Fiberglass roof repair. Help! - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-30-2013, 07:29 PM   #15
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Name: Keith
Trailer: Scamp 19' 5th wheel
Michigan
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If you are going to work on the outside, please don't use fiberglass mat.

Go to this site Fiberglass Supply - Fiberglass Fabrics, Surfboard Cloth, S-2 Glass, Fiberglass Tape, Industrial Fabrics

Scroll down to where the heading is "Warp Bias, E Glass Surfboard Fabrics"
Get several yards of the
Style 1521, 3.6 oz./yd. X 30", E Glass, Warp Cloth. You will see it is quite inexpensive.

To avoid yourself a bunch of heartache, only use epoxy. Vinylester resins (used for boat building) are tricky to use since the laminating resin stays tacky forever and the finishing resin has wax added to it so if you use that by mistake you will find that nothing sticks after the first layer. Resin is subject to hazmat charges so find a local dealer who stocks west system epoxy since the stuff is expensive enough as it is.

With epoxy, every layer will set up rock hard. If you are building up, do not wait for it to set up hard, but start laying on the next layer while the previous is firm but still tacky. Else you have to roughen the previous layer to get good adhesion. Remember than nothing likes to bond to a smooth anything, that includes smooth hard epoxy. Also remember that you need to work the air out of the fiber. Air = porosity = possibility for more leaks. Also remember that any fiber re-inforced anything can only be strong if the fibers are straight. If the fibers are kinked it cannot transfer either tensile or compressive loads. Also, resin is not strong. In a good job the target is to shoot for a 1:1 ratio of fiber to resin by weight.
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Old 09-30-2013, 11:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westcliffe01 View Post
If you are going to work on the outside, please don't use fiberglass mat.

Go to this site Fiberglass Supply - Fiberglass Fabrics, Surfboard Cloth, S-2 Glass, Fiberglass Tape, Industrial Fabrics

Scroll down to where the heading is "Warp Bias, E Glass Surfboard Fabrics"
Get several yards of the Style 1521, 3.6 oz./yd. X 30", E Glass, Warp Cloth. You will see it is quite inexpensive.

To avoid yourself a bunch of heartache, only use epoxy. Vinylester resins (used for boat building) are tricky to use since the laminating resin stays tacky forever and the finishing resin has wax added to it so if you use that by mistake you will find that nothing sticks after the first layer. Resin is subject to hazmat charges so find a local dealer who stocks west system epoxy since the stuff is expensive enough as it is.

With epoxy, every layer will set up rock hard. If you are building up, do not wait for it to set up hard, but start laying on the next layer while the previous is firm but still tacky. Else you have to roughen the previous layer to get good adhesion. Remember than nothing likes to bond to a smooth anything, that includes smooth hard epoxy. Also remember that you need to work the air out of the fiber. Air = porosity = possibility for more leaks. Also remember that any fiber re-inforced anything can only be strong if the fibers are straight. If the fibers are kinked it cannot transfer either tensile or compressive loads. Also, resin is not strong. In a good job the target is to shoot for a 1:1 ratio of fiber to resin by weight.

After 35 years in the fiberglass business, I so totally disagree with the above...that information is made by the people selling epoxy trying to discredit the polyester resin industry to up sell epoxy...so here it is from a guy who has done it for years...
Your trailer was made from mat and you should only use mat because it forms better, is easier to wet out and is megastrong...is it as strong as the above statement?....maybe not but it is the industry standard of "strong"
Absolutely use polyester resin or better yet, vinyl ester resin which is a better resin in most every way than polyester...once again, it is what your trailer is made from, it will stick to a roughened surface and the resins most commonly available to you are unwaxed, so the above is baloney...if you use the afore mentioned plastic trick, or what we use....waxed paper, there will be no uncured surface no mater which resin you use

So, to easily fix this, wet a piece of mat with your correctly mixed polyester or vinylester resin on a piece of waxed paper on your work bench, apply it to the inside highly roughened surface, pick up the piece of mat and waxed paper and apply it to the ceiling mat side to the fiberglass, and roll the waxed paper to get out the bubbles to make a tight repair...block it up with a piece of wood from the floor if needed, let it cure and you're done...do something with the outside if you want, but you will have sealed the leak....

One final thing....NOTHING STICKS TO CURED EPOXY EXCEPT MORE EPOXY, NOTHING......Dave
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Old 10-01-2013, 02:22 AM   #17
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I have never been in the Fglas business, but I have used LOTS of it. I completely agree with the previous DWhite post. Almost all our trailers are made with random fiberglas strand sprayguns and polester resin and there 40 or so years old! Stick with like material to service your issue and you'll have no problems.I wouldn't use wax paper, 6 mil plastic would be better.
I would add a layer of glas out side too.
Applying glas mat overhead is tricky, Cut your material to size and soak it on a larger piece of 6 mil plastic. Smooth the soaked glas into place by lifting it with the plastic. you can then hold it up with packing tape onto surrounding area and/or something on a stick the right length with a pad of some kind on the end. once the glas has set just remove the tape and the plastic will come off easy. The surface may be sticky for a day or so but will harden up. Remember,,practice on something. Using a few dollars of product to educate yourself could save alot of grief and money.
Get a box of rubber gloves and wear 2-3 pair at a time. Laquar thinner will clean stuff if you clean BEFORE it sets. I use an old paint brush to apply the resin to the cloth and wall and clean it right away, have probably used this one 20 times. If you can control the temperature like in a garage say, do your aplication in the cool, it gives you more work time, then warm it up to help it set.
Fred
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:52 AM   #18
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Trailer: Companion
Iowa
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D White and Fred, You both have been a wealth of good information and my plan is to use polyester resin and mat.

The camper is to tall for me to fit into my garage so I will have to do the repair outside. It's in the low 60's right now and is supposed to heat up to 80 degrees this afternoon. It's supposed to be about the same tomorrow. The way I understand it the resin is supposed to cure at temps of 75 degrees. Will the cooler night temps 50's-60's be ok? It will probably slow the process but will it hurt my repair???

Thanks so much for the help, as always I truly appreciate your help!
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:59 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Troutter View Post
D White and Fred, You both have been a wealth of good information and my plan is to use polyester resin and mat.

The camper is to tall for me to fit into my garage so I will have to do the repair outside. It's in the low 60's right now and is supposed to heat up to 80 degrees this afternoon. It's supposed to be about the same tomorrow. The way I understand it the resin is supposed to cure at temps of 75 degrees. Will the cooler night temps 50's-60's be ok? It will probably slow the process but will it hurt my repair???

Thanks so much for the help, as always I truly appreciate your help!
Do your work, then set a heater in the trailer to get the resin to kick off...it doesn't like cool temps...Dave
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:07 AM   #20
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I am fairly new at the fibreglass game, but I to must say that the advice of Westcliffe01 sounds like product marketing for the West system. The West system is popular on boats. I am sure that there are good reasons for this, but fibreglass trailers are build different. I have found that mat works perfect, for my needs and polyester resin is easy to work with. both are available at Princess Auto, at a reasonable price.

Sand between applications, and you will be fine. Try to make your joints over as large a surface area as possible. Don't just butt up two sheets of fibreglass and expect them to bond. Joining two sheets should involve grinding a bevel, from paper thin to full thickness, at least an inch wide on each side of the join, (my neighbor says to go four inches). Then layers of glass and resin to joint the seam. This is not your problem, so a layer of glass, (I would do both sides). Then sand the outside smooth, (easier said then done). Then paint.

I just love working with fibreglass. It is almost impossible to blow it. If you lay down too much, then grind. If you grind too much, then lay down more. Repeat if necessary. It is a very organic process.

Experience is way more important then theory. You will make mistakes. It's OK. See above.
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Old 10-01-2013, 12:57 PM   #21
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Trailer: Companion
Iowa
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Just came in for lunch and thought I'd give those of you who are helping me an update on my progress. I decided to work from the outside first because working above my head with 2 1/2 foot long piece of mat didn't seem like a good idea for a newbie. I got the surface clean, then cut the fiberglass to the right size, mixed up the resin and decided to paint some resin on the trailer and lay the fiberglass on top of that. Then pour and paint the resin on the fiberglass paying close attention to getting the fiberglass well saturated along the way. I was working fast and thought I had the resin/catalyst mixed correctly, maybe I didn't. It said on the container I would have about 12 minutes before it would start to set, but the sun was out and I'm guessing that made it set quicker. Holy smokes, maybe 5 minutes into the application it started to gel up on me! I was probably another 1-2 minutes from having the mat completely saturated and being done. Well, needless to say there were some air pockets and the mat didn't get completely saturated in a couple areas.

The resin cured rock hard and tack free in a little over an hour. I sanded out the weak spots and will reapply to those areas after lunch.

Even though my first attempt wasn't a total success, it wasn't a total flop either! I'm satisfied that this is the kind of repair I can do my self and it will actually look good when I'm done!

Now I need to start thinking about the seam that goes down the middle of the trailer. Any thoughts?
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Old 10-01-2013, 03:19 PM   #22
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Hey J, ya the sun makes things happen pretty fast,,,,,
I went back to look at the seam pic,, there isn't quite enough detail to give an accurate accessment of options.
It appears the top of the seem has gaps, if that is the only issue, maybe grind a
length ways groove, not too deep, shread some mat, pour resin in the grove and fill with fibers. Put masking tape down each side a little higher than the ridge to create a dam to stop the material from running away. tape off the inside so the resin can't enter the cabin.
Ther go get busy!! LOL
Fred
MY typing is so slow I could do it faster than type it lol
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Old 10-01-2013, 03:57 PM   #23
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Fred,

You have been so helpful! I just came back in for the day because I guess it's my night to cook. haha. Anyway... before I came back inside I took the dremel to the seam on top. It's been filled with bondo which I'm sure is why it's cracking. I got in there with a putty knife and the bondo comes right out. This all makes me a little angry because the guy I bought it from said, "He properly repaired everything, painted it and nothing leaks. I also noticed a small crack on the side of the trailer where the vent for the stove hood used to be. The last time it rained I had a puddle on the floor there also. I tore into the wall he had put up. Sure enough... there was a hunk of wood stuffed in the hole with a little woven fiberglass cloth around the edges. I'm sure the thought was, get it filled, bondo, then paint. I spend half my time just standing next to the trailer shaking my head. lol

Anyway... Yes, the plan will be to remove all the loose material and bondo from the seam. Then fill with resin and mat. I plan to do this fix tomorrow, and after tomorrow it's supposed to rain off and on for the next 3 days so the new seam should get tested!

thanks so much for the help! I'll keep you posted!
Jason
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Old 10-01-2013, 07:11 PM   #24
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Michigan
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I am in no way connected to anything in the composite industry. Gentlemen, when the trailers are built in the factory (or boats for that matter) the hull starts as a sprayed on coat of gelcoat in the mold. This becomes the outer part that we see. Then fiberglass mat or chopped roving is applied on the inside. Nobody cares how rough the inside is, since it is ultimately hidden under the insulation.

The repair job Trouter is doing is on the outer surface. It will be nearly impossible to get a material like mat to fair with the outer surface. Without using a LOT of filling compound one is going to end up with a protrusion on the outer surface. Even if you pile on the filler, anyone with an experienced eye will be able to spot it.

Cloth is much thinner than mat and you can do repairs externally without anyone being able to tell. Yes, epoxy is more expensive than Vinylester resin but we are talking about $30-40/gal. A gal of epoxy will do a LOT of repairs. Why penny pinch particularly when one does not have a lot of experience ?

Once one has the outside closed in and tight, then you can lay up all the mat you want on the inside, where you will not have to fair it.

Sorry, but the comments above are very short sighted, unless the repair is done exclusively from the inside.

The kayaks below have a layer of glass cloth over the wood. Can you tell ? Try that with mat...
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Old 10-01-2013, 07:31 PM   #25
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As I stated, the repair should have been done from the inside, but mat is the preferred material and the veil you used on your boats has no place on a fiberglass trailer done by a rookie...however, I do not intend to get in a how to do it match with someone who hasn't done it much...I stand by my advice from my experience and I hate to see wrong information given to someone wanting advice...my advice wasn't followed...however, I won't argue with someone who obviously has no experience with the op's original question, and will vacate this thread...I should have stayed out of it entirely...sorry to the original poster....I wouldn't know what to believe if I were in your shoes....
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Old 10-01-2013, 07:57 PM   #26
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Perhaps I was not clear in my original post that cloth could be used to seal up the external surface and make it weathertight. Then lay up either more cloth or mat on the inside to build the strength up to where it needs to be.

The only reason mat is used is because it is cheap and it develops bulk fast. Laminates produced with mat are heavy and relatively weak. Its no secret that all modern high performance boats and other composite structures use cloth on inner and outer surfaces, and core material in the middle. The chopped roving was just another step in getting it even cheaper and having a process that could be automated with robots. None of this is about quality, strength or finish. Just the almighty $ and a higher profit for the manufacturer or the ability to stay in business against competition from low labor countries.
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:08 PM   #27
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After pm discussions with DWHITE I realize his way to repair your situation is best.
Post # 16. I have tried but there is no way to delete my posts.
I hope people reading this post in the future will use DWHITE's procedures for this type of repair.
Fred
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Old 10-02-2013, 04:39 PM   #28
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I'd have to agree with D White, too. That said, I have a fiberglass repair I'm working on now . . . as in one of my patch layers is curing as I write this . . . in a wheel well. It was hidden under several layers of badly done repairs, including some huge 3/4" thick blobs of silicon caulk that basically covered the inside walls of the damaged corner of the wheel well.

I've been taking pictures of the repair process as I move along, and will post a thread showing the steps I took to repair it when I finish up tomorrow or the day after.

Here's what the damage looked like, inside and out, after I stripped the silicon gunk out and ground off the layers of repairs that had been applied to the surface gelcoat.

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