RV projects

A summary of our RV work

Our RV as it was in the beginning1368 viewsWe have had this RV for 15 years. It is our second RV. We have had a motorhome for 30 yrs.
Our RV before mother nature wore her down592 viewsA 1989 Georgie Boy Encounter, Model 3490, 36 feet long with a full basement and several basement pass throughs. We live in Rochester, NY not far from Niagara Falls which may have helped to slow the aging process.
Our RV as it was in the beginning517 views
The rear ceiling dropped 3/4"!931 viewsDuring the summer of 2007 we saw a couple of spontaneous holes open up in the rubber roof, water got in before I sealed it up. In the fall we saw that the ceiling had dropped, we feared dry rot was at work. For a 20 year old rubber roof, we did well to get this far.
Further evidence that we had problems967 viewsThe entire ceiling had a concave bow to it. We thought it was because of bad wood but later we will find that the water had allowed the roof bonding glue to let go and the wood just sagged from weight & moisture. No dry rot found here.
Ceiling support for the winter983 viewsThe rear mattress was removed and the pedistal was used as a base forthe support bracing. It was simple but effective.
External evidence that the roof was needing attention1171 viewsThere was the concave shape on the outside too. The A/C unit had dropped 3/4 inch. After it rained, the A/C was sitting in a pond. The A/C gasket kept the water out, fortunately. After finding this, the entire RV was pitched so that all ponds drained.
Temporary patches and uneven roof profile1088 viewsAt the age of 10 years we started to have several leaks show up that could be fixed by patching. We were able to patch it like a bicycle tire.
The start of the tear off2313 viewsDisassembly of the roof starts and all bad wood was removed. You can see the foam insulation and the A/C opening in the rear. We were surprised to find 2 steel tubes to carry the weight of the A/C. Sadly they were not connected to the walls, only glue held them in place.
Steel tube to wall connection - NONE!2054 viewsThe ceiling drop was inside at this location. We expected to see dry rot but found that the water had allowed the glue to let go. The weight of the A/C unit caused the ceiling side luan to stretch the 3/4" that we saw inside. Later pictures will show that we added brackets to connect the tubing to the walls.
Steel tube to wall connection - NONE!1720 viewsA close up picture of the lack of steel to wall connection
The tear off continues1854 viewsSince we have had places that lacked strength of the original glue and the rubber had let go, the tear off of the rubber was fairly easy. The places we had reglued the rubber were difficult to remove.
Skylight opening framing above the shower, major dry rot!1827 viewsThis was an area that we constantly had leak problems, but we did not expect to see the dry rot so extensive. The wood was almost a powder. The skylight was mostly held on by sealing compound.
Skylight opening framing above the shower, major dry rot!1571 views3 of the 4 sides of the framing was bad. Even the ceiling luan was mostly gone. Luckily the internal trim covers all of the bad areas.
Bad wood collects in the shower1479 views
Covered for rainy weather1398 viewsJune should have been a dry month for us, but not this year. It rained almost every evening, when extra help was the most available.
Covered for rainy weather1339 viewsThe tarp is a large 30'x60' folded in half. That gave us 2 layers that water would have to go thru to get in. The gallon bottles kept tension on the tarp. Several loops of rope around over & under insured the tarp did not move in the wind. We used EZ-Grabbit to attach a rope to any location on the tarp.
Covered for rainy weather1289 views
Tarp holding device allowed great flexibilty & strength against the wind1644 views
Internal support in the rear1475 viewsWe built an internal support panel to push the ceiling back into place. The panel went from wall to wall. Since the bedroom has no ceiling cabinets along the side walls, the A/C weight could easily bow the ceiling.
Internal support in the rear1393 viewsA bottoms up shot of the support of the ceiling at the area of the ceiling sag.
Internal support in the rear1317 viewsA bottoms up shot of the support of the ceiling at the other end.
The skylight framing replacement1859 views
The skylight framing replacement1659 views
The adjacent beam showed dry rot too1762 views
Skylight opening repairs mostly complete1536 views
All of the roof luan removed1755 viewsBy the time we have removed all of the bad panels of luan, only 1 good panel remained. With the external luan removed, the roof provided little strength to walk on. Internal bracing and the external planks were used.
We found evidence that the front had sagging issues too1475 viewsInternal water evidence was found. Delamination was the result. This A/C opening had the same problems as the rear, only less severe. The same stiffening techniques were used.
Stiffening rib added to bowed beams1560 viewsThe bowed wooded beams were forced straight by internal ceiling supports. A steel strip was added to the sides of the wooden beams to maintain the straightness. Fiberglass & epoxy were added to reglue the beams to the ceiling luan.
Stiffening rib added to bowed beams1579 viewsSince the wooden beams were connected to the walls and being in the front where ceiling cabinets were, the stiffening strip only needed to run down the middle 6', a convenient purchased length.
Steel tubing bracket added to all tubing to wall connections1642 viewsLH & RH brackets were made from steel angle iron and screwed to the tubing so that the weight that the tubing carried would be transfered to the walls, preventing future sagging. Epoxy & fiberglass was used to rebond the ceiling luan to the beams. The ceiling and beams were supported inside by suitable braces during this process.
A wider shot of the brackets and fiberglass application1592 views
New luan is glued and stapled in place1597 viewsA slow process because the existing wood beams are not on any standard spacing and not square to the wall edges. That means that each luan panel has to be cut to fit. We used 1/4" floor underlayment since it has waterproof glue and is lightweight. It is twice as thick as the original luan from the factory. Any thicker and it would be hard to flex around the edge trim and contoured front area.
New luan is glued and stapled in place1619 viewsThe 1/4" luan formed nicely over the front curved roof. We used Liquid Nails adhesive from a 3.5 gallon bucket. We troweled it on heavy and used alot of 1" staples. Leaving it undisturbed for 1 week helped the bonding strength. We used about 8 gallons of the glue. Advertised bonding strength exceeds 400psi. In our tests, the wood failed before the glue joint.
Completed luan covering and all edges taped2111 views
Rubber skin applied, looking forward1843 viewsWe laid out the rubber over the entire roof & rerolled half of it onto a 2" PVC pipe, 10' long. We unrolled 2' sections, removed the bubbles with the 12" squeegee, and applied the glue to the next section. Unrolling the rubber while the glue was still wet allowed more working time. This was a 2-3 person operation. The PVC pipe helped keep bubbles away.
Rubber skin applied looking rearward1564 viewsIt was a breezy day, the wood was used to keep the edges down. The glue took only a short 30 minutes to cure. The rear section under the rear ladder was the last area to be put down. To due height constraints, we were forced to apply the rubber without the aid of the PVC pipe. We had more bubbles show up without the aid of the PVC pipe to put the rubber down evenly.
Wall overlap1544 viewsWe purchased over width material to allow us more room for error. The rubber is a Dicor .040" EPDM.
End cap overlap1588 viewsWe purchased an over length roll of material, again to allow us room for error. At this point all is glued down and we tarped it to let it dry.
Starting the process of repopulating the roof.1587 viewsBefore the trim was reattached to the edges of the rubber, I installed antennas and horns. These had openings for wires and air lines that I wanted sealed. Next I attached the aluminum trim to all four sides of the rubber, trimmed the excess rubber, and chaulked it all. Awning was not totally removed, see below.
The process of repopulating the roof continues1552 viewsThe plumbing vent also penatrated the rubber, so it was covered before the roof trim was installed. After it was all sealed water tight, the roof was left uncovered for the night. Our luck with rain continued, we had a downpour overnight. YA!, no leaks, no low spots. We did a nice job.
Old rubber1528 viewsOld rubber underneath a piece of the old rubber that was under the trim. This shows the weathering that took place over 20 years.
Old rubber is Really thin!!1404 viewsThe original rubber is 0.040" thick. The weathered rubber is 0.015" thick, tears like paper, and lets a flashlight shine thru. Now that's thin!
Test Gluing Sample1455 views
Butt seamed with Eternabond to match roof contour1669 viewsOur roof is not flat, it has a sloping front. The new rubber would not lay flat under the trim in this area, so we had to cut a pie shaped piece out. To insure a good seal Eternabond was bonded to both sides of the rubber and the edges caulked. This is a technique used in commmercial rubber roof applications too.
A/C units were stored off the RV1427 viewsRather than carry the a/c units to the ground and back up again we decided to slide them over to the garage roof. We felt it was safer for us and the a/c units to put them there, rather than going down to the ground and back up again. Water from our last rain can be seen in the A/C uncut opening.
This shows the method used to slide the A/Cs to the garage roof and back1360 viewsWe also used the roof edge of the garage to support the awning assembly so that it did not need to be totally removed from the RV. The upper trim was not removed from the awning either. Alignments of all awning & RV related parts were maintained.
This shows the "X" cut pattern flap stapled to the opening, before the excess is trimmed1379 views
The bottom side of the A/C unit1621 viewsNote the sealing gasket has been cut in half. It is easier to cut it near the a/c unit and remove the pieces later than trying to save and reuse it. You will want to replace it anytime the unit is removed to insure a good seal..
An A/C gasket1506 viewsThe sticky side goes on the underside of the A/C unit It has a cross section of about 1-1/2". I apply sealer to glue it to the roof and obtain a good seal.
Putty tape applied before attaching to the roof1517 viewsButyl putty tape is applied to seal all vents, antennas, cable pass-thrus, and luggage rack parts. The tape oozes out and around screws to provide the last level of sealing. This was not present from the factory. After being screwed down it is caulked with lap sealant and covered with Eternabond. They form the first and second water barriers.
Vent screwed to the roof, before caulking is applied1555 viewsNotice how the putty tape ozzes out when the screws are tightened.
A closeup of the oozed putty tape1424 views
Eternabond being applied1558 viewsThe skylight is screwed to the roof, caulking applied, allowed to dry, then the Eternabond is applied and the edges are caulked as well. This method has 4 levels of sealing; the putty tape, caulk over the screws and skylight edges, Eternabond, and Eternabond edges caulked. Most likely way overkill, but I hate leaks!
Corner close up1449 views
Luggage rack ladder legs1390 viewsThere was a water leakage path that I totally missed. The rain would find its way between the screw head and the tubing and run down inside the tube. It was a small amount, but enough that over the years the Star Nut & screw were rusted together and broke during disassembly.
Star Nuts used to connect luggage rack ladders and support legs together.1399 viewsThese were the most difficult things to find. No local dealer or supplier had them or knew where to get them. I finally searched for and found a RV ladder supplier that sold them to me. Surcoinc.com charged me $1 each. So simple, so cheap, yet so hard to find.
Done, done, done!1709 viewsLooking towards the rear
Done, done, done!1999 viewsLooking towards the front
Project summary & comments2083 viewsThis text file adds comments, info and views of this project.
Who am I? What do I do?1897 views
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