Week 2 – Exterior Sealing
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!