5 Reasons My FRP Panels are Bubbling or Not Sticking To My Walls

May 18th 2020

5 Reasons My FRP Panels Are Bubbling Or Not Sticking To My Walls

Have you noticed that your freshly-installed FRP panels are peeling away from the walls? Maybe the FRP you installed in the winter is starting to bubble here in the warmer months, and you’re getting concerned. No matter what problem you’re having, it’s always frustrating when something you put hard work into just doesn’t work out.

Fortunately, we can help. There are a handful of reasons you might find your panels peeling away from the walls, bubbling, and otherwise not working as they should. In the following article, we’re going to break down the most common reasons these mistakes happen and give a little advice as to how you can avoid a costly reinstallation of future projects.

Too Much Or Too Little Adhesive

If your panels aren’t sticking, start with the basics.

It could be that they were applied with too little adhesive, and cannot adhere to the walls properly. The fix for this is simple, even if it takes a little work - you might need to have the affected panels taken down, and New applied with more adhesive. Remember that FRP panels ideally require at least two workers to apply adhesive and install. Make sure you use a trowel and spread the adhesive evenly.

The second problem runs in the opposite direction. If too much adhesive is applied, then you may also experience bubbling or failure to adhere. 100% adhesive coverage is recommended, but it’s better to apply it over the entire panel in a crosshatch pattern, and then spread with the correct trowel. Do not apply the adhesive directly to the wall.

If you find yourself with this problem, it’s best to contact a professional to look over the panel installation for you and determine whether or not you have a quick fix on your hands or a more serious problem.

Installed In Temps Below 40 Degrees Fahrenheit

What was the temperature when your FRP panels were installed? If you were operating in the middle of winter, you might find that installation temperatures have a lot to do with the problems you’re having. Panels installed in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit will most certainly run into unexpected problems with adherence.

This is because when the warm weather rolls around, your FRP panels will expand, causing the adhesive to pull away from the wall. Here in the Northern hemisphere, temperatures are heating up, and problems are starting to bloom, so keep an eye on your FRP panels if you installed them in cold weather.

To avoid this problem, you don’t have to make sure you install in the middle of the summer heat, but it is wise to make sure that the temperature outside is warmer than 40 degrees. Obviously commercial construction does not come to a halt in the winter. In this case, it is important to make sure the building is enclosed and space heaters are utilized. Most importantly, continuous heat after your FRP installation is necessary until the walls are completely cured.

Installed On Dirty Or Unprepared Substrate

Do you have FRP panels falling off the wall? Check the adhesive on the back and see how it looks. Are there bits of drywall trapped in it? Debris? It’s possible that your FRP was installed on dirty or unprepared substrate.

When installing your FRP, it’s important to prepare the surface you’re adhering to the panels. It’s easy to jump straight to installation, thinking the adhesive will do the job for you, but the adhesive can’t do its job if the surface isn’t completely flat, or if there is debris in the way.

The first step will be to assess whether or not you have a rough surface that will need sanding. After sanding, it will be important to wash the walls and sweep the debris away.

After the surface is both smooth and completely dry, only then it will be safe to apply adhesive to the FRP panels, and the panels to the wall. A fully clean surface will adhere flatly to the panel so that nothing else is in the way.

Incorrect Spacing Between Panels

Did you know? The adhesive in your panels - and thus the panels themselves - need room to expand. If none of these other problems seem to be the cause of your bubbling and/or adherence issues, then you might want to see if you installed enough of a gap between your panels.

Throughout the different seasons of the year, FRP panels will expand and contract with the weather. It’s important, when installing these panels, to leave a small gap between them to allow for expansion and contraction. Check your installation. Are the panels lying flush against one another?

If so, you made need re-installation. When the panels expand in the heat, they will either bubble out or come off the surface entirely. Contact a professional to see what your next steps are.

No Structural Base Used

FRP panels are light, but even lightweight substances need something to prop them up, or you might find yourself with malfunctioning panels peeling away from a wall! In order to avoid damaging the panels and the wall, depending on your project, you may need to invest in a structural base to keep the panels adhering to the correct surface. This could be as simple as a cap or j-mould application or as complex as a tile base with z-trim.

Avoiding this problem is as simple as doing your research and not skimping on cost. Better to invest now in a quality base, and avoid a costly re-installation further down the line.

So how do you avoid these problems?

The key is preparedness. Know the ins and outs of your project, and research what it will need before you get started. Then, when you’re ready to begin, make sure the surface you’re adhering FRP panels to is sanded smooth, clean, dry, and ready for installation.

Carefully follow the instructions of your project, and take the time to do it correctly. Do not attempt a one-person FRP installation. And most importantly, avoid cutting corners on time or money, because it will most likely end in an expensive re-installation later.

Do you have any questions? Need help figuring out your next step? Be sure to contact us here and we’ll be happy to have a chat with you and even provide a free quote on your next project!