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Old 03-20-2010, 07:09 PM   #1
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1978 28' Ambassador
Savannah , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 237
Windows for dummies help...

Started working on rechalking all the windows. Then I realized I really don't know what I am doing.
1) remove old vulkem from around each window frame? There is a large bead along the top and a small bead around each window frame. Used craft stick to slide under flange and dug out dried chalk and what looks like black mold. Should I spray bleach behind the flange to kill the mold? Keep scraping until clean? Sprayed some Westley's Bleche-Wite under the flange and tried to wipe off any black residue. Not sure if I used this correctly because I see streaks on the "clean" camper under the window. Do I need to be thorough and remove it all behind or the flange? When and how do you use the Westley's?

2)remove the old dried chalk from the window itself? Most of the white chalk comes off by just gently touching it. To install a new bead of Vulkem to the glass and frame do I need to remove the exposed rubber gasket that is on the sash itself? This was the original gasket the glass is wrapped with before the frame is riveted together. I could take a razor blade and trim the outside exposed section, but stopped due to worry this might do harm to the remaining inside rubber gasket.

Plan to use the painter's tape method around each window frame and each window itself. Seems like less chance to make a big mess.
Alot of questions, but tried to stay under one topic.
Thanks. Jack
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Old 03-20-2010, 07:21 PM   #2
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Your double pane windows look pretty good. I don't see any sign of a leak in the glass-to-frame joint. Unless you know you have a leak there, leave it alone. If you do have a leak, cut away the exposed part of the gasket and then apply a thin bead of Vulkem that bridges from the glass to the aluminum

The usual leaks are in the skin-to-frame joint. Remove the previous caulk with a tool that won't scratch aluminum, something plastic. It will help if you use a heat gun to soften the caulk. This will also soften your tool, so it's a delicate balancing act to make this work. Removing visible mold is a good idea, but may not be necessary, since the area will be dry once you apply a new bead of Vulkem around the edge of the frame.

Applying the Vulkem is an art. Some folks apply a very small bead with a syringe and in such a way as to get a suficient amount of adhesion to both the frame and the skin--I admire these people. I generally apply a bit too much, then smooth it into the joint with a curved corner of a motel plastic key. This is guaranteed to make a mess, so have some MEK on hand for cleanup. Same goes for the joint along the glass. A note of caution: too much MEK will remove too much of the Vulkem and your seal may be compromised. Again, another learned skill.


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Old 04-26-2010, 02:31 PM   #3
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Lake Oswego , Oregon
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I need to re-caulk around the windows in my 1974 Tradewind. Do I really need to use Vulkem? The guy at the repair shop recommended clear silicone caulk. Thanks, Pam
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Old 04-26-2010, 02:40 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by pamelake View Post
I need to re-caulk around the windows in my 1974 Tradewind. Do I really need to use Vulkem? The guy at the repair shop recommended clear silicone caulk. Thanks, Pam

Do not ever use any form of silicone sealers on the exterior of any Airstream, "ever built".

The sun breaks it down, and then it falls off, leaving a chemical barrier.

Then, when you try to apply the correct sealer, it will not bond.

Vulkem or Sikoflex, is the only correct way to go for larger seams, and Par-bond is used for small seams.

Ask those who have been there and done that, incorrectly.

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Old 04-26-2010, 03:29 PM   #5
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Any thoughts about what might be the easiest to use for an amateur? The only caulking experience I have is around my bathtub... and I am not real good at that! Pam

Did I just hijack a thread, or is this relative enough to help Skamper 1?
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Old 04-26-2010, 03:40 PM   #6
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Hi Pam, If you have time read through this thread. Personally I like Vulkem and I use a method similar to Jack (Skamper1) for applying it.


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