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HarryB1

Central Florida

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Posted: 08/25/22 08:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Can someone suggest what might be happening with the fiberglass roof on my 2005 Newmar Kountry Star 5th wheel? I've owned it for about a year and a half, and see no evidence the roof has ever been coated. When I washed the roof about 3 months ago I'm sure I would have noticed these cracks if they'd been there, so this situation developed relatively recently. The trailer is set up permanently in Florida and there are no overhanging branches.
[image]
[image]Click For Full-Size Image.
This hole is about 1/2" wide, and this is the only place on the roof where I see these types of cracks.

[image]
[image]Click For Full-Size Image.
This second picture shows an area some distance away where I discovered a brownish spot similar in color to those in the first picture, but there were no cracks. I began to scratch at it with my fingernail, and after discovering the surface felt soft, it came off with very little effort, resulting in this hole.

The rest of the surface of the roof seems to be quite solid. I can put an indent into the fiberglass with my fingernail, but nowhere does it feel soft like it did at this spot.

Is this an indication the whole roof is beginning to fail, or something else?

Tom/Barb

Oak Harbor, Wa

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Posted: 08/25/22 10:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First evaluate the extent of the damage by removing all soft material, by carefully sanding until solid material is clean.
I use PC-11 epoxy that is a 2 part ..(A+B) this mixture will result in a (white) hard filler.

all surfaces must be clean prior to any epoxy application

I Would have the entire roof cleaned, and sanded then the roof re-coated with something like Flexseal.

* This post was edited 08/25/22 10:51pm by Tom/Barb *


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theoldwizard1

SE MI

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Posted: 08/26/22 12:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

HarryB1 wrote:


This second picture shows an area some distance away where I discovered a brownish spot similar in color to those in the first picture, but there were no cracks. I began to scratch at it with my fingernail, and after discovering the surface felt soft, it came off with very little effort, resulting in this hole.

The rest of the surface of the roof seems to be quite solid. I can put an indent into the fiberglass with my fingernail, but nowhere does it feel soft like it did at this spot.

Is this an indication the whole roof is beginning to fail, or something else?

If this is truly fiberglass, then it is built like a boat, probably like the deck/roof; resin and 'glass over plywood or foam core.

My guess is that those spots are "dry spots" where the 'glass was not thoroughly wetted. It should be repaired using the same steps you would for boat repair. It dies seem odd that a fingernail can dent it as fiberglass cures very hard.

DO NOT COAT YOUR ROOF ! Take it to somewhere that does 'glass boat repair. Worst case, part of the substrate/ core material will have to be replaced then layers of resin and 'glass applied.

Horsedoc

Dixie --- N. Georgia

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Posted: 08/26/22 07:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

micro cracks that allowed water to get below the gelcoat. Freezing expanded the water to ice and the cracks got bigger. as freeze thaw cycled this what eventually happened. Go as deep as necessary to solid material then re-glass.
Or, if you can find a boat repair shop willing, have them do it professionally. That would be my choice because falling off the roof an anything is not a good thing to happen to a geezer

HarryB1

Central Florida

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Posted: 08/26/22 07:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

theoldwizard1 wrote:

If this is truly fiberglass, then it is built like a boat, probably like the deck/roof; resin and 'glass over plywood or foam core.

My guess is that those spots are "dry spots" where the 'glass was not thoroughly wetted. It should be repaired using the same steps you would for boat repair. It dies seem odd that a fingernail can dent it as fiberglass cures very hard.
(snip)
The roof is not constructed like a boat's hull, but rather has a thin layer of fiberglass which is bonded to a fabric backing with a total thickness of about 0.030". When I was replacing the skylight I had to be very careful as I was removing the old caulk to not puncture the roofing material because it is quite flexible, and I did puncture it in one spot.

[image]
[image]Click For Full-Size Image.

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 08/26/22 10:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It’s old crusty and sun cooked. Patch em up with something overlaid over the surface and either deal with it or sell it.


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Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 08/26/22 11:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

HarryB1 wrote:

theoldwizard1 wrote:

If this is truly fiberglass, then it is built like a boat, probably like the deck/roof; resin and 'glass over plywood or foam core.

My guess is that those spots are "dry spots" where the 'glass was not thoroughly wetted. It should be repaired using the same steps you would for boat repair. It dies seem odd that a fingernail can dent it as fiberglass cures very hard.
(snip)
The roof is not constructed like a boat's hull, but rather has a thin layer of fiberglass which is bonded to a fabric backing with a total thickness of about 0.030". When I was replacing the skylight I had to be very careful as I was removing the old caulk to not puncture the roofing material because it is quite flexible, and I did puncture it in one spot.

[image]
[image]Click For Full-Size Image.


Known as Fiberglass Reinforced Panel (aka FRP) which is a thin plastic (polyester resin) material with fiberglass fibers in the material and it typically glued to wood or foam substrate.

Typical fix is using Polyester resin/fiberglass materials and techniques.

It is also referred to as "Filon" which is a brand name..

FRP material for RV roofing

The website above also has Maintenance and repair manual HERE which you may find helpful.

Roof application can be a bit problematic to repair since the repairs must be able to withstand large expansion/contraction cycles from large temperature swings. The repair manual mentions "two part flexible spot filler", not all over the counter fillers sold in retail stores are flexible so you might want to check with a autobody shop that deals with fiberglass repairs or a boat shop..

WinMinnie02

NJ

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Posted: 08/27/22 07:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Epoxy works or caulk. Easy fixes don't have to outsource. Go to Lowes or Home Depot and take care of it. Go up on the roof periodically to wash it and inspect, Go RV.

Gary45

Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

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Posted: 08/28/22 10:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A coating of ProflexRV will seal and protect.

HarryB1

Central Florida

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Posted: 08/28/22 07:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you for the responses.

I really am trying to understand what is happening with my roof. I realize it is about 17 years old, but I was under the impression the fiberglass would last much longer. Thanks to Gdetrailer I now understand it is not a typical fiberglass panel but rather FRP, which undoubtedly explains why I can indent it with my fingernail.

However, with the exception of these two spots, I can find no evidence the FRP is failing in the way I've seen what happens when rubber roofs reach the end of their lives. Instead, the surface looks uniform and it takes about the same amount of pressure to create a small indent with my fingernail at the numerous random places I've tried.

I am still curious about the reason for the cracks and discoloration when I know there was no evidence of any cracking only a few months earlier. We live in central Florida where we've only had 5 frosts in the last two years, and no hard freezes whatsoever. However, something rather unusual happened a week ago when lightning struck a driveway and a solar light mounted on an aluminum pole about 40' and 50' respectively from the location of this damage. As can be seen in the picture I took minutes after the strikes, pavers were hurled some 20' toward our RV, and one paver even ended up on the roof of our neighbor's motorhome.

[image]
[image]Click For Full-Size Image.

I found small chunks of pavers on the other side of our RV and as far away as behind our neighbor's RV, and parts from the solar light were scattered over a much larger area. In fact, I found the solar collector panel intact, although barely recognizable as such, almost 120' from the light pole where it landed after falling through a stand of mature pine trees. (The bare area in the background is not associated with the lightning strike but rather an area I'm preparing for sod.)

Although I could find no evidence the lightning struck our RV, maybe some hot debris from the pavers or solar light landed on our roof. Anyway, the damage has been repaired with Eternabond, so I can now turn my attention to trying to figure out what is the best way to extend the life of our roof without the constant hassle of periodic maintenance because we intend to keep this RV for many years.

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