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How to Sand Fiberglass Safely

Fiberglass preparation and finishing is a process that is researched by many people. Professionals and do-it-yourselfers alike desire the best results when sanding fiberglass surfaces. After all, there are many ways to go about sanding surfaces, but not all produce the same quality of results. In this article, we will look at how to sand fiberglass safely. As we do, we will also consider some things to keep in mind regarding techniques.

Is Sanding Fiberglass Difficult?

Whether you view sanding fiberglass as difficult or not will depend on a number of things. Patience and preparation will make the task go smoother. Also, the degree of effort and time you put into preparing the surface, the better the results will be.

Before beginning the steps needed to sand fiberglass be sure you allow the material to fully cure.

One of the preparation steps that make sanding easier is making sure that the surfaces are well supported and stable. This will allow you to work comfortably and to focus your attention on sanding. Another important prep step is to be sure that you clean the surface that you will be sanding. Thoroughly cleaning the fiberglass surface before sanding removes contaminants from the surface. This is done using one or more of the following:

  • Grease Remover
  • Wax Remover
  • Paint Thinner

Sanding Fiberglass Safely

It is important to take safety into consideration when sanding fiberglass. After all, any injury stemming from the act of sanding (whether from short term exposure or long term exposure) would prevent you from getting the "best" results. And, according to the CDC, risks are associated with fiberous glass. So, working in a safe way contributes to getting the best results possible.

Airborne particles and dust become pollutants and are potentially harmful if inhaled or breathed. These particles affect the lungs, nose, throat. Long term exposure to fiberglass dust even results in respiratory disorders and diseases. Furthermore, fiberglass is an irritant when it get into the eyes or skin. Because of these potential skin, eye, and respiratory hazards, it is important to have the proper tools and equipment when sanding fiberglass. Some equipment that reduces exposure to fiberglass dust includes:

  • Power Tools Dust Extraction Features
  • Protective Eyewear
  • Safety Gloves to Protect Skin
  • Respiratory Protection
  • A Dust Collection Booth

Not all of the above equipment is required for every project or situation, but protecting yourself against potentially harmful particles and debris is commensurate with the quality and number of tools and techniques you choose to use.

Skin, Eye, and Respiratory Protection

As mentioned, fiberglass irritates the skin and eyes. So it is important to have gloves along with goggles, a respirator, and ear covering. This prevents fiberglass dust from becoming irritants to your eyes, ears, nose, and throat during the sanding process.

Fiberglass Dust Exposure

Sanding fiberglass without PPE often times results in fiberglass dust exposure. Exposure to fiberglass dust has detrimental effects.

Getting fiberglass on your skin, in your eyes or in your respiratory system can result in irritation. When glass fibers contact the skin itching, rashes and soreness develop. Rashes usually look like small blisters in the midst of dry flakey skin. And the area may be red in color.

Fiberglass in the eyes, ears, nose, and throat also produce irritation and can lead to even more severe problems. Therefore, having the proper equipment for sanding fiberglass is important. For example, fiberglass PPE suppliers are a good place to find information about various fiberglass related PPE clothing and protection gear.

In the end, there are several aspects to sanding fiberglass. There are techinques that apply during the sanding process, which contribute to a the results. There are also various tools and equipment used during the sanding that contribute to good results. And there are safety precautions, equipment, and personal gear that play a role in keeping you from suffering due to fiberglass exposure. After all, part of the results includes your not coming down with symtoms due to fiberglass exposure.

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