help choosing proper respirator for fiberglassing

Discussion in 'Boat Yard Basics' started by chiroken, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. chiroken

    chiroken I Love!

    Can anyone point me in the right direction of what number or code is the correct one for fiberglassing/gelcoating? I haven't been successful online and my local store wasn't much help. I came across 2: 1) N95 2) P100. I am more concerned with the fumes vs dust.

    Am I correct that when sanding fiberglass I can just use the dust style masks and save the cartridge style mask for when there is uncured product (ie vapours)?

    What I found was N/R/P code refers to resistance to oil but not sure how this translates into vapour protection.

    I am currently fiberglassing/gelcoating and want vapour protection. I would also like this to protect when using varathane type products.

    I did buy 1 product (not used yet), it's codes were: Stanley NIOSH approved MC/P100 Class. The other available was a N95 (inferior I believe).

    Also, what are the life expectancies for the cartridges? Is it based on how much they are used or how long they are out of the package exposed to air? The instructions are classic....replace based on the recommended chart. Trouble is, they don't bother to give a chart.

    I would rarely be using a respirator and would rather not drop $30 for replacement cartridges each use. (Cartridges with mask was $50).

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    I use the 3M respirator with filters for organic vapors
    with a fan operating to prevent fumes from building up in the garage.
    Wear it when laminating or sanding, no need to buy anything else for what I do.

  3. Swamp

    Swamp I Love!

    Dust masks are pretty much useless where sanding dust is concerned.  It's like standing in the rain holding a dinner plate over your head, the plate will stop some rain but you're gonna get soaked anyway.  Get a regular filter cartridge respirator for when you are sanding and get extra cartridges rated for VOCs if you are concerned about fumes.  The cartridge filters for fumes that I have used in the past were a regular filter cartridge with an extra compartment added for the chemical media.  The only advantage to just using regular filters cartridges when sanding is the lack of extra weight(can be about twice as much).  That can be a nuisance after a while.  It just depends on your personal tolerance level, I  have a bad neck so I only use the chemical cartidges when I need to.  A real respirator will make you sweat, it's sticky, and generally sucks but it is in your best interest, but then so is a prostate exam.  Live with it.  Silicosis/emphysema sucks worse than wearing a respirator IMO.  'Nuff said.

    Sorry, those dammed dust masks are a pet peeve of mine.  Oh, carbon filters (for VOC's) have a finite life once opened even if you don't use them, replace often.  Follow mfg's recommendations.