Hairline cracks developing in my roof

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Hairline cracks developing in my roof

Postby Campin' Texan » Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:33 pm

Build my teardrop 4 years ago. A year or so ago I found a spot on the front curve of the roof that had developed a couple a couple small cracks. The area around the cracks seemed a little soft. I assumed it was a weak spot in the wood. The roof is 1/8" thick plywood, covered in two coats of epoxy, and six coats of boat hull paint. The whole tear is finished in this way and has held up great. I covered the cracks in silicone goop and haven't had any issues since then, until now. Last weekend I noticed a couple more cracks develop above my silicone "patch". Still didn't worry my too much. These are on the passenger side of the teardrop. But then I looked on the driver side and saw too more cracks starting. The longest being 1.5" and in a direct line with the originals. So now I'm thinking it's a stress crack that may make it's way all the way across the front of the trailer. The angle of the front curve is pretty soft, so I'm surprised this is happening.

Any thoughts on a cause or a possible solution? I'm wondering if I could put a strip of fiberglass cloth across it to strengthen and seal it. I'd REALLY like to avoid rebuilding the front end of the camper. Thanks in advance.


The original area
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It's relation to the camper
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The side view of the camper
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Cracks on the opposite side. The longest is 1.5"
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Re: Hairline cracks developing in my roof

Postby Pmullen503 » Sat Jul 01, 2017 9:50 pm

Sand down through the paint over at least the curved section of the roof and cover with more epoxy and 4 or 6 oz fiberglass. That will make it waterproof regardless if the plywood keeps cracking.
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Re: Hairline cracks developing in my roof

Postby OP827 » Sun Jul 02, 2017 7:59 am

Pmullen503 wrote:Sand down through the paint over at least the curved section of the roof and cover with more epoxy and 4 or 6 oz fiberglass. That will make it waterproof regardless if the plywood keeps cracking.


I agree with the above. Unfortunately plywood without fiberglass reinforcement has proven not to stand well against elements no matter how high quality epoxy and coating are being used. Mike had similar problem with plywood cracking and delaminating under high quality coating. Fiberglass laminated with epoxy and then protective coating seems to work better, that is how many boats are built.
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Re: Hairline cracks developing in my roof

Postby aggie79 » Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:59 am

It's more work and expense, but I would be tempted to pull the edge trim, add aluminum sheet over the plywood, and replace the edge trim.
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Re: Hairline cracks developing in my roof

Postby GuitarPhotog » Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:56 pm

Silicone goop isn't a suitable material for outdoor use. It does not hold up to UV, and deteriorates quickly. But it's almost impossible to remove later when you want to fix the problem properly.

Strip the paint from the entire hatch and re-waterproof with epoxy mix, then cover with aluminum, attached only at the edges.

Do it right, and you won't have to do it again.

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Re: Hairline cracks developing in my roof

Postby Campin' Texan » Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:03 pm

Thanks for the advice everyone. I think I'm going to go with fiberglass. The junction of the sidewalls and roof, as well as the joints in the roof, are all covered in fiberglass already. I'm going to put a 12" wide piece across the front of the tear. That will be enough to cover the areas that are cracking, give some structural strength to that whole area, and hopefully prevent future issues.
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Re: Hairline cracks developing in my roof

Postby doris s. » Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:29 am

My Woody sides have cracked. I have stain and Helmsman poly on top the wood. I think the wood is doing that because the shrinking and expanding wood in different temperatures. My next camper is going to be aluminum all the way around. I think your best bet is to cover the roof in aluminum.

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