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Old 03-23-2012, 01:12 AM   #1
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Painting Fiberglass Bus

As title says, I would like to know what is the correct way to paint my fiberglass bus? do I really have to get it blasted down to the raw fiberglass? Soda blasting is illegal here now and all there is is glass blasting. not sure if it is the same thing...

Can I get away with rough sanding the bus then primer and painting? Do i even have to primer?

thanks for answers and input!!
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Old 03-23-2012, 04:25 AM   #2
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Re: Painting Fiberglass Bus

You just paint it the same way as anything fiberglass, like a boat.
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Old 03-23-2012, 10:34 AM   #3
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Re: Painting Fiberglass Bus

hmm ill look into how to paint a boat. lol same thing i guess just one on land and one on water lol
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Old 03-25-2012, 10:33 PM   #4
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Re: Painting Fiberglass Bus

If your fiberglass body isn't too beat up and you don't want to change the color it would be cheaper and easier to rub out and polish the existing gelcoat. Of course, if you want to change the color, paint is about your only option.

Are your stripes tape or paint? If they're tape you'll need to remove them and you'll almost certainly find virgin, shiny fiberglass underneath with the rest of the fiberglass nice and dull from weathering. You'll have to sand the entire body with 600 or 1000 grit wet sandpaper to knock down the glossy spots or they'll show through the new paint job. Wet sanding gellcoat goes pretty quickly. If the stripes are painted on you'll need to sand them so the edges blend and not show through the new paint. Either way, there's some sanding in your future.

I like your existing color scheme. If 'twas me I'd try rubbing it out. All you need is some fiberglass rubbing compound and a polisher that can be turned down to about 500 rpm (to avoid overheating the fiberglass).
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:18 PM   #5
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Re: Painting Fiberglass Bus

well the red and white is painted on. the black is vinyl and behind it is blue stripes. not sure if i shoulda took the black off or not but its done. only thing concerns me is a couple cracks in the back corners where you can see someone caught a pole or something...

with the black on:


with the black off:


kinda looks a bit red/white and blue for up here in Canada. mind you it was an American bus originally and is in miles.
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Old 03-30-2012, 09:25 PM   #6
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Re: Painting Fiberglass Bus

I'm no expert on painting but I wouldn't think you'd want to paint over the vinyl stripes. How much prep you do prior to painting depends on how picky you are about the final product but at least you want to sand off the gloss on the original paint. If the paint stripes have raised edges and they're not sanded flush they will show through the new paint. Ideally, you want a nice, flat, dull surface to paint over.

Fiberglass isn't that hard to repair, particularly if you're going to paint it afterward. Basicly you scrape out all the loose fiberglass from the crack, sand the edges with 80 grit sandpaper back to solid fiberglass, then fill the crack with Bondo-glass fiberglass filler. Once the filler dries sand it flat with 150 grit paper then prime and paint.

In general, it's best to prime first.
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:47 AM   #7
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Re: Painting Fiberglass Bus

Why is soda blasting illegal? I thought it was not toxic.
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:14 PM   #8
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Re: Painting Fiberglass Bus

im guessing political stupidity.

now they use glass beads to "sandblast" and i don't know how re-usable it is. I imagine glass shards would not be as fun to deal with as soda...
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