Originally Posted by Farren and Heather
I have read that silicone is bad. Is death for your camper. Is the worst thing ever used. I would like to know why? How do you get rid of it? What do you use instead? I hope none of you are rolling your eyes at such a newbie, I truly don't know what I am doing!
Silicone has a couple of bad characteristics that can cause problems. The first is that it tends to cure to a rubbery consistency but has poor adhesive properties - as the sealed area is flexed, this lets the rubbery bead of caulking 'break loose' from the surface or surfaces, meaning that the seal is no longer watertight. You can imagine the flexing that a trailer does as it is being towed...
I have removed a lot of silicone caulking that sailors have used on their boats that has subsequently leaked - and caused major damage to the boat - as a general rule, the bead of cured silicone peels right off, right easy, because there is water lodged behind it.
I've also sweat blood removing 40 year old butyl tape when reseating deck gear on sailboats. This gear is subject to enormous strains and constant movement, and is generally constantly wet, but the tape is usually as good as the day it was installed.
The second problem is the residue that silicone leaves behind - it's kinda super-slick, you can't see or feel it, but unless you get it all off, which is a hellishly difficult thing to do and involves chemicals which can eat your liver for lunch, nothing else will ever stick to the surfaces it has touched. Most marine stores, if not RV places, carry rolls of butyl tape in varying thicknesses and widths - it is, IMHO, the only caulking material to use in any situation where flexing can occur and you need a dependable waterproof seal.