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Three Things You Need to Know About RV Fiberglass


So you’ve just bought your first RV, and at first it feels a
little bit like owning a big car. You drive it around, you wash it once or
twice, and you enjoy yourself. But eventually you find out that a significant
portion of your RV is constructed from large sheets of fiberglass. Now you’re
asking yourself a question you never stopped to ask yourself before.

What is fiberglass?

Quite simply, it’s plastic reinforced with—you guessed
it—glass fiber. Although many people hear the word “glass” and assume fiberglass
is going to be just as brittle, the glass fiber actually consists of fine “strings” of glass while the plastic itself can be anything from epoxy to
polyester resin. When assembled with the other traditional layers of an RV
wall, this fiberglass construction is very different from what you’re used to
dealing with in your cars.

What does this mean for you? If you’re going to take care of
your RV, you’re going to have to know your RV materials—and what it looks like
when those materials go awry.

#1: How the RV
Exterior is Constructed

Some 20+ years ago, most RVs adopted a basic structure for
the walls: an exterior of fiberglass, a center of insulation, and some form of
wall or wall paneling on the interior. Plywood is often used under the
fiberglass layer as well. By adhering these layers together and creating one
central type of “RV wall,” manufacturers were able to improve the look of RVs.

But even though your RV “wall” is often built in premade
single pieces, the fact is that it’s still a three-layered wall with three
different sections. The fiberglass on the exterior isn’t the same thing you
have going on in the exterior, which means you’ll want to get out and expect
your RV visually every so often to check for something called delamination.

#2: What RV
Fiberglass Problems to Look For

Bubbles, sometimes called “blisters,” can form when the
fiberglass exterior loses its adherence to the plywood underneath in a process
called “delamination.” Generally, this is caused by moisture in the plywood
itself, though it starts to effect the fiberglass as it gets worse over time.

Fiberglass is somewhat vulnerable to staining as well, which
means you’ll have to keep a handle on what kind of materials your RV exterior
is exposed to. It’s not immune to scratches and dents, either, so be sure to
inspect your RV after you feel or hear something cracking along the sides.

#3: How to Prevent Common
Fiberglass Problems

For delamination:

  • Before purchasing an RV, new or used, make sure
    the fiberglass is smooth and even without a hint of losing its adhesion to the
  • Maintain a clean and dry atmosphere inside the
    RV, as moisture from inside the RV can often get into the walls and cause
    external delamination.

For fiberglass stains:

  • Purchase Fiberglass Powder & Stain Remover to remove rust and other stains from your RV
  • Regularly wash, dry, and inspect the exterior of
    your RV to stay aware of any big stains, to remove debris, and to watch for
    other fiberglass problems.

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