Crack in bathroom wall: Structural or cosmetic? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-26-2015, 06:16 PM   #1
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Crack in bathroom wall: Structural or cosmetic?







FGRV folks:

We're just back from our "shakedown" trip in our "new to us" 2002 Scamp fifth wheel. I found a few items that need attention (flush valve leaks, microwave quit working, a rivet in the awning needs replacing), but nothing major (I hope).

One concern I have is a "crack" in the bathroom wall, just where the 5th wheel "overhang" starts. The crack pictured is not at the bathroom floor, but about halfway up the bathroom wall. The shelf where the pen is sitting is at the joint between the bottom half of the Scamp body, and the top half of the Scamp body, just below and forward of the bathroom window. The previous owner used a lot of caulk, especially in the bathroom, but this "crack" developed while towing this trip, I have not seen it previously.

I'm wondering if there is some flexing occurring here where the overhang starts? Is this a structural problem, or one to be repaired with a more flexible sealant? I'm not sure about the wall material....probably some plastic, not fiberglass? Is this something to be concerned about, or is it just cosmetic?

How would you approach this repair?

Any ideas or suggestions?

Thanks,
piperjim
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Old 04-26-2015, 06:24 PM   #2
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I'd first take a single edged razor blade and cut away most of that sealant and see what's under it all. I suspect that what you are seeing is just the seam between the counter top and the wall opening up. If that has been a problem in the past I am sure that the seller went in and recaulked everything for selling purposes. It is also starting to do the same thing 90 degrees counter clockwise. The counter will not be a structural member.
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Old 04-26-2015, 08:54 PM   #3
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I have a 2004 Scamp 19D. That shelf the pen is on is the floor of the "upstairs" sleeping loft and part of the structure, but the shower wall is a plastic liner, I am not sure how it is attached to the walls, probably along the top edge which has a trim. It may be glued. I had a gap open at the bottom where the wall meets the higher part of the floor, straight down from where the pen is. I had to re-caulk it last year. The liner is not structural, no need to worry about that. As Bob said, clean it carefully and re-seal. The Scamp structure has some give to it and it flexes when underway, as well as when stationary with wind loads or people walking inside. What you have is a cosmetic problem but make sure that the new seal is waterproof. You do not want water behind the liner, causing problems.
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Old 04-26-2015, 10:19 PM   #4
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Crack in Bathroom...

Thanks Paul and Bob for the quick and helpful replies! Understanding that this is probably not a structural issue will allow me to sleep better tonight!!

After I clean this up, I'm guessing I'll have a relatively large gap to fill in, maybe a gap too large for caulk alone??

How would you go about this.....use some kind of packing material, then finish off with a flexible sealant like Geocel, ProFlex, Dicor, or ????

Or is there some kind of "patch" material that would be useful? Something that comes in a roll and sticks on, yet flexes?

Looks like I'll be spending a lot of time in the bathroom soon. The flush valve on the SeaLand Traveler toilet needs replacing, too.

Thanks,
piperjim
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Old 04-27-2015, 06:38 AM   #5
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Duct tape? ----- Just kidding...

There is stuff intended for filling large gaps before caulking. It is about 5/8 in. diameter, soft closed cell foam, comes as a loose roll in a bag, must be 15 feet long. I got it once in our True Value HW store. Forgot the brand name. It might work for you, it is cheap, it's worth trying. If I find the name, I'll post.

Which part CO are you in?
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Old 04-27-2015, 08:56 AM   #6
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Crack in bathroom.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul O. View Post
Duct tape? ----- Just kidding...

There is stuff intended for filling large gaps before caulking. It is about 5/8 in. diameter, soft closed cell foam, comes as a loose roll in a bag, must be 15 feet long. I got it once in our True Value HW store. Forgot the brand name. It might work for you, it is cheap, it's worth trying. If I find the name, I'll post.

Which part CO are you in?
Paul:

That's right! Duct tape and baling wire hold the world together!!!

I know what you're talking about.....I've seen that little roll of foam. Like you said, a bag with a roll of maybe 10-15 feet, gray color, and the foam is maybe 0.5" diameter....right? Usually find it in the "weather stripping" section. Probably comes in different diameters, too. Great idea! I had thought about butyl tape as a "filler", but the foam might be better, might have more flex.

We're in way southern Colorado, 100 miles south of Colorado Springs. That puts us about 50 miles north of Raton Pass at the CO/NM state line. Getting a nice spring storm through here with a mix of rain and snow coming down right now! Glad we made our short camping trip last week.

Thanks again,
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Old 04-27-2015, 01:09 PM   #7
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Crack in bathroom.....



Paul & Bob:

I removed a fist-sized ball of caulk from the bathroom corner this morning. A good pocket knife and single-edge razor cleaned up most of it.

So, this is a picture of what I have discovered. There was evidently some water damage from the past, which makes sense as I had some water damage in the subfloor under the bathroom. That has already been repaired.

Looks like this wall panel, at least the vertical piece, is masonite (or similar) and it shows sign of water damage in the past.

Since I'm left with such a large crack, I was trying to think of alternatives to sealants and wanted to see what you think.

I thought it might be more permanent to get 3 pieces of thin (sheet) aluminum or stainless interior corner trim, such as in this:



I could put in two horizontal pieces and one vertical piece, all meeting in the corner. I'd rivet them into place, then run a fine bead of something like ProFlex sealant.

Questions: Do you think the masonite panels would hold a rivet OK? Or, maybe it'd crack under the pressure from the rivet? Maybe I could just use a stainless steel self-tapping screw (but I don't like that option too well)? If successful in getting the trim and panels all connected with screws or rivets, would that be too much rigidity, i.e. does it need the ability to flex?

What do you think?

Thanks for the ideas,
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Old 04-27-2015, 05:12 PM   #8
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Jim,
I was just looking and feeling around my Scamp. That area is quite robust, there should be pretty much no flexing. The bathroom liner is probably glued to the fiberboard wall. So you could rivet something rigid in place. The left wall is the outside, so do not drill any holes there. The right wall is the fiberboard, about 1/2 inch thick, between the loft and the bathroom. You could attach a corner piece to it, but I suspect the fiberboard is not in good shape there. The bottom surface is the OSB board forming the floor of the loft. You can buy one of the plastic Ell-shape pieces that they sell for sealing shower and tub enclosures and fit them into that corner. But I would wait.

Lift the cushions in the loft and check for water damage of the fiberboard wall from that direction. The water may have come from the window and collected there. I had to replace a trim piece covering the edge of the rat fur on that floor, it was wet, swolen and useless.

Leaky windows are often the result of accumulation of dirt and dust in the channel along the bottom edge, preventing a free flow and blocking the little weep holes (slots) visible on the outside. Best is to take the movable window pane out after pulling out the rubber U-profile and then cleaning thoroughly. Q-tips are handy for that. Good luck.

You are not very far from one of my most favorite places - the Great Sand Dunes. I try to go there every time we are visiting in Colorado.
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Old 04-29-2015, 11:49 AM   #9
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There's a product called Eternabond Tape, I used it to seal all the seams on my stick trailers roof. Good stuff but pretty much permanent. Looking at your pictures you'd still need a spot of Dicor, Proseal, or the like at the edge of the tape where the walls do a 90 so water wouldn't get behind it. It does require proper surface prep.
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Old 04-29-2015, 11:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piperjim View Post
Since I'm left with such a large crack, I was trying to think of alternatives to sealants and wanted to see what you think.

,
You may want to consider thinking of it as a bathtub and look at what is available to seal around the rim of those. There are a number of different plastic sealers that would work.

Something like this one perhaps:

Plastic Contour Seal for Bathtubs - Home Depot.
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Old 04-29-2015, 05:52 PM   #11
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I wouldn't be so quick to seal that up. Give it some time to dry out. The longer moisture is in there the more damage it will do.
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Old 04-29-2015, 06:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
You may want to consider thinking of it as a bathtub and look at what is available to seal around the rim of those. There are a number of different plastic sealers that would work.

Something like this one perhaps:

Plastic Contour Seal for Bathtubs - Home Depot.
The customers have really panned this product right on that page...

I tried it where the counter top meets the backsplash in my Scamp and the results are sort of two-stars or three-stars, maybe. Nothing to write home about.
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Old 10-22-2015, 12:58 PM   #13
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To: piperjim, scampg in Colorado...
Oh, boy, one of those moments when the more you investigate, the more you're both sorry and glad you looked.


I see it's been months...how did this work out for you? What did you do, and how is it holding up?


Kai in Seattle (complete 1973 Amerigo rebuild underway) October 22, 2015
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Old 10-22-2015, 01:07 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
I wouldn't be so quick to seal that up. Give it some time to dry out. The longer moisture is in there the more damage it will do.
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