Hi! We’re Matt and Kate! A young couple who decided to buck the typical American dream and create their own. At the ripe ol’ age of 26 and 30 we sold almost everything we owned and became full-time RVers. Our very first blog post offers some insight into why we chose to head, Read More
Holy cow. Has it really been three weeks already?
Holy cow. Has it only been three weeks?
Well here I am, a little late with our weekly update, but today’s post is coming to you live from renovation headquarters! (Well this post was started when I was sitting there…more on that a little bit later)
It’s so hard to decide if it feels like things are taking forever or that time is passing by so quickly I can barely keep up!. At times it’s hard not to feel frustrated that we aren’t further along but on the other hand I feel like we’ve accomplished a lot in a short amount of time! When I left off last, we were preparing to do more window sealing and button up a few items on the exterior that were possible leak culprits. The good news is we tackled most of those projects this past week.
We successfully have the back corner looking all nice and pretty! The new exterior outlet for the stove vent hood was installed this past week and keeps water out like a champ.
Matt also hopped up on the roof and applied the Dicor lap sealant around the antenna. Seriously, if you need to seal up your roof, go with that stuff. It’s awesome.
We also pulled out the other two back windows and got those back in and resealed with Pro Flex sealant. If you remember last week, I mentioned sealing our first window with clear silicone. While I don’t want this blog to be full of technical details, I do want to make sure we share the best possible information, so I’m going to talk about RV sealant for a minute.
(Skip this paragraph if you have no intentions of sealing an RV anytime in the near future) 😉 In my initial research, I came to the conclusion that Pro Flex RV sealant was the best choice on the market for the job. However, they didn’t have any in stock at Camping World, so we were told to just go pick up some silicone from the hardware store. Well, after reading my last post, a nice gentleman informed me that silicone is not the way to go. Great…so I dug a little deeper and came to the conclusion that silicone isn’t a great choice for RVs because its adhesion properties aren’t the best, it attracts dirts, and when it starts to compromise (which it will), you have to completely remove it before reapplying; which I’ve learned is a huge PITA. So, we returned all of the “clear silicone” and used Pro Flex for the other two windows. I think we’ll be ok on the one window we already did since we actually used Lexel, which is a clear silicone alternative. It has great reviews, and since we’ll be painting the exterior, you won’t really be able to tell a difference between the Lexel and Pro Flex. Phew, really dodged a bullet there! Ok, back to the fun stuff.
On Saturday I did a silly thing and wished for buckets of rain. I wanted to make sure the windows and roof were sealed up nice and tight so we wouldn’t have any surprises post painting. Well, I got my wish.
Hey! Looky there, leaks!…. Back up to the roof and corner we go this week with a little more sealant. However, while we weren’t really too surprised to see water there, we were VERY disappointed when this appeared.
WHAT?! Water at the corner of the window?? How could this be? My first thought was, “Crap, now I have to eat my hat”. It was quickly followed by complete and utter confusion because we had thoroughly soaked the window and it had stayed completely dry.
After wracking our brains for several minutes the only thing we could possibly think of was the water was somehow coming in through the exterior metal seams and running up to the edge of the window. There aren’t any rain gutters along the roof edge, so when it’s raining really hard, water just pours down the sides, and quite a bit was near the window.
What happened next was not photographed because it was both hilarious and tragic and very wet all at the same time. We went outside in the pouring rain to apply the Pro Flex sealant to the exterior seams. I couldn’t really find any advice on doing such a thing, but I figured, “Hey, what’s the worst that can happen?”. We can always remove it (since I’m such a pro at that task these days) and at least we’d be able to see if the seams were in fact our problem. The Pro Flex says that it can be applied in damp conditions, so we set up a makeshift tarp along the side to try and keep the rain out. The plan was for me to dry the area while Matt went behind me with the caulk gun. This worked for about 30 seconds before the rag got too wet to dry and then it just turned into a circus of trying to get the Pro Flex to stick to the wet surface. It was very frustrating. After what seemed like ages of being completely soaked, the seams got buttoned up enough to test and see if our efforts were going to be rewarded. We dried the two wet spots inside and played the waiting game. Sure enough, it worked and stayed dry for the next several hours while the rain continued! The bad news is, since the application conditions were so poor, I’m going to need to go back and do a better job at making sure things are even.
I actually started this blog post a week ago, but I’ve been waiting to publish until I could find some conclusive answer to our panel sealing. The internet was pretty elusive, and I wasn’t able to find other people having metal seam issues or solving them by sealing. I kept looking and came up empty, so I took my question to a Vintage RV group where I found that other people had done this! So onward we go with our plan, and hopefully this will be our last dance with leaks for a while!
In news not related to leaks or sealing or seams (thank goodness), we’ve made quite a bit of progress on getting the walls and cabinets back together!
Look at that pretty new cabinet front! Matt is an expert luan cutter at this point and has been doing such a great job with the reconstruction.
We’re at a bit of a renovation standstill at the moment because this blog post is actually now coming to you from Kenedy, TX. Our original plan was to stay in Arkansas through Christmas and come to south Texas in January, but as life goes, sometimes plans change. My sweet grandma passed away last week so we made a quick trip this past weekend for the funeral and decided to make the most of the drive by staying for Christmas. We’ll be here until the 26th, and then we’ll head back to Arkansas and take advantage of some vacation time and get some solid days dedicated to the renovation! Until then we wish you a very Merry Christmas!
Well here I am on a Monday writing our weekly recap and I can hardly believe it! When I last left off we were just beginning to dry out from days of rain. I am happy to report that it’s been nice and sunny and still no chances of showers until Sunday. Woohoo!
So what did we get done this week? Well, as planned, our main focus was figuring out how to seal the leaks that appeared during the Thanksgiving Monsoon of 2015. We also had a bit more demolition to do, so during the week, I made friends with a crowbar and ripped out the back wall!Ever wonder what’s behind a RV wall? Answer: Not much. These things are built pretty simply. Just a little framing, some insulation (which isn’t that great) and some thin luan board. I managed to get the back wall ripped out all by myself while Matt worked and was pretty proud of my accomplishment. On Saturday we did some errand running to pick up supplies. We had a few things to take care of around the house so we didn’t get quite as much done as we hoped but made up for it on Sunday when we really got rolling!
We got to work right away and removed the window that seemed to be the leakiest. It was surprisingly easy to get that bad boy out. After slicing the caulk and removing some screws we were left with a nice gaping hole.
Since I’m not an RV expert (yet anyways) 😉 I took to the Internet to learn about windows. After a bit of research this past week, I was left with a few different ideas as to what might be causing the water leaks. The easy option was that it was coming through the cracked caulk and old butyl tape or rusty screws. The more difficult option was that the windows themselves might be compromised, requiring us to dismantle them and replace the seals. Since we weren’t sure exactly what we were dealing with we decided to try one window out with the “easy option” to see what happened.
And by easy, I mean a lot more time-consuming than I thought because DANG, the old butyl tape and sealant took a while to remove. I ended up taking over Operation De-Gunk and used various methods of scrubbing, grinding, and scraping. I took my job very seriously because with anything – your effort matches your results – and I sure didn’t want them to leak again because I did a poor job and left remnants behind. After what seemed like hours I got the window and wall clean and ready to go back in! First we put the new butyl tape on, which if you don’t know what butyl tape is, it’s basically squishy putty in tape form. Next it was time to put the window back in and replace the old rusty screws with bright new shiny ones! We also added a dab of clear silicone when installing the screws to give a little extra leak protection.We then re-sealed the edges with the clear silicone and played the waiting game to see if our easy job did the trick! More on that in a minute…
As with anything that’s almost 40 years old, Mobi needed a little love and we knew we had a bit of work cut out for us to get him put back together again. Our other big exterior project was some body work on the drivers side back corner. Even given the exterior damage, Mobi was still in better shape than most of the older motorhomes we came across during our search. After Matt removed the corner trim, I got to work scrubbing and scraping off the old silicone and putty tape. In case you’re wondering, it was just as time-consuming as the windows. While I was working cleaning, Matt figured out how to replace and add structural support to screw the metal back together. Hooray!We’re waiting to add the trim piece on until tomorrow when we have some daylight, but so far it looks like Humpty Dumpty will be all put back together again just like new. Since my cleaning took longer than Matt’s structural work he had time to cut new insulation for the back wall. We were really lucky that all the wall supports were still in great shape and not affected by any leaks. Things are really looking up in here!Just in case you thought I forgot about the window you’re in luck, I didn’t! This afternoon we hooked up a hose and drenched the window for several minutes. I’m happy to report that we are leak free!!!! I’m pretty sure we put enough water on it to simulate inches of rain, so I’ll eat my hat if we’re surprised by water any time soon. This is great news and means I’ve got a lot of scrubbing and cleaning in my future!
Our next goals are to re-seal the remaining windows, patch around the roof antenna and replace a few exterior items like vents that are letting water in. We’re hoping to get the remaining interior walls cut and installed this weekend. Fingers crossed that everything goes according to plan so I can finally start painting!
Until next week!
The renovation has begun! I made the proclamation on Facebook that I hope to do weekly updates each Monday as we progress, so here is the first one. Better late than never!
Last week we said goodbye to downtown Little Rock and moved about 20 minutes down the road to Matt’s parents house. November proved to be our most social month of RVing yet. The Downtown Riverside RV park is a happening place! We had a wonderful time seeing old friends, meeting up with internet friends (Spot the Scotts and Open Road Chronicles) for the first time, and making new friends! One of Matt’s coworkers, who also travels full-time and blogs about it, arrived at the RV park a few days after we did. I had a wonderful time getting to know his wife and hanging out with their adorable, almost 2 year old. We also happened to cross paths with our friends Julie and Wendell who we met last year in a rain storm during our stay in Little Rock. They were our first true RV friends we had met on the road, so after staying in touch for the last year it was fun to see them again! I feel like this past month has been just the tip of the iceberg of the social fun we’re going to have as we become more mobile.
We technically kicked the renovation off Friday morning when Matt started pulling up the carpet. What a difference! It’s almost like the carpet sucks the light from the room and once it’s removed the space suddenly looks larger. Maybe someone who’s scientific can explain that one to me. 😉We were pleasantly surprised to find that Mobi was originally outfitted with linoleum flooring! Anyone who has ever removed RV carpet will know how exciting this is because it means we have a nice smooth surface to lay the new stuff over. It was in really great shape so I’m not exactly sure why someone would have wanted to add carpet, but to each their own, I’m just glad I won’t be ripping out hundreds of staples!
As predicted, we had a rain filled weekend. At first I was pretty bummed that we were expected to stay drenched, but as the weekend progressed I realized it probably was for the best that it rained non-stop.If it wouldn’t have been for the rain we wouldn’t have been able to identify the problem areas, so it was really a blessing in disguise. Our first find was right behind the oven. We already knew the wall was damaged but weren’t entirely sure how it gotten that way until we removed the vent hood. I mean really…how can that be ok to just let water run in like this?A big chunk of our Saturday was spent at Home Depot picking up the majority of supplies we needed. We made a trip to Lowe’s Sunday because we switched up our flooring choice and are trying a new different product called SMARTCORE. Like the Allure planks it is 100% waterproof but seems a little lighter despite how rigid and thick it is. We’re also going an extra step and installing an underlayment first (which we wished we would have done in Lucille) and I think it’s going to make a big temperature difference on the tootsies.Once we arrived back with the new materials the first things to go in were the new dinette support boards. The ones previously there were splintery particle board and weren’t the sturdiest. Since we’ll be spending most of our time in this little section I wanted to make sure it was solid.After removing the damaged wall behind the oven and doing quite a bit of demo on the cabinets, we were left with nothing but a few bones. Since we had just picked up the new sink I was anxious to do a test fit to see how it would work. Who knew I’d ever be so excited for something to do dishes in!We also took the flooring and countertops for a test run to see how they looked.In my renovation plans post I discussed wanting walnut countertops. Well, after realizing the $99 material I was looking at was only 4″ wide and made for a backsplash, I checked online for actual countertop material and sent out for a quote. When it came back at over $500 I decided I would need to find a more budget friendly route and so I settled on simple pine that will be stained. I even did a little research and remembered a blog I’ve followed for years actually did the very same thing. Considering the new countertops were less than $75 I think it’s a worthy trade off and I’m sure it will look just as lovely.Throughout the weekend we only found one leaky spot in the roof (through the antenna hole) but found out the old windows are the sneakiest culprit. It even took us until last night to realize just how much water was coming in behind the laminate, so we started tearing out those panels and will replace with a new luan that will be smooth and ready for paint.All in all it was a successful first weekend. While we don’t feel like we accomplished a lot, we feel like we have a pretty good plan of attack for things that need to be done. Hopefully this week we’ll be able to get the remaining demolition done and this upcoming weekend looks to be free from any precipitation so getting all of the leaks sealed up will be our biggest priority.
In other news I had a bit of time to play around in Photoshop and mock up the ideas that have been floating around in my brain. Who knows if this is exactly where we’ll end up but I think it will be pretty close! If only I could snap my fingers and make it happen just as fast as the gif does it!Until next week!