Does this look like water damage? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-14-2007, 01:16 AM   #1
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So I thought I'd replace the carpet on our new-to-us '77 Scamp 13' -- it seemed pretty easy, I got a cheap carpet remnant, and I figured it would be a good chance to inspect the floor, walls, etc. So, I removed the dinette seat, peeled back some Ensolite to check things out, and realized I didn't know what I was looking at.

Can somebody help me identify what I'm looking at -- or, perhaps more importantly, what I should be looking *for*? I'll attach one picture for now to see that it posts correctly.


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This a picture of the left front corner of the dinette -- that is, the wood ledge that the fiberglass bench attaches to. As far as I can guess, the interior, unpainted fiberglass is green, some of that has been painted white, and some of the brown is from glue. I'm not sure about the black, or what to look for on the wood ledge (i.e., how to tell if the wood is OK, is rotted, or otherwise needs replacement).

Also, I started to wonder if the lumpiness of the Ensolite on some parts of the wall below some of the windows could be an indication of previous water leaks... I'll post a picture of that, too. If it's just water damage to the Ensolite, does that matter since I plan to replace it with the newer lining (rat fur??) anyway? (Need to gain much more confidence before I tackle that project.... right now I feel pretty proud of myself for simply removing the dinette benches!)

Anyway, many thanks in advance for any information/advice you can offer!
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Old 07-14-2007, 01:39 AM   #2
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Here is the lumpy Ensolite I mentioned below the rear window. Could this be an indication of a current or previous leak? If so (aside from fixing the leak if necessary), what should I be concerned about / looking for? I plan to replace the Ensolite anyway (although I was hoping to avoid doing that right away), but (maybe this is a really dumb question) is there such thing as water damage to the fiberglass itself?


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Old 07-14-2007, 04:32 AM   #3
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Rebecca: No there is no way that water will do anything to fiberglass but the wood will rot and I am not too sure what will happen to Ensolite when it gets wet repeatedly.
My plywood wood seat supports on dinette seats of drivers side, also need replaceing but not too sure if it due to water damage or just too heavy (fat) people sitting there.
The black maybe the Ensolite backing.
In my opinion I think the lumpyness of the Ensolite is the stuff getting wet and pulling away from wall.
Cure: find and fix leak first then reglue the ensolite with a good auto head liner spray on glue you can get at automotive stores.
Wash inside with bleach or other mold killer.
But from experiance finding a leak is a never ending chore as even though I can find the leaks at home, fix them, as soon as we travel down the road somewhere a window seam will open up, due to vibration and we will almost always have a leak at the next campground.
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Old 07-14-2007, 05:50 AM   #4
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I'm not expert but when I opened your picture I didn't start sneezing or anything.
Usually mold in my experience would be everywhere not just on the one layer. But maybe it's just starting.
Bleach it and see if it comes off.

I don't have ensolite on the Burro. Surely some other mold producing campers will be able to give you a better idea.
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Old 07-14-2007, 10:05 AM   #5
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My $0.02 FWIW:
Your photos look to be normal condition for a 30 year old trailer.

The lumpiness in the 2nd photo looks like air pockets that developed during the initial installation of the ensolite at the factory. Slightly unsightly, but not a major concern.

The wood exposed in the 1st photo looks OK, but how does it feel? If it feels solid, then it is good.

I'm more concerned about the dark surface "scuff" looking marks in the 1st photo's lower left corner. Scuff marks from the bench assembly? If yes, then no problem. If no, is it mold on the surface of the ensolite?
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Old 07-14-2007, 10:06 AM   #6
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I think your stuff looks like glue but to be sure you might want to try what I do.

I mix Bleach and water to the percentage of Telex and spray on spots like this and if it goes away then I suspect it was mold.

Bleach mixed with water is way less expensive than Tilex and is the same stuff.
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Old 07-14-2007, 06:03 PM   #7
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Thank you SO much for the input. I will try bleach and see what happens!

The wood feels solid, so hopefully no major issues there. I think the dark stuff in the lower left corner is more of the general grime that had piled up under the dinette bench, but I will try the bleach there as well to be sure.

As for the lumpy Ensolite, I decided to try to peel back the entire section under the back window, but the places where the glue is dry and holding well, it's holding REALLY well... so I need to research how to (try to) remove it without destroying it (so I can get to the lumpy parts to inspect and reglue). I'll post a separate question if I can't find that info.

Thanks again!
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Old 07-14-2007, 09:55 PM   #8
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How about what they do on the HGTV programs - use a syringe with glue in it to get into those little places.
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Old 07-14-2007, 11:05 PM   #9
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I think I have just officially spent the entire day thinking about mold and Ensolite. The good news is that I don't think I have a huge mold problem, just yucky old glue. There were a few places on the painted, interior side of the fiberglass which I still think might have been mold (see picture), but those spots wiped off just as easily with a wet towel as they did with the bleach solution. It was enough to make me glad to be getting to those places to clean.


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After reading previous posts on the difficulties of removing the Ensolite, I've decided to leave it alone for the moment. The lumpiness really bugs me, but it seems like I'd end up doing a lot of damage to peel back enough of the Ensolite to inspect it further. I did cut part of the it away from the window seam and pulled it down enough to make sure the board which holds up the dinette table (the piece which is fiberglassed in to the back wall) is OK (it seems to be fine).

Also, I'm not really sure if the puffier parts are separated from the wall or not. When I compare to other places on the trailer, and when I look at the corners I peeled back, it seems like the Ensolite has a certain amount of thickness to it anyway. In contrast, the non-squishy parts (the parts that look caved in on the picture) feel like they have practically no thickness to them. The only thing I can think of is that if someone had peeled it off at some point in the past, and it destroyed the backing, then they reglued it as is... who knows.

I might see if there's anyone at the Oregon gathering next weekend who has Ensolite I can compare to... then at least I'd know what it's "supposed" to look like.

In the meantime, I'm starting to wonder if my long-term solution will be to cover up the Ensolite rather than ripping it off...

Is this how these projects always go -- start out planning to replace some carpet and end up thinking up 12 other projects in the process?? (Windows and seals are starting to percolate to the top of my list, too...)
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Old 07-15-2007, 04:47 AM   #10
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find and fix leak first then reglue the ensolite with a good auto head liner spray on glue you can get at automotive stores.

In my opinion (and I have tried them ALL) nothing beats 3M's Super 77 spray glue. Yeah its about $9 a can at WalMart, but it will hold just about anything- forever!
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Old 07-15-2007, 11:07 AM   #11
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find and fix leak first then reglue the ensolite with a good auto head liner spray on glue you can get at automotive stores.

In my opinion (and I have tried them ALL) nothing beats 3M's Super 77 spray glue. Yeah its about $9 a can at WalMart, but it will hold just about anything- forever!

Should have used that stuff on my first marriage......
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Old 07-15-2007, 11:45 AM   #12
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Well, I guess I do need to reglue the corners I peeled back. Thanks for the tip!

After looking more closely, I also did find some spots that might be coming away from the wall, so I might try the syringe idea too. Any suggestions on what kind of glue to use for that?

Also, Jaye, I looked at your slideshows, and WOW! What amazing work! When I saw the "before" picture of your '84, I wondered about the starting condition of its Ensolite... was the Ensolite itself OK, just the seams that gave you heartache?

Thanks again!
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Old 07-15-2007, 05:13 PM   #13
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What I done to the Ensolite was cut all the places that were lose peeled it back ..applied contact cement (some people call it formica glue) to both pieces needing to be glued... let it dry... then stick it together, you need to make sure you start from the middle and work out because when it sticks nothing and I mean NOTHING is going to pull it apart...After I did that I bought carpet from Lowe's..the type you use on boats it's thin and easy to work with...I glued it to the entire inside of my Scamp... Turned out great
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Old 07-16-2007, 11:58 PM   #14
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Should have used that stuff on my first marriage......
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!
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