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Delamination Repair
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RV Maintenance Resource Guide
Delamination of the side wall is a common maintenance issue associated with fiberglass siding on recreational vehicles, camping trailers, motorhomes, and 5th Wheels. Many RVís are manufactured with a bonded composite wall system consisting of interior paneling, styrofoam insulation, wood or aluminum framing, mahogany plywood, and an FRP (fiberglass reinforced plastic) outer skin.

There are many penetrations in the wall of a camper. RV manufacturers typically use caulk, butyl tape, or foam gaskets to seal windows, hatches, vents, etc. It is almost inevitable that the seal fails due to age, shrinkage, vibration, poor workmenship etc., allowing moisture to enter the wall.

In many cases it appears that the plywood backing is not moisture resistant and the glue holding the plywood together loses its bond and the plies separate and swell.

Typical repair of delaminated walls consist of replacing a large portion of wall, or the entire wall of the RV, at a substantial cost. The RV Delamination Repair Kits with Composet SLV(tm) epoxy offer an alternative to side wall replacement.
DELAMINATION
What is Delamination
Caulking is a generic term referring to a liquid or paste sealant that is used to seal a gap between two parts with the intent of making the joint waterproof.

What is the best sealant/caulk?
Sikaflex 1-part urethane sealant is chosen for durability and adhesive strength. Silicone provides the best hi-gloss appearance, while the Sikaflex urethane products have a low-luster finish that tends to attract dirt. Silicone and urethane products do not shrink and dry out like traditional solvent-based caulks that become brittle, and crack.

What is silicone sealant?
Silicone sealant is a high-performance reactive chemistry sealing compound that has the potential to outlast and out seal traditional products. It does not shrink and dry out. It has a high-gloss finish that is not paintable.
How can I tell if my caulking is good?
Visual cues are missing caulk, cracks, dried gaskets, staining, etc. The best way to test for leaks is by performing a "blower door test".
 
What is butyl tape?
Butyl tape is a pliable putty filler with a high solvent (butyl) content. These tapes are typically used under window frames and trim strips. They have moderate adhesive quality though are prone to drying out and shrinking. Installed correctly they have the potential to provide a good seal, however they should be combined with a bead of sealant.
Caulks & Sealants
CAULKS & SEALANTS
What is butyl tape?
Butyl tape is a pliable putty filler with a high solvent (butyl) content. These tapes are typically used under window frames and trim strips. They have moderate adhesive quality though are prone to drying out and shrinking. Installed correctly they have the potential to provide a good seal, however they should be combined with a bead of sealant.
BUTYL TAPE
RV ROOF
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Butyl Tape
Most RV siding is a very thin fiberglass skin attached to plywood backing. The very outermost surface of the fiberglass skin is called gelcoat. On boats the gelcoat is much thicker than an RV. The gelcoat on an RV is almost paper thin.

Gelcoat typically provides a super glossy finish, as seen on a Corvette or boat. On an RV the finish is a relatively smooth and shiny surface, however it so thin you can actually see the fibers just below the surface. With the passage of time, the unprotected gelcoat will oxidize and eventually take on a chalky appearance. As part of this process, it becomes porous. The more porous it becomes, the more readily it will fade, weaken, and stain. This process continues until the siding becomes dull and weatherworn. The good news is that many times the gelcoat finish on fiberglass RV siding can be restored.

Step 1 is a thorough cleaning to remove surface dirt and road grime. Wash the RV with Composet Productís special detergent which emulsifies the contaminants and lifts them away from the fiberglass surface. This reduces the amount of aggressive scrubbing required since aggressive use of a brush or sponge on a dirty surface can actually cause damage. After washing and drying we recommend a soft wipe down with automotive wax and grease remover.

Step 2 is spot cleaning to remove deep stains. Black streaks are a common problem and usually caused by mold or mildew forming on the porous surface of unprotected gel coat. The black streak remover goes after organic matter stains. If the gelcoat has been left unprotected for a long time, the surface probably has become porous and stains might be deep seated and impossible to fully remove.

Step 3 is removing surface oxidation to restore the shine. Light oxidation manifests itself as a slight dulling of the gelcoat. Moderate to heavy oxidation can be seen in gelcoat that has a chalk-like powder at the surface. This step is achieved by using Rubbing and/or Polishing Compounds that are basically a form of liquid sandpaper. This can be done by hand or with a machine.

Rubbing Compound is more aggressive than Polishing Compound. Rubbing Compound is typically used to treat the dullest areas, however in the worst cases the entire coach can be hit with Rubbing Compound. However these abrasive pastes remove some of the gelcoat with each pass so care must be used. The Polishing Compound is typically used on the entire coach until the surface begins to shine. A machine can help speed the process.

Step 4 is protecting the surface and the shine you achieved through the previous steps. After polishing, wipe down the coach with clean microfiber towels. Spraying the surface with a light water mist will help remove any remainder of Polishing Compound. Now it os time to wax. The wax protects the polished surface by sealing out oxygen, reducing the effects of damaging UV light, which maintains the glossy finish achieved by the polishing process. Of course, wax does not last forever, so periodic washing and waxing should help keep the coach shiny and new without having to always repeat Steps 2 & 3.
Cleaning & Polishing Fiberglass Siding
CLEANING & POLISHING FIBERGLASS SIDING
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Acrylic Coatings
Acrylic roof coatings take advantage of the inherent durability of acrylics, and can be designed to be very elastic and flexible over a wide temperature range for a relatively modest cost. In addition, they are supplied as either water- or solvent-based products, although specialized acrylic coatings are available for roofs experiencing ponded water conditions.333Typically there are three different kinds of roofing material used on an RV- EPDM rubber, TPO rubber, &
Fiberglass.

Probably the most common material for an RV roof is the EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer), second and less expensive is the TPO. Fiberglass roofs are mostly found on Winnebago products.
Typically there are three different kinds of roofing material used on an RV- EPDM rubber, TPO rubber, &
Fiberglass.

Probably the most common material for an RV roof is the EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer), second and less expensive is the TPO. Fiberglass roofs are mostly found on Winnebago products.
Other Classes of Coatings
Roof coatings can be classified into three types: solvent, water-based, and 100 percent solids. Solvent systems are those containing an organic solvent as carrier for the coating. In this case, solvent evaporation causes the coating to form the membrane on the roof. Water-based coatings employ water as this carrier. The third class, albeit less common, is the solvent-free coating where two liquid components are premixed in a specially designed airless spray unit; a chemical reaction causes some of these two-part coatings to dry almost immediately. Each of these three coating classes has specific advantages and disadvantages relating to the type and presence or absence of solvent.

Solvent Coatings
Coatings which employ organic solvents can be applied over a wide range of temperatures, including cold or marginal weather conditions. Moreover, they will dry quickly under conditions of high humidity since the rate of solvent evaporation is not related to relative humidity. These advantages are offset to some degree, however, because they contain large percentages of usually flammable, and sometimes highly toxic, organic solvents.

Water-Based Coatings
In contrast, water-based coatings eliminate the flammability and potential toxicity hazards associated with solvent systems since they use water-rather than solvent-as the carrier. Additionally, the equipment used can be easily cleaned with soap and water, and their potential for "bleed through" is significantly lower because they do not contain solvents. Since water is an inexpensive solvent, cost is usually lower than solvent-based coatings.

The chief limitation of water-based coatings is the range of atmospheric conditions conducive to application. First, they should not be applied at temperatures too close to freezing because the rate of water evaporation becomes so slow they may not dry properly. Normal low cut-off point for application of these coatings is 50 degrees F. Second, they should not be applied when rain or inclement weather is imminent.

100 Percent Solids Coatings
The third, less common type of roof coating consists of 100 percent solids. Since these coatings contain virtually no solvents, they do not possess the limitations of the water- or solvent-based coatings. However, they do require special application equipment and are extremely sensitive to changes in application temperature as their ability to form a durable, long-lasting membrane is dependent on proper mixing ratios of the two components and reaction temperature. If incorrect, the coating may not adequately cure or may, possibly, gel prematurely, thus preventing the protective membrane from forming properly.
Rv Roof Basics
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