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Old 07-08-2014, 06:13 PM   #1
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1970 23' Safari
1973 25' Tradewind
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Non-toxic Rehab - low VOC

Seeing these trailers are closed up and exposed to heat, I feel like they could become a toxic gas chamber if one is not careful with the products used. Being chemically sensitive as well, I'm trying to rehab my unit with the lowest VOC possible. The interior is in great shape so I plan on just using what's there for a few years, but the look of faux wood is killing me, I need to paint it asap. Spoke with the paint people at home depot and have been advised that Behr premium plus has low VOC and will adhere to formica (whatever the cabinets are made from).

Ripped up the carpet and am replacing it with EVO floor tiles. Ordered replacement foam for the gauchos, latex made from soy, 3" queen size for $116, not too bad. Also found organic cotton duck material for the covers.

Also thinking of zinc counter tops, from what I understand, if the glue is sandwiched in between the gas/fumes have no where to go?

I'm interested in hearing if anyone else is rehabbing in low VOC and would like to recommend any products.

Below are photo of the unit when I 1st got it, many.many hours cleaning since then.
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Old 07-08-2014, 06:45 PM   #2
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Most of your paints are going to have very little VOC's when cured. Some may have higher VOC's than others. I doubt if anyone at HD even knows what they are other than what they read in a brochure. Formica countertops are glued up using a high VOC rubber cement. However, you let it dry prior to applying the formica. You will probably get more VOC's from particle board and other engineered wood products. I would not worry about VOC's from any cured latex paints. Latex paints don't have much in the way of solvents anyway. Many times in the haste to get rid of VOC's in an uncured product they can negatively effect the quality of the final product. The only VOC's you need to worry about are in a cured state unless you are really sensitive to uncured paints. They make masks and gloves for this purpose. When you open a can of rubber cement don't breath deep unless you are a solvent junky. In which case I hear gold spray paint is best.

Plastics and Vinyl products can outgass and break down with heat and sunlight. Reducing plastics in your interior will reduce VOC's and don't use anything made of particle board like most stuff is made out of these days. I think the Vinyl walls and fake plastic coated wood bulkheads make my trailer smell like old plastic. Also molded fiberglass insulation in walls will contribute to the smell. Flooring products can also outgass. Vinyl floor coverings are probably some of the worse outgassers. Something with wood on the top layer would probably outgas least.

Perry
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:56 PM   #3
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Thanks for the wisdom Perry. I had looked into the Rustoleum paint that's used on countertops, it seemed pretty toxic, same with the plastic paints for the bathroom. I would have to say you're correct about the home depot staff. I totally agree on some of the wood products, I once left a sheet of particle board in a hot car for 45 minutes, got in the car, drove for all of a minute and thought I'd pass out.

So is rubber cement the way to go with laying down the zinc countertop? Also curious about insulation as you say, I have this thought that anything sandwich between metal would be contained,perhaps faulty thinking there? What's a better replacement I wonder, natural source may mold up quickly which is a biggest toxic threat.

Little note on fabric I'm considering for choice in drapes or window treatments, most commercial fabrics are coated in formaldehyde, same with vinyl.
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Old 07-08-2014, 09:05 PM   #4
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You aren't the first person to do this. Do a search and you should find several other users over the years who have had similar projects to combat chemical sensitivities.
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Old 07-08-2014, 09:27 PM   #5
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You mean galvanized sheet metal counter tops? I am not sure on that one. Why zinc ?

Perry
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Old 07-08-2014, 09:39 PM   #6
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Perry, I had seen this DIY tutorial of the countertops How To Top a Table with Zinc Sheet Metal — VanHook & Co. | Apartment Therapy
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Old 07-08-2014, 09:40 PM   #7
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Thanks Stephanie, I would certainly hope I wouldn't be the 1st, very curious what others are using for products and would appreciate any links. Tried a search but with little results, perhaps I'm using too limited search terms.
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Old 07-09-2014, 07:39 AM   #8
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I think that over time the zinc will stain and look pretty bad. Zinc can also be toxic if you get too much of it. You would not want to put food directly on it. I would go stainless steel before zinc. The contact adhesive will not fill gaps. Both surfaces must be flat. Also zinc will make your hands smell. What many folks are doing on vintage trailers is they cover the counter with Formica and then put aluminum trim around the edges. This is durable and not too hard to do. You can get Formica to match what ever period you are trying to reproduce and match it to the rest of your interior. It is also not real heavy which is important in a trailer.

Perry

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Perry, I had seen this DIY tutorial of the countertops How To Top a Table with Zinc Sheet Metal — VanHook & Co. | Apartment Therapy
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Old 08-04-2014, 11:26 PM   #9
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Have you thought about American Clay for the interior walls? I am considering this option but I would have to strip off the wallpaper. I am not sure if I could plaster over the exposed area if I prime it first but I think that would be an option. I found a website where two owners used this product on the interior of their Airstream but they stripped the interior down to the aluminum walls. I would like to avoid this step if I possibly can and only cover up the areas that are already exposed. I figure they sealed everything with Bondo on the inside I can just as easily seal all the gaps on the exterior with Vulkem. Not certain though, I am going to research this option further. If anyone has experience with applying this clay I would like to hear what it is like. This product has zero VOCs if I am remembering correctly.
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