Fiberglass and GFRC Finishes
The finish of a piece can make something go from ordinary to extraordinary. We set the highest standards for all our materials – we recognize that you have choices when specifying, and that you turn to Tournesol Siteworks for quality, beauty and durability.
We have attempted to recreate our colors, finishes and appearances true to life. However, the color and appearance of a finish will depend upon your monitor and/or printer. Contact your salesperson for a physical sample(s) to verify that it will meet your needs.
FRP Fiberglass Materials
Tournesol Siteworks uses a polyester-based fiberglass (also known as Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic, or FRP), spray or hand-laid in open molds. Fiberglass is a lightweight, strong material made up of layers of chopped strand glass or woven glass mat impregnated with polyester resin. The outermost waterproof layer of polyester is referred to as gelcoat. The strength and durability of fiberglass depends upon the number of layers of resin and glass, and the overall amount of the glass. Because we design our fiberglass to withstand being outdoors, Tournesol Siteworks typically uses a thicker, heavier wall section than most other fiberglass manufacturers, and in most cases applies acrylic enamel paint over the durable gelcoat surface.
The strength of FRP fiberglass allows us to make pots and planters that hold incredible amounts of weight (tons, literally!) with remarkably thin walls. The number of layers, the thickness of the material, and the internal structure depend upon the configuration and natural strength of the product design. In large flat-wall products we utilize a veiled honeycomb material from the boat-building industry to maintain flat walls despite the unfavorable geometry. We’ll also introduce bulkheads (that connect the sides) and gussets (that connect the sides to the bottom) where required. Ask your salesperson for details and locations when specifying.
FRP Fiberglass Colors
Tournesol Siteworks can also match any custom color for our FRP fiberglass products. We charge a nominal color match fee, which is waived for larger orders. We need color samples that measure at least 2” x 3” to match. Please ask your salesperson for details.
Tier 1 colors are applied acrylic enamel paints. Print colors may vary slightly, so we’ve provided (where possible) a Pantone® (PMS) color match so you know what you are getting. That number corresponds to a standard Pantone® (PMS) color. If you are in doubt how a color will actually appear, refer to a physical Pantone color selector. The varying materials and finishes will have different sheens, so the actual colors may vary slightly from the Pantone® standard.
Tier 2 colors are slightly richer paint finishes, including our MMP colors that mimic the look of our more expensive metal-infused pots. The MMP painted colors, unlike the real metals, won’t change over time, providing predictability for commercial applications. All MMP colors carry a distinctive shimmer, in addition to their hardened surface.
Tournesol Siteworks offers real metal at a surprisingly reasonable price with our metal-infused finishes. Atomized metal powders (bronze, aluminum, copper, iron) are mixed into fiberglass resin, and applied to the pot. Once the metal-infused resin has dried, the metal’s natural luster is brought out by hand buffing. This process will create some irregularities, a natural result of the hand-finishing. Iron, the exception, is left in its original state. Metal-infused finishes are naturally hard and resist scratches well, yet they will naturally patina and weather over time, as you’d expect with metal.
Iron- Iron will naturally rust, eventually appearing similar to Corten steel. The oxidized iron in the finish is soluble in water, so will leach off the planter after a rain. As this will stain whatever surface they are sitting on, they are not recommended for light-colored surfaces.
Bronze- Bronze starts off a medium brown, which starts to darken weeks after they have been finished. Eventually they reach a rich, deep brown bronze color (think of an old penny). In some instances, depending upon the environment, the bronze may patina green.
Copper- Copper will darken like bronze, but retain a reddish hue. Copper will typically verdigris over time.
Aluminum- Aluminum will not change color, but the natural luster of the metal may dull over time.
Patina effects on metal-infused finishes may be accelerated, either intentionally or not, by rain water, soda or other liquids, cleaning products, animal waste, or may be slowed by oils and greases. The patina will change based upon contact with the agent, so may not be uniform (or appear natural). Weathering of metal-infused finishes may be prevented by sealing the product. This will need to be repeated, the frequency depending upon the sealer used. Patina may be enhanced/accelerated by wiping the surface with a light coat of dishwashing soap containing sulphates, then rinsing.
These "before" and "after" images, taken of aged bronze metal-infused planters at the Pierre LaClede Center near St. Louis, provide an indication of weathering that may occur. Taken 12 months after installation, the "after" planters have darkened significantly, and a hint of greenish patina is visible, especially on the lower half of the planters. This was likely a result of the frequent washing of the plaza surface.
Touch-up paint is automatically included for all pot orders greater than $500, and may be ordered in any quantity. It is a two-part enamel, so once catalyst has been added to the touch-up, the entire can must be used within an hour or so.
FRP Fiberglass Textures
Tournesol Siteworks offers three standard textures on any FRP container. T-0 texture is a smooth, painted gel-coat surface texture. T-1 and T-2 textures are applied to the gelcoat surface, then painted with the final finish color. Textures enhance the durability of the finish and resist scratching. All finishes are available in any color.
GFRC Lightweight Concrete Materials
GFRC (glass fiber reinforced concrete) has the look and durability of concrete without the associated weight. By adding long-strand, alkali-resistant glass fibers instead of rebar to the conventional concrete, we increase the strength of the material and decrease the thickness. Decreasing the thickness 60% (from typically 3” in cast concrete to 1” or less in GFRC) directly reduces the weight by the same amount.
GFRC Lightweight Concrete Textures
Versatile GFRC lightweight concrete textures range from the rustic to the refined. Our finishes feature natural quartz and mica sands, and the durable finishes can be refinished and repaired on site as required. The Travertine, Sandblast, Acid Etch and Granite finishes are variations on natural concrete finishes, while Natural Sand and Fine Grain rely on applied paints and texture, similar to FRP finishes. We send out a color/texture sample as a submittal with every order confirmation to make sure that you are getting what you expect. All finishes are shown in Shark, but are available in any GFRC colors.
Sandblast – A medium sand blast surface that reflects the texture and color of natural stones like limestone and sandstone. Muted shades and some small, colored aggregate is exposed.
Natural Sand – The texture and feel of stucco, with a uniformly painted finish giving the primary color depth; a natural sand is applied to finish the exterior.
Travertine – A puckered, rustic surface with irregular natural voids.
Acid-Etch – A nearly smooth, fine sand finish that is consistent, elegant and rich looking. Especially attractive for benches and table products.
Granite – Sandblast finish with contrasting aggregate colors. Especially durable and low-maintenance for high-traffic areas.
Fine Grain – Similar to our Natural Sand finish, with a stucco-like texture. The sand is over-coated with any Tier 1 or 2 FRP color, similar to FRP T-1 finishes.
GFRC Lightweight Concrete Colors
We used our FRP Fiberglass colors as the starting pigments for the white cement we use on the surface coat, but from there the natural materials take over.
Because we’re using quartz and mica sands, there is always a beige tone to any GFRC color. Samples are below shown in Acid-Etch texture, but other texture and color samples are available upon request. Granite texture is only available in Shark, Chaparral, White and Sahara colors.