FGRV floor rot, window leaks, proper sealing - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-13-2015, 02:57 PM   #1
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Name: John Michael
Trailer: Scamp 13
Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 567
FGRV floor rot, window leaks, proper sealing

My 2014 Scamp and my previous 91 Scamp both have OSB floors sealed on both sides with fiberglass resin. The 91 (stored outside at a remote lot) had leaking windows before I realized it.

Floor rot almost always results from window or plumbing leaks, not from road spray, etc. In fact when looking under my 15 year old 1991 the OSB looked quite clean and fresh. Plumbing leaks are the rarer cause and quickly make themselves known before much damage can happen. Window leaks are more serious and often are hidden for months or years. Over time the window seals dry out, shrink in the sun, and lose their flexibility over the years. The difference in expansion between aluminum and fiberglass must make seals prone to leaking too as the trailer heats up and cools down daily, especially if stored outdoors. Add in road vibration and 60 mph wind driven rain and they ALWAYS end up leaking eventually. These leaks can go unnoticed for some time as the water often weeps down behind the bubblewrap insulation. I check the window seals carefully every year if not more often and probably will take the windows out and reinstall with fresh butyl tape every 5 years. Reinstalls are a hassle but much easier than replacing floors. Quality houses have overhanging eaves to prevent water from flowing down the siding and windows. Our FGRVs don't and might look a bit silly if they did. So the quality of the window seals is very important.

I am not confident there is any foolproof test to determine if a window is leaking, but close examination will help. Maybe even snugging up the screws that hold the windows every couple of years in is a good idea. Maybe turning the fantastic fan on full, blowing in, and closing all the windows and vents would create enough internal pressure to make soapy water sprayed on the window seals bubble up. Works well on propane leaks. ;-)

Also window leaks are common on any older RV regardless of manufacturer. FGRV are just much more durable and suffer less. That's why 20 year old stick built RVs are so rare.

Hopefully other folks have ideas on this.

John

PS. I had always assumed Scamp bedded their aluminum windows in butyl rubber, but when I look closely at my 2014 all I can see is a bead of what seems like silicone rubber doing the sealing. OTOH the butyl rubber was evident on my 1991. Does anyone know how they do it under the silicone rubber where I cannot see? As others have pointed out silicone is not a good material match for fiberglass.
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Old 09-13-2015, 03:23 PM   #2
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Name: Sue and Greg
Trailer: 1982 Burro 13 foot and a 2015 Casita Spitit Deluxe 17 ft.
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Hi John,
I'm pretty sure my floor problem is a window leak. I love my little '82 Burro. I've done a fair amount of fiberglass repairs with the help of a wonderfully talented neighbor so I am invested in the little guy -- but replacing the floor sounds huge.
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Old 09-13-2015, 03:29 PM   #3
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Name: John Michael
Trailer: Scamp 13
Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 567
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Originally Posted by Sue and Henry View Post
Hi John,
I'm pretty sure my floor problem is a window leak. I love my little '82 Burro. I've done a fair amount of fiberglass repairs with the help of a wonderfully talented neighbor so I am invested in the little guy -- but replacing the floor sounds huge.
Sue,

Look around this site. Many folks have done floor repair, some even a total frame off replacement. But most just patch a small area where the rot got out of hand. While is sounds daunting, its really pretty easy and can make a lasting, quality repair.

Good luck, john
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Old 09-13-2015, 04:37 PM   #4
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Thanks John.
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