A fiberglass slide is a swimming pool accessory that allows kids to slide down a wet, slick tube, tunnel or grooved assembly and into the pool. They are typically fiberglass because of the slick surface and because it can be molded into curved and twisted shapes. Pool slides are attached to an elevated assembly that allows people to climb a ladder to an upper surface from which to mount the slide and glide down into the water. Building a home fiberglass slide can easily be accomplished by framing an elevated plywood trough that has been covered with multiple layers of fiberglass.
Create the Slide and Platform
1. Use a tape measure and framing square to mark out two 30-by-96-inch pieces of 3/4-inch plywood and an additional 30-by-48-inch piece. Use a circular saw to cut all three pieces. Lay them out, end to end, on a driveway or other hard surface. Slide two 20-foot 2-by-4s under and along the outside edges of the pieces, flat, and nail the plywood pieces to them.
2. Measure, mark and cut three more pieces of 3/4-inch plywood -- the same lengths -- but make them 10 inches in width. Lay the plywood assembly on its side and slide the 10-inch pieces of plywood under the edge of the larger strips and flush with the back edge of the 2-by-4s. Nail the 10-inch strips to both the edge of the larger plywood strips and the 2-by-4s. The result is a slide with an inside dimension of 7 1/4-by-30 inches and 20 feet long.
3. Use four 4-by-4s and eight 2-by-4s to frame and erect a 4-by-6-foot platform eight feet off the ground. Be sure to lay 2-by-8s for the platform surface and add a 60-inch high railing along the two long outside edges of the platform. Use 2-by-6s to frame the stairs and 2-by-8s for the stair treads. Test the elevation and the connection points by lifting the slide and laying it up and onto the edge of the platform. It should extend down at a 45-degree angle, 18 feet from the leading edge of the platform.
Wrap the Slide in Fiberglass
1. Mix two gallons of the fiberglass epoxy resin and the hardener (2:1 ratio) in a plastic bucket. Use a new fiberglass roller and apply three coats of epoxy resin to the entire interior of the slide, spacing the applications two hours apart. Allow the epoxy resin to cure for 24 hours.
2. Use lacquer thinner and a cheesecloth rag to scrub the surface of the coated slide. Use a new roller and apply a heavy coat of epoxy resin to all three surfaces inside the slide. Measure it and use scissors to cut a 20-foot length of 50-inch fiberglass fabric. Fold it in half lengthwise and crease it to mark its center line.
3. Lay the fiberglass fabric over the slide, being sure that the center line of the fabric is in the middle of the slide. Note: This is an approximate fitting only since the fabric will be overlapped beyond the outside edges of the slide. Work the fabric down into the corners of the slide and up the walls of the slide and over its outside edges. Use a new roller to roll the cloth heavily into the wet surface of the slide. Apply another heavy coat of epoxy resin to the top surface of the fabric. Repeat this process two more times, eight hours apart, and apply a final coat to the upper surface of the third layer of fabric.
4. Allow the fiberglass slide to cure for 48 hours. Use a power sander and 120-grit paper to sand the inside surfaces of the fiberglass slide until they are super slick. Use construction L-brackets to attach the top of the slide to the upper edge of the slide platform. Run a garden hose up onto the platform and wrap a coat hanger around it and fix it into the top end of the slide.
Items you will need
- Tape measure
- Framing square
- Straight edge
- 3/4-inch plywood
- Circular saw
- 2-by-4 common lumber
- Hammer and nails
- 4-by-4 common lumber
- 2-by-6 common lumber
- 2-by-8 common lumber
- Fiberglass-grade epoxy resin and hardener
- Plastic bucket
- Fiberglass rollers
- Lacquer thinner
- 50-inch 10-oz. 2-by-2 plain weave fiberglass fabric
- 120-grit sandpaper
- Power sander
- The Fiberglass Repair and Construction Handbook: Jack Wiley
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