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V'sGlassSleeper 02-12-2016 06:12 PM

Long-lasting fiberglass caulk?
 
2 Attachment(s)
Okay, so apart from being a bit discolored from dirt, the original caulk around my 1988 Bigfoot B19 windows is still in great shape and it LOOKS like silicone to me (see photo #1 Original Window caulk). However, I've read in many forums that silicone is a no-no with fiberglass (can't remember why that is though...). Anybody know what caulking was originally used and if it still available?

Several years ago, I painstakingly used highly-recommended and damned expensive marine grade caulk that was supposed to be UV-resistant (from WestMarine) to caulk around the belly band but it completely disintegrated and turned to chalk really (see photo #2 "Chalk" Caulk - those bits and flakes are all that is left of the caulk).

So now I am looking for a highly sun-resistant (I live in Phoenix, AZ) waterproof caulking that is compatible with fiberglass and that will hold up like whatever the original caulk is around the windows.

What have my fellow fiberglass RVers used with proven success? I would prefer to use something clear and from which the dirt washes off (you know how some caulking will not come clean ever). Something like whatever was originally used on the windows would be great as it seems very durable.

Thank you for your input!

Donna D. 02-12-2016 06:36 PM

Well, all I can say is I've never seen any clear caulk that stayed clean looking. Within a year it looks grungy and brownish/green.


I haven't used it (yet), but this is probably what I'm going to use when the time comes: AP Products 017-106449 Sikaflex 221 Colonial White Caulk 300 ml RV Parts


Others will step in and state their preferences. Then you get to decide :wink

V'sGlassSleeper 02-12-2016 06:52 PM

Thanks, Donna, I will look into this product. However, I would recommend doing a test run on a test surface because I have tried using a Sikaflex product inside my home - for the bathroom - and found it extremely hard to handle (very gooey) and if I remember correctly, it would only clean up with solvents. However, it was not an RV-specific product, so it could have a completely different texture. Will see if they have it at Home Depot because HD is always great at taking stuff back that doesn't work out well.

steve dunham 02-12-2016 06:58 PM

Lexcel

V'sGlassSleeper 02-12-2016 07:26 PM

Thanks, Steve - that looks like something that once adhered, will last longer than I will! From the online reviews, it sounds like it might have some similar application challenges as the Sikaflex in terms of being a bit unwieldy, so if I go with Lexel, I will practice on a test surface first to get the hang of it.

steve dunham 02-12-2016 07:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Val & Kayla (Post 571112)
Thanks, Steve - that looks like something that once adhered, will last longer than I will! From the online reviews, it sounds like it might have some similar application challenges as the Sikaflex in terms of being a bit unwieldy, so if I go with Lexel, I will practice on a test surface first to get the hang of it.

One of the nice things about Lexcel is that it sticks to itself so you can apply fresh Lexcel over dried lexcel. It is more difficult to tool than standard caulk

V'sGlassSleeper 02-12-2016 08:38 PM

Ooh, I like that feature, Steve - I will order some and give it a whirl. Thanks y'all!

Josh and Sonya W 02-13-2016 10:49 AM

Recaulking around windows
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by steve dunham (Post 571106)
Lexcel

Hi All,

I'm also planning on recaulking around the window frames and have purchased a couple of tubes of Dicor non-leveling, non-sag lap sealant for the job. It's white, which is probably not ideal. Just wondering if anyone has used this product and what kind of experience they had with it. Just starting to read about Lexcel.

Thanks,
Josh

Uplander 02-13-2016 01:13 PM

Check other website for RVs....like.... "do it yourself RV"...RV.net.....RVtravel....
and the many other sites to aid the RV community. I remember watching a detailed video showing how to completely remove the window unit on an RV and then apply special caulk (or a rolled tape compound used in window factories) then reinstall the window unit. The idea of re caulking without first removing the unit and scraping off all old caulk and cleaning the area is not the way to go.
The entire process looked very easy for two people...one inside the RV and one outside to prevent the window from falling when removing and re-installing.

Good Luck !

Josh and Sonya W 02-14-2016 08:10 PM

Caulking windows
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Uplander (Post 571216)
Check other website for RVs....like.... "do it yourself RV"...RV.net.....RVtravel....
and the many other sites to aid the RV community. I remember watching a detailed video showing how to completely remove the window unit on an RV and then apply special caulk (or a rolled tape compound used in window factories) then reinstall the window unit. The idea of re caulking without first removing the unit and scraping off all old caulk and cleaning the area is not the way to go.
The entire process looked very easy for two people...one inside the RV and one outside to prevent the window from falling when removing and re-installing.

Good Luck !

Thanks Patrick. Funny thing is that I actually started with the idea of pulling one offending window out, even ordered a roll of butyl tape. Watched a lot of videos and was really psyched up to do it. Then it started to seem like a big job. Decided to take an easier route suggested by one of the readers.

My plan now is to recaulk around the frame (and hopefully do a good job of that), and then install EZ-Gutter around all of the windows to divert the water away.

Of course, there is no way to divert all the water, when it rains it rains (although not that much in southern AZ). Also, I have to leave a little space between the frame and the gutter to I can caulk again in the future, or take the window out at a later date.

Raz 02-15-2016 08:05 AM

If it's a leaking window, rebedding in butyl is the long term fix. Butyl being sticky attracts dirt so some will apply a caulk as a coating to keep a cleaner look. As Steve suggests, Lexel works well with fiberglass but I echo his comment that it's hard to tool. A wet finger a few seconds out of the tube is all you get. After that it's unworkable. It comes in clear and white. Small tubes are common. I've seen it at the local Ace hardware in standard 10 oz. caulk gun tubes as well. Raz

Uplander 02-15-2016 09:34 AM

Josh &Sonya, The task of removing is not overkill...it is the only way to do the job right...just a recaulking will only fail in short order.
The process might be time consuming but it is something anyone can do...just take your time...once and done...the professional way !

Good Luck

Jon in AZ 02-15-2016 10:11 AM

Long-lasting fiberglass caulk?
 
Wondering if we need to clarify something... The caulk is not what seals the window- butyl putty under the flange does that. The caulk is really just for appearance and maybe adds a little protection for the butyl.

As others have said, if the window is leaking, the only fix is to remove, clean, and reinstall with fresh butyl.

If you just want to clean up the appearance, then removing the old caulk and adding new is okay, as long as you are careful not to disturb the putty under the flange. If the old is silicone, getting a thoroughly clean surface for the new to adhere is the hardest part. Do a Google site search on "remove silicone" for suggestions. I wish I knew what to recommend for new... agree our AZ sun is harsh on many materials!

My Scamp came with silicone caulk liberally and sloppily applied around the windows. :mad It's a bit unsightly, but I'll probably wait until it's time to reseal the windows to deal with it.

Andrew Gibbens 02-15-2016 10:30 AM

"Which is the best caulk to apply to windows?" sounds very much like "Which is the best stable door to fit after the horse has bolted?".

V'sGlassSleeper 03-28-2016 01:14 PM

Update: What Gary at Bigfoot recommended
 
I happened to call Bigfoot with a couple other questions and spoke with Gary, who said he's been working for them since 1989 (of course, with some breaks whenever they shut down). He said that they use black automotive 1/2 inch butyl tape to seal the window openings (i.e. before installation) and then silicone - yes, silicone - around windows, vents and lights, etc.

He also mentioned using a square of "Arbrite" and mineral spirits to take the old silicone off without scratching the fiberglass. "Arbrite" must be a Canadian cleaning product of some sort - I tried Googling it, but either I didn't get the spelling right or it's an elusive product - can any of the Canadian forums members identify what product Gary was speaking about and where I might get some?

bpfick 03-28-2016 01:55 PM

Can't help you with sourcing Arbrite, but perhaps, just perhaps one reason OEM's use silicone is the ease of flow through guns during production. Lower cost may also be a reason.

Personally, I avoid the stuff whenever an alternative presents itself. There are some really nice sealants on the market aimed at RV's.

Josh and Sonya W 03-28-2016 02:39 PM

Apology and thanks; window sealing
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Val & Kayla (Post 578445)
I happened to call Bigfoot with a couple other questions and spoke with Gary, who said he's been working for them since 1989 (of course, with some breaks whenever they shut down). He said that they use black automotive 1/2 inch butyl tape to seal the window openings (i.e. before installation) and then silicone - yes, silicone - around windows, vents and lights, etc.

He also mentioned using a square of "Arbrite" and mineral spirits to take the old silicone off without scratching the fiberglass. "Arbrite" must be a Canadian cleaning product of some sort - I tried Googling it, but either I didn't get the spelling right or it's an elusive product - can any of the Canadian forums members identify what product Gary was speaking about and where I might get some?

Hi Val & Kayla and a number of others who have commented on my question,

For some reason, I didn't notice a number of alerts from fgrv that must have come in since I posted in February. My apology for not responding and saying thank you before.

Butyl tape is definitely in the original installation by Bigfoot. It looks like it was correctly installed in terms of the "squeeze out effect", but I'm going to check that again. I did clean out the weep holes and I haven't seen water accumulate in the inside tracks since then, so maybe that was a primary problem.

I actually ordered and have all the stuff I should need to reinstall the window (except maybe a couple of large, glass-handling suction cups). So far, my tank is still running on "chicken", but I appreciate all the encouragement. Wish it was a smaller window for my first try.

Aside from the leak problem, has anyone had experience with "EZ-Gutter". Regardless of the window re-install question, I'm still thinking about installing the gutters just to keep down the ugly dribble streaks that run down all the windows with each rain.

Thanks all,
Josh

Uncle Cereal 03-28-2016 02:54 PM

Val&Kayla, what you heard is probably spelled "arborite". In your description, it sounds like a scrubbing tool that's to be used with mineral spirits. Arborite is a name for some laminated countertops (High pressure laminates, Laminate Surfaces, worktop surfaces | Arborite). The guy who helped you probably just meant to use a square and thin piece of wood to scrub the goop you're trying to remove so that, unlike metal, it would not scratch the fiberglass.

Glenn Baglo 03-28-2016 04:07 PM

A plastic putty knife does the trick.
Having cut myself with Arborite, I'd be loathe to use that.

V'sGlassSleeper 03-28-2016 07:35 PM

Thanks, Uncle Cereal and Glenn! I wondered since when I Googled "arborite," all I found were references to wood paneling and vintage furniture. Well, I have found the 3M Decal Remover Wheel and Barkeeper's Friend to be amazing at removing residue and when I use paint knives on the trailer, I stick with the plastic ones to avoid damage. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new bellyband!


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