In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Do fibreglass campers leak? We will discuss the reasons for camper leaks, how to prevent them and also how to fix them.
Do fibreglass campers leak?
Yes, fibreglass campers leak, just like any other camper. We know this is not what you wanted to hear, but let’s see what are the common causes of campers leaks and discuss how to repair and prevent them.
What are the causes of fibreglass campers leaks?
It is important to know why the water is leaking on the roof so you can prevent and repair them in time.
In general, leaks are born by:
- Water accumulation on the camper roof (fibreglass roofs can hold up to 550 lbs water accumulation);
- The age of the camper (all materials have an estimated lifetime)
- Climatic conditions (depending on the weather conditions, the roofs can last more or less time.)
- Lack of maintenance (they deteriorate in an accelerated way so it is essential to do regular repairs)
- Low-quality materials (it is important to invest in the best materials)
- Broken pipes and leaks (regular maintenance will prevent this).
How do I find the leak in a fibreglass camper?
To find a leak in your camper you will have to do some detective work and search for clues in order to identify the source of the issue. Thus, you will have to search for cracks, worn and damaged spots, thinning or any other type of damage in the following places:
- On the roof and the skylight of your caravan;
- Near the windows, doors and vents;
- Check the water heater and the AC;
- The portable water tank and the city water tank.
To know if there is water infiltration without having a hygrometer, you will have to check the four corners of the interior walls of the RV as well as the corners of the extension from the floor to the ceiling including the cabinets.
How to repair a fibreglass camper leak?
Incorporated in campers and motorhomes, fibreglass is a plasticized polymer reinforced with fibreglass. Due to a lightweight composition of fibreglass camper shells are susceptible to damage from road debris and hanging tree branches when off-roading or manoeuvring through campgrounds.
Once the exterior has been compromised, an RV’s fibreglass shell should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent water from seeping through and damaging the caravan frame.
Things you will need:
- sanding disc
- Nylon detection
- Scotch tape
- marker pen
- Pair of scissors
- fibreglass resin with hardener
- 150 grit sanding discs
- Clean rag
- 220 grit sanding discs
- Cut the edges around the damaged area with a jigsaw and a fibreglass-rated blade. Fade the inside edges of the trim area, using 150-grit sandpaper attached to a sanding disc and drill, making the edges of the trim slope down toward the centre of the hole.
- Secure a piece of nylon sensing in the hole with masking tape. Trace a line over the top of the projection with a marker, around the inner edges of the hole, creating a pattern on the screen corresponding to the dimensions of the hole. Cut out the pattern on the screen with a pair of scissors.
- Mix a small amount of fibreglass resin and hardener, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply the prepared resin to the edges of the fibreglass pens with the spacer supplied with the resin. Place the prepared screen over the hole, working the edges of the screen into the resin. Allow the resin to cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Mix a quantity of resin large enough to fill the cavity on the screen. Gently flatten the resin onto the screen with the spreader. Let the resin cure.
- Sand the surface of the patch with the sanding disc and 150-grit sandpaper. Wipe clean sand area with a dry cloth.
- Mix a small portion of resin and fill in any blemishes in the repaired area. Sand the patch with the disc sander and 220 grit sandpaper, blending the edges of the repaired area flush and smooth with the surrounding surface.
- Prime and paint the repaired area to match the original paint.
Other questions you may be interested in
How to avoid fibreglass camper leaks?
We know how annoying leaks can be, ruining floors, furniture and causing annoying noise throughout our camper. That is why we bring you some tips to avoid these horrible leaks.
Make regular checks. It is important to do a periodic review from time to time to ensure that there is no type of damage to this material. This periodicity should increase in rainy seasons since this is when our roofs tend to receive the most damage. Remember that minor damage is always easier to repair.
Constant maintenance. It is very important to make sure that our sheet roof is clean, so we recommend cleaning the area so that the water continues to flow out of your camper. It is also important to repair any detail that we notice before it becomes a big problem.
Review the drainage process. Sheet ceilings are placed in an angular position so that the water can go down and does not get stuck on the ceiling. We must check that this drain works correctly to prevent water from stagnating damaging our roof.
Check the corners of the walls. The corners created between the ceiling and the walls are the main ones in showing us damage to our ceiling. It is essential to check that there are no cracks in this area that could become a leak. In case of finding deterioration, we must cover the crack with cement or a sealer.
Cover the leaks. If we find holes in our fibreglass roof through which water can pass, we must place a layer of cement in this area, this will block the passage of water, protecting our home from the rains.
Replace excessively damaged blades. In case of finding many leaks, or one with a large size, the ideal is to change the sheet that protects our camper.
If you don’t manage to find the leak source in your camper, you could take the vehicle to a service or motorhome specialist. They would be able to find the source of the leak and repair it.
In the long term, water can cause significant damage: detachment, buckling, blistering. Mould can also form. That’s why it’s better to prevent water leaks by regularly maintaining and cleaning your fibreglass camper.
If you have any comments or questions on the content, please let us know.
FAQ on Do fiberglass campers leak?
How do you know if you have a water leak?
Some of the signs that there may be a leak are:
- A hot spot on the ground.
- A water heater that does not turn off.
- Sound of running water when accessories, such as the toilet, are not being used.
- Water from a point under the wall.
- Hot water from a cold water tap.
How long do fibreglass trailers last?
Fibreglass trailers last around 10 years, however, the lifespan of a caravan will largely depend on how well you maintain it!
How to detect a water leak in the wall?
Some of the signs that there is water leaking the wall are: feeling a hot area on the floor, listening to the sound of water passing through the bathroom or kitchen accessories, seeing areas of water on the floor, noticing large damp stains on the wall, notice that water comes out of the cold water tap.
How to minimize the risk of camper leaks?
Regular inspection of the seals, at least twice a year, will allow you to minimize the risk of water infiltration and leaks in a camper. If you find that the gaskets are crumbling or peeling, it is time to replace them.