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Old 03-03-2020, 10:48 AM   #1
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Elastomeric roof coatings on Winnie fiberglas roof

Does anyone have any experience with painting white elastomeric roof coatings on their Winnebago fiberglas gel-coated roof? If so what product did you use and did it need any special prep before painting other than a good cleaning? How has it held up for you?

I am mostly interested in doing it for the heat reflectivity since I live in the desert Southwest. My coach is a 2016 Itasca and the roof is still in good shape. I am looking at the Henry Tropi-cool, the Black Jack Elasto-cool 1000 and the Sta Cool 800 products. (Black Jack and Sta Cool are both made by Gardner and may actually be the same product, made for Lowes and Home Depot respectively.)

I called Winnebago to get their input, which turned out to be "Why would you want to paint your fiberglas roof? It's already white." Well, I just installed four 250w solar panels on my RV roof and used the Winnebago-recommended white Manus 75 caulk around the panel mounts and the difference between the white caulk and the "white" roof was dramatic. The "white roof" is not white any more. My teeth (and my legs) are whiter than that "white" roof! (If only my teeth were as white as my legs!)

Input about your experiences would be appreciated.
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Old 03-03-2020, 01:53 PM   #2
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I would look to the Dacor product line first, as they are specifically designed for rubber roofs. Oh, now I see yours is fiberglass? Not sure about how to best coat them, sorry.
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Old 03-04-2020, 12:11 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by moabdds View Post
Does anyone have any experience with painting white elastomeric roof coatings on their Winnebago fiberglas gel-coated roof? If so what product did you use and did it need any special prep before painting other than a good cleaning? How has it held up for you?

I am mostly interested in doing it for the heat reflectivity since I live in the desert Southwest. My coach is a 2016 Itasca and the roof is still in good shape. I am looking at the Henry Tropi-cool, the Black Jack Elasto-cool 1000 and the Sta Cool 800 products. (Black Jack and Sta Cool are both made by Gardner and may actually be the same product, made for Lowes and Home Depot respectively.)

I called Winnebago to get their input, which turned out to be "Why would you want to paint your fiberglas roof? It's already white." Well, I just installed four 250w solar panels on my RV roof and used the Winnebago-recommended white Manus 75 caulk around the panel mounts and the difference between the white caulk and the "white" roof was dramatic. The "white roof" is not white any more. My teeth (and my legs) are whiter than that "white" roof! (If only my teeth were as white as my legs!)

Input about your experiences would be appreciated.
Well Sir,
The subject of painting a Winne/Itasca fiberglass roof has been discussed a few zillion times on here and other RV forums. Winne was right when they answered you "Why would you want to do that"? While your roof might not be crystal white, it's still white. There's a few zillion versions of WHITE out there. This is a choice thing. It's your roof, paint it if you like. I'd bet my house you won't see ANY COOLING differences by doing it.

In the direct sun, it's still gonna see the sun and get warm, no matter what kind of paint's on it. Not only that but, once it's painted, it's tough to see any issues that might crop up at a later date. Again, your choice. It's fiberglass and as such, can be washed, buffed and waxed. When done, it will be in top shape. And, it's easier to inspect the seams and edges of all the components.
Scott
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:16 AM   #4
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If I were to coat my roof, instead of an elastomeric coating, I'd opt for a marine deck paint formulated for fiberglass boats. Such paints are in use on boats all over the world in all sorts of conditions. Some of these are two-part epoxy paints, others are more conventional.

I agree with FIRE UP in that you're not going to feel a significant difference in heat transfer.
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Old 03-05-2020, 07:31 AM   #5
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I put Bus Kote on mine.
https://www.hytechsales.com/prod2150.html

We full time and it was getting very hot inside when parked in direct sunlight especially in shower/hall area due to skylight.
I covered the skylight also.
We have noticed a significant decrease in temps.
Our thermostat is located in the hall and this was causing the AC to run constantly. Now it cools coach and shuts off as it should.

It is a pain to apply. Must apply primer, two coats paint, and they recommend, a final coat of clear coat. The clear coat will turn yellow if applied to liberally.

Not very pleased with appearance but it is definitely cooler in our coach.
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Old 03-05-2020, 07:55 AM   #6
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One thing to consider with any roof coating is potential ongoing maintenance.
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Old 03-08-2020, 07:05 PM   #7
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Fiberglass, especially the fiberglass Winnebago roof, has a thin layer of gel coat that will deteriorate over time, especially with high UV exposure. It would need regular maintenance with a gel coat restorer to keep it from breaking down and in good condition, just like the rest of a motorhome without full body paint does.

I did a lot of reading and found a product used on all types of roofs, including RV roofs made of fiberglass, aluminum and rubber with great success. I decided to use this method to preserve the roof of my 2005 Winnebago Adventurer 38R and gain substantial energy savings by coating the roof with Tropi-Cool 100% Silicone White Roof Coating. This coating is extremely tough, easy to apply and reflects radiant heat and UV from the sun to keep your interior much cooler. I have read that it prevents almost 90% of radiant heat transmission and I believe it after having it on my motorhome. It will also prevent those annoying white streaks down the side of your coach from the deteriorating gel coat.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Henry-4-...S018/205049553

You will need to be comfortable working on the roof of your motorhome for a few days, and it is a fair amount of strenuous work.

The first day I pressure washed and scrubbed the roof with soap and a stiff bristle brush, rinsing it thoroughly. I even wiped it dry with old bath towels. Make sure any wax or shine is removed, even using a 3M red Scotchbrite pad around the perimeter of the roof if you have to, so that it sticks well at the edges.

I purchased a 4.75 gallon bucket of Henry 887 Tropi-Cool 100% Silicone White Roof Coating from Home Depot for $239.00 along with several of the recommended non-shedding roller covers and brushes. You can also buy it in one gallon pails and return what you don't use. It went further than I expected, probably because of the smooth surface, rather than the normal roofing material it is primarily used on. I expected to use all of it but only used about 3 gallons with 2 heavy coats on my 300 sq. ft. It will also seal most small leaks and cracks.

The second day I made sure the roof was completely dry with no soap residue. I then masked off the perimeter of the roof and all protrusions as needed with 2" blue masking tape. I power mixed it thoroughly with a drill and mixer. I then applied a thick coat of the coating from the front to the rear (all 38'), using a 8' ladder at the rear. At first I tried using a large paint tray but since you use a lot of product it just slowed me down and made a mess trying to refill it so I just started dipping the 9" roller into the bucket and applying it to the roof. Do this a no wind, calm day or you'll have this stuff everywhere and all over you! Turn the roller several times to keep from dripping before you get it down to the roof. Use disposable coveralls or old shoes and clothes, long sleeve shirts and jeans with disposable nitrile gloves. I've used a lot of different products over the years, but this stuff sticks like super glue, and if you get it on your skin, expect to wear it about a week or more (ask me how I know this!). This stuff is basically pure silicone rubber.

The third day I checked to see if it was dry enough and not sticky to apply a second and final coat. If you have bugs in the air, expect to find them in the first coat. Just rub them off with a rag and paint over them. You'll be done a lot quicker this time. At the end of the day, or early the next day use an 8' step ladder and remove the masking tape around the perimeter of the roof. Be very careful pulling the masking tape off, pulling it away from the coating, or cutting the edge with a razor knife to keep from pulling up the coating before it cures. If you can reach any of the masked off protrusions, pull them off too.

The first thing you'll notice is that it is a highly reflective, brilliant white coating that is always cool to the touch, even in the hottest sun. I live in Arizona at 5300' elevation and the sun is brutal here, although our temperatures rarely reach a 100 degrees. You can even stand on it barefoot under the full sun of the day.

I used about 3 gallons of the 4.75 gallon pail, and once it is opened and exposed to air it won't keep very long. Rather than waste the remaining gallons, I decided to coat the roof of my Featherlite 20' enclosed trailer too. It has a one piece aluminum roof and accepted the coating equally well. This a one time, lifetime coating from everything I've seen.

Read the reviews on Home Depot and other sites and you'll find other people have used it on all types of RV's with great results. I would post pictures of it but I have the full cover on it now for winter, but I have included a few pics from customers reviews on Home Depot.













Here is more information on the product.



Henry 887 Tropi-Cool 100% Silicone White Roof Coating is a premium, 100% silicone, moisture-cure coating designed to reflect the sun's heat and UV rays as well as protect many types of roofs. While suitable for use in all climates, the 100% silicone chemistry is especially suited for extreme tropical environments, which are exposed to some of the hottest and wettest weather with intense UV exposure. It is specially designed to maintain maximum reflectivity of heat and UV rays as it ages. Its moisture-cure chemistry creates a very aggressive chemical bond with the roof, which allows for permanent ponding water resistance, extreme durability, and superior capabilities of sealing and protection.

ENERGY STAR certified and CRRC (Cool Roof Rating Council) rated
Meets the requirements of CEC (California Energy Commission) title 24
Miami-Dade county approved and Florida approved
Excellent adhesion and flexibility
Superior UV resistance and weathering performance
Mold and mildew resistant
Wide application temperature range from 35°F to 120°F (2°C to 49°C)
Lifetime limited warranty with 1-coat application

Details

Application Method: Brush On, Roll On, Spray On
Approximate Coverage Per Gallon (sq. ft): 67
Coating Base: Silicone
Color Family: White
Container type: 1 gallon or 4.75 gallon Pail
Dry Time: 6 hours
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Old 03-09-2020, 02:28 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by FIRE UP View Post
Well Sir,
The subject of painting a Winne/Itasca fiberglass roof has been discussed a few zillion times on here and other RV forums. Winne was right when they answered you "Why would you want to do that"? While your roof might not be crystal white, it's still white. There's a few zillion versions of WHITE out there. This is a choice thing. It's your roof, paint it if you like. I'd bet my house you won't see ANY COOLING differences by doing it.

In the direct sun, it's still gonna see the sun and get warm, no matter what kind of paint's on it. Not only that but, once it's painted, it's tough to see any issues that might crop up at a later date. Again, your choice. It's fiberglass and as such, can be washed, buffed and waxed. When done, it will be in top shape. And, it's easier to inspect the seams and edges of all the components.
Scott

What's your address, I'll take that bet!

It works whether you believe it or not, because the science behind it works, If you have don't have any experience with it, then how would you know? I have and it does work. If you don't believe me, read about the product and the reviews on the Home Depot website.

I coated the exposed white fiberglass roof on my Adventurer 38R that has full body paint, not the painted seams and rolled edge. So that is untouched and not a problem.

About ten years ago when I was building my house I found a new product for roof sheathing, foil backed 1/2" OSB sheets, that reflects the radiant heat from the sun. I insisted that my builder use it on my house. He didn't believe in it until he walked in the house after it was installed and felt the noticeable difference immediately. After that he built that feature into all his homes as a selling point. My only regret was that I didn't use it in the walls too.

That's why I believe in science!
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Old 03-09-2020, 06:33 PM   #9
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My Reyo has full body paint which is regular automotive base/clear coat. The paint also covers the rounded edges of the fiberglass roof.


So, the answer to the OP's question is regular base/clear coat.
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Old 03-10-2020, 12:09 AM   #10
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Deuce, thanks for your reply. I needed to hear from someone with actual experience rather than opinions with no experience on why it was a bad idea. My reason for asking was that when I called the Henry Co., the manufacturer of the Tropi-Cool coating, they said I needed to buy a can of the coating and do a small 4"x4" test patch on the roof. At $60 per a .9 gallon can, that would be an expensive test if it didn't work, and using that tiny amount of paint would make the can unreturnable to Home Depot. I knew there had to be someone out there that had used it on a Winnebago fiberglas roof. I read a number of testimonials for it on rubber roofs, but that does not apply to me. Now I know that it will adhere specifically to the Winnebago gel-coated fiberglas roof, thanks to your experience.

My main reason for wanting to apply the coating is for the solar reflectance and heat reduction inside the coach. I have read several testimonials of other people who had applied the coating and had a dramatic reduction in the heat under the coated roof. I also live in the desert Southwest in Moab, Utah, at an elevation of 4000'. In the summer, we usually have three months of 100+ temps almost every day and usually no clouds. Protecting the fiberglas roof would be a side benefit of the coating and would be much more effective than a coat of wax. The Tropi-Cool elastomeric coating has a lifetime warranty and should easily outlast my motorhome, (and probably me as well), so which is less maintenance, the elastomeric coating applied once, or periodically re-waxing the roof how many times over a 10-15 year period?

Since the elastomeric coating is also very effective at sealing small roof leaks, I plan to paint over the seals around all the roof penetrations. None of them leak currently, so that will be a preventive measure. Checking for deterioration around the painted edges will be no more difficult than checking whatever the black rubbery sealant that was used by Winnebago in the first place. The A/C cover is black, so I also plan to paint the top of it to reduce heat and make the plastic last longer. My coach is 27' long, but only has 23.5' of fiberglass roof, giving me a total of 208 sq.' of roof to cover. Since I just installed four 250w solar panels on the roof, that makes 54 sq.' of roof that is now no longer exposed to the sun, and subtracting the square footage of the A/C unit, shower skylight, and three roof vents, that leaves me with about 145 sq.' of roof to paint. Other than the cost of the coating and the time and labor involved, I see no downside, do you?

By the way, Deuce, have you ever brought any of your hotrods up from Prescott to the Moab Car Show? It's held in April every year (23rd, 24th, & 25th this year) and is a fundraiser for the local Rotary club. If you come, send me a private message and we can get together and compare gleaming white roofs! Thanks again.
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Old 03-10-2020, 12:17 AM   #11
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Scott, there may have been a zillion iterations of this subject posted, but after multiple searches, was unable to find one specifically for the Winnebago fiberglas roof. Lots of them for rubber roofs, but not for Winnie fiberglass, this my post. Waxing the roof will protect the fiberglass, but has almost no reflective properties. I read testimonial after testimonial of users of the product and the dramatic difference it made in heat reduction. 90% reflectance makes a huge difference in the temperature of the surface. I don't know if you've ever tried to walk barefoot on a desert sand dune in summer on a sunny day, but I can tell you it will burn the soles of your feet. My last duty station in the Air Force was by White Sands N.M in New Mexico, and I was amazed that you could walk barefoot on that white sand (which is actually gypsum) on the hottest summer day with no discomfort whatsoever. It's all about solar reflectance.
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Old 03-10-2020, 12:27 AM   #12
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Bob, Thanks for your reply. I know that the marine deck paints, like the Restoleum and others, are very effective at protecting the fiberglass, but my main purpose is solar heat reflectance, which is not a characteristic of the marine deck paints. The elastomerics are almost blindingly reflective, which is what makes them work. Coating the fiberglass with a thick opaque layer of rubberized paint will certainly protect the fiberglass from nature's elements at least as well as marine deck paint. The deck paint is made to be walked on all the time, as opposed to the roof coating which can be walked on but is not designed to withstand daily foot traffic. Different products for different purposes.
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Old 03-10-2020, 12:38 AM   #13
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Topsail, Continued maintenance is an issue with any roof, not matter what the material. I think covering it with an elastomeric coating that is a once-in-a-lifetime application will be much less maintenance intensive than periodic washing, waxing, polishing, etc., etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
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Old 03-10-2020, 03:03 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by moabdds View Post
Deuce, thanks for your reply. I needed to hear from someone with actual experience rather than opinions with no experience on why it was a bad idea. My reason for asking was that when I called the Henry Co., the manufacturer of the Tropi-Cool coating, they said I needed to buy a can of the coating and do a small 4"x4" test patch on the roof. At $60 per a .9 gallon can, that would be an expensive test if it didn't work, and using that tiny amount of paint would make the can unreturnable to Home Depot. I knew there had to be someone out there that had used it on a Winnebago fiberglas roof. I read a number of testimonials for it on rubber roofs, but that does not apply to me. Now I know that it will adhere specifically to the Winnebago gel-coated fiberglas roof, thanks to your experience.

My main reason for wanting to apply the coating is for the solar reflectance and heat reduction inside the coach. I have read several testimonials of other people who had applied the coating and had a dramatic reduction in the heat under the coated roof. I also live in the desert Southwest in Moab, Utah, at an elevation of 4000'. In the summer, we usually have three months of 100+ temps almost every day and usually no clouds. Protecting the fiberglas roof would be a side benefit of the coating and would be much more effective than a coat of wax. The Tropi-Cool elastomeric coating has a lifetime warranty and should easily outlast my motorhome, (and probably me as well), so which is less maintenance, the elastomeric coating applied once, or periodically re-waxing the roof how many times over a 10-15 year period?

Since the elastomeric coating is also very effective at sealing small roof leaks, I plan to paint over the seals around all the roof penetrations. None of them leak currently, so that will be a preventive measure. Checking for deterioration around the painted edges will be no more difficult than checking whatever the black rubbery sealant that was used by Winnebago in the first place. The A/C cover is black, so I also plan to paint the top of it to reduce heat and make the plastic last longer. My coach is 27' long, but only has 23.5' of fiberglass roof, giving me a total of 208 sq.' of roof to cover. Since I just installed four 250w solar panels on the roof, that makes 54 sq.' of roof that is now no longer exposed to the sun, and subtracting the square footage of the A/C unit, shower skylight, and three roof vents, that leaves me with about 145 sq.' of roof to paint. Other than the cost of the coating and the time and labor involved, I see no downside, do you?

By the way, Deuce, have you ever brought any of your hotrods up from Prescott to the Moab Car Show? It's held in April every year (23rd, 24th, & 25th this year) and is a fundraiser for the local Rotary club. If you come, send me a private message and we can get together and compare gleaming white roofs! Thanks again.
It sounds like you'll be able to coat your roof easily and quickly. It sticks to anything, just make sure there is no wax left on the roof and the surface is not too glossy.

I read extensively and studied the options for my roof for sometime before I did it and could see no downside to this coating, only the benefits. As I said the coating is amazing in its properties and its ability to stick like glue. I looked at the other colors like silver and tan too, but the reflective properties of the white coating were far better. I also coated the sealant around all my roof penetrations as an added protection against leaks. My coach was very low mileage (12K) and very well taken care of, kept inside or under a roof its entire life when I bought it, so I want to do everything possible to preserve it for the future. It has the basement air unit that works very well but anything I can do to ease its load under the hot desert sun of the Southwest will make it last longer too. If I had roof air units I would definitely coat the housings too.

Although I haven't been to the Moab Car Show in April, I knew of it after meeting some locals on my trips through Moab on my way back to South Dakota (my former home) from the LA Roadster Show several times in June. In fact I put a u-joint in my '32 Ford roadster in a car wash across from the NAPA store many years ago there in 2003. One of my favorite routes was to go through Moab, down to La Salle Junction, then through the back country through Paradox, Bedrock (my favorite) and Naturita, on over to Ridgway, with side trips to Telluride and Ouray. I love that area and considered moving to Montrose many years ago. I would like to do southern Utah and Lake Powell this year but I haven't made plans yet. We did 7000 miles in 9 weeks last year summer in the coach all the way to Port Angeles, WA, taking my '32 Ford pickup over on the ferry to Victoria, BC for Northwest Deuce Days, and then as far east as Minnesota, seeing the sights and all my hot rod friends I've made over the years. Here's a few pics of the rig.



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Old 03-10-2020, 08:57 PM   #15
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Topsail, Continued maintenance is an issue with any roof, not matter what the material. I think covering it with an elastomeric coating that is a once-in-a-lifetime application will be much less maintenance intensive than periodic washing, waxing, polishing, etc., etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
"One thing to consider with any roof coating is potential ongoing maintenance."

"Potential"

Moabdds, I'm glad you found what looks like a viable reflective coating and hope it works out for you. My background includes automotive restorations and painting. Also, I have extensive experience in the marine industry and coatings on fiberglass. Painting healthy fiberglass isn't something normally recommended since the original glass gel coat is so much easier to maintain.

I hope this coating provides a great heat shield and long term maintenance free bond for those who use it. Let us know your experience and how it works out for you. im kinda curious of a Filon roof temperature reading verses one using this coating on a blistering hot sunny day.
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Old 03-10-2020, 09:41 PM   #16
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Thanks, Topsail. I'll post photos when it's done and give a follow-up report this summer when it gets hot.
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Old 03-11-2020, 12:49 AM   #17
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I've been on my roof both before and after the application of the coating during the full sun of the day. The difference is stunning, without it the gel coat is hot to the touch, but with it, the coating actually feels cold to touch. I couldn't believe it, but the proof is when you are on the roof. When we hit summer I'll compare the temperature's of the Tropic-Cool coating and the painted surfaces of my roof with my laser infrared thermometer and update this post.

As someone who has repaired and painted fiberglass car bodies and boats and maintained my previous Monaco LaPalma motorhome without full body paint (but about 1/4 of it was painted) and my latest Winnebago Adventurer with full body paint, I would say I very much prefer to maintain a painted surface on fiberglass. The amount of maintenance needed on gel coat in the our Southwest climate is excessive. As someone who has buffed my 36 foot Monaco's gel coat (5 times) and waxed my painted 38 foot Winnebago (2 times), I'll say I actually enjoy waxing full body paint compared to buffing gel coat. Waxing paint takes about half the time, compared to buffing oxidized gel coat, because you'll still need to apply wax to the gel coat.

The downside of full body paint in the Southwest is if it isn't maintained and protected, and the clear coat starts to break down, you'll have to do a complete repaint of the affected area. The downside to motorhomes with gel coat is the vinyl graphics will need expensive replacement or paint them on like I did on the Monaco.



I will say that I would never put paint on a boat though. I have repaired deep scratches in gel coat in boats with color matched resin and fumed lightweight silica thickener, rather than using filler and painting the panel.
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Old 03-16-2020, 01:43 PM   #18
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Hi Moabdds, have you completed the roof painting?
I received the same feedback from Henry on Tropi-Cool to test to see if it will adhere to the gel-coat on my 2019 Navion 24G.
Winnebago would not make any recommendation other than the caveat of potential warranty issues :( and Crane Composites (Filon Flexroof) would also not comment on anything other than applying wax multiple times per year.
I have FBP and only want to do the roof.
Hence I am eagerly awaiting your experience.
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Old 03-16-2020, 03:42 PM   #19
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Elastomeric Roof Coating

I just finished coating the roof this morning. Since I had almost 1/2 can left over, (I used 1.5 cans), I'm going to re-coat as much as I can tomorrow. I don't think the material will last in the can, so I may as well make a thicker coating on the roof. After I finish and remove all the painters tape and get everything cleaned up, I'll take a picture of the finished project. I haven't taken it for drive yet to see if the whole layer peals off in one giant piece! Ha! Ha! I don't think that is going to happen based on the experiences of all the others who have done the same thing to their rigs.

BTW, I got the same story from Winnebago and the composite people. I'm not sure why there could be any warranty issues, since covering the fiberglas with essentially a rubberized coating can only protect it. The sun can't destroy what it can't shine on! Since my coach is a 2016, the warranty is long gone and not an issue.

I did lightly rub the surface of the fiberglas with a Scotch pad to prep the surface before washing the roof with Dawn soap and water. It didn't look like my roof had ever been waxed before I bought it a year ago. Washing and waxing the roof several times a year sounds like way more maintenance than I want to be doing on the roof. I stopped the coating at the top of the roof curve where the paint starts, (I also have full body paint), so I can still keep on eye on the caulking along the top of the drip rail. However, I did paint the coating all the way over the edge of the awning mount on the passenger's side to seal that caulking with the coating. According to what I've read, that area seems to be immune from the separation problems that we hear about. Time will tell.
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moabdds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2020, 05:17 PM   #20
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Join Date: May 2019
Location: Prescott, AZ
Posts: 81
I did mine six months ago and have had good luck with mine, so far so why wait?
deucehotrods is offline   Reply With Quote
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