Plastics withstand stress, making it an ideal material for thousands of applications. Plastic is a popular sheeting material used for everything from windows to tabletops. The only downside to plastic is its softness. Plastic can scratch easily. Replacing plastic panels can be expensive, and some panels are difficult to physically replace. Use a few basic tools to repair damaged plastic panels, saving money in the process.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Acrylic solvent cement
- Squeeze bottle applicator
- Cotton buffing pad
- Plastic buffing compounds
- 100 per cent cotton rags
- Dish washing detergent
- Grease pencil
Wash the plastic panel with dish washing detergent and hot water. The success of the repair work is dependent on removing all grease and dirt from the panel. Grease can form a barrier between the panel and the acrylic solvent cement, keeping the cement from working correctly. Dirt and debris can scratch the surface of the plastic panel, if it mixes in with the plastic buffing compound. Once all dirt and debris is washed off the panel, allow the panel to thoroughly dry.
Examine the surface of the panel for any cracks, scratches or fogging. Cracks and scratches are simple to repair. Fogging is difficult to repair, as it is often deeply embedded within the panel's surface. Fogging is the result of prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun. If the fogging is only on the surface, it can be buffed out. If it's deeply embedded into the panel, the panel needs to be replaced. Note where the damage is located, using a grease pencil to mark and problem areas.
Fill the squeeze bottle with cement to the half way point. Apply pressure to the bottle's sides with the thumb and index finger. Squeeze the bottle until the cement is near the top of the applicator. Slightly release the pressure. This creates a vacuum that keeps the cement from spilling when the bottle is inverted. Apply a thin bead of cement to any cracks. Allow 24 hours drying time.
Apply two teaspoons-worth of buffing compound to the scratched area. Attach the cotton buffing head to the drill. Choose a buffing head that has a built-in adaptor for attaching it to the drill. If cotton buffing heads are not available, place a 100 per cent cotton sock over the buffing pad. Set the drill speed on low, and start buffing the scratched area. Work in a circular motion to avoid created divots. Once the scratch is removed, move on to the next damaged area. Cement residue from the repaired cracks can be buffed out with the same method.
Wash the panel again, using a 100 per cent cotton rag to clean the panel surface. Wipe it down with a dry rag to avoid water marks. Inspect the panel a final time to make sure all the scratches have been removed. The project is complete.
Tips and warnings
- Plastic polishes are now available that contain sunscreen. Sunscreen will protect the panels against fogging and add years to the panel life.
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