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Old 07-05-2015, 11:30 AM   #1
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Painted a vintage roof

Just finished painting the roof of my 64 Sovereign with Interlux Brightside. Hope it brings down the summer temps a few notches; it's been over 100° for the 10th day in a row. Anyone else have any real world results on a vintage application? It looks like the 60's don't have as much roof area as the later models so I'm wondering if I'll get the drop in interior temps? Plus, I painted it 4' wide. Thinking I should have gone 5'.
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Old 07-05-2015, 12:33 PM   #2
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I did it

I did this to my 1956 Flying cloud. I used it mainly because the previous ownership had done it years ago. I also used the Ceramicoat as a leak preventative. Even though the promotional info says no white streaking I have some. No real data on heat reduction, but there must be some. The best heat reduction is awnings on both long sides.
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Old 07-05-2015, 01:21 PM   #3
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I am considering painting the roof of my 1993 Excella white as I have seen some of the newer ones that are factory painted. Does anyone know what kind of paint Airstream is using??
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Old 07-05-2015, 01:25 PM   #4
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Painting the roof white is a great idea. Can't help but lower the temps and radiated energy. Contemplating doing the same on our Avion.
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Old 07-05-2015, 02:56 PM   #5
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Our first Airstream was a 1985 Excella with no white paint on the roof. Single awning and HOT, HOT, HOT. Camped one time in full sun and temp's approaching 100's. We were plugged in and kept the AC on full time and it just made it tolerable. Newer trailer is a 2001 Excella with white painted roof but has awning all around. It is much cooler in the newer AS but hard to put it all on the roof since we have awnings all around now. I think the white painted roof is a plus and would recommend doing it.
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Old 07-05-2015, 04:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerry1939 View Post
I am considering painting the roof of my 1993 Excella white as I have seen some of the newer ones that are factory painted. Does anyone know what kind of paint Airstream is using??
Airstream gets the white roof aluminum from alcoa it is already white when the buy it .
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Old 07-05-2015, 05:04 PM   #7
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I painted the center panel of our '74 with white Kool Seal. It resulted in lower temps than our friends' '73 without the white area. They had a 15,000btu a/c, and it was still warmer inside than ours with a 13.5 a/c.
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Old 07-05-2015, 07:25 PM   #8
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I believe keeping an Airstream cool is not a one item fix. AC units, Fantastic Fans, awnings all around... and now a white roof. It all helps, hopefully and the white roof certainly can't hurt. I should've applied the leak guard rubber spray on the ribs when I had the skin off to slow the heat conductivity. It would've been one more thing to help.
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Old 07-05-2015, 07:39 PM   #9
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I got 10 degrees drop

I have a 1987 Avion 34 foot triple axle (which is really 35'-11" bumper to ball). I painted the roof white on it, and it dropped the inside temperature a solid 10 degrees F over what it was before.

The Avion of this vintage is shaped much like the new Airstreams are, so it's got a bigger percentage of the roof that you can paint than the old Airstreams. But it does help a lot.

If you do it, you need to do it properly to get it to last. With aluminum, you need to etch it, then prime it, and then paint it. I used etching fluid from Aircraft Spruce and Specialty. Be careful not to let too much of that run down the sides without lots of water to dilute it. You'll want to mask the top off well. After etching, I used aircraft primer from U.S. Air. It's a yellowish color, so I don't think it's Zinc Chromate (which was traditionally greenish, but it might be) but that it's more likely an epoxy primer. Just the same they put it on airliners so I figured it's pretty durable. After that, just paint with a good oil paint. I used Rustoleum gloss white. It's worked well.

After the old 13K btu Coleman a/c gave up the ghost, I replaced it with a new 15K btu and it'll freeze you out now. We had it in Orlando this time last year when it was 102 and it kept it nice inside.

Best of luck,
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Old 07-05-2015, 09:20 PM   #10
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I have painted my kayaks with Interlux Brightside and it has held up good on fiberglass. Wondering what Blue-Glo White would look like on the roof.
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Old 07-05-2015, 09:55 PM   #11
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Thinking of painting

I have been thinking of painting the roof on our 67-22ft. Safari. However I was not going to etch it as I thought I was painting the clear coat and not directly on the aluminum and the etching proses was not needed. As I understand etching is a form of mild acid but would think it would not eat through the clear coat. Would you think that would be true?

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Old 07-05-2015, 10:38 PM   #12
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I have been thinking of painting the roof on our 67-22ft. Safari. However I was not going to etch it as I thought I was painting the clear coat and not directly on the aluminum and the etching proses was not needed. As I understand etching is a form of mild acid but would think it would not eat through the clear coat. Would you think that would be true?

Greg Anderson
Wisconsin
I would be surprised if there is much clear coat left on a 67 unless it has been redone.

Sripping the clear coat is relatively quick. Try a little stripper and see what happens. I would not paint my roof without stripping it down to bare metal. As far as acid primer, some do, some don't. I would follow the manufacturers directions.

I put on a coat of no longer available Ceramiflex years ago and it is still in good shape. There was chalking but that was easy to rinse off and now has stopped. I think it did make a difference and plan on painting the roof of my 34 footer.
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Old 07-06-2015, 12:13 PM   #13
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I'm going to rely upon (the scheduled installation of) solar panels to create shade on the roof skin. We don't have air conditioning on our tiny airframe riveted aluminum trailer, but the fantastic fan provides some cooling. If I could find a truly tiny compact two-part air conditioner, I would install it. Our Airlight is 15' from ball coupler to rear bumper, with a 12' body.
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Old 07-06-2015, 01:42 PM   #14
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Early 1950s Cruisettes came that way

Per the 1950s Airstream Cruisette specifications info, it states "Above the belt, the exterior of the trailer is painted white with special aircraft enamel, making the interior much cooler in desert heat." So . . . your idea should work!
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