Unfortunately, I have a sizeable delamination project on my RV to tackle. Do you have any tips or referrals to articles or other sources of information for this project? Thank you. —Jeff, 2002 Winnebago Vista
The sidewalls of your Vista are made of a fiberglass outer skin, lauan paneling, block foam insulation with aluminum framework embedded, and an interior lauan with wallpaper. They are all laminated with an adhesive compound and run through a series of pinch rollers trademarked as Winnebago Thermo-Panel® construction.
What typically causes delamination in this type of construction is a moisture leak that penetrates between the layers and either weakens the adhesive, or deteriorates the lauan wood panel. In recent years, Winnebago has gone to a product called Azdel. It is a composite and will not deteriorate like the wood product but can still get delamination between layers if moisture gets inside.
Here is a cutaway sample I have from the Winnebago Training Program showing what your sidewall would look like.
Websites I recommend regarding delamination
Two websites I would recommend are by California RV Specialists and Composet Products L.L.C. More on them below.
Depending on the location and severity of the delamination, there are a few different methods you can use to make the repair. The type of delamination shown on the front cab of this trailer would require an entire reskin, which is a very daunting process and most likely not a DIY one.
If you have just a small sidewall delamination, it is possible to pull out a window or remove a cutout, which is most likely where the moisture penetration started, and try to reglue the layers. First you will need to find an adhesive that will work in an enclosed environment and one that will not deteriorate the block foam. Stabond has been recommended by several dealers, as well as Composet. If the area is relatively small, you might be able to drill a small hole in the top part of the delamination area and inject a small amount of the appropriate adhesive. Then use a piece of plywood and find a way to apply that wood to the sidewall with pressure. Park the unit next to a wall and use a 2×4 horizontal to apply the pressure.
If the area is larger and has deteriorated the lauan, that entire area will need to be cut out and it could need new block foam as well as lauan and even fiberglass. Check out the video overview from Dustin and Zack at California RV Specialists here.
Composet Products L.L.C. actually sells RV delamination repair kits here. This website has several articles and videos on various delamination repairs that should be beneficial.
Also, RVtravel.com has several articles on delamination.
You might also enjoy this from Dave
Can my RV have soft floors even without a water leak?
Can soft spots develop on the floor of my 5th wheel trailer without being caused by water damage? We have a 2017 Primetime Crusader Lite, model 30BH. The soft spots started 2 years after we bought it new, mainly at high traffic areas. No signs of water anywhere in the rig. Had the rig checked for exterior and plumbing leaks but none found. When I removed a floor register, I noticed the actual laminated wooden part of the floor was maybe 5/16″ thick, definitely less than 3/8″. Couldn’t see how far apart the joists were. There’s about 1 1/2″ to 2″ of high density foam underneath the flooring. Anyway, is it possible to have delamination and/or soft spots without any water damage? Thank you very much! —Tom L.
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the author of the “RV Handbook.”
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Great article, Dave. Thank you for recommending us!
Well, of course, Dustin! And since you were too modest to mention your company (even though it’s linked in the article), I’ll do it for you: California RV Specialists! RVtravel.com highly recommends Dustin and his crew. Have a good night. 😀 –Diane at RVtravel.com