Just Butyl Tape Or More ?? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-01-2007, 06:55 PM   #1
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Hello everyone ! This weekend we finally had warmer weather to start our renos on our 1980 Bigfoot. First we removed the awning and the awning rail from the fuselage. Then we removed all the old butyl tape and silicone that the previous owners had piled on top...It took some time and a little elbow grease but it turned out great...We then filled some of the extra holes that had been hidden behind the rail that someone had hoped would not leak . It did and now we are going to reinforce a wall that has some delamination.....!! BUT the worse was yet to come. Once we removed the metal plates that held the bottom of the of the arm rails we found some BIG holes !!! We did our first fiberglass repair and covered two golf ball size holes. So here's my question. Once we have the wall ready ( sanding etc completed ) and we are ready to put the metal plates back on should we put some kind of adhesive on first then butyl tape ?? We know it needs to be strong...Will the butyl be enough ?? Any suggestions ? Thanks so much ! Happy trails Mitch
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Old 05-02-2007, 07:54 AM   #2
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So here's my question. Once we have the wall ready ( sanding etc completed ) and we are ready to put the metal plates back on should we put some kind of adhesive on first then butyl tape ?? We know it needs to be strong...Will the butyl be enough ?? Any suggestions
Butyl tape is the worst abomination from the 70's and should no longer be used. What happens is you put butyl tape under something, then rivet it on. Years go by and regular use causes the butyl to get squeezed out from between but the rivets don't tighten up. Then what you have is additional space that water gets into.

My first mission in restoring a trailer is to remove everything that has butyl tape under it and clean it off entirely. To seal stuff correctly, use modern technology. I prefer to use automotive seam sealer. It's meant for exterior use, doesn't shrink over time, stays flexible, paintable, and is also meant for use in a vibration environment (as opposed to household caulking junk like Mono, etc). Silicon is almost never the right goop for the job.

Also, don't just goop the caulking on. Mask all around where you're going to spooge the stuff, then affix the item in question, and peel the tape off leaving a nice clean line where the sealant ends.
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Old 05-02-2007, 09:22 AM   #3
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This raises a question about sealing windows. I have used putty on my windows like the origional set up. Others on the forum have suggested using butel tape for this. I thought about using butel calk. Is the automotive seam seal a better choice?
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Old 05-02-2007, 09:38 AM   #4
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This raises a question about sealing windows. I have used putty on my windows like the origional set up. Others on the forum have suggested using butel tape for this. I thought about using butel calk. Is the automotive seam seal a better choice?
That's what I've used on the windows of 2 trailers now. The first trailer I did about 5 years ago and used automotive seam sealer on all the windows. Still no leaks when I sold it earlier this spring. I'm now doing my 17 with seam sealer as well... I refinish toyota land cruisers as another hobby and those things are a high vibration environment and seam sealer has never let me down between body panels. (my painting skills on the other hand ...... )

Just this weekend, during the rain, I noticed that most of the rivets on my awning rail were leaking. So I pulled the awning rail off. However, as I was doing that, I noticed light shining through the middle of one of the rivets. So the leaking was happening through the center of the rivet not around. So after I removed the awning rail, cleaned up the old crusty butyl, I used seam sealer the whole length of the awning rail plus covered each new rivet hole with seam sealer as well... Who knows how long it had been leaking water in behind the foam insulation?

There are waterproof (sealed) rivets but I couldn't find any the last time I was out shopping.
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Old 05-02-2007, 09:45 AM   #5
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seam sealer sounds like the way to go. We don't get much rain here in nevada but I have noticed the putty is cracking around my windows so I need to redo them again before I go where it is raining. Will the seam sealer hold on wider joints also?
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Old 05-02-2007, 10:04 AM   #6
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Herb
seam sealer sounds like the way to go. We don't get much rain here in nevada but I have noticed the putty is cracking around my windows so I need to redo them again before I go where it is raining. Will the seam sealer hold on wider joints also?
Well, it's primary function is to seal between body panels so those gaps are often some number of mm wide... So yeah, it does ok as far as I've been able to tell. I use the Dominion Sure Seal brand but I think they're all probably comparable.
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Old 05-02-2007, 10:12 AM   #7
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I use the Dominion Sure Seal brand but I think they're all probably comparable.
I have not seen any Auto Seam sealer anywhere in my travels. Where/what kind of store are you buying it from?

Thanks

P.S. I have to redo my awning rail and drip rail over the door, what size of rivets did you use?

Thanks again!
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Old 05-02-2007, 10:23 AM   #8
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I have not seen any Auto Seam sealer anywhere in my travels. Where/what kind of store are you buying it from?

P.S. I have to redo my awning rail and drip rail over the door, what size of rivets did you use?
Well, _any_ automotive body shop supply store will have it. That includes "Napa CMax" but I think I saw some at Canadian Tire last night (they carry other Dominion Sure Seal products in the auto body aisle... It comes in a caulking gun tube.

Last time I was up in Edmonton, you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting an auto body supply store. Just ask for "seam sealer".
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Old 05-02-2007, 10:25 AM   #9
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P.S. I have to redo my awning rail and drip rail over the door, what size of rivets did you use?
oops. I forgot to answer this q. I just used the rivets that went into the holes the tightest. I don't remember specifically. They were the aluminum variety. I recommend buying a collection of aluminum rivets of various thicknesses and lengths.
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Old 05-02-2007, 12:41 PM   #10
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Last time I was up in Edmonton, you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting an auto body supply store.
I guess that was my problem, I don't have a dead cat...plenty of dead mice though

Thanks for the suggestions.
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Old 05-02-2007, 05:51 PM   #11
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In his post about a Lander restoration, "...a fiberglass renewal", Rob linked to a page showing an automotive sealant being used on the trailer; he also supplied some more detail about the sealant, which was apparently Dow's Betaseal.

I have not used a product like this, but Herb's proposal to use the modern technology which works so well on cars makes sense to me. I don't know enough about the specific products to know if the Dow urethane or one of the many Dominion Sure Seal products is appropriate in this particular case, but I'm guessing one of them would be. On my own Boler, I have generally used butyl caulk tape, which is at least a bit adhesive and elastic, so it might have some hope of working better than that old plumber's putty.

I think the task of forming a gasket between mating surfaces (such as between a plate and the body) is fundamentally different from sealing a gap, or making a waterproof layer over a joint; common RV practice uses putty in the gasket situation, various caulks for gaps, and some weird stretchy slathered-on stuff to cover joints (and rivets). In cars, urethane and silicone sealants form gaskets, seam sealers for gaps, and there are no layers of stuff slathered over the outside of the car (unless you count undercoating).

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I guess that was my problem, I don't have a dead cat...plenty of dead mice though
So you must have a live cat, because if you had no cat, you'd have live mice... but no rats, since this Alberta.
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Old 05-03-2007, 07:27 AM   #12
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I keep reading this thread over and over and I just have to wonder if we are all really discussing the same thing????

Every experience that I have had with Butyl Rubber has been the opposite of what is being described here?

This topic does entirely remind me though of the Putty Tape that was the typical sealing material from the 60's until the development of Butyl Rubber somewhat more recently.

There are still a lot of manufacturers and servicers using the Putty Tape but from what I have seen and learned it simply deteriorates as is being blamed here on Butyl Rubber?

Sooooooooo I wonder if maybe the two names are being interchanged here thus giving Butyl a bad "Name"?

When I have used Butyl Rubber I have been entirely impressed with its anbility to seal and conform to odd contours as well as its resistence to the elements and temperature extremes.
These are all traits that the Putty Tape lacks.
Further I feel the Rubber has an elasticity and durability that nothing else I have used has.

I have not used the seam sealer being discussed here but it certainly stands to reason that it would work as it is designed exactly for the types of applications we a re talking about.
As long as it is formulated to stick to Fiberglass, I will be looking into it myself.


So again I will ask,Are we really speaking ill of the Butyl or of Putty?

Inquiring minds want to know?

Ed
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Old 05-03-2007, 08:46 AM   #13
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There are still a lot of manufacturers and servicers using the Putty Tape but from what I have seen and learned it simply deteriorates as is being blamed here on Butyl Rubber?

Sooooooooo I wonder if maybe the two names are being interchanged here thus giving Butyl a bad "Name"?
I think you're right. I'm speaking ill of the grey butyl putty tape and its distant cousin the black putty tape (not sure what it's made of)...

I don't think I've ever encountered 'Butyl Rubber tape'.

The problem that I see with any sort of 'putty tape' is that it is used as a compression seal. ie: you stick a thick blob of it between 2 things. Then you fasten the two things together and the stuff compresses and oozes out from between the two things. Then you cut the rest away and everything is sealed, for a few years. As the 'thing' is used over the years, people lean against windows, or you wiggle that hose in the side of the trailer, etc... Things get compressed and decompressed. When things get compressed, the putty oozes out a little more eventually creating a gap on decompression and you have a new leak. You really have to use a flexible sealant that can move with the times... Maybe this Butyl rubber stuff returns to its original shape after it is compressed? I don't think I've seen it.
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Old 05-03-2007, 11:44 AM   #14
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This topic has been hashed over numerous times.
We have to be very clear about the products discussed as there are so many to chose from.

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/index.ph...18751&st=15
Specifically:

For those of you that need to know or want to know here are a few sites to read up on Butyl Tape.
Quote:"Butyl is a common term used for the isobutylene isoprene elastomer.
As the name implies, butyl is comprised of isobutylene with a small amount of isoprene. It is known for its excellent resistance to water, steam, alkalis, and oxygenated solvents. Another outstanding characteristic is low gas permeation. Butyl is capable of providing high energy absorption (dampening) and good hot tear strength. Good resistances to heat, abrasion, oxygen, ozone."

http://www.plusind.com/Butyl.html
http://www.chemtron.ca/tape404_right.html
http://www.plustape.com/BK/index.htm

As you found out Suz, Putty Tape and Butyl Tape are two entirely different products. I believe Putty Tape will eventually harden up much like Plumbers putty. I am not sure what our 77 Boler had on the windows when I replaced them but it was gray and hard a rock, came off in chunks.

Products made for the automotive and aviation industries are superb but can be very expensive and not easily available to the average public.
As herb says some of the products in the 3M product lines for automotive work is really good. I recall one called "3M Drip Seal" that was great to use when I worked in a body shop.
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