Many RVs have fiberglass siding. It's lightweight, attractive, and durable, making it a good choice for finishing the outside of the RV. Unfortunately, fiberglass can fall victim to delamination damage, which usually occurs on older models or those that have suffered damage. Knowing how to find this damage and taking steps to prevent it can keep your RV on the road and looking good.
What It Looks Like
The fiberglass sides of an RV are made from plywood, which then has a fiberglass overcoat layered on top. Delamination causes the fiberglass layers to break down and peel away from the plywood under-structure.
In the early stages, delamination damage looks like small blisters on the outside of the RV. These blisters may rupture and begin to peel as the process continues. Finally, the fiberglass will begin to peel up and pull away in layers if it's not repaired.
How It Happens
Moisture is the main cause of delamination. On older RVs, moisture can get between the layers of fiberglass or into the plywood from normal wear-and-tear – age, UV sun damage, or force damage to the siding.
On newer RVs, delamination is usually a direct cause of force damage, whether from a collision with a vehicle or an object. If delamination is occurring, check for cracks in the fiberglass. Another place to check is for flex damage at the siding seams, which is easily recognizable as peeling or degrading caulk or sealer. This sort of damage lets moisture penetrate between the fiberglass layers and the plywood .
Why It Needs Repair
Delamination isn't just an aesthetic problem. If allowed to progress, moisture will eventually penetrate the main structure of the RV. This can lead to mold and mildew in the walls, wet electrical components, and a greatly reduced lifespan. RVs with delamination damage also lose their value more quickly, which can make it more difficult to recoup your investment if you ever sell.
In most cases, the damaged area of the siding requires full replacement. This is especially true for older RVs that usually suffer delamination due to the aging of the materials. If you catch the problem early, your repair shop may be able to seal the fiberglass against moisture and stop any further delamination. They will either replace the caulk or repair any holes or cracks in the fiberglass. Your best defense is to check over the fiberglass for cracks or flex damage often, and get it fixed before any delamination occurs. To learn more, visit http://autobodyomaha.com.