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Anyone Ever Hear of a Cardboard RV Roof?


KJones

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I am thinking that yours is actually a product called hardboard panels. If I am right it has been used as has quarter inch plywood for underlay of RVs with either EDPM or even some fiberglass roofs. I believe that plywood is more common but both have been used. It is a good product as long as it is kept dry but does not survive moisture at all well.

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I am thinking that yours is actually a product called hardboard panels. If I am right it has been used as has quarter inch plywood for underlay of RVs with either EDPM or even some fiberglass roofs. I believe that plywood is more common but both have been used. It is a good product as long as it is kept dry but does not survive moisture at all well.

 

Sadly, I think it really is cardboard. The texture/ fiber is consistent with that anyway. It's bizarre. I'm going to try to post some pics later today if possible. I'm thinking it was some sort of strange prototype that Serro attempted. I'm now starting the process of replacing the whole roof with some proper plywood and EPDM.

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In 2002 Teton used something like cardboard to form the radius between the roof and sidewall. Over time the cardboard deteriorated and collapsed leaving sunken and wavy areas where the roofing material drooped down. The only thing that kept it from looking really bad was that they used TPO as a roofing material instead of EPDM. The TPO is stiffer and did not sag as badly as EPDM would have.

 

I think they only used this cardboard material for a short time before they realized their mistake. Replacing the radius with fiberglass was one of the things I did when we had the rig painted in 2012. If a top of the line manufacturer like Teton can do something so stupid, it's hard to tell what manufacturers of other RV's might do.

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In 2002 Teton used something like cardboard to form the radius between the roof and sidewall. Over time the cardboard deteriorated and collapsed leaving sunken and wavy areas where the roofing material drooped down. The only thing that kept it from looking really bad was that they used TPO as a roofing material instead of EPDM. The TPO is stiffer and did not sag as badly as EPDM would have.

 

I think they only used this cardboard material for a short time before they realized their mistake. Replacing the radius with fiberglass was one of the things I did when we had the rig painted in 2012. If a top of the line manufacturer like Teton can do something so stupid, it's hard to tell what manufacturers of other RV's might do.

 

I just had a conversation earlier today with an RV roof repair guy and he told me the same thing about Teton. It's hard to believe that any manufacturer would think cardboard on any part of a roof is a good idea. I think my unit was the 6th class c that Scotty made so perhaps it came down to lack of experience. I'm hoping it's not too bad to replace. It seems like it's just the topmost layers of cardboard that got damp. Thank goodness I'm under a roof and have been for the past 3 years!

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I think the new generation of "hardboard" is way different. I recall some of years back that would breakdown the same as your picture. I think it never should have had the word " board" in the description. It would breakdown exactly like your picture but could get worse. I recall some house that had it. Unvbelievable, huh.

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I wasn't able to see the pictures, but if it has gotten soft there is no doubt that you need to replace it.

 

It seems like it's just the topmost layers of cardboard that got damp.

I would remove it all down to the framework of the support structure. If you don't do so and there is any dry rot left behind it can be the start of failure of the new underlay that you install. Once you have removed the damaged materials, treat new and existing wood with a borate wood preservative to prevent growth of the dry rot fungus and kill any fungus already in the wood.

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I wasn't able to see the pictures, but if it has gotten soft there is no doubt that you need to replace it.

I would remove it all down to the framework of the support structure. If you don't do so and there is any dry rot left behind it can be the start of failure of the new underlay that you install. Once you have removed the damaged materials, treat new and existing wood with a borate wood preservative to prevent growth of the dry rot fungus and kill any fungus already in the wood.

 

Yeah, it's definitely getting replaced. Hopefully the framework is okay but I won't know that until I remove the roof. Thanks for the tip about the borate. Sounds like a good idea.

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I think the new generation of "hardboard" is way different. I recall some of years back that would breakdown the same as your picture. I think it never should have had the word " board" in the description. It would breakdown exactly like your picture but could get worse. I recall some house that had it. Unvbelievable, huh.

Can't imagine it on a house. That's awful.

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I have used an epoxy product called Gluvit to treat soft wood once it has been dried out. The epoxy is viscous enough to penetrate into the voids and when it cures the combination of the fibers in the wood and the epoxy can make a fairly strong unit. If nothing else, it will cure dry rot.

 

Like any epoxy, however, it must be protected from ultra-violet (UV) or it will deteriorate. Painting works.

 

WDR

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Coming from a woodworking family, that stuff is called "pressboard". A predecessor to "hardboard". That is exactly what it looks like when it gets wet, swells, and begins to separate. You are right though... it is basically highly pressurized "cardboard" mixed with water based glues. It was very commonly used as drawer bottoms and case furniture (dressers, cabinets, etc) backs in lower end products. Rigid enough to hold a small nail and keep a piece square, but only in non-conspicuousness applications. I can see where it might have been attractive in an RV application. Cheap, easy to cut, lighter and more flexible than plywood. Since it was widely used as "wood" and sold in lumber yards.. it's easy to understand how some manufacturer with little lumber knowledge might have seen it in the yard and thought.. "hmm... this 'wood' is lighter, more flexible, and cheaper.. Let's give'r a try!" :P

 

It was never intended for outdoor applications, and barely suitable for it's intended use.

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Even wood can be a problem when exposed to water. Many boat builders used balsa as a "core" to stiffen decks and cabin tops. It worked very well as a stiffener but when water inevitably invaded the space (through poorly prepared installations of portlights, teak decks, etc.) the failure was spectacular (and expensive to fix).

 

WDR

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