface preparation, bond failures with the old surface, and curing problems with the finish.
Many companies skimp on surface preparation and application of the fiberglass lining. This is a short-sighted approach that provides less value to the customer.
THE ADVANED-GLASS DIFFERENCE
Advanced Pool Coatings has addressed these issues in a number of ways. Our process starts with careful, professional and rigorous surface preparation. We begin disk grinding the surface, filling voids and addressing all loose or hollow plaster areas. Be careful of companies that simply fiberglass right over old hollow or loose plaster! The technology breakthrough that we put to use in 1993 was bonding barrier coating. The bond coat consists of an unfilled non-pigmented resin barrier coat that is applied directly to the substrate. Our experience has demonstrated, that a polyester or vinyl ester resin has the greatest bonding capabilities when applied in it's purest form. This bonding gives the best chemical adhesion to the substrate, and the bonding barrier coat is chemically compatible with the Advanced-Glass™ laminating coat. We at Advanced Pool Coatings believe there are no shortcuts to providing the most durable, longest lasting pool surface the industry has to offer.
Advanced technology incorporates the use of fiberglass chopper guns. The benefit of gun laminations is that we can apply about 30% more material, which adds structural strength to the laminate. Conversely, hand laminations are limited by the thickness of the fiberglass mat which is usually 3/4 or 1 oz mat per foot. Gun fiberglassing is not limited to such thin laminations. The thicker finish coat we achieve with gun lamination provides a superior water tight barrier. If you wanted an attractive, silky smooth finish on a car, you would certainly not use a paint roller! The chopper guns we use are the latest and best designed machines available. The guns have a reservoir for the catalyst and a pump which regulates the exact catalyst-to-resin ratio to guarantee the best cured laminates. A hand mixed catalyst will vary from mix to mix, causing an unevenly cured surface.
HIGHLY TRAINED PROFESSIONALS
Chopper gun laminations require the initial expense of the equipment and the training needed to operate it properly. A stable work force is absolutely essential for superior gun laminations. If a company has a lot of turnover in manpower, it is easier for them to hand a laborer a bucket and paint roller so that they can begin laminating with very little training. Advanced Pool Coatings is a swimming pool contractor, licensed to do all aspects of pool renovations - coping, tile, equipment and deck work. We do not need subcontractors for any aspect of our work; all of our employees are covered by our insurance. When a contractor's license is limited to coatings only, then subcontractors are needed and their material suppliers, licenses and insurance must be checked, or you may become liable, as the property owner.
DEVELOPERS OF THE SIX-STAGE APPLICATION STANDARD
Advanced Pool Coatings is the exclusive installer of Advanced-Glass/fiberglass coatings. Inferior lamination work is being done when fiberglass installers do not have an understanding of the matrix of the polymer composite that is being used. The successful fiberglass surface is contingent upon many things, first of which is a properly prepared surface. The area of expertise which separates our technology from others, is understanding the influence of environmental factors and making adjustments in our formula and installations. It is important to note that testing of fiberglass laminates is done in a highly controlled, regulated environment at 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Any variation from that temperature requires adjustments that most installers do not begin to understand. For example, our research and field testing has determined that polyester coatings with fiberglass lamination should be done in an ambient air temperature between 60-90 degrees Fahrenheit (75-85 degrees is ideal). Temperatures too hot or too cold inhibit the proper cure of the laminate which will shorten the life expectancy of the fiberglass surface. We know of no other organization that has the facilities, resources or the knowledge for developing fiberglass coatings. All of our materials are pH stable, mixed to a high shear consistency, and tested for cure upon completion.
To make sure you are getting the “apples-to-apples” quote for your project make sure the contractor provides the specifications for the materials and application system.