There are many common fillers used with gelcoat and resin and here we’ll help you pick the one that is right for you.
When using putty, a good rule is not to go higher than 1/8″ thick without adding a layer of glass to prevent any issues. With the various fillers, for the right working consistency, you’ll want about 60-70% mix to resin ratio.
Milled Fibers: Finer than chopped glass, makes a harder putty that is strong and coarse.
Walnut Shells: Brown in color and preferred for wood putty or nonskid since it has large particles. Good Strength and darker pigment.
Microballoons or Microspheres: Phenolic spheres are generally plastic or glass and hollow, intact spheres that are lightweight. This is ideal for making fairing compounds. The Microballoons are a more expensive option for filler.
Fumed Silica: Also known as Cabosil FIller or Aerosil Filler. This is a hydrophilic fumed silica. Fumed Silica provides little change to weight, color, or physical properties after cure, used in resins and gelcoats to make them hang on vertical surfaces, (too much can cause porosity.)
Cotton Flock: Made from pieces of cotton and thickens to an off-white color. Great for bonding many substrates, especially wood. The mixture also creates a multipurpose adhesive for many other substrates in addition to providing excellent substrate wetting and penetrating characteristics. Increases impact and abrasion resistance.
Chopped Glass: These are the biggest pieces of fillers and are most popular for use with resin putty. Perfect for corners, crack resistant, and doesn’t affect pigmented gelcoat. 1/4″ glass fibers make the strongest glass reinforced putty.