Best caulking material? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-23-2005, 12:22 PM   #1
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I have been trying to seal up leaks around windows, vents, and the door of my Casita 17 using silicone. The problem is that my work seems too messy--nothing like the smooth factory caulking done before. I want to obtain a good seal but also to have it look nice. Can any of you folks tell me what I should be using? The sealant at the top of the door frame looks particularly bad. Maybe acetone to clean up first?
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Old 11-23-2005, 05:20 PM   #2
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I bought a little plastic tool at the hardware store just for the purpose of smoothing silicone caulk. It worked great. Often times when I am using latex caulk I used my dampened finger but you can't do that with silicone.

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Old 11-23-2005, 07:37 PM   #3
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Thanks for the idea Karen. I'll check my local hardware store right after Thanksgiving.
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Old 11-23-2005, 08:03 PM   #4
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Hi, Try Lexel. This was in the old topics. This will last for years and is almost as good for repairs as "Alabama Chrome" (duct tape). I used it rather than repair gasket on the Play-Mor front window , hum ... 4+ years ago and no leaks to date. It does not act ugly like silicone and can be smooth as glass by wetting your finger.
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Old 11-24-2005, 09:50 AM   #5
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The type of caulking can be only a part of the leak issue. The factor 'WHY' is their a leak should also be considered? Some leaks cannot be stopped unless the underlining problem is first addressed. Some leaks require removing an item, finding the cause of the leak, fixing that issue, cleaning all parts up, and reinstalling it using the correct sealant or caulking.
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Old 11-30-2005, 08:53 AM   #6
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It's critical that the old caulk be removed before recaulking. Acetone will remove any grease that would prevent good adheasion. Silicone caulk can be "tooled" with a wet finger as long as you clean the caulking off your finger every time and rewet. Mask off areas you don't want caulking on cause it's extremely difficult to remove later. Remove the masking tape immediately after tooling.

I have a couple of rental houses and have had to recaulk quite a few bathrooms with the silicone. The above generally works quite well and will produce professional appearance. By the way, don't mess with the stuff after tooling... the stuff skins over within minutes and attempting to re-tool makes a mess.
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Old 11-30-2005, 11:05 AM   #7
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If you're looking to apply paint in the future...make certain the silicone is paintable...not all types are. If it won't take paint and paint gets on the silicone, it flakes, peels and generally looks bad.
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Old 11-30-2005, 09:22 PM   #8
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For a nice finish on your caulking and at a "Pete" friendly price, I use a "free" plastic spoon. Available at you nearby fast food palace. Wet with a bit of soapy solution or whatever works for you, water , spit or , kerosene, paint thinner, 1,1,1, trichlorethane ( cancer in a bottle(only if used in California)) , etc.
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Old 12-01-2005, 09:30 AM   #9
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Tony L,

There is some good advice above. I got a tube of Boss RTV sealant from Casita and it works well for sealing around rivets. I didn't have any success with silicone caulk from the local hardware store. I have not had to deal with leaks around windows or doors. I recommend you seek Casita's advice about this--just call 1-800-442-9986 and tell them what you need to do. They're usually willing to help.
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Old 12-02-2005, 03:56 PM   #10
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Thanks very much for the good ideas--that kind of information can be hard to find.

Readers may recall that the floor of my Casita was flooded about a month ago during a heavy rainststorm and that I have been busy at work stopping all leaks. I have finally met with complete success after sitting in the camper during a more recent rain storm and watching for telltale signs. I finally discovered the source of the biggest leak was the caulking around the cooking vent. It let in water behind the backsplash which flowed down the wall to the wheel hump and then to the floor. When I had inspected this area from outside earlier, no problems with the caulking were apparent. However, I found that I could run my fingernail under the caulking and lift it up. That obscure leak caused qutie a mess but it has been fixed now.

Here's a good tip for those having leaks at the top of their door. I went to Lowe's and purchased a piece of aluminum angle iron, which I screwed to the top flange on the door frame above the door. I rounded the ends slightly to give it more of a finished appearance. It looks like factory and works perfectly! Even if I had a brand new Casita with no leaks I would add that piece to the top of the door frame.

Happiness is a dry camper!
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Old 12-02-2005, 04:03 PM   #11
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Hi Tonyl
Have you got a photo for that instalation.Others will ask
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Old 12-03-2005, 07:02 PM   #12
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Hi Tonyl
Have you got a photo for that instalation.Others will ask

Chester, sorry I am not good with photos---yet.

Pehaps this will help:

Go to Lowes and buy aluminum angle iron. A 4 foot piece costs about $4-$5. You can select whatever size angle iron you choose, but I got a piece that is 1" on each side.

Measure the width of your door frame and cut the angle iron to that length.

Predrill some holes (about 3-5)) in the alum. angle iron and in the aluminum edge/overhang on the door frame directly above the door. (You do this by drilling holes in the angle iron, then placing it on top of the door frame with the blunt side outward, then drilling through those holes to make holes in the door frame ledge underneath. )

Please a bead of silicone or similar substance on the door frame overhang.

Place the alum. angle iron on this overhang with the blunt side facing outwards. I used 1/2" self tapping screws to bond the 2 pieces together. You might also want to place a little silicone on top of the screw heads to prevent rusting.

That's all there is to it. Water will drain down the roof to the top of the door frame, get trapped behind the angle iron, and then drain off each side of the door.

I rounded each end of the angle iron for appearance sake but that is not necessary. Everyone who sees this modification says it should have been there in the first place.

The only thing the least bit tricky is to measure carefully where to drill the holes. You can do this by getting on a step ladder and looking closely where holes should go when you hold the angle iron to the door frame ledge. (You'll figure it out.)

Further note: at the bottom of the door frame my Casita had only one drain hole. I made 4 extra ones.

I've considered using the rest of the angle iron to form shields over the water tank/storage compartment and over the water heater/electrical cord area. Haven't done that yet but have considered using something like Liquid Nails to bond the flat side fo the angle iron directly to the fiberglass so that a small ledge is formed. I've already rounded the ends of my extra pieces so that they will not snag clothing if I decide to install them.

Hope this helps
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Old 12-03-2005, 07:19 PM   #13
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Thanks
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Old 12-03-2005, 10:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
Pehaps this will help:

Go to Lowes and buy aluminum angle iron. A 4 foot piece costs about $4-$5. You can select whatever size angle iron you choose, but I got a piece that is 1" on each side.

Measure the width of your door frame and cut the angle iron to that length.

Or go to the local RV dealer and buy the appropriate size aluminum 'drip-caps' to put over doors and windows. Paint them, if you wish, then apply butyl putty tape, and screw them on wherever you need them.
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