Every RV driver knows that the road is his best friend. There is nothing more relaxing than driving in the middle of an empty highway on a beautiful summer day. However, you can’t predict weather changes or road conditions, and sometimes your best friend can become your fiercest enemy. Storms, rocks, and branches — all can and will damage your RV. While fixing it yourself could seem difficult, knowing how to repair RV fiberglass exterior damage will save you some time and money.
Tools of the Trade
Before you start taking your RV apart, you need tools and safety equipment. Although it may seem like a long list, keep in mind that you might already have some of them. Check your toolbox before you start spending money on stuff you don’t need.
When working with fiberglass or paint, protecting your face is one of the most important things. Even a small piece of metal will irritate your eyes, while inhaling fiberglass particles can cause bleeding and coughing. A breathing mask and a pair of goggles must always be on top of the safety equipment list.
Furthermore, uncoated fiberglass can cause skin irritation and bleeding. Because you are going to do a lot of work using your hands, make sure to protect them. A pair of work or safety gloves will do the trick. Without protective gear, you’ll expose yourself to toxic materials and might end up doing more harm than good.
Fiberglass Repair Kit
Most repair kits have everything you need for a nice and easy fix — from resin to liquid hardener. You can mix the ingredients into a quick-hardening solution that helps when fixing damaged fiberglass.
A drill can be used for removing the insulation situated behind the fiberglass exterior. Without smaller drill bits you will have a hard time reaching the deeper parts of the insulation foam. A corded drill is the best way to go as battery life won’t be a concern while working.
Sandpaper is required for a good fiberglass repair, as you will need to sand the insulation foam. Owning different grits of sandpaper will make sure you have the right sandpaper for every type of foam.
Usually, when the vehicle has suffered fiberglass damage, the foam underneath will need replacing. Available at most repair stores, expandable foam insulation can be used to replace the damaged RV insulation.
Auto Body Filler
Last but not least, you need an auto body filler. The most common product is called Bondo, and it will be needed to finish up the repair and fill any gaps.
How to Repair RV Fiberglass Exterior Damage
Inspect the Damage
The first step when fixing your RV is to check what kind of damage it has sustained. Take a quick look at the exterior to see how much paint, filler, and insulation you will need.
Equip Your Gear
Before you start any kind of procedure, you need to equip your protective gear. Make sure that none of your skin that could get in contact with the fiberglass is exposed. Also, take off your equipment only after you have finished the repairs and not a second before. There might be small pieces of fiberglass stuck to your gear, so you need to be extremely careful when removing it.
Prepare the Surface
Once you have dressed up, it’s time to clean the damaged exterior using a cloth. You need to wipe down the surface to make sure there is no debris or dust. A clean area will always be easier to work with.
Even though learning how to repair RV fiberglass exterior damage can seem hard, doing it is quite simple. Start by cutting off all the damaged fiberglass and insulation. Use a sharp knife and the drill to rip off small pieces and then just pull them off. Be careful not to cut any undamaged fiberglass. Next up, replace any broken insulation using expanding foam. Just fill the gaps with it and then let it dry a bit. Afterward, you can sand it down or cut the excess dry foam.
Once the missing insulation has been replaced, you can start using the auto body filler. Follow the instructions on the package to mix it and then place the filler in the hole. After letting it dry and a good sanding, you can use the fiberglass repair kit mix. Apply the fiberglass over the filler and let it dry. One last sanding and your RV exterior will be as good as new.
Tip: You can paint over the new fiberglass! Get in touch with the RV manufacturer or search online to find the correct color for your vehicle.
Can RV Bike Racks Cause Fiberglass Exterior Damage?
Yes, some top RV bike racks can cause fiberglass exterior damage if not installed properly or if they put too much pressure on the surface. It’s important to choose a high-quality, reliable bike rack and ensure it is mounted correctly to avoid any potential damage to your RV’s exterior.
The Bottom Line
Although doing all this work by yourself can seem impossible, knowing how to repair RV fiberglass exterior damage is very important. It’s recommended that you always have some basic repair items nearby in case of an emergency. You never know when your RV exterior might be damaged, with no towns nearby to get help. Learn to take care of your RV and the RV will take care of you!