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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers  >  General Q&A

 > Azdel or not?

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Stclairm

Fuquay-Varina, NC

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Posted: 10/16/20 06:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I read about people being told the roof needs to be "recaulked" or resealed twice a year!
Lord help you if you look up each manufacturers reviews on Google. Very, very few have more than 3-3.5 stars. Nothing but water leak warranty horror stories on very new (less that one year old) travel trailers. Goes back to me saying I will negotiate to have the roof resealed at purchase. Apparently the guys at the factory do super sloppy roof jobs. I just don't get it.

BurbMan

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Posted: 10/16/20 07:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Stclairm wrote:

I read about people being told the roof needs to be "recaulked" or resealed twice a year!
Lord help you if you look up each manufacturers reviews on Google. Very, very few have more than 3-3.5 stars. Nothing but water leak warranty horror stories on very new (less that one year old) travel trailers. Goes back to me saying I will negotiate to have the roof resealed at purchase. Apparently the guys at the factory do super sloppy roof jobs. I just don't get it.


The EDPM rubber that most mfrs use is guaranteed for 10 years before it needs to be re-coated or re-sealed. What you are referring to are the SEAMS...anything that enters the roof, including skylights, ladder, antenna, etc., all need to be checked to be sure no voids in the lap sealant. Alo the seams where the roof meets the sidewalls.

Also all WALL openings, like the clearance lights, windows, and hatches. Trailers bounce, shake and flex as they roll down today's interstates, and cracks develop in these sealed joints. The smallest crack will let water in, and by the time you see that you have water intrusion, the damage is already done behind the wall....mold is growing and rot has started.

It's easy to blame water damage on poor workmanship, but there is nothing that can be done at the factory to guaranty that leaks won't develop. Bottom line, it's the owner's responsibility to look after the trailer, and if they don't have the tools/skills, then they should bring it to the dealer at least once per year and have it checked and re-sealed as necessary.


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theoldwizard1

SE MI

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Posted: 10/16/20 07:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Stclairm wrote:

I keep seeing so many stories about fiberglass walls delaminating and the such with luan as part of the construction. I see people who don't even have water damage and the walls are coming apart. So, would you only buy a trailer that uses Azdel or is there good reason to buy one that doesn't have it because the manufacturer has a superior reputation for wall construction and longivity?

To start with, I think Azdel is a great sheathing product. Understand that wall sheathing has two primary jobs. Prevent wall "racking" (front to rear movement) and provide a very smooth sub-surface to apply the finish, typically some type of flexible fiberglass product like Filon.

Delamination is caused by water intrusion that de-bonds the exterior finish to the sheathing. Typically this come from the area where the roof attaches to the side wall or from around windows. Continuous water intrusion ruins the adhesive. If the sheathing is any type or organic (wood) it will rot. If the studs are organic, they will rot, If the floor is organic, it will rot.

Azdel is a little like locking the barn door after the horse is out ! If there were no leaks, an organic sheathing (wood) would be fine.

Organic sheathing and organic wall studs are much cheaper than non-organic (Azdel and aluminum). Several manufacturers experimented with non-organic floors, but they did not decrease the distance between floor joists or add extra bracing and they found out (the hard way) that honeycomb floors do NOT hold up to foot traffic.


Segue - Coachmen heavily advertises the use of Azdel, but they do NOT use it in all of the their products. Even in the products that they do use it, they don't use it in the front or rear walls. My guess is that they can not keep it attached to the studs because of the severe amount of racking those two wall get.

theoldwizard1

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Posted: 10/16/20 07:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Stclairm wrote:

When we buy our next trailer (fairly soon), I will negotiate to have the roof maintenance covered by some sort of contract if there is such a thing. These TT manufacturers absolutely love to blame improper/lack of roof maintenance from customer and deny warranty claims. I don't think I've found one RV company google review where I haven't read that several times.

I have only heard of ONE after market place that gives any kind of long term warranty, but that is AFTER a tear off of the EPDM roofing and replacing it with commercial grade TPO.

RV Roof Install

They offer a 20 year warranty, but require an annual inspection.

theoldwizard1

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Posted: 10/16/20 07:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BurbMan wrote:

The EDPM rubber that most mfrs use is guaranteed for 10 years before it needs to be re-coated or re-sealed.

I would NEVER trust a typical EPDM roof for 10 years unless it was stored more than 50% of the time out of the sun.

If stored in the elements, somewhere between 5 and 10 years, it needs to be removed and replaced.

Desert Captain

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Posted: 10/16/20 08:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Azdel has a number of benefits...

It is impervious to moisture, will not absorb drop. It its far lighter and stronger than Luan much less the cheap plywood many manufacturers still use. Also it has a higher "R" value than the other materials. When properly installed using the vacuum seal construction techniques it will be sandwiched between the fiberglass and foam insulation and the entire wall becomes one solid, highly water resistant structure. Lance was one of the early pioneers to utilize this technology along with Nexus.

Some of the higher end Winnebago lines are now going this route as well. Using Azdel is time consuming and expensive but it produces a superior finished product.

Here are couple of shots I took back in June of 2014 while touring the Nexus factor. The first {IIRC} is part of the vacuum press and the second is of a roof under construction. Nexus uses low alloy steel for all of their framing instead of aluminum or wood for greater strength and utilizes one piece fiberglass roofs and end caps:

[image]

[image]

That is our coach in the background behind the roof section. I was having them install the spare tie mount under the rear of the coach {at a reasonable $75 an hour}.

[emoticon]

* This post was last edited 10/16/20 10:27am by Desert Captain *   View edit history





mr_andyj

Georgia

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Posted: 10/16/20 08:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That it does not have thin sheets of ply-wood behind it is a huge bonus. All the de-lams I have seen have curvy, wav-ie plys of wood that have absorbed water and expanded. Seems the de-lam is as much the wood having to expand and with no where to go but bust out the panel than the glue dissolving.

Wet glue can re-cure, or be heated up a little and might re-glue itself back, but with wet plys of wood there is no hope.

I do not know if the azdel glue can do this, but that there is no wood to move water way down the wall through its capillarly action is another big bonus. At worst I would think you might get de-lam on the edges, but not in the center. Time will tell.

To all who have owned a camper for 2 years and can report no issues. HAHA. Please.

Stclairm

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Posted: 10/16/20 08:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lots of great, informative responses! I would have to agree that with the flexing of the trailer during transit, caulk and sealant will crack and require regular maintenance attention. I was referring to seams. Every penetration of the roof or sidewalls.
I sent a message to a local mobile RV repair professional and he wholeheartedly recommended Forest River products. I'm guessing for several reasons, one of which must be that they pay him fairly and timely. He's authorized to perform warranty service, repairs Norcold and Dometic refrigerators, does restorations, etc. I figured he would be a good one to ask about brand reputation. I thought about buying the rvreviews book, but it seems to me the information here and from someone like him is just as good, if not better.

BurbMan

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Posted: 10/16/20 09:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

theoldwizard1 wrote:

I would NEVER trust a typical EPDM roof for 10 years unless it was stored more than 50% of the time out of the sun.

If stored in the elements, somewhere between 5 and 10 years, it needs to be removed and replaced.


My EDPM roof was 13 yrs old when I sold the TT and tight as a drum. I cleaned it once a year, and re-coated it at the 10-year mark. Just need to very careful about using products that are not petroleum based. The lap sealant around openings had a tendency to crack and separate but the rubber itself was fine.

No question Azdel is superior to luan for water resistance, but it's only one component. There is a new company called Alliance RV that is making 5ers (no TT's) with aluminum frame, azdel sheathing on side and rear walls, one piece fiberglas front cap and PVC roof.

But you still have insulation and that 1/8" interior wallboard...so a water leak may not cause structural damage, but it will still soak the insulation and interior wallboard and create a mold issue. So leak damage is potentially less expensive to repair, but it doesn't allow you to not worry about having to re-seal the trailer. As an aside, you would expect that kind of construction in a 5er costing $100k+...

Which brings you full circle...if you have to seal the trailer anyway, luan and wood framing is every bit as good as azdel and aluminum if they stay dry....

sgfrye

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Posted: 10/16/20 10:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

goducks10 wrote:

Since Azdel is a man made product and the exterior fiberglass is as well even if you get water in between and you get some delam you shouldn't have the big pucker bubbles like you would with luan. Luan will breakdown and pucker and separate like plywood will. Think of Azdel like you would cement board siding for houses. It's virtually impervious to water.
I think it's better than Luan but in the end I want a floor plan I can enjoy. So many other factors come into play when deciding on an RV.
Siding is one as is the frame, suspension, lighting, interior finishes, storage, layout, etc.
If you take care of your RV with regular maintenance you should avoid most problems. I've seen 10-15 year old RV's with fiberglass over laun walls that look fine. I've seen new ones that have had delam within a couple years. Those latter are rare IMO. Get a plumbing leak and there goes you floor regardless of what walls you have. Maintenance, maintenance maintenance.


good response

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