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Old 11-16-2015, 08:34 PM   #1
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Caulk inspection

Been on the forum for the full seven years and I can't recall any discussion about checking caulking, etc. for potential leaks.
If caulk were actually missing, I guess I could tell, but if it's lifted off the surface by some minute amount, I probably wouldn't. And I'm afraid to poke and prod for fear of causing a leak.
Anybody capable of creating a tutorial on the subject?
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Old 11-16-2015, 10:30 PM   #2
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Yes, Glen, I would love to see a good tutorial (maybe video) on this. After our first major damage to our 2002 Nash from 2 leaks and resulting in a $6800 repair bill in 2007, I expected that with new caulking applied by professionals it should be good for a few years. However, in 2012 I proactively removed the old caulking as best I could, cleaned up the seam areas and applied a good bead of the appropriate caulking (Proflex for sides; self leveling caulking on roof) The repair shop cautioned against using silicone. I applied a very thick bead, opting for safety rather than looks.

Despite this effort, in 2014 I was again faced with a major leak that was going to cost $5000 to repair. I could not believe it after all my efforts! Even the Google maps street view of our home showed me maintaining the trailer seams. Well, the owner of Adventure RV Repair (in Chilliwack) told me that looking at a joint was NOT adequate. He said that very inch of sealant or caulking needs to be pulled back with your fingers to ensure it is still adhering to the siding or rubber roof material.

My brother-in-law, with a similar stick trailer major leak damage experience, was told that he should have checked every seam every 6 months. Now checking my Escapeís roof seams without putting my weight on the roof is really going to be a challenge. I would appreciate advice on this.

Of course this is what drove me to look for a molded fiberglass trailer. Still, even though the seams on the Escape arenít subjected to stress like on the stick trailers, there is potential for leaking if not properly maintained.

I would like to hear ETIís and other molded fiberglass trailer manufacturersí advice on this, including the recommended caulking/sealant. I want my Escape to go the distance.

Bob K
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Old 11-17-2015, 03:38 AM   #3
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I have no idea about how or where I should be checking caulking. But so far this month buckets of water coming down. No leaks so far!
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Old 11-17-2015, 06:39 AM   #4
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Looked the Escapes caulking over this summer at 1 year old, the only areas of concern were shrinking at the top of the upper rear lights, and what I'd call checking on the caulk they used upper side of the windows. Added more to the lights after being unsuccessful at removing them. Did nothing to the windows.

On my last trailer I'd find cracks or splits in the caulking and areas where it pulled away from one surface or the other, usually accompanied by green mold.

On Edit:
Found this Utube video, it shows the cracking I've run into on the old trailer and how to fix it. It's even on a fiberglass roof.

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Old 11-17-2015, 07:37 AM   #5
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All the reading I've done over the years, the worst leaks happen when folks mix incompatible caulks. Often pull off silicone and slap something else on and wonder why in a short period of time leaks are back.


The best seems to be using the same appropriate caulk. Remove and thoroughly (I mean thoroughly) clean the area and then reseal. Folks seem to want to rush it. Like with painting... its all about the prep.
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Old 11-17-2015, 07:51 AM   #6
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Yes, I agree with Donna, any caulking needs to have a clean surface. All the lights on the Escape have a clear coat of caulk on the top. Inspect and repair as needed. I also recommend removing and caulking the screws where needed. I had to remove my door and caulked the door screws which had -0- on them. The windows also have a clear coating of caulk along the tops.
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Old 11-17-2015, 08:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
All the reading I've done over the years, the worst leaks happen when folks mix incompatible caulks. Often pull off silicone and slap something else on and wonder why in a short period of time leaks are back.


The best seems to be using the same appropriate caulk. Remove and thoroughly (I mean thoroughly) clean the area and then reseal. Folks seem to want to rush it. Like with painting... its all about the prep.
So what are the compatible caulks? Proflex? What about windows? Windows have two different materials?
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Old 11-17-2015, 09:47 AM   #8
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Let's go caulking!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg caulk4.jpg (60.1 KB, 74 views)
File Type: jpg Caulk1.jpg (55.9 KB, 80 views)
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Old 11-17-2015, 10:30 AM   #9
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So what are the compatible caulks? Proflex? What about windows? Windows have two different materials?
Contact Escape Trailers and ask what caulk brand they use. If you get a brand name look up in the internet as to a comparable product. This is a maintenance issue that anybody can do. It's not that hard...time consuming but not hard.
YouTube has dozens of tips and hints.
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Old 11-17-2015, 10:33 AM   #10
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ETI uses ProFlex unless that has changed very recently. Myron are all those photos from your trailer? That fan looks to be badly cracked and damaged.
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Old 11-17-2015, 10:55 AM   #11
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It is from my pre-Escape life; had bought an old ('86) Scamp with serious leakage-damage issues everywhere. A great learning experience but never again.
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Old 11-17-2015, 11:26 AM   #12
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I have heard a lot of good things about Eternabond, a very sticky tape that is supposed to prevent leaks. The downside is that it comes as a roll of tape that is 2" wide, so would be difficult to put around a circular surface. (A local trailer supply in the Sacramento area will sell it by the foot.) I have just tried a small piece on a dog waterbed mattress that was literally coming apart at the seams. So far it is preventing water leakage. It supposedly is good for 25 years and I am thinking of applying it around the rectangular items on the roof. It can be removed, but it isn't easy, I'm told.
Because it has worked on part of the bed (I wanted to see if it worked before I bought more, as it isn't cheap.), I'm going to get more to finish.
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Old 11-17-2015, 12:19 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Inspect and repair as needed.
That's what I'm asking. Look for what ( beyond the obvious )?
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Old 11-17-2015, 12:30 PM   #14
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Coming from a marine background I find the whole concept of relying on face sealing and globbed on caulking patched with more caulking to be revolting.

Look at the deck of a yacht. Do you see cowl vents, hatches etc. waterproofed with globbed on caulk? No, most items have a compression gasket that works very well. Even to the point where a wall of green water smashing down on them doesn't cause any leaks.

Really, patching face sealed caulking by smearing on more caulking, bush league.

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Old 11-17-2015, 12:31 PM   #15
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That's what I'm asking. Look for what ( beyond the obvious )?
I'm not expert, but I look carefully for cracks and signs of the caulk edges coming loose. If in doubt I assume its bad. I get a sharp razor knife and carefully cut off the old caulk, and if necessary carefully scrape off what remains on the surface with a flat razor knife. Then I clean it with mineral spirits, let it dry a bit and put on a new bead. From my experience, even the very best caulks don't have anywhere near the lifespan the manufacturers claim. I've had to redo the front window a couple of times as it seems to flex enough that the caulk invariably comes loose over time and driving thru rainstorm ties to push water thru those seams.
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Old 11-17-2015, 12:39 PM   #16
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What Ron said.
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Old 11-17-2015, 12:47 PM   #17
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That's what I'm asking. Look for what ( beyond the obvious )?
Would think that unless something has shifted it would be all good ....
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Old 11-17-2015, 01:28 PM   #18
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Not a big fan of caulk here, definitely never silicone. If one must caulk then the 3M Marine 5200 or the proflex that ETI uses would be my choice. Most of these items like vents, windows, etc. should be using butyl tape which when properly applied should last 10+ years. If I have a vent, window or some such that is starting to leak or is suspect, I pull the vent, clean thoroughly, reapply the butyl tape then reset it. The 17B I had was set or redone when I first had it with all butyl and no caulk, so there was never any caulk to inspect.
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Old 11-17-2015, 01:28 PM   #19
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I look for any cracks that may allow water. The issue with gaskets is replacement, one either replaces a gasket or recaulks, your choice. Or, remove and reset with butyl tape, you still have caulk along the top as the windows were done.
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Old 11-17-2015, 03:30 PM   #20
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I look for any cracks that may allow water. The issue with gaskets is replacement, one either replaces a gasket or recaulks, your choice. Or, remove and reset with butyl tape, you still have caulk along the top as the windows were done.
Is the clear on the window tops proflex as well?
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