Love the skin you're in?

Finishes, paints and coatings

Love the skin you're in?

Postby MarkusMasonis » Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:21 pm

So ... what are people's favourite skins?

I'm asking from the perspective of a first-time, but handy and knowledgeable builder. I'd love to hear about the process that worked for you, pros and cons, costs, and any pitfalls. I'd like to skip the ones that didn't go so well. Process right from bare plywood to finished exterior.

This will be a solid 3-season Canadian camper. Stored inside, but hardy enough to be in the weather if need be. Very wide temperature range. My engineering background has me looking for a durable, attractive, cost-effective solution. I don't want it to be disposable, but I don't want to overkill it. The thunder-egg will be 5 feet wide.

Considered so far:

1. The "rich person's boat finish" approach, with fibreglass and yacht paint. That seemed great until I looked at prices for boat paint and realized they were for a quart, not a gallon.

2. Cheapo wood sealer (thin poly) and aluminium skin. I feel like the aluminium would expand and contract a lot and dent easily with rock chips and such. 5 foot metal is hard to source. Don't love the space-ship look it would give my design. Corrodes easily under some circumstances. Tough to repair.

3. Said wood sealer with some cheaper, but still capable, exterior paint. They are getting better and better, I'm told, but I don't totally believe this approach would be durable enough.

4. Natural wood finish with spar varnish. Surprisingly expensive, and I don't believe my plywood joinery (10 foot from 8 foot using lap joints) will be attractive enough to show off at this level. I know it won't because I already did it with painting in mind.

5. Puckboard. Neat stuff, but way too heavy and scratches easily. Looks like lego with no bumps.

6. Canvas and glue / paint. I somehow feel like this will look like I glued some canvas to a plywood thing. People will walk in a big circle to avoid my trailer at campsites.
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Re: Love the skin you're in?

Postby kayakdlk » Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:42 am

7) 1/8 Baltic Birch skin, Fiberglass cloth, 3-4 coats epoxy and then paint with Monstaliner Bed liner paint. The cloth keeps the plywood from checking, the epoxy seals from the elements and the bedliner protects the epoxy and is UV resistant. You can tint it to almost any color. All I have to do is power wash after a trip to get the bugs and grime off. Wax once a year. Since the bedliner resists dents and dings from the road so much I left off the diamond plate trim I had planned on using on the front to save weight.

It cost more so if you want to keep the cost down I would check out the 6) canvas and paint builds on this forum I think they end up looking very good if you take your time

Another option to save on cost is to just use fiberglass cloth and epoxy on the seams to seal the wood and paint with Rustoleum paint. Several nice build on here with that method

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Re: Love the skin you're in?

Postby MarkusMasonis » Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:07 am

The liner paint is an interesting idea. Does it apply well on vertical surfaces, or does it slump?

Also seems like that liner paint much be expensive, no? It's basically a thick, 2-part exterior paint?
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Re: Love the skin you're in?

Postby rowerwet » Sat Dec 27, 2014 8:40 pm

I've never had any negative comments or felt avoided with my painted canvas. I like the look and if people even notice the finish, they find the description of the process interesting enough to want to feel the surface.
It you don't want rough texture, I've also used bedsheets weight cotton fabric, it costs a little more for the fabric, but is just as tough. The difference is a much smoother pattern which would be easy to fill with a high solids primer.
Either way the plywood surface must be smooth, any bumps telegraph through, coarser fabric covers more. (Like a popcorn ceiling over poor drywall)
My tear lives outside year round, after three years the paint is not peeling, and the surface is still hard and sound. Any dirt still just washes off.
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Re: Love the skin you're in?

Postby MarkusMasonis » Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:00 am

I'm pretty impressed with YOUR glue and canvas. I just have a feeling that I wouldn't be impressed with mine. Plus it would add thickness near the doors and hatch that I haven't really accounted for in my design.

A buddy of mine is building a boat, and I think I'm going to piggyback on his finishing method:

1. 2 coats of epoxy, first one thinned with acetone (if I feel really ambitious, I may even just do glass, but likely not)
2. 2 coats of marine primer.
3. 2-3 coats (however many I can get from a gallon) of 2-part water based boat paint. System 3 is apparently decent and will stop a bullet.

Concerns with this over Baltic Birch? Will the epoxy stop checking? Any finishing experts want to chime in?
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Re: Love the skin you're in?

Postby felixx » Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:42 am

8) Aluminium Laminate Cladding
it is a sandwich of 0.5mm Al sheets over a thermoplastic fill 2-5mm thick

Comes in a variety of colours

Is UV resistant

Im going to use it as it is durable and not too heavy, price isnt too bad
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Re: Love the skin you're in?

Postby dales133 » Tue Jan 13, 2015 4:37 am

Be aware mate it is actually reasonably heavy.
Don't go to nuts on your frame if your using it as its pushing 6 kg M2.
It's great stuff and I was initially going to make a steel frame and clad it with composite pannel and I may even still use it but you'll be adding around 40 kg just in side panels plus the roof and hatch.
Not an issue but just calculate it into your plans
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Re: Love the skin you're in?

Postby felixx » Tue Jan 13, 2015 4:40 am

I found some 3mm :twisted:
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Re: Love the skin you're in?

Postby dales133 » Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:11 am

Yea ulrich 3mm is 5.5kg per m2
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Re: Love the skin you're in?

Postby GPW » Tue Jan 13, 2015 6:31 am

Quote: “ People will walk in a big circle to avoid my trailer at campsites. “ Why do you care ??? :roll:
There’s no place like Foam !
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Re: Love the skin you're in?

Postby MarkusMasonis » Tue Jan 13, 2015 9:47 am

I don't care. It was just a joke, like my finishing job would make the trailer look like some creepy box. Never mind.

Felixx, my two concerns about laminating material are:

1. Water getting between the skin and the trailer wall
2. Repairing damage

And as dales33 says, that seems relatively heavy ... though I do realize that finish always weighs something. I'm sure my epoxy, primer and paint will still be several kg by the time I'm done.
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Re: Love the skin you're in?

Postby Ned » Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:28 pm

dales133 wrote:Yea ulrich 3mm is 5.5kg per m2

UltraSign is only 3.8 for 3mm, and you can get it in 2mm as well if you can find some, which is 2.9

http://ullrich-aluminium.co.nz/pdfs/Bro ... chure2.pdf
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Re: Love the skin you're in?

Postby dales133 » Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:04 pm

I was pretty sure they had quoted me 5.5 over the phone.
They have more than one grade though and I was looking at the premium one.
The paints supposedly more uv stable and better quality and the aluminium a bit thicker
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