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Subject Topic: Traditional Silicone Sealant vs. Caravan Post Reply Post New Topic
Message posted by HappyCampers09 on 04/4/2012 at 2:38am
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Hi All,

My first post in the forums, so forgive me for any shortcomings.

A little history that leads to me asking for your advice.

We recently acquired our very first tourer, which is a 1990 Avondale Perle Olympus Custom 4 Berth tourer and whilst there is only one leak to be found throughout the whole cvan, I am a firm believer in re-sealing 100% externally myself and then I know it's up to my sharp detail and standards where mastick'ing is concerned.

Unfortunately the previous sealant job by previous owner(s) leaves a lot to be desired and once I redo it, it will make the cvan externally much much cleaner and of course I will know 100% it isn't going to leak whilst on any hols etc.

Anyway, my query is this after reading so many often conflicting articles lately;

Is there ever a time when it is ok to use traditional external grade trade silicone sealant for generic re-sealing around joins, joints and so on of a touring caravan on it's exterior?

Or, should I and do I only EVER use a product that's specifically for caravans?

I know everybody goes on about Silkaflex but I just can't justify the expense to the Mrs. when there's going to be a hell of a lot of tubes required from start to finish.

Has anybody any knowledge or experience of the following choices?

Seamseal CV

Carafax

Silfix

I am also led to believe that the longest lasting would be "Silicone" of up to 20 years if applied correctly following all guidelines etc, is this correct and the right choice ultimately for my resealing job?

I know now I can use White Spirit to take off any old sealant and then use Methylated Spirit to clean off the white spirit residues, or the new sealant won't take correctly. This doesn't affect sprayed paintwork does it in anywya?

The only other thing, our tourer is a normal sprayed roof with a high shine finish but the whole sides, front and back are some kind of metal meets plastic, with little dimples in the finish... does anybody have a correct name for this kind of finish, or even know what I'm on about?

I look forward to hearing from any of you that can help guide me in the right direction to solving the above current headaches, it will be very much appreciated indeed.

Regards,
Rob

Message posted by Opensauce on 04/4/2012 at 8:42am
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Sikaflex 512 is polyurethane adhesive/sealant & plenty of other cheaper brands of this product are available if you google around. It is stronger than anything else & is ideal for use on an old caravan that you only want to repair once.

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Message posted by sheffgrow259 on 04/4/2012 at 11:38am
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i find better than sikaflex, easier to apply etcthis

but there are other variants out there such as this

in my opinion silicone causes more harm than good with it shrinking etc.

ask yourself this you put that silicone correctly applied would last 20 years, if that was the case i would never have to seal round the bath or sink again [which i do]
also if that was the case every caravan manufacturer would be using silicone [which they are not]
it is simply not up to the job
just tell your missus cheap is dear and if you want it to last you will have to buy the correct materials

Message posted by markstan56 on 04/4/2012 at 5:34pm
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Soudal Fixall is an excelent alternative and is available in many colours including crystal clear at around half the price of Sikaflex. Keep silicone away from the aluminium on your van, it will do more damage than good.

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Mobile Caravan Service and Repair West midlands 01922 442170 07540 893379

Message posted by gedvan on 04/4/2012 at 7:48pm
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i agree ive just got some soudal fix all to seal around the flu on the roof of my caravan. it cost me £8 for the tube from a caravan dealer, when i got home i found i could get some for about £4.65 on the internet so i would look there first , it is very good and the good thing is you will be able to remove it if needed no like sikaflex,when thats on if stays on and is very difficult to remove,ged

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ged vanden hoek

Message posted by wizard9956 on 04/4/2012 at 8:40pm
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Have a look here http://www.1carpc.co.uk/wcdr/sealants.htm

atb

Wizard


Message posted by HappyCampers09 on 09/4/2012 at 1:41am
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Hi Everybody,

Thank you for your replies, it's been much appreciated indeed.

I've noted people's input and have bought the following;

Soudall Fix All Clear

However, I'm now in a right old pickle with our first touring caravan holiday seeing my grandparents and my 2 year old sons great grandparents up in Sheffield (My place of birth) due a week tomorrow.

The whole idea of getting the caravan was so we would have cheap accommodation whilst up Sheffield way, visiting my family but I remember caravan holidays from my younger years with grandparents and want my own (2 yr old) son to experience these too and have many memories from them.

This has totally gutted me, as my Grandad suffers advanced Alzheimers Disease and doesn't get to see his great grandson as often as they'd like to, due to my living in South East Wales now. The timing of this new found damp issue couldn't have been worse.

The nightmare started this afternoon when finding some interior front corner sealant looking a little mouldy and instantly knew it wouldn't be good.

So I've stripped off (most) of the offending interior ply panelling to the front of the cvan, to reveal a good portion of the extent of the damp problems in both front of cvan corners.

It seems the offside (Drivers side) window hasn't been sealed / seals seated correctly and a haphazard sealant job that's so uneven, lumpy and shoddy it's untrue.

The offside grab handle subsequently is loose with no real wood strength for it to attach too and hence this is letting in water too, which won't have helped this corner.

Then the nearside whilst it maybe the window again, I'm more unsure on where this ones leaking from... It's nowhere near as bad as the other front corner though.

I have checked most of the spars (Are they the more squarish strip wood that runs the extreme corner around the van to attach the exterior trims and what not to?

If so, whilst they're dark in colour, stick a pointed knife in and put pressure on... whilst the knife does enter this wood, it either bends the tip of the knife or doesn't flake off or anything. This leads me to believe the majority of the spars will be OK once dried out, treated and then when all the causes of the exterior leaks complete... it "should be" ok.

The other issue I've found is underneath the front, where the aluminium external skin bends under and then meets the underside ply flooring etc, it's come away seemingly no screws holding it any more and needs a better fix than the previous persons obviously attempted but failed. This is my last job on the current list, as I believe at present until all the above is fixed and cured, the damp needs some air and somewhere to go... to close this off now would just compound matters even more?

I have read numerous "Fixed It" websites, (Wizards, Alan Parkers to name a few) what a great wealth of knowledge indeed but for me, it still begs the question as a novice tourer... Where the chuffin hell do I start and how the chuffin hell am I going to get complete enough to use it in 7 days time!!!!

Any help, direction or more in depth help and advice before I start the job in hand would be so massively appreciated trust me.

Thanks once again for reading my problem and I hope you can decipher the above, it's hard to put it down in the correct manner on a screen when so in depth.

Regards,
Rob

Message posted by HappyCampers09 on 09/4/2012 at 2:37am
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I have managed to upload the images I took earlier today, not sure if it will help but they say an image speaks a thousand words huh!

Please view the gallery here: HappyCamper09 Damp Tourer Gallery

Message posted by Opensauce on 09/4/2012 at 8:17am
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Bit late now but I think I would have waited until there were a few hot summer days to dry it out a bit, filled any gaps in the outside with Sikaflex & got another 3yrs out of it. If you start dismantling an old caravan from the inside you just open cans of worms.

Message posted by wizard9956 on 09/4/2012 at 8:43am
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This advice is to hopefully repair the caravan well enough to get you away , and you may need to redo some things to a better quality when you get more time .

Some quick advice , remove both grab handles , replace the wooden blocks that they screw into ( use mastic to help hold new blocks in place , pilot drill the new screw holds to stop the wood splitting when you drill into it ) . Replace handles with a bit of mastic around the handle base and screw .

Use a fan heater to help the battens dry out ( if possible ) do not reboard the inside until the battens are dry and the caravan is water tight .

Proper caravan wall board can be cut with a stanley knife and is 3mm thick .
You should be able to get 3.6mm board ( plywood not hardboard or mdf ) from B and Q ( but it will not have a covering on it ) . 

Lift and clean around the window rubbers outside ( use white spirit then meths to clean ) , apply a bead of sealant under the window rubbers .
Awning rails , clean around the awning rail to body joint ( gap ) , add a bead of sealant to gap ( this is to protect from water ingress over the very short term , and you should maybe consider a awning rail reseal in the future ).

Outside body repair .
I would try this , buy some alloy strip or angle from B and Q , see Here and Here .
Fit some new wooden batten lengths to the front inside ( inside the seating area's both sides ) , cut the alloy to fit along the front body edges outside ( pre-drill some holes into the alloy before fitting ) , now place strip against body and pilot drill on an angle into the batten inside ( check the first few holes to make sure they are coming through into the batten ) ( i would only drill holes in the alloy that allow you to screw from underneath to make it look a tidy job ) .
Notes , press the alloy firmly into place before pilot drilling , add a good bit of mastic when finally fitting . To gain clearance for pilot drilling , wind up the rear caravan legs and extend down the front ones .

Now there are probably better ways to do some of your repairs in the future , but holefully these will be quick to get you away .

Hope these idea's help .

atb

Wizard  


Message posted by HappyCampers09 on 09/4/2012 at 9:02am
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Quote: Originally posted by Tentz on 09/4/2012
Bit late now but I think I would have waited until there were a few hot summer days to dry it out a bit, filled any gaps in the outside with Sikaflex & got another 3yrs out of it. If you start dismantling an old caravan from the inside you just open cans of worms.


Morning Tentz,

Hindsight is the most wonderful tool we have... only coming to fruition normally after a major situation.

Having said that, there's no guarantee that the UK weather will hold out on the days I need it to weather wise to finally start the repair job and hence why I've started it now.

Not to mention the trip away in it in 7 days time, this is a must and hence why I'm attempting the repair now.

Thanks for your thoughts though.

Message posted by HappyCampers09 on 09/4/2012 at 11:12am
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Quote: Originally posted by wizard9956 on 09/4/2012

This advice is to hopefully repair the caravan well enough to get you away , and you may need to redo some things to a better quality when you get more time .


Some quick advice , remove both grab handles , replace the wooden blocks that they screw into ( use mastic to help hold new blocks in place , pilot drill the new screw holds to stop the wood splitting when you drill into it ) . Replace handles with a bit of mastic around the handle base and screw .

Use a fan heater to help the battens dry out ( if possible ) do not reboard the inside until the battens are dry and the caravan is water tight .


When you[ say to use mastic to re-fix the grab handles to the newly created wooden blocks...for this particular fix, will normal silicone sealant do - with it being inside the skin of the cvan?

Quote: Proper caravan wall board can be cut with a stanley knife and is 3mm thick .You should be able to get 3.6mm board ( plywood not hardboard or mdf ) from B and Q ( but it will not have a covering on it ) .
 

I hear you only plywood for re-boarding, however does it need to be marine plywood, or just ordinary ply?

Also, is there anything I should/could be brushing on to either side of the new ply, to give it some added protection?


Quote: Lift and clean around the window rubbers outside ( use white spirit then meths to clean ) , apply a bead of sealant under the window rubbers.

I'd read about white spirit and methylated spirit to clean off old sealant and give it a clean surface to take new stuff. However, you mention applying a bead of sealant under the window rubbers, but we think this is where the main problems began. As the current sealant under the rubbers has squeezed out of it past the rubbers in a bumpy fashion if that makes sense. Do I not need to re-seat the window rubbers on non setting bedding mastic that comes on a roll?

Quote: Awning rails , clean around the awning rail to body joint ( gap ) , add a bead of sealant to gap ( this is to protect from water ingress over the very short term , and you should maybe consider a awning rail reseal in the future ).



When you mention awning rail to body joint/gap, do you mean where the awning rail meets / fits on to the outer skin of the caravan both on the roof and the side outer wall of the caravan? Also to do the other sides aluminium rail thingy or not? (Not sure of official name for the drivers side one that goes bottom back all the way to bottom front)

Quote:

Outside body repair .I would try this , buy some alloy strip or angle from B and Q , see Here and Here .



Fit some new wooden batten lengths to the front inside ( inside the seating area's both sides ) , cut the alloy to fit along the front body edges outside ( pre-drill some holes into the alloy before fitting ) , now place strip against body and pilot drill on an angle into the batten inside ( check the first few holes to make sure they are coming through into the batten ) ( i would only drill holes in the alloy that allow you to screw from underneath to make it look a tidy job ) .
Notes , press the alloy firmly into place before pilot drilling , add a good bit of mastic when finally fitting . To gain clearance for pilot drilling , wind up the rear caravan legs and extend down the front ones .

I had thought myself yesterday the only way maybe to sort the underside of front end - where the aluminium outer skin is fixed to the underneath (where as you see in the pics it isn't any more) would be to use aluminium angle corner the whole length in one piece along the front underside. Then drill new holes in to this, then fix this with nuts and bolts as opposed to screws.

This as there is a newish piece of 2" x 1" viewable on the inside of front of caravan and I'm sure I can affix the aly corner metal through/on to this. This 2" x 1" planed timber is also set at an angle itself which leads me to think it will all fit snuggly together.

However, this to me is the very last job of the current damp issue, as it makes sense but somebody told me if the current damp problems don't get any air, it can just propel it further in to the van and to close the gaps on the underside of outer skin, would just compound the problem?


Quote:

Now there are probably better ways to do some of your repairs in the future , but holefully these will be quick to get you away .


Hope these idea's help .

atb

Wizard  



Thank you so much for your insight, advice and guidance Wizard... it's just having the nerves to make the start of the repair job and in a correct enough order that I can pull this off.

Message posted by HappyCampers09 on 09/4/2012 at 3:29pm
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Quote: Lift and clean around the window rubbers outside ( use white spirit then meths to clean ) , apply a bead of sealant under the window rubbers .


Now having really stripped out all the offending interior plywood walls around the front end, I can confirm there is NO 'Non Setting Bedding Mastic/Sealant' the tape kind one can get on a roll.

Whilst there is really shoddy sealant on the outside edges of the window rubbers, there is most definitely nothing at all below... I presume there should be?

If so, could you help advise me the kind of bedding mastic rolls, maybe the best and most competitive place to purchase it online.

However, if you think for a quick fix to get us away early next week; I take window out (Seen a full article how to do this by yourself or one of the FixedIt Club members) take window seals and also window rubbers off, clean underneath where they sit, then clean the actual rubbers and seals too and then place nice clean bed of tube sealant and then re fit the seals and rubbers, stapling through the white strip that sits horizontally around the window? (That the window stays are screwed to)

Just want to make the best job possible but there seems to be two ways above, unsure which one to do right now but without risking leaks again with putting new interior plywood boarding on before we go away.

Thanks once again and I look forward to hearing from you.

P.S. Would it be at all possible to speak with your good self Wizard directly via email? I only ask as I can't always be at the laptop, with being up in the van most hours now until the weekend... but I can receive emails on my HTC mobile no problem while in the caravan doing the repairs.

If you don't mind doing this, my email is robert.stones at live.co.uk (not typed it in all together to stop spam bots getting hold of it)

Message posted by wizard9956 on 09/4/2012 at 4:14pm
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will normal silicone sealant do 
I wouldn't recommend using normal silicone sealant for sealing anywhere on the outside of the caravan . http://www.1carpc.co.uk/wcdr/sealants.htm 

does it need to be marine plywood, or just ordinary ply? either will do

Also, is there anything I should/could be brushing on to either side of the new ply, to give it some added protection?
If it's been repaired well you shouldn't need anything , and if water does happen to enter the caravan i'd rather know about it , than have it trapped , where it can do lots of unseen damage ( rotting ) . 

Do I not need to re-seat the window rubbers on non setting bedding mastic that comes on a roll? You don't have to seal the windows this way ( the choice is yours ) , you can use tube mastic ( sealant ) .
You would need to remove and clean the rubbers ( but it can be a long job ) , my idea was to get you by for now .
Note there are sealants that cure and some that don't fully cure ( non setting ) .
If your only doing a temporary repair ( around the window rubbers ) you should use non setting tube mastic ( non setting mastic can be a little messy to use ) .
The staples go through the window rubber channel and not through the white cover strip .

When you mention awning rail to body joint/gap, do you mean where the awning rail meets / fits on to the outer skin of the caravan both on the roof and the side outer wall of the caravan? Yes .
There are awning rails going along both sides of the caravan , that you can seal ( a proper reseal of the awning rails would require removing them , but this can be a lengthy job .

However, this to me is the very last job of the current damp issue, as it makes sense . Yep your quite right , But i would try to ensure that this repair is completed before going away .

atb

Wizard



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