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What type of respirator to get for fiberglass patching?


New Member
Hello all--

I recently purchased an older Sunfish that requires some fiberglass patching (I'm also planning on installing a couple of inspection ports).

This will be my first time doing fiberglass repair, and I'm well aware that I need to wear a respirator mask. Just not sure yet what kind I should get--I see a wide variety of types online.

Any specific models you all recommend?

Also, as far as the patching itself goes, any DVD's/books/youtube videos you'd recommend for a first timer? My boat's not going to require major repair, just four or five approximately four inch patches. A few cracks as well, but I guess I'll deal with those after I get some experience patching.

Thanks for your help!


Alan S. Glos

Well-Known Member
Are you concerned about fiberglass sand dust or resin fumes or both? If you work in a well ventilated work area, fumes should not be a problem, but fiberglass sand dust can be nasty and eye protection and a nose/mouth mast are a good idea.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY


New Member
Thanks Alan. I'm concerned about both sand dust and fumes. I suppose, though, that there's not really a mask that filters out fumes??


Active Member
You can get a mask that has higher level filters, but for epoxy it isn't really needed. Nitrile gloves keep it off your hands if you have an allergy issue.

Fiberglass dust on the skin and in the nose/mouth/lungs concerns me.

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
You should use epoxy resin for best results with repairs and as noted the fumes are nothing to worry about. Fiberglass dust is an issue tho. I think the paper masks solve that issue


Active Member

Here is a link which documents a restoration from start to sailing. There are a bunch of youtube videos and techniques embeded in the thread to help you.

Starting at the BEGINNING | SailingForums.com

As for the gloves, the nitril gloves worked awesome. There were two kinds: the thin ones (looked like those gloves a surgeon wears) and the thick ones (like the kind your wife wears when doing the dishes). For me, the thick ones worked great - They never tore (the thin ones always tore) and were reusable for the entire 6 month project. A bit more expensive, but worth the cost, IMHO.

Keep your spirits high as you investigate those cracks. I sometimes felt the job was unmanageable as I investigated each crack. As I removed the gel coat, I would uncover just how far the cracks would go. To my surprise, a small crack would delaminate a large area of fiberglass. Dont worry, its easily doable......... Im proof of that.

Good luck, friend. Lots of good people here will help you with your project. They did for me. Im now sailing three times a week!



Well-Known Member
If youre getting fiberglass dust on you...youve got other issues other than respiratory. Small jobs juzt be prudent. Larger get a tyvek suit and charcoal respirator. Ive done glasswork for 30+ years and just uze a fan pointed in the rigbt direction and work outdoors


Active Member
The simplest explanation is that you big box store will carry Respirators with two
types of filter cartridges. One will be labeled as general use such as spray painting
and the other for commercial use. The commercial use will be for things of smaller
particulate matter such as chemicals and mold removal. Both will work for sanding
fiberglass as the dust is large particulate matter. Mixing epoxy resin requires no mask
but spraying epoxy resin such as gelcoat can be deadly without the proper protection.
People have had dangerous reactions with inhaling epoxy dust also so as mixmkr says,
a Tyvek suit is a good idea.


Well-Known Member
my point is...as bad as inhaling fiberglass, epoxy dust is.... you'll regret fiberglass dust on your arms, etc. Showering typically doesn't get it off to remove the "itch".
But seriously, if you can work outside (unless you're in your garage) ventilation shouldn't be an issue and standing "upwind" with a fan or a vacuum sander is really the best solution by far. You don't want sanding dust of glass or epoxy flying all over and ESPECIALLY getting on your body. If your inhaling the stuff...or the small amount of fumes a typical small repair is, you're really not taking care of shielding yourself, suit/respirator or not. I've gone at glass with a 8" grinder and a box fan, and kept perfectly clean. Use some common sense.... don't stand downwind of sprayers and sanders.... etc, etc...


New Member
Thanks everyone for your input! Wonder how much precaution I'll need to take while cutting holes for inspection ports (definitely one, possibly two). Seems like this would unleash much less fiberglass dust than sanding.


Well-Known Member
hold a vacuum noozle nearby while cutting or use a fan as suggested above. No worries mate!! ;-)