How to remove this roof coating (maybe tar? not sure)

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How to remove this roof coating (maybe tar? not sure)

Postby Baldy » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:48 am

I'm working on rebuilding/renovating a mid-60s Phoenix camper. A previous owner covered the entire roof with a sheet of thick black rubber (of course they used many screws through the metal siding). We finally got that rubber off this weekend, and found the roof is covered in a hard black layer. Is this roofing tar? It's pretty tough.

I'd like to remove it and maybe salvage the factory aluminum skin underneath, and seal it properly. I'd like to try, anyway. Is there a way to remove this stuff?

edit: trying to resize pics...good enough

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Re: How to remove this roof coating (maybe tar? not sure)

Postby mcubberley » Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:41 pm

Heat gun, putty knife, and cursing? Followed by mineral spirits and swearing? I am guessing its all going to be sticky and stinky regardless of your path.

Are to trying to save the factory metal for restoration purposes or for economic reasons? I would think you should be able to find replacement panels in that pattern. I can't recall who has them but I know I have seen a similar pattern when looking for skinning material for mine. I am sure someone here would know a source for new sheets.

Just my initial thoughts.
Some day I will figure out something to put here. But for now....
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Re: How to remove this roof coating (maybe tar? not sure)

Postby QueticoBill » Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:25 pm

You coild give dry ice on a cookie sheet a try. It works on some tarry things.
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Re: How to remove this roof coating (maybe tar? not sure)

Postby tony.latham » Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:03 pm

QueticoBill wrote:You coild give dry ice on a cookie sheet a try. It works on some tarry things.


I'll bet that'd work. Not sure about the cookie sheet. Why not just place it on the area that you want to pop off?


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Re: How to remove this roof coating (maybe tar? not sure)

Postby Aguyfromohio » Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:07 pm

QueticoBill wrote:You coild give dry ice on a cookie sheet a try. It works on some tarry things.

Might indeed work.
Most medium size cities have people who do dry ice blasting, might scrub it right off.
Not cheap.
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Re: How to remove this roof coating (maybe tar? not sure)

Postby mcubberley » Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:34 pm

Aguyfromohio wrote:
QueticoBill wrote:You coild give dry ice on a cookie sheet a try. It works on some tarry things.

Might indeed work.
Most medium size cities have people who do dry ice blasting, might scrub it right off.
Not cheap.


Like gum out of carpet with an ice cube. Maybe wrap blocks on three sides with towels and use the cookie sheet to keep it mobile over the tar? The towels could help keep the dry ice insulated on sides that aren't doing work?

Kroger sells blocks here. Make sure to carbonate some bottles of water while you have it.
Some day I will figure out something to put here. But for now....
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Re: How to remove this roof coating (maybe tar? not sure)

Postby QueticoBill » Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:58 pm

Cookie sheet so it doesnt stick to roof.

Insulation top and sides is interesting. Never heard if that. Wonder if an inverted cheap EPS cooler would work.
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Re: How to remove this roof coating (maybe tar? not sure)

Postby tony.latham » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:03 pm

Cookie sheet so it doesnt stick to roof.


I'm guessing it would freeze to it then?

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Re: How to remove this roof coating (maybe tar? not sure)

Postby QueticoBill » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:23 pm

Ive just followed what I was told - mostly flooring. I suspect condensation forms on the dry ice and freezes to the flooring or roofing in this case. The metal is probably just easier to break that bond.
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Re: How to remove this roof coating (maybe tar? not sure)

Postby Baldy » Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:34 am

mcubberley wrote:Are to trying to save the factory metal for restoration purposes or for economic reasons?

Economic. This is a low-budget project, something for my wife and I to work on together. I figure if the skin under the tar is still good, might as well reuse it. I'll be removing the skin from the roof either way (to repair the framing), so I can try any sort of tar-removal method (like propane torch maybe?). Our local Publix sells dry ice, so at least I know that's easy to find.

Looking online, the shipping alone for new skins with original patterns would be more than this whole thing is worth. For the roof anyway, I might source some plain aluminum skin from a local sheet metal place, if this tar removal doesn't work out.

The current plan is to take all the skins off, repair/replace all the water damaged wood framing (there's a lot), and reuse the old skins with fresh insulation, seals, and paint. If I can find a local place to roll aluminum into that nice pattern for a decent price, maybe I'll do that, but I'm sure it's crazy expensive. There's not a big market around here. The current skins have of LOTS of screw holes that would need Bondo and sanding before paint.

How it sits currently:
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Re: How to remove this roof coating (maybe tar? not sure)

Postby mcubberley » Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:39 am

That's cool. It's a nice looking camper. If I had space at my disposal that would be a fun extracurricular. I gotta think you could up its value significantly.
Some day I will figure out something to put here. But for now....
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Re: How to remove this roof coating (maybe tar? not sure)

Postby QueticoBill » Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:16 pm

Think if you got the tar off you could fibreglass the roof, and then paint? If really a lot of holes, seems simpler and more reliable than bondo in each.
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Re: How to remove this roof coating (maybe tar? not sure)

Postby mallymal » Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:06 pm

I bet the roof skin is shot.

Otherwise why would they have put gloopy tar all over it?

I know you're watching the pennies, but I'd tear it off and have a fresh start.

(But then I know diddly squat.... I've not even built one yet! :lol: )

Good luck with your very cool camper, whatever you decide.
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Re: How to remove this roof coating (maybe tar? not sure)

Postby Baldy » Tue Aug 08, 2017 3:25 pm

mallymal wrote:Otherwise why would they have put gloopy tar all over it?

I can only guess. This thing as all kinds of "Why would they do this???" in it. Large screw-in drywall anchors to mount the rock guard. Covering screw heads with 1/4" of silicone, and multiple layers of paint. NOT repairing rot, but instead screwing more wood over it. With screws of varying sizes. Screwing a "CONSTRUCTION AREA: KEEP OUT" sign onto the siding (no sealant, and using drywall screws). Securing the front door with a very flimsy hasp latch, but using three 1/4" bolts straight through the siding and the entire wall, with 3 nuts on the back, to secure the flimsy hasp lock. Random Romex through holes that look not drilled, maybe chiseled out? Punched through with screwdriver? The rubber sheet was screwed into the siding with lots of screws, through untreated wood (it was falling apart), and covered all the vents with the rubber, but found it necessary to carefully cut holes in the around to fit around the non-functioning market lights.

It's bonkers. Anyways, so I can't assume anything until I can verify it myself.
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Re: How to remove this roof coating (maybe tar? not sure)

Postby BigRay » Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:42 pm

You are not going to separate old tar from metal. Either cover what you see with white sealant or remove the metal-n-tar and make a new roof.

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