If you’ve ever owned an RV, then you know that fiberglass is a tough material. But like all things, it can be damaged.
When you find a hole or scratch in your fiberglass RV, it’s important to inspect the whole surface. This will ensure that you don’t overlook a problem that needs attention.
Cracks and Tears
RV fiberglass repair is a common issue for many camper owners. It can be a tricky material to work with, prone to cracks and tears.
The typical RV body is constructed from three layers of materials: luan plywood, a fiberglass coating, and Styrofoam spot-welded or glued into an aluminum frame. When the layers come apart, air and water can collect between them, creating bubbles that lead to structural damage.
Delamination is one of the most serious problems for fiberglass-body RVs. It occurs when laminated layers separate from each other, allowing water to penetrate the panel’s sides and roof.
Typically, delamination starts at the edges of a panel’s seam and progresses to the center. This can lead to significant structural issues that require professional repairs.
If you notice cracks and holes in the surface of your RV fiberglass, it’s a good idea to repair them right away. Smaller cracks can often be fixed by a seasoned DIY’er, but larger issues should be handled by a professional.
Delamination is a problem that can cause serious damage to your RV. It occurs when the fiberglass or gel coat layer on your RV separates from the lightweight plywood and Styrofoam backing material.
It can begin as a tiny blemish and can grow into larger cracks and tears. This damage can cause structural problems and affect the integrity of the backing material.
You can spot delamination on the side walls of your RV by looking for bubbling, blistering or creases in the fiberglass. If you see these, it’s time to take care of them before they get worse and you end up with a total RV replacement.
There are DIY kits available to help you fix small delamination issues. However, if you have a bigger problem, you may want to call in a professional. The cost of repairing a smaller issue can range from $100 to $300, while a large repair could easily cost over $1,000 and require you to completely replace the exterior wall.
Fiberglass is a material used in the construction of RVs because it weighs less than other materials and offers durability and reliability. However, it can also be susceptible to damage.
If you notice a hole in your fiberglass RV, it’s important to get it repaired as soon as possible. This will prevent further damage from occurring and will save you money in the long run.
Step 1: Clean the Damaged Area
Ideally, remove all dirt and debris from the damaged area. This will help the repair resin stick to the surface more effectively and ensure that it dries properly.
Step 2: Cut a Piece of Fiberglass Matting to Fit the Hole
Next, cut a piece of fiberglass matting that will fit perfectly into the hole in the RV wall. Make sure that it is tightly fitted; if there are gaps, the patch will be weaker and more likely to fail.
Now, mix an appropriate amount of fiberglass resin with a liquid hardener. Once the mix is ready, apply it to the damaged area using a putty knife.
Repainting is a great way to make an RV look new again and to extend its life. The process is relatively simple and doesn’t require a lot of time.
Before you start painting, you need to remove any dirt or stains from the fiberglass surface. You can use a long palm sander or a small rubber sanding block to do this.
Sand the fiberglass until it’s smooth and free of jagged edges. This should take about an hour or so.
After sanding, wipe the fiberglass with a rag soaked in denatured alcohol to remove any remaining sanding dust or oils.
This step can also help remove any remaining wax or grease from the RV’s exterior that may be causing fisheyes in the paint.
Before you begin painting, protect any areas you don’t want to be painted with tape or paper. This includes knobs, windshields, mirrors, and window panes.