Many owners of all kinds of RVs have had the unfortunate experience of learning what delamination is firsthand. If you’ve never heard of it and are new to the RV lifestyle, knowing what it is and how to spot it is a bit of valuable information. Sometimes it can be a costly and frustrating condition to repair.
If you’re a Hoosier State resident who has lost the battle with delamination and the cost of repair is too much to bear, you can sell your junk RV in Indiana to a specialized dealership. They buy rigs regardless of condition, age, or mileage, even those with severe delamination issues. We’ll cover all you need to know about delamination and the havoc it can cause.
What Is Delamination?
If you notice bubbles on your RV’s exterior surface, you could be in for a costly repair.
Bubbles are perfect for soft drinks and champagne but not so good for the exterior or roofing of RVs. Delamination occurs when a rig’s fiberglass or gel coat layer begins separating from the backing layer, typically plywood or luan. Delamination usually starts with small bubbles, bumps, or waves on an RV’s sidewalls, but can also attack roofs and interior flooring material.
Delamination can start out small and be almost unnoticeable. However, those small bumps and bubbles will grow into larger ones. Once much larger and obvious, the entire integrity of the rig has been compromised. Not only unsightly, delamination can be dangerous.
What Causes Delamination on RVs?
Although rare, sometimes delamination is due to a manufacturing flaw. However, a more common culprit is water and moisture. The body of an RV typically consists of layers of plywood and a fiberglass or gel coating that’s glued or otherwise attached to an aluminum frame. If water finds its way into these layers, it can cause havoc by slowly dissolving the glue or other adhesives used to hold the layers together. Once water gets in, those tell-tale bubbles begin.
Water typically finds its way into the sidewall or roof’s lawyers through:
- Cracks or holes in the fiberglass coating
- Cracked or loose rubber tubing, gaskets, and silicone that seal roof seams
- Cracked or loose rubber tubing, gaskets, and silicone meant to seal in windows and doors
Once water or moisture seeps into cracks or gaps in a rig’s seams, it will slowly begin to compromise the adhesives, causing the layers to separate. If left unchecked, the process will continue. The bubbles, bulges, and waves will increase in size as well as the cost of repair.
How To Prevent Delamination
Savvy RVers are aware that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to prevent delamination is frequent inspection of all seams. Ensure that anywhere water can find its way into the internal layers of the sidewalls and roof are properly sealed. Any rubber tubing that is dry, brittle, or cracked should be replaced immediately. Loose or missing silicone between seams should be resealed. Crucial areas to inspect are:
- Window frames
- Door frames
- Roof mounting air conditioning units
- All sidewall seams
What To Do if You Discover Delamination of Your RV
Fighting the battle of the bulge and bubbles can often be a losing battle. Once a rig has large areas of delamination, costs can be sky-high and will require a professional’s expertise. Delamination can be successfully combated if found early. There are several delamination repair kits on the market, however, the repair will entail removing the affected parts of the fiberglass exterior. If your RV has large areas of delamination, the repair costs could far outweigh the rig’s value.
Which RVs Are Most at Risk for Delamination?
Although all RVs are at risk, some are more so than others. Some of the more common factors affecting an RV’s potential to develop this costly repair include:
- Rigs over a decade old
- RVs that have been neglected
- Those who experience extreme and rapid temperature changes
- RVs that are exposed to a lot of rain or snow
Why Is Delamination a Big Problem?
The problems surrounding delamination aren’t solely based on looks. Although unsightly, those bumps and bubbles are causing more issues than meets the eye. Once moisture and water have found their way into the interior layers of an RV’s frame, the deterioration of the adhesives will continue, causing a bigger problem. Mold and mildew will develop, causing not only an odor problem but also poses a health risk.
Severe delamination can cause structural issues as the unlying plywood deteriorates and rots. This poses the risk of large pieces of the fiberglass exterior breaking off when the RV is traveling at higher speeds. If pieces of fiberglass tear off while the rig is in motion, the risks of the flying debris put other drivers on the road in danger.
The Curse of Delamination: The Solution
RV owners with the beginning signs of delamination need to find the culprit and eliminate the problem immediately. If left unchecked, mold, mildew, wood rot, and the structural integrity of the RV’s frame are sure to follow. Although repairable, the cost could easily be more than the value of the RV. When this happens, the rig is considered a junk RV.
The solution is to sell it to a specialized dealer who purchases RVs regardless of their condition. Most offer a free haul-away service while leaving you with cash, a check, or a cash app payment. Instead of throwing good money after bad, the best solution is to sell a rig with delamination issues to a junk RV dealer.