...And Making it Worse
The Motorless Home has leaks. We've talked about them previously when I blogged about fixing the leak over the bathroom and the front cap. Well, the one at the rear cap raised its ugly head the other day.
Linda and I have been "testing" the RV for the last several days. We've actually spent most of our time in there. It has working air conditioning and running water, so we can actually prepare meals and sleep in there. Using the bathroom is a bit of a challenge, but we're close to the house.
So, last night, I decided to repair it like I did to the front cap, by applying a layer of sealant after removing the old, dead stuff.
The stuff I'm using as a sealant isn't the usual self-leveling stuff that is recommended for RVs. That stuff is really expensive! Since it will be a while before the Motorless Home is mobile again, I'm not as worried about using a nonstandard sealant. The stuff I'm using is for roofs, but not specifically for RV roofs.
I've looked at the "proper" stuff, and when I read about how to apply it, I was appalled. The instructions say to clean up the existing surface with mineral spirits and make sure it is clean and dry. Then, just apply the new sealant over top of the old and let it cure. To me, this is just stupid. With the exception of this stuff, I've never seen a sealant's instructions tell you to skip the "completely remove all old sealant" step.
I just can't abide that. When I worked on the skylight and front cap, I used a utility knife to remove the old sealant. This time, I brought power tools. I brought an angle grinder with a wire wheel on it to grind off the old sealant. I put on my eye protection and ground away. That stuff made the most hellacious mess I've seen in a while. It was like sticky dust particles. It got everywhere. But, in the end, I was able to get the old sealant ground away to a point that I was happy. After cleaning all the sticky-dust away, I applied a generous coating of sealant to the entire seal. So far, so good. Or so I thought.
Mr. Murphy, You Can Just go Away, Thank You.
The sealant that I use takes 24 hours to cure completely, and several hours to cure enough to be water-tight. Since it seems that it's latex-based, it just rinses off with water until it cures. This makes cleanup really easy. It also means that you had better not try to apply this stuff when it's about to rain.
About ten minutes after I completed the "re-gooping," it started to rain. I was worried that there had not been enough time for it to cure, especially since it was overcast and rather cool outside. The curing takes longer when the temperature is lower. It rained for just a few minutes, and it didn't seem to rain that hard, so I thought I had dodged a bullet.
I was wrong.
I went back to the bedroom to check on something and felt a huge wet spot on the bed. Since my excursion to the roof was supposed to STOP leaks, I investigated. It was leaking, allright, and the water coming in had a milkiness to it that told me that it was dissolving the sealant. I hurried back up onto the roof to find a puddle washing over my freshly applied goop. Not good. I had to get that water off there and redistribute the sealant and protect it while it cured, in case it rained again.
So, I spent the next hour drying the roof and getting the water away from the sealant. I then applied a layer of plastic over the sealant to (hopefully) protect it long enough for it to finish curing. The duct tape didn't want to stick; the surface was irregular, cold and slightly damp. All of those are the enemy of good duct tape adhesion. I did the best I could and went inside.
Although there was no more rain and I was reasonably sure that the area was sealed up again, the ceiling continued to drip. I guess a lot more water got into the walls than I thought. I will just have to wait for that water to make its way out of there. Linda decided to sleep in the house since she didn't want to get dripped on again. I don't blame her.
Redo the Redo
Since water is the enemy of uncured latex, there is a good chance that I will have to completely remove the sealant that I just applied and redo it at a time that I know there will be no rain. Once I've given the existing stuff time to cure, I will reinspect. If I have any doubt about the seal, I will remove it and redo it.