Leveling Roof Ripples? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-29-2007, 01:36 AM   #1
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Does anyone have any experience with or remember any forum discussions about leveling/repairing ripples in fiberglass roofs?

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I had a few RV repairmen (who looked at it when the AC unit was still on top, as shown in above photos) tell me that someone must have walked on this roof and caused it to sag, that the weight of the AC was too much for it, and that they would need to cut a huge hole in the fiberglass all around the AC area and where the ripple is in order to patch and repair it, or remove the interior panels and install a support beam to push it all back up. However, another fellow who works only with fiberglass told me to take the AC off first, then have him come by. I got the AC off and had him come by today. He said that the roof structure under the AC and rippled area is not rotted out and that the fiberglass shell is intact. He thought that the AC had likely leaked at some point in the past, which caused the wood core to swell in some areas, creating a hard bump in one spot once it dried, which in turn pulled the fiberglass up, creating a bubble or ripple, in another spot.

See photos below of roof opening minus the AC...

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...notice layers all look in good shape, except that on several sides, one can just lift the fiberglass up and see underneath it to the white insulation (which looks fine). The black stuff around the opening is the foam AC gasket, which I have since removed and will replace with a new one, as was suggested.The fiberglass, wood core and insulation layer are not moldy, soft or crumbly, so the FG repairman thought that the leak must have been repaired before any serious structural damage occurred (and before signs of leakage became evident inside the unit), though based on reading some of the past forums, we still want to bolster the roof from inside the trailer somehow, to provide some additional support to the AC area. Not sure how to do this--taking off the interior paneling doesn't seem a good idea, since it's glued to the underside of the insulation and there doesn't seem to be any space between the insulation and interior paneling for anything to fit in there anyway. We don't want it to be unsightly either. Suggestions welcome here.

The AC itself seems to work fine, so I was planning to keep it for now because of budgetary constraints and it's no heavier than the newer models--the manufacturer info says it weighs 87 lbs. (BTW, does anyone know where these roof ACs drain? All household ACs have to drain to the outside of the house, since they suck moisture from the air while cooling... so does anyone know what happens to that moisture with these roof units)?

The fiberglass repairman suggested I get marine grade silicone adhesive to glue as much of the fiberglass back down that could I reach from the AC cut-out, then clamp it or flatten it down with a heavy board for 24 hours, and then put the AC back on. I wonder if it is possible and relatively easy to create a more level looking surface on the roof, just for aesthetic reasons? The FG repair guy had no other suggestions besides glueing down the areas that I could reach that were separated from the core, so I guess I might have to just settle for doing that. That will help, but there would still be a visible bump and ripple. I saw a foam filler on a marine website that I wondered if I could use to level things out a bit more, but I don't want to make things look worse either. I have looked through past forums, but don't remember reading about dealing with roof ripples...

Would appreciate any input or suggestions from the forum FG experts.
Thanks!

Val
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:42 PM   #2
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I'm wondering if the saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" might apply here - as far as the fiberglass part.
Without taking the interior apart I'm not sure how someone could do any better than what you propose to do
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
I'm wondering if the saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" might apply here - as far as the fiberglass part.
Without taking the interior apart I'm not sure how someone could do any better than what you propose to do
Perhaps I should consider them wrinkles instead of ripples, and then they are officially considered badges of honor and wisdom instead of cosmetic defects, right? I am not one who'd go in for anti-aging treatments and plastic surgery myself, so perhaps I should give the BF the same leeway.
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Old 08-29-2007, 05:28 PM   #4
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My philosophy from the start has been that I don't want to make the outside "showroom condition" as it attracts enough attention as it is. I posted a "tongue job" redo not long ago and on my very first pull with the new tongue job some dude was all over me at a gas-stop about how good my tongue looked. (See what I mean)
I do want the exterior to be well-maintained, leak-free and I will vertgloss what is there this fall, but I want it to just look like a 25 year old trailer that is maintained Ok from the outside.
The interior, functionality and the mechanical are where I spend my time and resources.
Just me personally, I know a lot of folks derive enjoyment from sparkling newly painted exteriors and that's great, but not my thing. So I'm with Lainey on "if it aint broke don't fix it" unless it would be a leak source or something.
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Old 08-29-2007, 06:52 PM   #5
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I posted a "tongue job" redo not long ago and on my very first pull with the new tongue job some dude was all over me at a gas-stop about how good my tongue looked. (See what I mean)
Greg, there is at least one good joke in the above sentence, but, for the sake of public decency and general appropriateness, we won't go there.

Good points, Elaine and Greg, and it's not like I want to make a lot more work for myself in this 110+ degree heat!

I just thought some forum members may have encountered a similar issue, especially given the number of "respectably aged" trailers in the group.

Val
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Old 08-29-2007, 11:41 PM   #6
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...given the number of "respectably aged" trailers in the group.
My Fiber Stream's shell is a little bulgy and wavy all over. All I ask for is water tight.
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Old 08-30-2007, 08:03 AM   #7
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BTW, does anyone know where these roof ACs drain? All household ACs have to drain to the outside of the house, since they suck moisture from the air while cooling... so does anyone know what happens to that moisture with these roof units?
The moisture usually drains out onto the roof. Check to make sure the drain holes are not plugged before you re-install the unit. Make sure you get a good seal between the roof and A/C. I think butyl tape caulk is used with sealant covering the exposed edges of the caulk.
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:36 AM   #8
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The moisture usually drains out onto the roof. Check to make sure the drain holes are not plugged before you re-install the unit. Make sure you get a good seal between the roof and A/C. I think butyl tape caulk is used with sealant covering the exposed edges of the caulk.
Thanks for answering that question, Bob! I will look for drain holes and make sure they are not clogged up before reinstalling. Not sure what the standard sealing procedure is, but there was a big closed cell foam gasket underneath it, which I expect is necessary to protect the roof from the weight and metal edges. Theoretically, I would think that the gasket alone should be enough to seal out moisture, but with wrinkles, ripples or any uneveness, I may need to add some additional sealant to be sure. Would love to know what others have used when replacing or reinstalling their rooftop ACs.
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Old 08-30-2007, 04:31 PM   #9
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I'm certainly no expert on installing rooftop air conditioners. Maybe the foam gasket is the answer. If it's not in great shape, I might get a new gasket for the job. Sorry, I don't have any installation instructions to share with you.
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