What Is RV Delamination? 6 Questions Answered (For Beginners)

If you are experienced in RVs – owning them and camping with them – you’ve probably seen or had to deal with RV delamination in the past.

If you are new to RV-owning or using them on your camping adventures, then you’ve probably seen delamination but aren’t sure what it is.

In this article, we will discuss RV delamination and how to deal with it, as well as how to treat it.

Easy Understanding of RV Delamination:

RV delamination is when the fiberglass, laminate, or gelcoat layer of coating on your RV exterior begins to bubble, tear away, or pull away from the shell. This coating is used to protect your RV from the elements, but the elements can, over time, tear away at your protective covering.

1. How Can I Check an RV for Delamination?

More often than not, you will see RV delamination right away.

RV delamination appears cosmetically on the outside of your RV and looks like large bubbles showing up on your paint job. It can also look like canvas sagging down off the walls.

Your RV delamination might also look like a wavy plastic covering on your RV exterior. It may also be squishy or soft to the touch.

This is a bad sign and usually means that you have moisture beneath your protective fiberglass coat that is loosening materials on your RV.

When this happens, you will usually want to get it repaired pretty quickly.

Ignoring it will only further exacerbate the process.

2. How Does Delamination Affect the RV?

Delamination can peel away the exterior covering of your RV and trap moisture between that exterior and the interior walls.

Those walls are usually made of wood and then another metal or hardy plastic frame, so there are dangers of letting that moisture infect your interior.

Mold, for instance, is a big problem when it comes to RV delamination. That moisture being trapped between your RV’s exterior and interior walls is a perfect breeding ground for mold, which will eat away at the wood in the RV and could cause allergies or, even worse medical side effects for you and your family.

Even if you don’t end up growing mold, the moisture can also begin to deteriorate the strength of your RV by wearing down the frame and fiberglass exterior. This can lead to an unsteady RV to stay in and can ultimately become not structurally sound.

Furthermore, the peeling away of your exterior takes away your protection from the elements.

Finally, it just doesn’t look very good. Your RV will begin to look like it is falling apart.

3. What Causes Delamination on a Camper?

Because fiberglass is cheaper and lightweight, many campers are also made from those materials.

In the instance that your camper is made with fiberglass materials, those exterior sidings glued onto your camper can possibly suffer from delamination.

Delamination in a fiberglass boat, RV, or camper simply happens when the exterior protective coating starts to peel away from the walls or rig, and moisture gets inside.

When this happens, there are dangers of mold or deteriorating structures which can make those campers unsafe. Repairing and preventing this from happening becomes very expensive after a while, so letting it get too bad can lead to disaster.

4. How Much Does it Cost to fix RV Delamination?

Fixing RV delamination is costly the longer you let it go on.

Many times, moisture and mold are affecting not just the exterior walls but the interior wood, materials, cloth, or furniture. This moisture might even cause you to have to replace nearly everything in your RV if it is left to grow mold or become soggy.

Those costs can range upward of $1,000+ just to replace interior furnishings or the wooden floors and carpet after water damage or mold.

Completely redoing your exterior covering that is peeling away? Even more so.

DIY kits to fix delamination yourself can cost between $100-$300, but not knowing exactly how to do it yourself can only end up bandaging the process and costing you more money later.

5. Can You Stop Delamination?

It is recommended that the RV owner prevent delamination by using a sealant on an annual basis to close up or repair any cracks, openings, or possible dents in the RV exterior.

This will prevent moisture from leaking into those cracks and causing delamination.

Furthermore, sealing up cracks will help you prevent future leaks or possible peeling of your fiberglass protective coverings.

Most recommend LAP sealant, which is not too expensive and can be used by any RV owner.

Once delamination has occurred, however, it is much more difficult to seal it back up. Instead, you will need to pay someone to repair it or buy a kit and do it yourself.

Finally, storing your RV in a dry, covered area when not in use can protect it from the elements and prevent delamination from happening early.

6. How Long Does an RV Roof Typically Last?

RV roofs are meant to last at least ten years, but with preventative measures and recoats every couple of years, you can attempt to extend that lifespan to twenty years.

RV roofing is made from fiberglass, rubber, aluminum, and other materials.

Different sealants can be used on each type to prevent damage or peeling, or delamination on the roof. Because your RV’s roof takes the most damage from the elements, it is possible that delamination can occur more frequently up there, and it is harder to spot when it does.

Keep your roof clean after using it on a long trip and store it somewhere dry and covered when you aren’t using it.

Furthermore, keep track of any cracks or potential openings for leaks or delamination and seal them up immediately!

If you can do all of that, you are more likely to help your RV withstand the test of time and the elements longer.

References:

RV Sidewall Delamination – Crucial Guideline & Helpful Facts

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