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Old 08-17-2009, 07:48 AM   #1
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Vulkem reduced me to tears

Well, it finally happened. Frustration of trying to work with vulkem on a hot, hot, humid day ... First, for some reason, I found it extremely hard to *pump* the vulkem out of the tube. It's a new caulking gun that works perfectly. The tip of the tube was cut at about 1/4", at an angle. The seal inside the tip was punctured with a wire coat hanger. And struggled to move the gun trigger. So, as I'm sweating like all crap, my arm is shaking as I try to lay a bead of vulkem out. Then, I realize that the bead is very similar to regular silicone-caulk. NOT as wide as the bead I spent hours removing from the windows. Thus, the tape (that I so carefully placed at about 3/8" above/below the metal frame) is useless. I should have had it ~1/8 to 3/16" from the frame to catch the smears. Then, I realize that the bead of caulk is not begining to fill the gap at the vista view (glass to metal frame). Three passes and it still wouldn't begin to fill it --- in fact, it started to droop out. And, it's crazy hard to smooth. I had mineral spirits but it just moved it around like mud. Sticky mud. I am exhausted, and while trying to move my ladder, I trip and fall. It's all I can do to hold it together while I retreat inside. I don't really recall ever getting this frustrated doing any other project. I'm about ready to resort to s-i-l-i-c-o-n-e. Arrrrrrrrrrr Thankfully the Acryl-r went much better the preceeding weekend.

It was probably the wrong time to be doing this job - too bloody hot and humid - but it was leaking like a siv and there's some tropical depressions threatening our area. And, I had just come out of my denial about my interior paint (which I'll post about later) becoming suddenly tacky. So sticky that I could probably hang my dogs from it. I spent hours wondering if I should just sell her. Definately an overwhelming weekend with the trailer.

Laura
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:06 AM   #2
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Vulkem feels like it was created to annoy the user; gets everywhere and feels both sticky and greasy at the same time, yuck. I spent three hours last night cleaning up squeeze out and trying to purge my tools of the stuff.

It does seem that to start off a fresh tube requires extra effort so I've been using an awl to puncture the seal, it seems to help a little. (I'm using 116 if that makes any difference).

I can't quite visualize why you'd need such a think bead of goop, do you have a picture handy? I only ask as maybe a filler strip of aluminum might help reduce the task to something more manageable.

:-)
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:18 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by truckasaurus View Post
Vulkem feels like it was created to annoy the user; gets everywhere and feels both sticky and greasy at the same time, yuck. I spent three hours last night cleaning up squeeze out and trying to purge my tools of the stuff.

It does seem that to start off a fresh tube requires extra effort so I've been using an awl to puncture the seal, it seems to help a little. (I'm using 116 if that makes any difference).

I can't quite visualize why you'd need such a think bead of goop, do you have a picture handy? I only ask as maybe a filler strip of aluminum might help reduce the task to something more manageable.

:-)
While I was feverishly removing the gobs of silicone from my trailer recently, I think I went a little overboard on the vista views. What I thought was silicone between the frame and glass must have been a factory seal that was shot (as it pulled out with no force and reveal moisture and dirt underneath - definately not sealing anything any longer). That seal was at least 1/4" thick. So, when I took it out, I could actually see the edges of the glass window resting along the metal frame. An awful big gap to fill with vulkem - especially with the trouble I was having. I am using vulkem/Trempro 636.

I wanted to take today off work to complete the windows. But I can't take a second Sunday. Maybe tomorrow.....
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:56 AM   #4
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I didn't follow the process either but I may have some help. Sometimes "new" old stock urethanes can be stiff to come out the the tube as you mention. I try to order my Vulkem from a source which has a frequent turnover of supplies to ward off the possiblility of getting a tube which has been on the shelf for years. Urethane is one of the worst sealants I've used for aging in the tube.

I'm not sure how you are controlling the shape of the joint, but this photo shows the technique I use. I use masking tape to define the upper and lower edges of the seam, then squeeze the sealant into the joint, then use an appropriately sized round object to tool the joint into shape. In this case, I'm using a piece of round plastic tube. A couple passes with the shaping tool leave a good looking joint, then the masking tape is removed. Like you, I use mineral spirits for any clean-up. Hope this helps:
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:57 AM   #5
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Vulkem is tough to use - period - I hate the crap but it works well when it is in place and makes it worth the trouble in the end.
When I put in a new fantastic vent last year I reapplied a line of vulkem, wiped mineral spirits on a putty knife and smooth it out - the heat of the sun on a hot day actually helped to level it out. Doing a side window you may want to try this in the evening hours where the vulkem will stay in place. Good idea having everything taped out before starting.
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Old 08-17-2009, 09:15 AM   #6
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For such a narrow application as the glass to the frame - wouldn't Parbond have been more appropriate...? It actually wicks into the seams. If you pulled most of the actual seal out of the frame you may have had to do it a couple times to get a flush seal.

Vintage Trailer Supply sells these that are really useful for small seams.

Caulking Syringe
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Old 08-17-2009, 10:10 AM   #7
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I used a urethane sealer on all my windows. It's the sealer that is used on car windshields that are glued in. Works great, spreads nicely, and does not have any adverse effect on the aluminium. It is thick though so it's better to use a heavy duty caulking gun (one that is used for liquid nails) than just a regular one. Alot less effort. Also, unlike Vulkem which isn't too hard to get off your hands if you get it on you, the urethane is.
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Old 08-17-2009, 10:49 AM   #8
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I've used Vulkem. It takes days to set. Sikaflex 221 just works better for me. It's what the factory uses. A skin forms in most conditions in a couple hours and it's fairly firm overnight (not sayin' about Florida...). You coulda layed a couple beads in deep, let it set a while and then put a finish layer on.

Does your caulking gun have a poker like this riveted to the side?
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I'll give the membrane in the caulking tube multiple pokes to open up a good flow.

These more expensive products can store just fine -- wrap a partially used caulk tube in a couple bread wrappers and throw it in the freezer. Buy your wife some flowers (always a good idear, but I've stopped saving 'found' pretty birds that way...). Let it warm a couple hours when you need it again. It will attract condensation and probably mess with your bonding if you try to apply while cold.
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Old 08-17-2009, 12:12 PM   #9
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As was mentioned earlier. Make sure you get a relatively new tube of Vulkem. Don't use a tube that has been sitting in your garage for 2 or more years. This goes for any type of caulking. If it's hard to get out of the tube then it's probably old stuff and should be thrown away.
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Old 08-17-2009, 12:28 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I just got the vulkem in - ordered it from a pretty reliable vintage supply house . I'm thinking they do enough volume that it's not been sitting on the shelf too long but ??? The force needed to squeeze out was just unbelievable. Maybe I'll poke it again a few times and see if I can open the seal a bit.

I'll try applying mineral spirits to a popsickle stick or something next time.

I love BT's idea. I tried lining the area with tape but didn't space it correctly --- following the original area which was much, much too wide.

Maybe I'll give it another try tomorrow. If I feel like being a glutton...

Laura
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Old 08-17-2009, 12:29 PM   #11
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I find vulkem difficult to deal with as well, and I can barely pump the stuff out of the tube.

Also, I've found that if something like the tape isn't right, it's best to stop right there and re-do it - hard to do on a day when you're already hot and frustrated and nothing seems to be working out. Otherwise you're just trying to do the impossible and make it work.

But you know, some days, the best thing to do is throw something across the garage and then go inside for a few hours. Everything will seem better when you come back out! I've had days and days where I didn't want to face a project, so I know how it goes!
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Old 08-17-2009, 12:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I find vulkem difficult to deal with as well, and I can barely pump the stuff out of the tube.



But you know, some days, the best thing to do is throw something across the garage and then go inside for a few hours. Everything will seem better when you come back out! I've had days and days where I didn't want to face a project, so I know how it goes!
I can relate As I am inside cooling off from trying to install my generator.Don't want to burn the neighbors ears off. So just take it easy cool off and get back to it with the new info it should go easier if only we could wait till the weather is perfect .
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Old 08-17-2009, 12:41 PM   #13
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The popsicle stick may work, but I've not had good luck with anything but tubing. The barrel shape of the tubing helps push the urethane down into the joint, filling the voids. Possibilities for tubing include: top half of an ink pen, a 4" piece of plastic hose from a hardware store, the bottom of a highlighting marker, an old AA battery, etc. In a pinch, you can use an old teaspoon. Try some different things until you find something that works for you. I put some mineral spirits on a rag, wipe the end of the tool with it a then drag the tool down the joint, wipe the tool, and repeat as necessary, etc. The joints look as good or better than OEM.
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Old 08-22-2009, 10:04 AM   #14
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I am going to reseal my windows, a tip I got from vintagecampers.com was to heat the goo with a ceramic heater before hand, I havent tried it but he said it does help to pump the goo.
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