Ensolite Repair - Stretch? Patch? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-28-2008, 07:25 PM   #1
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Help - ensolite repair ideas??
One spot of ensolite in my trailer is loose. It's up top by the front window, and it would be a simple glue job, except the flap doesn't go all the way to the window. I think maybe it was cut skimpy to begin with, because the upper front curve is loose. On our warmest day last summer I tugged on the flap, but it still wouldn't meet the window.
1. Did it shrink?
2. If I really warmed it up, say with something like a blow dryer,would it stretch?
3. Where could I get a small piece of ensolite for a patch? (2"x16")
4. If I can't find a little piece of ensolite, what would make a good substitute? I have some of that non-slip rubbery shelf liner that has about the right color and nubbiness, but it would need a backing.

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Old 03-28-2008, 08:03 PM   #2
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Hi: Look in the rear storage/dinette bins...say around the tail lights and you may be able to get enough from there to make your patch. You won't really notice that it's missing from under the seats!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 03-28-2008, 08:14 PM   #3
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When I ripped out the ensolite in my boler I kept some pieces for templates, I went back to them 30 days later and they all shrunk about 3-4 inches all the way around. It was kind a like those (shrinky dinks) you put in the oven. Remember those? LOL. To make a long story short, yes, it shrunk.

Mike
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Old 03-28-2008, 09:51 PM   #4
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One spot of ensolite in my trailer is loose. It's up top by the front window, and it would be a simple glue job, except the flap doesn't go all the way to the window. I think maybe it was cut skimpy to begin with, because the upper front curve is loose. On our warmest day last summer I tugged on the flap, but it still wouldn't meet the window.
The one in my Trillium had shrunk even more than yours in all four corners. Here's how I managed to fix it all without patching it up: First, you pull off the molding in that area, then carefully peel off a good triangular section of the ensolite from the shell using a small scraper. I used a sharp razor-blade type scraper, making sure not to poke through the ensolite with it. Then clean out the old bits of glue, vaccuum the surfaces and apply contact cement on both the shell and the back of the ensolite (I used LePage® Pres-tite Green Contact Cement with no toxic fumes, and a foam brush). Wait until dry, and apply a second coat of contact cement. Wait until dry again, and stretch the ensolite enough to reach the top corner, and stick it on firmly at the corner. Then follow down along both edges, leaving a large "bubble" in the middle section. Then you rub it on from the edges towards the center, letting it stretch itself until the bubble goes away, and snap the molding back on.


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Old 03-29-2008, 02:07 PM   #5
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Wow - you learn something new every day! Especially on this forum...
Daniel - your corner repair looks factory-fresh. How much did you enlarge the loose triangle before you proceeded to reglue(contact cement) it? And I gather that the trick at the end is to get the corner stuck on first, then the edges aligned, then work in towards the middle? Was that a lot of tugging?
Mike - thanks for shrinking info. Now I won't need to have bad thoughts anymore about my trailer's ensolite installation. I reckon that corner started to shrink as soon as it came loose.
Alf - now why didn't I think of stealing a patch from someplace hidden? I've done that for carpet repairs. I guess sometimes our brains need a good kick to dislodge all those bits rattling around in there.
Our trailer is in remarkably good shape for its age, but this loose flap has been an eyesore. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!
(Next project will be putting more molding in hot water to straighten out the waves, then on to covering up the in-decent-shape, but oh-so-70's cushions. Still debating about curtains vs. blinds, as we need some room darkening for sleeping during our light-filled summer nights up here, and some insulating effect would be desirable in the fall. I wonder how much I can get done before the snow melts?)
Connie
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Old 03-29-2008, 03:24 PM   #6
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Daniel - your corner repair looks factory-fresh. How much did you enlarge the loose triangle before you proceeded to reglue(contact cement) it? And I gather that the trick at the end is to get the corner stuck on first, then the edges aligned, then work in towards the middle? Was that a lot of tugging?
Connie, the idea is to peel it off until you get to the area that is still firmly glued across the entire width. In my case, at the front, I had to remove a lot of it because I also redid the window, which required me to replace the rotten wooden frame. But getting the top corner and edges stuck across diagonally into that rounded corner shouldn't require any tugging at all - and contact cement is ideal for this situation where things have to stick instantly. Once you get the edges done, you can just apply a bit of pressure to it and work it in toward the middle with your thumbs or the palm of your hand or maybe using a small roller, and it will stretch at the same time as well as stick instantly where you apply pressure. Don't worry about emprisoning the air pocket, as it will disseminate through the ensolite. Just remember to not make any cuts, and to scrape off (or at least flatten out) as much of the old glue as possible from the surfaces (I used a grinder).
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Old 03-29-2008, 04:36 PM   #7
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Daniel, thanks for the great tutorial on ensolite repair! I have a lot of 'stretched' corners on our trailer and since I will probably be repainting the fiberglass inside ours it would be nice to pull away and reattach the ensolite around the edges
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
The one in my Trillium had shrunk even more than yours in all four corners. Here's how I managed to fix it all without patching it up: First, you pull off the molding in that area, then carefully peel off a good triangular section of the ensolite from the shell using a small scraper. I used a sharp razor-blade type scraper, making sure not to poke through the ensolite with it. Then clean out the old bits of glue, vaccuum the surfaces and apply contact cement on both the shell and the back of the ensolite (I used LePage® Pres-tite Green Contact Cement with no toxic fumes, and a foam brush). Wait until dry, and apply a second coat of contact cement. Wait until dry again, and stretch the ensolite enough to reach the top corner, and stick it on firmly at the corner. Then follow down along both edges, leaving a large "bubble" in the middle section. Then you rub it on from the edges towards the center, letting it stretch itself until the bubble goes away, and snap the molding back on.
I did basically the same thing as Daniel, the key I think, is to get the leading edge stuck down first, then the rest sort of stretches into place.
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Old 05-30-2009, 12:22 PM   #9
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ahaha - I LOVE shrinky dinks
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:22 AM   #10
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:33 AM   #11
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Hi Gang -

I've been lurking here for a couple weeks, as I've just purchased my first "egg" (my first anything but tent to camp in!) and I've been soaking up the vast knowledge (or trying to) shared here. One thing I haven't found discussed, so I'll post my own question: How to fill in small holes in the ensolite? My Trillium came with curtains hung on rods above and below the windows, and the curtain rods are screwed *into the ensolite*. Some of the roads I brought it home on were fairly rough - so the flex caused a few of the screws to pull out of the ensolite. I'd been thinking a small amount of caulking, but I've got no experience with this!

My notion now is to pull the curtains down before traveling, to avoid the stress on the fabric - it seems easiest to just pop the top rod off the holders. Unfortunately, now I've got 3 top rod holders that don't seem to wanna stay put!

so:

What to use to fill in the small holes in the ensolite?

How do you have your curtains mounted (on the window itself, or in the body of the trailer?)

Any suggestions?
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:27 AM   #12
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Kate,
If I understand your issue your curtain rod brackets, like those in our '78 Trillium are screwed through the ensolite into the wood backers around the windows. The screw may have stripped out if the brackets are coming off and longer screws might fix your problem. If you want to cover the holes I found that almond colored acrylic caulk matches quite well on our unpainted ensolite.. We replaced the sorta funky looking rods with new cafe rods from the local box store. We put them right back over where the old rod brackets were and they work fine. Best of luck to you.
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:36 AM   #13
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Oh you know I haven't even thought there could be wood backing - and yes the screws did seem rather short to me. I'm going to take a look at some different rods, and had thought that I might take a 'space blanket' and convert it to a black-out window covering as well, using some velcro on the frame of the windows themselves.

I like the idea of having curtains that don't have a rod both top AND bottom.

Thanks, I'll take a closer look at them and see what I can see - the almond acrylic caulk may be just what I'm looking for to fill in the holes left when i take the bottom brackets off as well!
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:52 PM   #14
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I realize that the original question was asked four years ago, but in regards to stretching the Ensolite to original size, since the Ensolite is covered in vinyl, a bit of heat, (maybe a blow dryer) can make it more flexible, and stretchy. I would not try doing it on a cold day.
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