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Old 01-24-2021, 03:10 PM   #1
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Painting a Fiberine top

HI All,

I put a 24Ē Bubble on my E350 about 14 months ago, and have since recently completely gutted the van for itís whole new build out from what the original owner did.

Fiberine advised me to have the top painted to ultimately protect from UV fading, and Iím wondering what anyone has done, cost, and if it is really worth it.

Iíve only had one quote so far from a body shop who said they would do it as most decline to quote as the van with the top will not fit in their paint booth. They quote $2500, which I think is boredering on a crazy number.

Question is, is it even worth painting?? If I stil have this van in 10 years, it would be fairly surprising. Also, I wil have 400 watts of solar panels on the roof and a fan, so not a whole lot of exposed roof when all is said and done other than the sides.

Anyone forego the paint job on their top?? Regrets??? How badly has it yellowed?

Other thought was to go to one of those wrapping people, and just have the top wrapped in white to match the van which I would imagine would be significantly less expensive.

Really need to get this work done before I can proceed with the buildout give I need to but the hole for the fan and mount the panels after I figure out what to do with the top, and before going any further on the interior.

Appreciate your thoughts!
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Old 01-24-2021, 05:53 PM   #2
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Random thoughts:

-A friend of mine is a life long painter and owner of his shop. I had figured on $10K to do my EB with Fiberine and I know he was planning on me being heavily involved in the grunt work. Its a lot of square inches of work taking it to metal and a LOT of parts to remove if you want a high end paintjob. Turned out the paint on the van i got was in great shape so I spent a week in 3 steps of paint correction then ceramic coating and called it done.
-Wraps are expensive too lots of labor and I doubt most shops are set up to do a roof that's 8'-9'+ high- so that's going to effect the price or the quality or both. Its a lot of square inches so material cost is going to be surprising. I wouldn't be surprised if its in the $2500 range. Unless your after something highly unique like camo or carbon look I'm not a fan of wraps. I'd be real specific about asking where the seams would be on a wrap. I'm pretty sure there are going to be some unsightly seams but it will be up high so that helps hide them.
I would also get hold of as large a piece of the color material as possible and tape it up there and look at it in different light and make sure your good with it before committing I think at best hopefully it will be good enough but I doubt it will match. Even matching paint on a 8-10yr (?) old metal van compared to a fiberglass surface is not going to be a given that's for sure (it might be close enough for any given person).
-If your van is not white I'd paint the top and hope for the best.
-My van is white and the Fiberine is very close (close enough), however I was a little disappointed the other day when the sun was low and at the right angle to see all the buff marks in the Fiberine...the light had never hit it right to see them before , oh well not bad. If your van is white, then like I'm doing, I'd say put some of the newer ceramic wax coatings on it and just roll the way it is.
-I use to keep a boat at a covered RV storage place and they also painted RVs. If you decide you want paint then maybe check the places that paint RVs, your van will be tiny to them and they are certainly oriented to fiberglass. Maybe being so small it would slot into the schedule in a advantageous way.
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Old 01-24-2021, 06:02 PM   #3
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There are a lot of good, marine "topside" polyurethane paints that are formulated for fiberglass. You can get good results by brushing and "tipping". Good enough for a boat should be good enough for your roof. In any case it's a roof and doesn't need to look showroom perfect.
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Old 01-24-2021, 06:20 PM   #4
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Be careful if/when you use those "ceramic" coatings - I know quire a few Boat builders/service shops that tell Boat owners NOT to use the stuff, and even caution against using it on vehicles for the same reasons.
In a nut shell (the last paragraph is most important):

For all their amazing properties, ceramic coatings are a double-edged sword.

They look deceptively easy to apply. Put a few droplets on the applicator, rub it in the panel, leave it for a few minutes to flash, and wipe off with a microfiber cloth. It seems a simple enough process.

However, there are many variables to achieving a great-looking finish.

It’s easy to use too much or too little product. It’s easy to not apply it evenly over the panel, missing a few spots or leaving others too rich.

The flashing time will also vary significantly depending on the product, temperature, and humidity of your surroundings.

The biggest drawback of ceramic coatings is they are uncompromising. Once you start working, there’s no margin for error and little chance to correct your mistakes as you go.

Ceramic coatings can’t damage your paint, regardless of what you do. However, improper application can leave streaks, high spots, hazing, and horrible reflections. So you’d better know what you’re doing, because once this thing sets, it cements over your paint for the next couple of years.

Moreover, if you haven’t spent at least half a day meticulously cleaning and polishing your paint, well, too bad. Every scratch, swirl mark, hazing, or other imperfection will be locked in for the lifetime of the coating.

The only way you can remove a ceramic coating after it has cured is to bust out the sandpaper and sand, then polish, then finish the whole car. We’re talking several days of grinding away at the coating to strip the car down to clear and start over from square one.
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Old 01-25-2021, 03:08 PM   #5
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You might consider a tintable white bedliner product like rhino liner. You could DIY it an afternoon for about $350.
The rhino product is one of the proven brands that has a fine texture. You get it color matched to your van color. If you painted (with paint) your entire van and top, the fiberglass still would not completely look like the same as the metal van body. So do the rhino and save $

FYI I have no affiliation with any bed liner companies.

Just seems like the way I'm going to go.
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Old 01-27-2021, 12:26 AM   #6
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We had one repainted at Maaco once. Was ok. They do fade.
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Old 01-27-2021, 09:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twoxentrix View Post
Be careful if/when you use those "ceramic" coatings - I know quire a few Boat builders/service shops that tell Boat owners NOT to use the stuff, and even caution against using it on vehicles for the same reasons.
In a nut shell (the last paragraph is most important):

For all their amazing properties, ceramic coatings are a double-edged sword.

They look deceptively easy to apply. Put a few droplets on the applicator, rub it in the panel, leave it for a few minutes to flash, and wipe off with a microfiber cloth. It seems a simple enough process.


The only way you can remove a ceramic coating after it has cured is to bust out the sandpaper and sand, then polish, then finish the whole car. We’re talking several days of grinding away at the coating to strip the car down to clear and start over from square one.
Definitely not the type of "ceramic" wax I'm referring to...I've been using Griot's products for 10 years or so. I bought a gallon of this and put it on my van, truck, FJ and even mom's Cadillac....super easy to put on/off and amazing results, even better than what I have been using, their Best Of Show wax.
Griots Garage Ceramic
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