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Old 08-28-2020, 02:58 PM   #1
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Fiberglass Roof Bubbles?

Yesterday and today I spent about 8 unpleasant hours washing my 2017 Adventurer's roof and applying 303 Protectant. Did I mention that it was 100 degree both days? I did it myself to save the $200 the RV detailing place wanted to do the job. Never again. That $200 quote appears super cheap now.

While up there I inspected and cleaned the A/C units and checked the roof edge caulking and adhesion. Who said owning an RV was fun???

As part of my inspection I found a handful of bubbles in the fiberglass roof covering. I felt like that can't be good and took some photos of the bubbles.

Before posting I did some searching here and on IRV2.com and found a range of responses. On WinnieOwners.com I found some other folks with these issues. Some were planning to cut the bubbles, treat the luan underneath and seal it back up. But I also saw that there is a 10yr roof guarantee. Lastly I found a post from a fellow member here that contacted WBGO and was told it's normal and not a problem.

Here's the photos... what do you folks think (other than don't work on the roof in August in South Texas!). The last photo is a small patch of before cleaning that also shows after cleaning:
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Old 08-28-2020, 08:30 PM   #2
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If that was my coach, I would call Winnebago directly to see what they say. Send them only the picture with the big bubbles. If that is not under warranty; so be it, but I think they at least ask you to take by a dealer.

On the 8 hours and roof? IMO, I would NEVER fool with trying to put 303 on my roof? Even if done right it will only last a month or two.

I spoke to Winnebago and the roof mfg who both seem to suggest that regular wash is sufficient, a wax is preferred but not required. I use RV Wash & Wax, takes me about 1 1/2 hrs on my 29 ft coach. I would never try to wash in the heat. I would NEVER pay someone $200 just to wash the roof (even with 303 being put on), yes if they will wash and wax it that is intriguing. Maybe you meant the entire RV which $200; would be great. I use 303, but only on my decals.

One final note, if you ever do it again by yourself; I would never spend more than 2 hrs washing / cleaning or waxing my RV. There is always the next day or next week to finish.
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Old 08-28-2020, 10:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkoldman View Post
On the 8 hours and roof?... takes me about 1 1/2 hrs on my 29 ft coach. I would never try to wash in the heat. I would NEVER pay someone $200 just to wash the roof (even with 303 being put on),
Not every one sees things the same way.

My roof was very dirty and hadn't been washed in 2-yrs which took a long time to get clean.

I, personally, like 303 on fiberglass items. I have 25 years experience using it on two sailboats and 4 other RVs. It won't last a super long time, but it will keep the roof from getting quite so dirty the next time I wash it.

It needed done - I had put it off too long - so now it's summer. But I lived and I did it finally. As to, paying someone $200 to do, well, that too is up to me.

Keep in mind, we are not all the same age, ability, or financial status. I was your age once... 30 years ago. So, we all make the decisions that suit us. Even if you "would never do it."
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Old 08-29-2020, 02:20 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
Not every one sees things the same way.

My roof was very dirty and hadn't been washed in 2-yrs which took a long time to get clean.

I guess this evens out, because if I washed mine 5 times in two years; I get close to the 8 hours. I would pay $200 to have the roof simply washed 5 times.


I, personally, like 303 on fiberglass items. I have 25 years experience using it on two sailboats and 4 other RVs. It won't last a super long time, but it will keep the roof from getting quite so dirty the next time I wash it.

As you know there are 1,000s of ideas about what to do on roofs and what to use on roofs etc. I decided to go 100% by what Winnebago Manual & Roof Mfg says. They (Roof Mfg Crane) even has special document they send out on what to do. Winnebago actually refer you to that document if you call them. I was surprised in the simplicity of it all to maintain the 10 year warranty. Wash & Wax. I would certainly put wax (Meguiar #56 Boat & RV Pure Wax suggested by Crane) on the roof over 303 protectant. I own a boat too, and I also use 303 Protectant, but I was stating that I use 303 for decals, vinyl, rubber etc to avoid from fading. In fact; When I do wax, I avoid getting wax on the decals because I use 303 exclusively for that.


It needed done - I had put it off too long - so now it's summer. But I lived and I did it finally. As to, paying someone $200 to do, well, that too is up to me.

Agree, but you seem to have been displeased with having chose to do it yourself for 8 hours? I was simply saying that when I do myself I never spend anywhere near that amount of time, but you have since clarified that you had a roof that "was very dirty and hadn't been washed in 2-yrs". I think most would prolly agree with you that may be worth the $200.

Keep in mind, we are not all the same age, ability, or financial status. I was your age once... 30 years ago. So, we all make the decisions that suit us. Even if you "would never do it."
I also agree we all make decisions that suit us... but you asked "what do you folks think (other than don't work on the roof in August in South Texas!)." I was just giving you my opinion on what I do and why; without regard to my age or finances. Didn't intend to suggest you could not make a decision that suits you.
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Old 08-29-2020, 07:46 AM   #5
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Perhaps the thread title didnít jive which what I put in the post very well, but the what do you think question was solely about he roof bubbles.

The rest was just sharing the pain of doing roof work in Texas in the summer. I, of course, was not asking what anyone thought of the roof cleaning, the amount of time it took, or the 303 application.

By the way... the 8-hours was 4-hours one day to clean the roof, and 4-hours the next day to clean and service the A/C units and inspect all roof caulking and applying the 303. All of that is in the OP. I guess I could have been clearer.
Quote:
Didn't intend to suggest you could not make a decision that suits you.
I wasnít thinking that, your post made it sound like it didnít suit you.
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Old 08-29-2020, 02:27 PM   #6
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Creativepart: I know the sinking feeling in your gut when you find "pukas" anywhere in your RV and the roof is one of those times when you ask yourself: "What do I do now?"

However, IMO, your roof concerns are more typical than you know! And it's not worth losing sleep over!


I see you have a 2017 Winnebago. I have a 2004 Itasca "Horizon" 40AD and I lost my roof in a El Paso wind storm 3 years ago. Fortunately, my insurance company paid for a new $35,000 roof, but before I went that route I attempted to repair my roof by spraying a $9,000 Rhino Liner on top. And while I thought that was a "home run" the shop let too many guys work on top my roof and they crushed one corner. ...So when I put out my slide it ripped the interior ceiling vinyl! Ug!!!

After that I took my RV to Winnebago in Forest City to get a new roof put on, but my decision to go this route had more to do with replacing the interior vinyl than it did with the integrity of the roof. And yes, there were roof bubbles (pukas) in several places in addition to craze marks that looked pretty deep, but I never had any water leaks!

To say the least, I put a lot of time in to understanding how Winnebago builds their roof; and they have not changed their roof design in over 20+ years!

The Winnebago foam roof is light weight (and probably cheaper to build) so that allowed Winnebago to put a few more creature comforts inside the coach vs. their competitors. However, I definitely think the foam roof is a weak point when it comes to structural integrity.

Roof bubbles occur because the Filon-Fiberglass roof (skin) separates from the luan it is glued to. And it's likely this occurs when you level your coach on uneven surfaces... and torque that big, rectangular box, which put's a lot of strain on that "Red Glue" which bonds the luan to the styrofoam and the fiberglass skin, which results in roof cosmetic issue like the puka(s) you found.

This is why your leveling jacks only provide minimal correction. So if you like to place blocks under your leveling jacks, you need to me mindful of what you are doing to your big, rectangular box!

(I like to level side to side before I level front to back.)

Winnebago roofs also make some "creaking noise" when they expand int he heat and/or contract in the cold. Have you noticed that?

No water damage will result from roof bubbles; and that filon-fiberglass stuff is extremely durable, which is why they say fiberglass roofs are "better" than rubber or EPDM roofs!

The real weak spot of a fiberglass roof is where the roof radius meets your side-channel.

Specifically, wind can enter just behind the driver's side roof cap, and get under the roof radius, and rip the fiberglass off. So the most critical inspection point on your roof is right in this area.

Some people have elected to Eternabond tape, and I would agree this is perhaps the best way to prevent a 5+ year old roof from wind damage; and it's the best way to never worry about your roof radius glue-maintenance again. However, there are some cosmetic trade-offs to this approach.

The problem is that all these roof channel sealants breakdown in the sun. And the industry has tried all of the different brands to see what works best and none of them last forever.

Right now I think the ProFlexRV or GeoCel clear is the roof-seam-sealant of choice right now:

https://www.amazon.com/Geocel-GC2810...8727627&sr=8-1

So it's more important to worry about your roof radius seams, where the fiberglass is glued into the roof channel strip, than it is to worry about any roof bubbles or fiberglass separation.

The problem is this: Silicon sealants offer the best UV protection, but lack adhesion strength. And polyurethane glues and other construction adhesives offer the best adhesion strength, but can breakdown in the sun in just 1 year!

My new roof is only 3 years old and I can already see where the seam sealant Winnebago used is breaking down. So I hope to address this concern soon, and before I have another wind problem.

Here are some roof maintenance tips:

* When you cut away or peal off your old glue... try not to break the seal of the old glue that is still sealing the fiberglass to the roof rail. ...Just cut away the f visible glue that is exposed to the sun. However, if the glue just lifts out of the channel then you should remove as much as you can.

* Use mineral spirits to clean the old glue off and to make sure you have a clean surface when you re-glue the roof channel.

* You will use tank 2 tubes of glue on the driver's side and 1 tube on the passenger side due to the fact you cannot re-glue under your awning. ...And I recommend you lay down some blue-tape you can pull up after you glue to achieve a very clean look.

* Without a doubt the biggest problem is working on a short ladder. And it's dangerous to try! So be sure you have a very tall construction ladder or scaffold setup. And I do not recommend you lay on top of your roof to re-glue this area, but you can if that is your only option.

* Do not put glue into the water channel. This is used to catch roof water runoff and to move water away from the coach sides.

* If you go with Eternabond tape, you will find the 2" tape is really too wide and they do not sell a 1" tape, but you can use the 2" tape if you like. Remember, the fiberglass will not leak water into your roof, so applying the tape really has only two purposes, and that is to prevent water from leaking in between your fiberglass roof liner and the roof channel, and to prevent the wind from ripping your roof off.

* Eternabond "black" was not too bad looking on top of my dark green roof radius; and while the color black may not be my first choice, it really was my only choice. Some people have said they have successfully cut the Eternabond tape in to 1" strips, but I'm not sure how they did this "cleanly." ...I think if you have a band saw and a guide that might work, but this stuff is really sticky. Eternabond tape also provides the best adhesion and is practically UV proof. However, I have never read any feed back from owners 5-10 years after they used Eternabond Tape so maybe someone will have more to say about that?

* Your roof corners are the weak spots. This is where wind first enters before it rips your roof off, so pay particular attention to these.

As a final note: Your insurance may or may not pay for roof wind damage if you cannot prove you have performed annual roof maintenance. So it is very important you keep a Maintenance Log and every year "log" that you performed a roof inspection and resealed all appropriate locations according to Winnebago specifications.

Eternabond also makes an aluminum tape you can paint. So in my mind, Winnebago should have use this stuff in place of gluing the radius seam to the roof channel and then they could have just painted it. And hear again a 1" strip would get the job done vs. a 2" tape strip that is overkill in my opinion.

I also think I will put this roof maintenance project on my to-do list when I visit Rocky Point again. And I will ask Carlos & Pablo to perform this job rather than do it myself. These guys are fantastic and really took care of some cargo door damage and other paint work this summer! Here's the link to that project if you care to take a look:

https://www.winnieowners.com/forums/...ew-358003.html

Aluminum Eternabond Tape:

https://www.amazon.com/EternaBond-AS...731530&sr=8-54
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Old 08-29-2020, 03:40 PM   #7
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Thanks Mark,

I did have a small amount of interior leaking from the driver's side roof radius and found a 1/16" sized hole exactly at the end of the rain drip rail. It was delivering rain directly into that hole - but only after a hard rain when parked. The sealant had shrunk and pulled back.

Because of this, I've been maintaining the front cap corner radius and this past spring I removed all the old sealant and resealed the whole radius with Manus Bond 75 - which "was" what was recommended by WBGO. Though now I think Proflex is the suggested sealant.

So far, the edge sealant is in very good shape with a little cracking, but very little.

I will probably just leave the bubbles in the roof as is. I thought of using a syringe to inject some epoxy, but think I'll not do anything except notify Winnebago to have this on record and see if they suggest anything different than just leaving it alone.

I need to make a note to do roof maintenance in the Winter months here. Summer is "no bueno."
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Old 09-02-2020, 09:12 PM   #8
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Thanks Mark,



I will probably just leave the bubbles in the roof as is. I thought of using a syringe to inject some epoxy, but think I'll not do anything except notify Winnebago to have this on record and see if they suggest anything different than just leaving it alone.

I need to make a note to do roof maintenance in the Winter months here. Summer is "no bueno."
I agree to leave the bubbles alone. It is visually bothersome, however, the material is intact and monolithic. You won't do yourself any favor breeching the fiberglass material to inject glue so the roof is aesthetically flat. I realize you intend to reseal the puncture area but once punctured it will always be a worry about the integrity.

Like you, I've had several RV's and all with differing roofing systems and all had some form a bubble/delamination happen eventually.
As for what I think, I would leave it alone, but I know if this happened on my unit I would be in the same boat and would want it "right".

imnprsd, excellent write-up, very informative!!

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