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  • Writer's picturePlasTech Services Inc.

The Benefits of Using Hand-Lay Fiberglass for Your Construction Projects

Updated: Apr 16

Reinforce Structures Or Custom Fabrication With Hand-Lay Fiberglass Services

Hand-Lay fiberglass is the process of reinforcing a structure or custom fabricating a product with fiberglass, by hand. The hand-lay fiberglass process also referred to as hand lay-up, is a traditional method of fabricating composite materials, particularly fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP). This method is one of the oldest and simplest processes for manufacturing fiberglass products and is still widely used due to its versatility and adaptability to a wide range of shapes and sizes.

We have 30+ years of experience reinforcing existing chemical-resistant structures, relining fiberglass tanks, repairing fiberglass pipes, and creating chemical-resistant areas.

Call us at 1-410-737-4700 for help on your current or next project.

Check out this video:

The Process of Hand-Lay Fiberglass:

  1. Mold Preparation: A mold that corresponds to the desired shape of the final product is prepared. The mold is typically coated with a release agent to prevent the fiberglass from sticking to it and to facilitate the removal of the finished product.

  2. Gel Coat Application: If a smooth, high-quality surface finish is required, a gel coat may be applied to the mold. This coat will become the outer surface of the finished product, providing both aesthetic qualities and an additional layer of protection against environmental factors.

  3. Cutting Fiberglass Mats or Cloths: Sheets of fiberglass matting or cloth are cut to the size needed to cover the mold. The type and orientation of the fibers in these materials will determine the strength and stiffness of the final product.

  4. Resin Preparation: The resin, often a polyester or vinylester, is prepared according to the manufacturer's specifications. This typically involves mixing a catalyst into the resin to initiate the curing process once it is applied.

  5. Laying the Fiberglass: The cut fiberglass mats or cloths are laid onto the mold by hand. Workers ensure the material conforms to the shape of the mold, paying careful attention to corners and edges to avoid air pockets and wrinkles.

  6. Resin Application: The resin is then applied to the fiberglass, either by brushing, rolling, or spraying. The resin saturates the fiberglass, and workers use rollers or brushes to compact the material and eliminate air bubbles, ensuring thorough impregnation of the resin into the fibers.

  7. Curing: Once the layers of fiberglass and resin have been applied, the material is left to cure. The curing time can vary depending on the type of resin, thickness of the lay-up, and ambient conditions.

  8. Trimming and Finishing: After the resin has fully cured and the material has hardened, the product is removed from the mold. The edges may be trimmed, and any additional finishing processes such as drilling, painting, or polishing are carried out as required.

The hand-lay fiberglass process is favored for its simplicity, low cost, and the ability to produce large or complex shapes with a good balance of strength and weight. However, it is labor-intensive and the quality of the final product can depend greatly on the skill of the workers, as manual placement of material and resin can result in variations. It is suitable for both one-off products and low-volume production runs.

Hand-Lay Fiberglass Tank Reline and Pipes

We specialize in Fiberglass Repair, especially when it comes to things like repairing a Fiberglass Tank or fixing a fiberglass pipe. In fact, did you know entire bridges can be made out of Fiberglass? That's right! When cured properly, Fiberglass can become stronger, lighter, and more durable than steel. We've seen fiberglass tanks last over 30 years in wastewater treatment facilities.

Hand-Lay Fiberglass For Mobility

At PlasTech, we have field service teams that can respond to on-site fiberglass repair needs. We also install Fiberglass Piping Systems on new construction projects. Finally, we perform custom fiberglass fabrication services and perform in-shop site prep work for fiberglass piping at large manufacturing facilities. Chemical Manufacturers, Pulp & Paper Manufacturers, the Utility Industry, and the Oil and Gas industry all use Fiberglass for its durability, ease of repair, and chemical resistance.

Hand-Lay Fiberglass Exceeds Strength

Various companies even sell fiberglass wrap kits with water-activated fiberglass wrap and fiberglass pipe repair tape. Fiberglass is so versatile, with the right primer, fiberglass can adhere to almost anything: Steel, Stainless Steel, PVC, Copper... You name it!

For more information about Fiberglass or custom fabrication please connect with us at 1-410-737-4700.

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