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Old 07-13-2014, 02:13 PM   #1
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Is the Verdict In? Does Painting the Roof Cool Things?

I'm in the midst of doing what I hope us a thorough job of applying a sealant to my '90 25' Excella in an effort to preserve the plasticoat as long as possible. (I'm using an acrylic polymer - Liquid Glass - here's what I'm doing: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f142...ml#post1481214 ).

My plan was to apply Liquid Glass to the whole trailer, including the roof, when it occurred to me that this would be a good time to think about painting the roof. I'm interested in cooling things down as my wife and I dry camp a lot and so we often don't have electricity for A/C. We don't like A/C anyway and we're pretty tolerant of heat, but there are times it would be nice to keep things a little cooler inside our little tubular heat sink.

I've done a lot of research before writing this post about the pro's and con's of painting the roof, including efficiency in terms of cooling and, as often the case here for me and my obviously finite ability to absorb information, I'm more confused than ever. I'm hoping that there's experiential or empirical data available that can help me decide paint or no paint. And I'm wondering if there may have been recent advancements in paint technology with better products available than those discussed here over the years.

Thanks,
Poppy
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Old 07-13-2014, 03:27 PM   #2
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I can tell you that after painting the roof on my trailer white with ceramiflex, on a hot summer day, you can't put you hand on the bare aluminum but you can comfortably rest your hand on the white coated section. My guess is probably a 20-30 degree difference.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f478...lex-98479.html
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Old 07-13-2014, 03:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdmaestro View Post
I'm in the midst of doing what I hope us a thorough job of applying a sealant to my '90 25' Excella in an effort to preserve the plasticoat as long as possible. (I'm using an acrylic polymer - Liquid Glass - here's what I'm doing: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f142...ml#post1481214 ).

My plan was to apply Liquid Glass to the whole trailer, including the roof, when it occurred to me that this would be a good time to think about painting the roof. I'm interested in cooling things down as my wife and I dry camp a lot and so we often don't have electricity for A/C. We don't like A/C anyway and we're pretty tolerant of heat, but there are times it would be nice to keep things a little cooler inside our little tubular heat sink.

I've done a lot of research before writing this post about the pro's and con's of painting the roof, including efficiency in terms of cooling and, as often the case here for me and my obviously finite ability to absorb information, I'm more confused than ever. I'm hoping that there's experiential or empirical data available that can help me decide paint or no paint. And I'm wondering if there may have been recent advancements in paint technology with better products available than those discussed here over the years.

Thanks,
Poppy
More than 40 years ago, I painted an Airstream roof in San Antonio white, and half way down the side widows.

Comparing it when finished, to an exact duplicate trailer, showed that the white cooled the trailer by 15 degrees F.

Andy
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Old 07-13-2014, 04:08 PM   #4
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Hi Poppy,

Put your hand on a white car and then a silver car fender in the sun and judge for yourself. Quite a difference.

A street side awning also makes a big difference when that side is exposed to the sun.
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Old 07-13-2014, 04:21 PM   #5
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All of the above. Big difference.


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Old 07-13-2014, 05:28 PM   #6
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Thanks guys. There was one odd discussion at one point that aluminum was as reflective as white which had me a bit confused.

I'm going to paint it - is ceramiflex the best way to go? I believe they say it needs no prep but I'm cautious about that. Think it makes sense to rough the surface up a bit, maybe 400 or somesuch?

Poppy
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Old 07-13-2014, 05:34 PM   #7
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Is ceramiflex the correct spelling? I can't seem to find it anywhere. And interested to hear of other recommended alternatives, such as Dicor from Camping World:

Dicor Elastomeric RV Roof Coating, Gallon - Dicor RP-MRC-1 - Roof Maintenance & Repair - Camping World

Thanks,
Poppy
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Old 07-13-2014, 07:43 PM   #8
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The coatings have a tendency to put streaks down the walls. The new trailers use a white paint that is probably something like Kynar which is hard to retrofit.

Regardless, painting it a light color is definitely going to help with the heat build up.

Aaron
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Old 07-13-2014, 08:10 PM   #9
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Interesting article on this subject:

https://www1.eere.energy.gov/femp/pdfs/coolroof_qa.pdf

Poppy
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Old 07-13-2014, 08:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
More than 40 years ago, I painted an Airstream roof in San Antonio white, and half way down the side widows.

Comparing it when finished, to an exact duplicate trailer, showed that the white cooled the trailer by 15 degrees F.

Andy
Must be why argosy trailers are cool.
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Old 07-13-2014, 08:21 PM   #11
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Here's a link to the Ceramiflex info: http://sealoflex.com/products/coatings/ceramiflex/
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Old 07-13-2014, 09:04 PM   #12
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I used Supertherm which is a ceramic paint. Made a huge difference in the inside temps compared to the factory white finish.
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Old 07-13-2014, 09:36 PM   #13
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White is better than polished aluminum because of a thing called emissivity. White reflects more heat in the infrared. The ratio of the reflectance (incoming sunlight) to the reflected heat (outgoing) is much better for white paint than silver paint or polished aluminum. So yes, if you can find a white paint that will stay on your trailer and won't mildew then it will help. Also bleeding of the paint is another issue as it runs down the side of your trailer. There are products that don't have these problems but I don't know which ones.

Perry
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Old 07-13-2014, 09:41 PM   #14
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The Supertherm has silver nitrate in it which will prevent the formation of mildew.
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