View Full Version : Hard Coating methods...

03-03-2011, 07:09 PM
Looking to start discussions on hard coating foam, and/or hard coating in general. Has anybody used the stuff from hotwirefoamfactory their foam coating? http://hotwirefoamfactory.com/product.php?productid=16149&cat=0&bestseller=Y

I think stucco has be mentioned in coating, a number of drylock recipes, monster mud all used making props but besides usual protectant paints is there anything else? aka, (a)how and what's the best way of preserving foam (b) what not to use on foam (bad experiences), (c) protectants for other made props such as paper mache, monster mud/burlap sacks...etc (which leads me to ask if anyuse used elastomeric stuff for sealing basements and roofs on any props). Alot of question here I know, lastly, (c) I heard Larry saying they used concrete gun on their foam walls at the Darkness... any insight into this?

03-03-2011, 08:01 PM
Hey there is this stuff called Styrospray 1000 from Industrial Polymers Corporation Houston Texas 713-943-8451
Great stuff. You can brush this on. I have tried the hard coat from Hot wire Foam factory and I was not real happy with it. Try this, I think you will like it!


Allen H
03-03-2011, 09:50 PM
(a)how and what's the best way of preserving foam
That depends on the use, will it be outdoor, will it be exposed to elements, will it be painted, will guests be able to touch it? All of those conditions may change the treatment for the foam. I like expoxy resins, Bar-kote, vinyl acrylic stucco for most conditions,But im a fan of fiberglass when it has to be outside. I also like liquid nails (thanks Eric! and Chris).

(b) what not to use on foam (bad experiences),
Polyesther resins (with out protecting the foam), and spray paints, truck bedliner material (tried it...didnt do to hot). and the spraymaster jr system- not cost effictive at all.

(c) protectants for other made props such as paper mache, monster mud/burlap sacks...etc (which leads me to ask if any use used elastomeric stuff for sealing basements and roofs on any props). Alot of question here I know, lastly,
I used to use elastomeric on foam, it works as a sealant but not as a protectant. to rubbery I think its texture encourages people to pick at it. liquid nails is good, as is silicone caulking (it comes in black) Fiberglass is still king Im afraid, but I use poly 1512 instead of plaster alot nowadays (get that from bity mold supply).

(c) I heard Larry saying they used concrete gun on their foam walls at the Darkness... any insight into this?
Gunite is the material that is normally sprayed on in that fashion it is a super messy process and verry effective. Skull kingdoms caves were made out of this over a diamond mesh frame and I used to climb on them all the time, tough stuff.
Allen H

03-04-2011, 10:47 AM
Terrormasue, Allen... thankyou! There's so much information out there and sometimes it gets convoluted for me... The poly 1512 seems like it might be the best overall as it likely gives a harder shell, however, the styrospray 1000 sounds really interesting.

Allen... how is liquid nails used, curious, besides using a putty knife wouldn't think you'd get a nice smooth surface but could see if working for rougher applications. Maybe sometime like self settling polyurethane you could use and apply easier a somewhat stiffer brush... the stuff works great for sealing basement wall and floor and is tough stuff when dried, just wondering. Sure the others will work good....

Allen... you're experitise is second to none, if ever an award to be given you'd get all my votes brother! I know when I ask a question and you chime in, your answers are thorough and always excellant! Thanksman

Allen H
03-04-2011, 09:29 PM
Your right liquid nails isint very smooth, but its great for corpse flesh and textured things, I saw it on the heads and hands on haunted overloads site, as well as on this awesome DVD
http://www.monstercloset.com/ get the DVD right now, there is alot of great info in it.

I appreciate the comments also, but they are strong words. Haunting requires a massive amount of skills that you could spend a lifetime figuring out. I dont think Im top of the list on any particular skill or facet of the industry. I do think Id make a few top ten lists on some of those skills and that is an achievment in itself, but always strive to learn and share what youve learned.
Allen H

03-05-2011, 04:34 PM
yeah, I can now see how liquid nails would give a rough skin texture, can't wait to try it out somtime. Ok, I'll try out the DVD, looks great

and never came across this site before! Thanks

I've been studying the forums for about 2-3 years, quitely I should say... your willingness share and take the time to help others, on top of your diverse knowledge, is very much appreciated. We're planning a haunt for 2012, likely '13 and I can name you, Terra... and few others as that truly keep many going in the right direction. I'm not a young pup and recognize without you guys it would be 10x more difficult ! Kudos


Bradenton Haunted Trail
03-06-2011, 12:43 PM
I used the coating from Hotwire did not like it at all I plan on re coating my castle this summer and then repainting it. Needless to say I will not buy that coating any more. You can go to my web site and see the castle i built and coated. I hate doing things over, but hay now i can add some more details to the castle that i did not have time for last year right.


04-20-2011, 08:34 AM
Far from being an expert at coatings- I can say that I've just tried several kinds and can offer my opinion.

We built our foam carved crypt scene and, of course, needed to hard coat it. After reading, reading and reading then googling my brains out I decided to try the Stryospray 1000 first.

Expensive, but is better than the rest I tried- smells kind of like moldy popcorn until dry. Their instructions are correct- if you are brushing it- no air hood is needed, but if you are hopper gunning in an enclosed space you WILL need a supplied air hood. I pushed the coverage to about 180 sq ft for a two gallon kit and got a very thin coat. But even at the recommended 100-120 sq ft it would probably need a second and possibly third coat to get close to a really idiot-proof hardness. One if its best qualities is that it flows really well and didn't leave any gaps on the foam. If I had tons of money I would have bought more, but I don't so we moved on...

I also bought Synerflex at the same time thinking that I would put the expensive stuff on the walls from the floor up to about 5 feet and then synerflex from there up- being that its cheaper and in low contact areas. Ugh- hated it. I hopper gunned it too and had to wear goggles to keep the sand that was bouncing out of the mix when it hit the wall from getting in my eyes. I finished the pail and walked away one crusty dude. So the dried finish was soft, like others have mentioned, and not terribly durable. I probably got around 180 sq ft with one pail- not far above the recommendation, but it would certainly need one or two more coats before I felt it could withstand even modest traffic. It also does not flow much and left lots of little gaps on the foam. If that was all there was, I guess I would have had to live with it, but...

Then I found Tuff II foundation coating. It's probably not what the experts would use on expensive sets, but I really, REALLY like it! It's similar to Synerflex, but without the sand, it's water based, it doesn't smell, and it gets hard, yet seems plenty flexible! It was slightly less than I paid for the synerflex at $68 per five gallon pail. I used a hopper gun to apply it and had no issues other than it does not flow well either so I had to use extra care when spraying it. In my estimation it beats the rest based on price and hardness. We'll see how it works over the long run.

I suppose the bottom line is that hard coating is subjective in that foam is inherently soft and gives under pressure.

04-20-2011, 10:05 PM
Good find Zombietoxin! I'm almost at the same point, I have over 100 sheets of styrofoam and need an effective buy yet reasonably priced hardcoating solution. I considered mixed Acryl 60 with some kind of foundation coating, or even with ultracal 30 to see how this worked, but now will look into the Tuff 2 coating.

I'm curious what kinda of fire protectant/ liquids are you using with the foam?

04-21-2011, 09:00 AM
I used FR-1 Paint additive and bought it here: http://www.cleanerupproducts.com/products/Project-Fire-Safety-Fr1-950%7B47%7D012-8Oz-Paint-Additive.html.

FYI the Tuff 2 comes in white and grey color and can be thinned a little with water before using. I found thinning it helped it flow a lot better through the hopper gun. The pic on the left is Tuff 2, the pic on the right is Styrospray 1000. You can see what I was talking about with the material flow. I was able to eliminate the poor flow issue with the Tuff 2 by back-brushing it after spraying, but I didn't like the slick appearance as well as the rough, sprayed look.

Again, since this is my first hard coat, I won't know the real results until Nov 1.

Good luck with yours. I'd love to see your results, whatever you use.

04-21-2011, 05:05 PM
Where did you find the Tuff 2 ? At least online I can't locate at Home Depot or Lowes, possibly it's just not listed... seems like there's a few marine place online that carry it. On fire proofing, did you treat the bare foam first on top of doing the paint additive? I believe this is what is recommeded. I'll post some test results of hardcoating, I might try Senergy and add Acryl 60 or bonding agent...supposedly it chips easily accordingly to LarryK experiences at The Darkness....so thinking maybe experiementing with mixing additives to it.

04-22-2011, 04:16 PM
I picked it up at Menards. You really need to talk to your fire marshal about how to treat it. Mine was fine with treatment over hard coat, but I did primer the foam before coating it.

05-17-2012, 07:14 AM
Revival of thread. I came across this thread during the search. BTW, for those of you that DON'T like people reviving threads... stop telling us to USE THE SEARCH :D (laughing, not being smartazzy)

Ok! Guys, from all of my weeks and months on end of searching. I CAN NOT get any help with Senergy. The 2 distributors I've dealt with, ended up no shows. One even said he'll send it COD... 3 months ago. No answers to calls or emails. F'em. Anyways, I've come to the conclusion, FOR ME...

Tuff 2 may be the best thing I can get. If you want to try it, don't go to Home Depot, I've called 8 stores, none have it. HOWEVER! They do have it on their site. $79.99 with Free shipping and estimated taxes. I went ahead and ordered 3 pails. I believe they're 5 gallon pails.

I'll try to post on here when I get it in and see how it sets. Around here? Even the contracting companies have never heard of Dryvit, Senergy or Tuff. It's amazing, but I'm over that now.

So, since people are still looking for coatings from time to time, I figure I'll try to continue with the thread.

I should be starting on the storage rooms and foam carving within 2 weeks. Again, I'll try to post some results, maybe a video.


05-21-2012, 08:37 PM
A little follow-up on our coating survival rate- I'm happy to say that the TUFF II performed pretty darn well. Not without some damage in the floor to 18" height area, but not terribly so. The rest of the walls from 18" and up had almost no damage at all. To be honest, I think most of the kick damage happened because, well... have you ever tried using a hopper gun that low to the ground in confined areas? Ha- not so easy- so it was thinner in that area- my fault mostly.

In retrospect, now that I've been there and considering the needs to change the haunt up over time, I think these coatings are perfect in the durability and price dept- for me at least.

Add to that the abrasiveness of the finish texture and its ability to keep peoples hands in their pockets and it really is a winner in my book.

06-17-2012, 08:54 AM
We have been using Restore deck covering from Home Depot lately, and we have had some great results. We have used the restore on vacuform stone and tombstones. Overall we're pleased with the price and the quality of it. We have often picked up oops gallons too. Anyone else have success with it?

06-18-2012, 04:57 PM
I haven't seen / heard of that coating. Is it pure liquid state?

Zombie, how did you thin that Tuff ll for the hopper gun? I'm fixing to start building rooms soon and will be tackling my cave!


06-20-2012, 12:12 PM
It's water based, so water- but as for how much... well I don't remember exactly, but I'm a "pinch of this, dash of that" type concocter, so I'd say I started with a 16 oz water bottle and started mixing it into the bucket until it looked right...

You might consider brushing it on from the 0 to 18" height, then maybe spraying over that to get a good coating in the kick zone.

06-21-2012, 12:34 PM
I seen the Deck Restore in homedepot the other day, and it's pretty tough tuff, pretty amazed at the samples they had out. For $75 for a full Pal /5gal is decent pricing. I'm wondering how far it will go and/or any thinners could be added... maybe we can get some pics up here...

07-18-2012, 04:08 PM
Any other thoughts on the decking liquid? Allen? Have you seen any results for our applications?

Is this a paint btw? I see where you said you sometimes get the "oops" sets, sounds like mixed paint?


08-04-2012, 08:57 PM
Just a couple of insights on this product....(RESTORE i mean). NO thinners can be added to this product or else the consistancy and texturing will not allow the product to adhere the way it should or at least as the manufacturer describes. Also most of the time it recomends not being painted on vertical surfaces but rather on horizontal ones until completely dry then positioned vertical afterwards. Other than that RESTORE is a great product Ive done many demos with it at work for customers. Oh one more thing oops paint is collected only after mistakes are made but should be near the paintdesk at all times. You'll get some great deals on it too like a gallon for 5 dollars. Just thought Id share since I work at Home Depot and RESTORE is a hot topic right now at work. See link below.....


08-05-2012, 08:02 PM
I got some restore the other day while at Home Depot. I got a gallon size of it. Got it tinted black, got it home and used it on the foam sarcophagus lid I carved. It's been 24 hours and pretty thick in certain areas, and so far, it feels like latex paint!

Now, my gallon size container says "Restore Deck Stain" I've wondered if it was just to paint over the 5 gallon pail, which would be the real product I was needing. But so far, it's no better than latex paint.

I'll post back pics of the gallon, and my lid tomorrow, maybe tonight but we rescued a dog today and have to tend to it to figure out what we're going to do with it. Since the robbery I've been wanting a large dog to put outside. This may be an answer to that. But anywho, I'll post reports on it.


08-08-2012, 10:53 AM
Camera won't stay on.

However, description should be fine. When looking at the Deck Restore... ONLY THE 5 GALLON PAIL is going to be what you want!!! Don't let a sales rep tell you to "try this 1 gallon size, then come back and get the big pail if it does what you want"

The 1 gallon at every place around here that sells it, is ONLY A STAIN! Latex paint is better than this!. So unless you're getting the large pail for $80+, then you're not going to be even remotely happy! I can easily press my nail through 2 thick coatings on my sarc. lid.

I may or may not try the real deck restore, if I do, I'll let you guys know. It's still plyable, the lowe's displays are on thin cardboard pieces and it bends very easily. However, on the wood... it's like a rock! Guess it has to have a firm backing... like maybe more than foam.


08-13-2012, 12:47 PM
On this subject, I have always wanted to do a waterfall with foam. To ensure the foam is 100% waterproof what do you all suggest? Also, to coat the foam, do I paint the foam then coat it or mix it together? :confused:

The coating area is an area I haven't ever gotten into. :(



08-13-2012, 05:27 PM
I just sprayed my coating on the foam first, then painted. however, I'm not a pro and this is my first time doing foam carving as such.

I sprayed Tuff ll on my facade and was going to use Restore for the inside stuff. I still need to finish my foam work inside, but I plan on doing that after I finish construction of the haunt which is scheduled to end in 2.5 weeks. I'll post updates to this thread when I start back on the foam work.


Greg Chrise
08-13-2012, 10:46 PM
If you are doing water features, you can put a coat of latex paint, several coats and then put a layer or two of fiberglass then more paint of some type. Fiber glass resin can be tinted also. Non water areas done in cement, sand and bonding agent and then painted or stained to taste. Add some moss or other garnish and serve.

08-14-2012, 03:43 PM
Thanks greg.

I'll probably just do that for my first fountain. I was going to make it nice and large for the basin, like 3ft by 8ft, but instead, I may just dump it into a cute little ... um. NASTY looking bucket I got :D