7 Things to Keep in Mind About Spraying Epoxy Paint

Spraying Epoxy PaintThere are many different ways of applying epoxy paint and spraying epoxy paint is one of them. If you have a large enough surface or the surface is too uneven for more conventional methods of application, this guide will assist you along the way.

1. Be sure to have either enough surface area or the correct surface area to spray before you break out the spray equipment. The area should be at least large enough to spray a minimum of 3 gallons of Pond Shield if the surface is smooth. If the surface is too rough such as a very craggy type of surface, then it would also be beneficial to spray rather than brush or roll.

2. Because most spray equipment consists of a pump, hose and gun, some material will be lost during the application process. This material ends up being left behind within these areas of the spray machine at which time it is cleaned out before the machine is put away. It is important to be able to justify this loss of material before you begin. Some machines have enough hose and mechanical parts to cause a loss of up to a half to a full quart of material.

3. Spraying epoxy pain is best accomplished by two people. One person can constantly spray material onto the surface while the other can mix new batches of material having them ready as the person spraying runs out. This team work will keep the risks of epoxy hardening up in the machine to a minimum.

4. Use proper protective gear. When you spray epoxy paint, the coating is atomized into small particles that float in the air. These particles remain in an uncured stated for as long as the coating is not set up. During this time it is possible inhale these particles unless a proper spray mask is worn to prevent it. You should always protect your eyes and lungs when spraying.

5. Epoxy can get onto other surrounding items as well. Use plastic sheeting or tarps to cover any areas exposed to accidental overspray.

6. Be ready to clean the spray machine in the event something goes wrong. Epoxy will cure and if it is still inside the machine will do so there. This can ruin a machine very quickly.

7. Always pre clean the spray machine, especially if the machine has been rented. It is impossible to tell what was used in the machine prior to your use (if rented) and anything left in the machine can easily contaminate the epoxy.

Spraying epoxy paint is no different than spraying any other material except that the curing process of the coating is chemical rather then mechanical in nature from heat, ultraviolet, evaporative or pressure. Because of this, the mixture needs to be tended to more closely which is why a team is always more successful than a single person spraying epoxy paint.

Share this with a friend!
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Delicious Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous Email

A List for Preparing to Use Pond Armor Epoxy

The last thing anyone wants is to experience what it is like to have forgotten one single item, especially after Pond Armor epoxy has already been mixed and is ready to be applied. The epoxy is going to start to cure and there is going to be absolutely no time to run back to the local hardware store for anything forgotten.

The best thing one can do is follow a plan and a good plan always starts with a good list. Tomorrow is the day planned for applying the Pond Armor epoxy. Here is a list things that could aid in getting the job done. Take note, this list is only for the coating application process, not the surface preparation or inspection.

Gloves – Needed for keeping your hands clean.
Safety glasses – Keep your eyes protected during any DIY project.
Proper clothing – There is no sense in ruining perfectly good clothing. Wear something old that you do not mind damaging.
Paint brushes – Perfect for touch up and hard to reach areas.
Paint roller handle and refills – If you plan to roll the Pond Armor epoxy, make sure you have spare refills and a good handle.
Squeegee – Only needed if you have a smooth surface to work with and you have experience using a squeegee.
Plastic tarp – Use this to cover and protect surrounding areas.
Masking tape – Use to aid in covering up areas not to be coated.
Paper or plastic containers – Used for mixing Pond Armor epoxy.
Measuring cups – Use these to measure specific amount of Pond Armor epoxy and alcohol.
Mixing sticks and a mixing wand – Use sticks for smaller batches being mixed and the wand on the end of a drill for larger batches being mixed.
Electric drill – See above.
Extension cords – See above.
Large plastic paint pan and refills – Use these to pour Pond Armor epoxy into while coating.
Denatured alcohol – Used for mixing with Pond Armor epoxy (see instructions and included recipes that came with the kit). In Canada, look for 99% Isopropyl alcohol in place of denatured alcohol.
Acetone – Use this to clean up any tools after coating.

Use the Clean Print feature found at the top of any article to print this list. Have it handy on the day you will be applying the coating. Check off any items that are already present and collect the rest.

Share this with a friend!
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Delicious Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous Email

Pond Liner Glue – Does it Really Work?

I am always asked if Pond Shield epoxy can be used as a pond liner glue.  The short answer is no.  I hate to disappoint, but while there are times Pond Shield epoxy can be used in the same manner as a glue, it can not be used as a pond liner glue.

The real issue here is not that Pond Shield is not sticky enough.  It really is.  The issue is that the epoxy and the liner are from two very different families of materials, in the case of a rubber liner.

While Pond Shield sticks to PVC and ABS pipes, this does not mean that it will stick to PVC liners either.  The problem here is the difference in material flexibility.  All flexible liners are going to be on the furthest edges of the scale with is comes to flexibility.

So in essence, it amounts to two major issues, the family of materials and the flexibility.  If you want to use a pond liner glue that will have any success of working, the pond liner glue needs to cover both of those issues, being of the same family of materials and at least as flexible.

The down side of pond liner glue is that they can be tricky to get to work properly.  If you read my article Patching a Pond Liner,  you will get a better understanding of how this process works.

You should be aware that pond liner glue and patches do have their issues even if you follow the rules with repairs, so you will want to take care of them and treat them with extra care so that the patch lasts as long as possible.

Share this with a friend!
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Delicious Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous Email

How to Spray Epoxy

There are some great reasons why you would want to spray Pond Shield epoxy rather than squeegee or roll it on.  Learning how to spray epoxy is not difficult to do either.  It takes some patience, the correct tools and an assistant.

Since you are actually building a pond, let’s assume you have the patience.  You will also have to decide if you have an area large enough to spray.  This is important because Pond Shield is not sprayed with a normal, hand held paint sprayer.  The epoxy is just too thick, even if you thin it some.

So the type of spray machine you will need is an airless rig that can most likely be rented from a local tool rental store.  Now because you will be using one of these, this is where the total area to be sprayed comes into play.  The set up and cleaning of these types of machines take some time, not to mention the machine and the hose will cause you to loose some of the Pond Shield you have purchased.

I would recommend that if you consider spraying the epoxy, that you have enough area for at least 8 quart and a half kits and then purchase a minimum of a 3-gallon kit (which equates to 8 quart and a half kits).  Any less material for a spray job and you will be wasting your time and material.

So let’s assume you have enough area to spray.  Which airless spray machine do you rent or purchase (in the case of a professional installer)?  Bigger is always better, but there are some minimum requirements for a spray machine that you have to abide by.

Operating Pressure – 3000 – 3500 working psi minimum.  This means that the machine should operate in this range.  If the machine is rated for 3000 psi maximum, you may find that the operating pis is somewhere in the 1500 psi area.  That pressure will never do.

Spray Tip – This is the part of the spray gun where the epoxy exits the machine.  If the spray tip is too small, the psi that the machine operates at will be impeded and not enough coating will exit the gun to do the job properly.  The spray tip should be a minimum of .023 to .027.  I personally try and find the bigger tips work better.  The more volume you can move, the easier it is to cover your project.

Fluid Hose – Typically there are tow types of hose, both measured in inside diameter, 3/8” and 1/2.  Again, the need is for volume, then try and get the large inside diameter hose.

Gas or Electric – Either type will work fine.  I do find that gas machines tend to be larger in terms of the operating pressure and such but you should check the machine specifications before you rent.

So now we know there is enough area to be sprayed and we have picked out the proper machine.  What is the assistant for?  Well when it comes to spraying epoxy and you are going to be the trigger man, you will want to continuously spray without stopping.  Being an exothermic material the epoxy will want to heat up as it cures and airless spray machines have a tendency to further this heating process as the fluid lines are charged.  So with that said, you will probably not have enough time to stop spraying and mix additional material yourself, nor will you have the time to change from epoxy to solvent to clean the machine when you are finished.

Your assistant should be well versed in the timing for mixing new epoxy and having it ready at the same time you need it.  You, as the person spraying the epoxy should not be waiting for your assistant to finish mixing materials and likewise your assistant should not be waiting for you to finish spraying the epoxy.  This timing is essential for sake of the machine.  You do not want the epoxy hardening up in the machine while you wait, nor do you want to epoxy starting to cure in a bucket while the assistant waits for you.

Now that all of the logistics are handled, let’s talk about the actual spraying process.  Spraying is not that difficult and you can quickly get used to the manner in which you should do it.  The first thing you want to do is wear a respirator.  Yes, Pond Shield epoxy is non toxic, but the small coating particulates that will be floating in the air are not something you will want in your lungs, so protect yourself.  Any good painter will tell you this too.

You may also consider safety glasses as well because of the same reason.  There is bound to be some bounce back of epoxy from the surface being sprayed and you do not want that in your eyes either.

The first thing you should do is purge or pre-clean the spray machine of contaminants.  This is done by spraying denatured alcohol through the machine for a few minutes.  This denatured alcohol can be sprayed into a separate bucket and used later for cleaning the machine. Acetone will work as well, but it is always best to check with the owner’s manual of the machine for proper cleaning methods.

Now that the system has been purged, your assistant will load a fresh batch of Pond Shield epoxy.  Thinning the epoxy is crucial to the operation of the machine, so you may wish to speak to a support technician at Pond Armor who will be happy to help you with a proper recipe before starting.  Be sure to have all of your spray machine specifications handy before the call.

Initially the material that you spray will be mostly denatured alcohol, so purge this off with the properly mixed Pond Shield epoxy into a different bucket than the one you just pre-cleaned the machine with.  As soon as you see good epoxy coming from the machine you can move to the work area and begin.

The spray tip on the gun will either have a flat fan pattern or a round funnel pattern.  This will not make much of a difference for the type of spray job you are doing but will tend to designate how close you hold the spray gun to the surface of the pond.

Hold the spray gun somewhere between 12 and 18 inches to start.  This distance will vary depending on the type of pattern the gun sprays.  Typically, the funnel type of pattern feels like a lot more epoxy is being delivered at one time, so you will probably end up holding the spray gun further away and you perform a stroke.

The other thing that will affect this distance is the volume of epoxy being released from the machine.  If you have a machine that delivers 4000 psi and pretty large spray tip, then you’ll have a lot more material being released, so the distance again, will be a bit further away from the surface.

The trick to spraying is moving your hand across the surface in one even stroke, keeping the gun the same distance away from the surface.  The speed at which you move through this stroke will also be dictated by the volume of epoxy being released.  Pond Shield epoxy can be sprayed down at 10 mils thickness in one stroke, so try and run a stroke and then stop for a moment to measure the thickness of the epoxy with the gauge.  If the coating is at 10 mils, then your distance away from the surface and your stroke speed are perfect.  If not, then adjust accordingly.  If the coating was thinner than 10 mils, you may have to move closer as well as slow your stroke speed down.

A caution should be mentioned here.  If you lay the coating down thicker than 10 mils, you may experience sagging.  The same can be said, if the epoxy is thinned too much. The main problem here is that you may not initially experience this sagging right away.  This may happen after you have moved on to another location to spray.  Sagging is an aesthetic issue and if it bothers you, you will have to clean that up later and possibly touch up those areas.

Immediately after you have sprayed all areas satisfactorily, you can begin the cleaning process.  This means that your assistance will switch from epoxy to a solvent like denatured alcohol, acetone or methyl ethyl keytone (MEK).  The acetone or MEK should only be used for cleaning afterwards and not in the pre-cleaning stage.  Spray the solvent through the lines thoroughly to ensure no epoxy residue remains.  Uses brushes and such to clean all of the machines moving parts, pick up tube and spray gun.  Afterwards, drain the hose of excess fluid before returning it.

The next day you will be ready to inspect and touch up the coating.  Keep in mind that even if the job was perfect today, it is not likely to be perfect tomorrow.  Concrete has a way of letting coatings settle in and there may be places to touch up before you fill the pond with water.  Always inspect your surface and tough up as needed.

Share this with a friend!
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Delicious Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous Email

Wooden Pond Structure Construction Materials

I think when a person has decided to make a wooden pond structure in this instance, the next logical step is to research they style they are going to build so that they may further educate themselves in any of the idiosyncrasies that may revolve around their project.

I talk to a lot of people about wooden pond structure construction and because of the Internet they seem pretty informed.  They know what shape the pond structure might be, they know where the structure will go and they even have a good list of support equipment necessary to run the wooden pond structure.

What they are usually missing is a good list of construction materials needed to actually build the unit.  Sure they might know they need wood, glass and Pond Shield epoxy but after that anything else is typically of generic nature.  So let’s talk about those briefly.

Wood – What kind of wood?  Well there are two types of wood.  There is hard wood and soft wood.  A typical hard wood might be oak for instance and pine is a soft wood.  What difference does that make, you ask?

Well the actual panels of the wooden pond structure can be made of soft wood like pine or fir plywood where the bracing might be made of a solid hard wood like oak or cherry.  Of course a typical soft wood pine 2×4 is plenty strong if used correctly.  Take a look at the Wooden Pond Structure article.

While we always recommend that sheets of hardy board concrete be used to line the inside of a wooden pond structure, they are not total necessary.  They are more a very big safety measure.  If you’re not going to use the concrete board, then the plywood you use should be of a wood that has a very tight grain.

Usually hard woods are tighter grained, but there are variances in all types of wood.  The tighter the grain, the less swelling or misshapen (as the wood accidentally takes on water) problems you’ll likely experience.  If the wood soaks up water, it can swell and becomes misshapen, which in turn can cause a delaminating of the coating that is applied.

Finally, make sure to use plywood that is an outdoor, marine grade.  These grades of plywood are assembled with water resistant glue which will cause you less headaches later as well.

Concrete Board – This is usually called Hardy Board.  There are two different types, one for shower pans and one for exterior siding.  The Hardy board siding is the only one you should use for a wooden pond structure.  The shower pan style is too rough and will only cause you to use more Pond Shield epoxy than you should have to.

If you do use concrete board in your wooden pond structure, then you’ll benefit mainly from removing the wood from and water barrier duty.  The further the wood is from the water, the less trouble you’ll have with it.  Now Pond Shield does stick to wood, but it sticks to concrete even better.  This is why we recommend using Hardy board.

Adhesive – Adhesive, for what?  Well if you plan to use Hardy board, you’ll need to glue it in place.  I have always used Sika-Flex A1.  It is a very strong construction adhesive that remains very flexible.  This means that even if the wood portion of the structure moves, it will not effect the interior concrete board construction, which could have led to leaks.

Fiberglass – No matter what you build your wooden pond structure out of, you’ll need to run fiberglass matt along the seams.  I recommend that you use 1.5 ounce chopped strand matt.  The thickness of the fiberglass and the chopped strands tend to dissipate stress quite nicely.

Fasteners – Ok, get a big old bag of nails for this.  No!  I’m just kidding.  Avoid using nails whenever possible.  They just do not hold on like a screws will.  Your choices of screws these days are a plenty.  I always use something that is stainless steel first if I have the opportunity.  The less corrosion your fasteners go through, the stronger your finished wooden pond structure will be.

I also use sheet rock style screws because they tend to really grab a lot better than typical wood screws.  This is not to mention that they usually have a higher tensile strength too because of the way they are made.

Silicone – If you plan to have a viewing window in your wooden pond structure, then you’ll need to adhere it to the walls in some way.  Silicone seems to be the best choice for that.  Look for an aquarium safe silicone to use for this.  You can usually find these online or at your local aquarium store.

Bulkhead Fittings – For wooden pond structures, these are the best way to get your plumbing through walls and floors.  They are usually made of a schedule 40 or schedule 80 PVC.  They are made up of three parts, a front have, a back half and a rubber gasket.  The gasket will always be on the inside of the wooden pond structure.

Various Brackets – Depending on how you construct your wooden pond structure, you may or may not use metal brackets.  If you do, be sure to use those that are galvanized at least.  This added layer of corrosion protection that coats the steel will make them last a lot longer.

Coating – No matter which method of construction you use, you will have to coat the interior surface in order to waterproof it.  Of course we manufacture the perfect coating for that purpose.

That is about all there is to the materials needed for a wooden pond structure.  If anyone out there has any other material ideas, let me know.

Share this with a friend!
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Delicious Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous Email