Damaged Ensolite - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-26-2018, 09:07 PM   #1
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Name: Ian
Trailer: Bigfoot
Alberta
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Damaged Ensolite

I've removed my first window of our 1977 Trillium 4500. While removing the wood, I made quite a mess of the ensolite around the frame. I doubt that I can repair it.

Can anyone point to a link on this forum where someone has built wood frames on the inside of the windows after resealing? I seem to remember seeing something, but cannot find it.



Also, I'd appreciate any tips you have about how to peel back the ensolite around the windows. I have 4 more windows to go!


Many thanks!


Ian in Lethbridge.
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:36 PM   #2
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Name: bill
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I used a sharp putty knife. Of course, you only have to remove the wood that's rotten.

What I would NOT do next time is use contact cement to reattach it. It was hard not to get wrinkles in the ensolite with traditional contact cement. I then used a thin screw driver to poke the ensolite back in behind the window frame on the inside.

I never really got good at it.
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Old 11-27-2018, 07:53 PM   #3
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Ensolite is no longer made, at least in quite the same way. IR Specialty Foam in Tacoma supplies a range of nice foams in rolls. They have a very nice free sample book if you ask nicely. You might actually want to go thicker than the original if you care about insulation. Also, the material is black, and there's no adhesive built in. You will need to paint it.

About the window frames: I think it is wise to think about "defense in depth". Water in some quantity is always going to get in. So consider materials that don't rot or stink when wet.

I have been using some AZEK Arbor brand PVC decking, special order from a big box hardware store, for the replacement window frames instead of wood. It will never rot or mildew. It mills nicely with standard shop tools, and glues up with standard plumber's PVC cement. I use machine screws with nylon insert nuts that won't vibrate loose on dirt roads, instead of plain old wood screws. It costs 10x that of a plain old 2x4" but it's worth it to me to not have to tolerate a mildew smell down the line.
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Old 11-27-2018, 09:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
I used a sharp putty knife. Of course, you only have to remove the wood that's rotten.

What I would NOT do next time is use contact cement to reattach it. It was hard not to get wrinkles in the ensolite with traditional contact cement. I then used a thin screw driver to poke the ensolite back in behind the window frame on the inside.

I never really got good at it.

Thanks, Thrifty Bill. The wood I removed looked pretty good, but some of the screws I removed were rusted, so water must have been in there sometime. I don't want musty smells.



I don't think I'll be able to re-attach it and have it look decent. I was hoping someone might have installed a wood or mdf frame inside the windows at some point.



Ian
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Old 11-27-2018, 09:09 PM   #5
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That does sound interesting. Is the PVC solid, then, like a 2 x 4? Most of the decking I've seen is hollow...I think.
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Old 11-27-2018, 09:23 PM   #6
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Yes it is solid. It is technically referred to by chemists as "foamed" PVC which means there are tiny pockets of air. This is what makes it so millable. (Unfoamed PVC is much more dense and heavy, and thus harder to cut and mill.) It is warm to the touch, unlike wood, but you can use all standard wood tools and processes on it. They have put great work into making it handle like wood, including molding a very shallow fake wood texture on one side. I recommend it highly.
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Old 11-28-2018, 12:11 PM   #7
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Thanks, that is good to know. I will see what's available locally.


Speaking of local suppliers, I priced out #8 stainless steel screws at Lowes. They were $2.29 for 6. So I went to Lethbridge Fasteners, and bought 100 for $5.65. Quite a difference!
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Old 12-21-2018, 03:17 PM   #8
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Name: Ian
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PVC replacing wood around windows

Well, I did find some PVC planks at Home Depot, and a friend with a table saw, so was able to replace my first window without using wood.



Now I have removed the back window. Again, the wood does not seem to be really rotten, but I had to pull some of the screws out with pliers, so I decided on a PVC frame again.



Removing ensolite from the wood frame is next to impossible. It's razor blade work, which can be dangerous - I'm a musician and I'd prefer to keep all my fingers. So I devised some tools and strategies for the job which worked very well.



First, I made a cutter by clamping a razor blade into the jaws of a pair of small locking pliers, aka vice grips. It worked very well...the blade did not shift, and it was much easier to cut straight along the wood under the ensolite than with a naked blade. Make sure that the vice grips have a flat surface...some of them only meet at the point.



To protect my fingers I put on some gloves I got at Costco. They are tight fitting, and have a little extra protection on the finger tips as a result of the material that allows them to be touch-screen sensitive. I went back to Costco for more pairs of gloves to give as gifts, but they were sold out.



Thanks my update to this thread.
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