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Old 07-09-2020, 03:57 AM   #1
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Default Roof Clearcoat Failing - What to Do?

The roof of my '2012 Airstream Avenue is white fiberglass painted to a matching silver like the sides and hood.

A couple of months ago I noticed it was turning dull and then white. The areas, which are just on the very top, seem to grow larger by the week. I incorrectly assumed the silver top coat was wearing off and exposing the white fiberglass. Today I finally got on a ladder a quickly discovered it is the clearcoat is turning into a brittle/crusty coat that can be easily scrapped off. The silver coat is still there beneath it.

My question is this. What success can I expect if I prep the areas and reapply an automotive rattle can clearcoat? If you don't think that will be satifactory, should I go ahead with a respray of silver paint first and then apply the clearcoat?

Someday I will need to get it repainted, but it is almost out of sight and I've had very good luck with the Rustoleum 2x for plasic that I applied to my antenna and replacement porch light. Both still look great after nearly 2 years and their Metallic Silver is a perfect color match. Should I go one step, or two steps?
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Old 07-09-2020, 10:38 AM   #2
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Pics would help. Does the degradation extend onto the shoulders of the roof? Will the remediation method you choose be visible from an observer on the ground?
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Old 07-09-2020, 11:11 AM   #3
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Very tough situation, and you rarely will see any decent results by going back over the silver with new clear as it won't stick either.


One of the biggest problems with any prep is that if you sand the silver, the color and appearance will change because it is a metallic paint. If it was solid color you might stand a chance of trying it, but sanded metallics can look very much different.


I don't know if anyone has come up with any kind of "bonding coat" you could put on to get new clear to stick, so a search might be in order, but I have never heard of one.


If it is only failing in some spots where the sun hits more, the rest might be OK for adhesion and could be prepped and repainted, but I think a body shop will want to sand off most of the topcoat, prime, seal, basecoat, and clear so it will not be a simple or inexpensive fix, I fear.


I think I would check with a good body shop to see what they say now rather than later, as the whole thing may get more expensive the longer you wait and more areas fail. Or they may tell you to just let it go until you can't stand it anymore because it all needs to be redone anyway so won't change much cost wise.


It always pays to ask around to see if you can find gypsy painter in your area as the costs can be much less that way. You just have to be sure they are experienced and know how to do stuff right. The cost could be substantially less. Painting a tal van roof requires scaffolding or other kinds of platforms, so it does pretty much suck to do.
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Old 07-09-2020, 02:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
Pics would help. Does the degradation extend onto the shoulders of the roof? Will the remediation method you choose be visible from an observer on the ground?
My roof cap is slightly rounded and not flat. Unfortunately, this means I'm not able to use a roof coat like you used.

Still, it is currently only visible by someone tall and looking from at a slightly elevated position at this point. (like me in my garage looking down my steeply sloped driveway). Very noticeable from up on a ladder. This is why I'm wondering if I can stop it now, before I need to extend down the roof's side.
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Old 07-09-2020, 02:53 PM   #5
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Very tough situation, and you rarely will see any decent results by going back over the silver with new clear as it won't stick either. I agree. Just hoping to find a magic bullet.

One of the biggest problems with any prep is that if you sand the silver, the color and appearance will change because it is a metallic paint. If it was solid color you might stand a chance of trying it, but sanded metallics can look very much different. Right now the damage is still high enough to be nearly unnoticable to someone on the ground. It will probably continue to spread, however.

I don't know if anyone has come up with any kind of "bonding coat" you could put on to get new clear to stick, so a search might be in order, but I have never heard of one. I did a search and there was a '2017 thread on a similar topic where a bonding coat was mentioned. I'll relook for it an post a link here upon edit. (Here it is.) I need to check out "Bulldog" mentioned in post #9.https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...ions-7027.html

If it is only failing in some spots where the sun hits more, the rest might be OK for adhesion and could be prepped and repainted, but I think a body shop will want to sand off most of the topcoat, prime, seal, basecoat, and clear so it will not be a simple or inexpensive fix, I fear. So far, the damage is on the driver's side, which gets the longest sun exposure.

I think I would check with a good body shop to see what they say now rather than later, as the whole thing may get more expensive the longer you wait and more areas fail. Or they may tell you to just let it go until you can't stand it anymore because it all needs to be redone anyway so won't change much cost wise. As you mention, what I would attempt would not (or at most minimally) change the cost of a later total repaint. So long as I do not let the fiberglass degrade.

It always pays to ask around to see if you can find gypsy painter in your area as the costs can be much less that way. You just have to be sure they are experienced and know how to do stuff right. The cost could be substantially less. Painting a tal van roof requires scaffolding or other kinds of platforms, so it does pretty much suck to do. I called around and got two recommendations for shops that are experienced in painting fiberglass boats and jet ski's. They obviously didn't want to do the job as they quoted $3500. After I left I began to question if they thought I was asking for a total repaint and not just the top. But I was clear about needing the top only and that the factory can paint is still exellent.
See bold above. My first experience with a recommended paint shop was a major sticker-shock. I'd rather they just declined the job rather than asking a ridiculous price. Pretty straight forward job. Sure they have to prep surface, but underlying fiberglass needs no repair. Other than taping off a few vents and the rest of the van from the drip edge down, they could go to town on it.

I'll keep trying to get estimates, it's just the first one took my breath away. Hard to find a trusted gypsy painter, but I'll keep looking.
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Old 07-09-2020, 03:06 PM   #6
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Not surprised by that cost at all, I would call that typical these days for a problem job.


Sounds like you have done a bunch of research already.



As for a roof coating, I think the make self leveling, brush/roller heat reflective coatings for bus roofs. Don't know if this one would work, but kind of what might.



https://www.amazon.com/Hy-Tech-Therm.../dp/B01BYGO88I


Since you are in Texas, you might want to consider looking for a gypsy painter or shop across the border in Mexico. I have seen pix of some spectacular custom work from there that was the price of a Maaco job. Local street rodders or low rider fans would be a good ones to ask about that idea.
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Old 07-09-2020, 03:42 PM   #7
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My 2008 RT is doing the same thing. The whole top is probably affected but it is most evident on the front portion. I have done some research on fixing it myself. It would involve sanding out from the affected area and recoating. Unfortunately, the simple “rattle can” solution will not provide any lasting result. The real clearcoat is a 2 part mix which is sprayed on. It is also pretty nasty stuff, requiring a respirator mask for VOCs. There are a bunch of You Tube videos on this. I was still considering doing it, but it is not an easy job and repairing only the affected portion is probably only a temporary solution since if a portion is showing the rest of the roof is probably not far behind. I also thought about waxing the area to make it look somewhat better but have not tried that.
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Old 07-09-2020, 04:42 PM   #8
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Unfortunately, the paint failled despite the fact I kept the van (including the top) washed and waxed. So I did what I could except for covering it from the S. Texas sun. Looked great, until it didn't. Bus-Koat is not an option as it will be visible on my curved roof.

Since my orginal post, I've found a 2-part spray can clear coat by Eastwood. https://www.amazon.com/Eastwood-1414...310154&sr=8-36

I'll probably give it a try with nothing to lose. Just have to get the prep right. And yes, it will be temporary. But if it lasts a year or three, I'll deal with it then.
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Old 07-19-2020, 05:25 PM   #9
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Spray or pour water on the damaged surface. While very wet, that's how it will look with new clearcoat.
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Old 07-19-2020, 06:01 PM   #10
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My RT 08210P on an '07 Chevy chasis has the paint issues, and of course the clear coat peeling on the top. In November 2018, after much research, I decided to tackle the clear coat issue on the top since I had access to a my buddies garage which accommodates my RT. I carefully scraped off as much of the loose clear coat as I could, and scuffed and sanded the entire roof. I also did a little patching/painting (duplicolor) in a couple small spots. Then I applied a couple coats of the two part clear coat (I think it took about 8 cans). It turned out great (pic of final as well as peeling attached). Unfortunately, about 16-18 months later, spots started to peel again. I should've sanded the whole thing down to the base coat. Chevy dealer said a new paint job would start at $7K before he even sat down at his pc. I've since looked into Durabak, but I think I like the Bus-Kote better due to the heat reduction since I live in TX (thanks for the link booster). Would like to hear from anyone who's tried either one.
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Old 07-19-2020, 07:47 PM   #11
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Thanks for the advice. I would hate to spend the time and effort and get less than 2 yrs. good service out of it. I'm sure a good body shop job would get me 5-10 yrs and look better. It's just that a recommended paint shop that handles boats & jet ski's (with a sign stating $55/hr. labor) quoted me $3500 just for the top. It took my breath away.
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