Butyl tape vs. butyl caulk- newbie looking for input - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-09-2008, 08:38 AM   #1
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I have seen many posts on silicon caulk and why it should not be used. I am planning on doing some window repair this fall and am looking for input.

Has anyone used butyl based caulk rather than butyl tape in window replacement or other applications where water-proofing is crucial?

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Old 08-09-2008, 08:45 AM   #2
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I find caulk to be messy. Tape is clean. Placed between the window frame and the body of the trailer, the tape will seal the window effectively.

Here's a great topic: Butyl Tape, Silicone and sealing, Split topic

here's a discussion about Trillium windows and butyl tape: Trillium Window Removal, Newby needs clarification...

here's one specifically about Surfside Windows: SURFSIDE WINDOW FRAMES

That should get you started....
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Old 08-09-2008, 09:05 AM   #3
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Where is the easiest place to purchase butyl tape? Home Depot - Lowes?

What do you ask for? What is the brand name?l
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Old 08-09-2008, 09:20 AM   #4
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I bought a roll at a local rv supply shop.

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If you have to order online, you might want to check out these people, although I have no personal experience with this company: Discount RV Parts
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Old 08-09-2008, 09:52 AM   #5
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I buy mine at Auto Body Repair supply houses.
It is a fraction of the cost and there is a lot more variety.
There should be suppliers in most bigger cities.
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Old 08-09-2008, 12:53 PM   #6
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Has anyone used butyl based caulk rather than butyl tape in window replacement or other applications where water-proofing is crucial?
The main problem with most "caulk" type products is they simply aren't designed to be used with fiberglass or plastic, and don't adhere well to those surfaces. Butyl tape, on the other hand, is massively sticky stuff that has the consistency and adherent qualities of recently chewed chewing gum, and because it doesn't "cure" like caulk products do, it retains its pliable sticky character for many, many years and moves and gives as the fiberglass shells of our campers move and give with each bump in the road. (Standard silicone-based caulk just shears off the surface it's trying to adhere to.)

Butyl tape is a great product, but there are caulk-like "adhesive-sealant" alternatives that are designed for the fiberglass, plastic, and metal products found in boats. Most marine stores carry the 3M Marine Adhesive Sealant products; the "Fast Cure 4200" product should work well for most fiberglass trailer applications as long as you want the thing you're sticking on to be permanently attached; since there are times when you may need to remove your window frames, to replace broken glass, rotting wood or un-bend a jammed aluminum slide, it might not be a good idea to glue them in with 4200. Another thing to consider is that a tube of 4200 costs something like $20 and has to be used within 48 hours of when the seal is broken; I just bought a whole roll of butyl tape at my local RV shop for $7 and it'll be just as usable in five years as it is today.

So here's where I'll use 3M 4200: to permanently attach the plastic hatch frames I just bought into the holes I've cut in my trailer's sides. 4200 is a good choice because, unlike butyl tape, 4200 will bond the frame to the fiberglass, allowing stresses to be borne by both fiberglass shell and the hatch frames, and this'll prevent stress cracking in the fiberglass at the corners of the hatch. There is some prep involved, first I'll have to rough up the fiberglass under the hatch flange with 80 grit sandpaper, then wipe it down with MEK (Methyl-Ethyl Ketone) solvent to remove any dirt or wax on the gelcoat, and I'll have to be really careful when removing excess 4200 that oozes out as I screw the hatch frame down. The stuff can be removed with a utility knife once it's hardned, but it'll leave marks on the gelcoat. Always use nitrile gloves when candling MEK (skin irritant, cancer causing) or 4200 (skin irritant, very hard to clean off skin without using MEK).
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Old 08-09-2008, 01:11 PM   #7
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Butyl is also sold in Caulk form.
It is called "Vulcam" and is sold as a Shingle/Roof sealant.
It is easily the most difficult substance to deal with that I have ever seen.
It is just a more liquified Butyl compound.
I have never found anything it will not stick to.
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Old 08-09-2008, 04:46 PM   #8
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Thanks for the input folks!! It sounds like butyl tape it is when the time comes

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Old 08-10-2008, 10:15 PM   #9
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Butyl is also sold in Caulk form.
It is called "Vulcam" and is sold as a Shingle/Roof sealant.
And I even remember using the stuff once when I was repairing flashing around a roof vent once, but until you mentioned it I didn't remember that it was a butyl compound. Definitely NOT good for fixing leaks in a trailer!
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Old 08-11-2008, 03:57 PM   #10
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The prime drawback to silicone-based stuf is that it's very hard to remove -- Even after the large parts are scraped off, there's a chemical residue that keeps new sealants or paints from sticking.
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