Caulking above the belly band? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-15-2015, 05:17 AM   #1
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Name: Sharon
Trailer: 1995 16 ft Scamp
Virginia
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Caulking above the belly band?

What is the best type of caulk (or whatever) to use on the exterior? There are places in the front that have pulled away from the upper shell just above the belly band. I don't think it all needs to be ripped off and re-done, but I want to make sure there's a good seal there. Is this another place that butyl tape should be used??
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Old 04-15-2015, 10:17 AM   #2
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I'm not clear on the nature of the damage from your description, but if you're at all concerned about cosmetics, I'd avoid using a silicone caulk. 3M makes some that would be more suitable. Maybe someone else here can remember their description better.

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Old 04-15-2015, 11:09 AM   #3
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Caulk on a scamp belly band is cosmetic only. Does nothing to seal out water. Belly band is just trim to hide a seam that is sealed when the top and bottom shell is fiberglassed together on the inside of the shell.

The only thing that caulk does is keep dirt from collecting in the seam and then running down the side when it rains. All you need is a tiny bead that fills the gap, does not need to go up the side of the camper to "shield" the seam from water.

Acrylic latex caulk available at big box stores works ok. Indoor/outdoor painters caulk is one version. Silicon caulk is evil on fiberglass.

Just a tip (pun intended). Push caulk don't pull it. You use the caulk gun to push a bead not to pull one. This forces caulk into the crevice, pulling just smears it on. The tip with caulk coming out going over the bead acts to smooth the surface. Trick is to only feed caulk at the rate you are moving so that you don't get big glob on tip and having the tip opening just a little bigger than the width you want your seam to be. That and wipe tip often.

Lot of people know this but have seen a fair number of caulk jobs that were done by folks that clearly did not. Such as the former owner that smeared silicon all over my trailer in an attempt to seal it. Removing that is two days of my life I don't get back.

If the aluminum band is sun warmed and too hot the latex painters caulk will set on contact, makes a mess. Needs to be warm enough outside but not hot and the aluminum will be warmer than the air if it is sunny out.
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Old 04-15-2015, 12:17 PM   #4
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Name: Linda
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Thank you for the info. The caulking on my trailer's belly band and around the windows is cracked and I need to remove the old and neatly and cleanly replace it. I wasn't sure what caulking to use and silicone was recommended. Very glad you made it clear about not using silicone.
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Old 04-15-2015, 12:58 PM   #5
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Silicon caulk leaves a residue in fiberglass, and really does not adhere very well either. But just enough silicon crud and film stays behind to make prep for any replacement caulking job painful. Like a visit to a proctologist named captain hook painful.

Silicon is also known as Silly Con.
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Old 04-15-2015, 03:47 PM   #6
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What I did

I took a paint remover pad and removed all the old caulk thoroughly. My Totie is a 1972 and had gobs and gobs, literal snakes of all kinds of caulk, all around the belly band. Then I took a big fat syringe and filled it with liquid fiberglass resin/MEK mix and injected it into that depression all around. Since it's liquid-y it went in wherever the water would've gone, it set up rock-hard and clear and it does not show at all. This is the pad I used on HF's paint remover tool, which works well. This may be too rough for a perfect gelcoat finish, but in my case it didn't matter. If you use a heat gun on LOW setting and a plastic putty knife, the old caulk comes off pretty easy too.
Replacement Wheel for Electric Paint Remover
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Old 04-29-2015, 03:15 PM   #7
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If it's the purpose of cosmetics for certain sections, try Boatlife/Life Seal. It comes in white and is found in Marine stores. around $23.

Keep finger wet with slightly soapy water when tooling.
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Old 04-29-2015, 03:53 PM   #8
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Name: Deirdre
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This is a timely thread…we have residue caulking around the belly band on our trillium that is not looking too pretty - would the same thing apply to us as a scamp - that we don't need to necessarily caulk the belly band as a preventative for water getting in to the trailer but just for exterior "cosmetics" so to speak? I had read that silicone was a no-no but we weren't sure what to use in its place so i'm glad to hear that a regular acrylic caulk will work. Any other tips for removing the old stuff - i'm a bit nervous to use a heat gun (not that we own one!)? Thanks!
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Old 04-29-2015, 04:34 PM   #9
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Hi Deirdre,
Yes, the replies all refer to the same application. All the products mentioned are in reference to fiberglass and metal adhesion. Acrylic caulk will clean up easily, but can weather/mold faster, thus more frequent maintenance.
As far as removal, a bit of elbow grease, a careful tool and your blowdryer. the following link goes to a demonstration:
https://youtu.be/Ry8E-BQxW14
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