Originally Posted by israndy
Are inside pop rivets different than outside? I know you need to seal the outside ones, but otherwise the same?
You bet they are!
Two introductory statements:
I see that you have a Skydeck motor home (!) and I don't know how they are constructed. My comments apply to Airstream aluminum trailers.
The outer skin is structural and so far as I know Airstream doesn't use any pop rivets on the outside of the trailer.
With those qualifications,
Inside pop rivets are just ordinary hardware store aluminum pop rivets. When you install them with the pop rivet tool the shank pulls out, leaving a visible hole in the head of the rivet. The interior skin is held together with pop rivets.
If you need to use pop rivets for a repair in the outer skin, you need to use Olympic rivets.
Olympic rivets are not as strong as the original solid rivets, but are generally considered acceptable for exterior repairs.
Unlike ordinary pop rivets, when you pop an Olympic rivet, a short length of the rivet shank is left sticking out. This is then cut off and shaved flush with the surface of the rivet head using a special shaving tool (or a file).
Olympic rivets can be made waterproof either by a built in rubber seal or by dunking in caulking compound before installing.
My biggest confusion with replacing rivets, after figuring out what tool to use, is just how do I figure out what size rivets to use...?
The interior rivets that I have replaced have all been 1/8" size. If the hole is not enlarged the rivet can be replaced with another 1/8" rivet. If the hole has stretched or worn oversize then it has to be drilled out for the next larger size rivet (5/32")