How to Paint a Fiberglass Toppersby Steve Smith
Fiberglass toppers have a sheeny, slick surface that is difficult to paint. Most are covered in a gel coating, while others are simply unfinished fiberglass. Regular paints do not adhere to these surfaces, making refinishing problematic. In order to paint a topper, special primers must be used. These act like double-sided tape, providing a sticky surface on both sides. It adheres to the exterior of the topper and allows paint to stick to it.
Wipe down the surface of the topper with a clean rag and mineral spirits (or a similar cleaner). This will remove grease, dirt and factory residues on the topper allowing easier application of the primer.
Spray fiberglass primer onto the topper's surface using a paint spray gun. Apply the primer in an even coat to the entire surface that will be painted. Then allow the primer to dry for 12 hours or as instructed on the primer's labeling.
Sand primer surface with 200-grit sand paper and a flat sanding block by hand. Just remove a thin layer of the primer, leaving most of the first coat in tact. Clean off the surface of the topper. Then apply a second coat of primer to the surface with the spray gun. Let this stand and dry, as well. After paint is dry to the touch, sand it down again with a block and sanding paper. Then wipe off the topper with a clean rag.
Spray on the top coat of fiberglass paint with the paint gun. After this first coat has dried, wet sand it to a smooth surface using wet sand paper on your sanding block. Wipe the area clean and apply the final coat of paint to the topper.
Sand and apply additional coats as necessary to complete your topper. As many as five coats may be used, and a minimum of two coats is recommended.
Things You'll Need
- Mineral spirits
- Clean rags
- Fiberglass primer
- Sand paper, 200-grit
- Sanding block
- Spray gun
- Fiberglass paint
Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.