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Old 06-10-2016, 06:29 PM   #1
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White vinyl decal for the roof to cut down on heat?

Had anyone put the vinyl that that is used to store front lettering or car decals on the roof? I'd rather not paint the roof with an elastomeric coating because it will be a pain to get off.

The vinyl comes in 14"x 150 feet. One roll could probably do a few trailers. It sounds like a better option than paint. I tried the search but couldn't find anyone who did it.
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Old 06-10-2016, 07:28 PM   #2
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So curious too. I saw a picture of one like that. I didn't know if that is what they did on newer ASAP.
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Old 06-10-2016, 09:04 PM   #3
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New Airstreams use a factory prefinished white aluminum. Who and where do you get 14 ft wide adhesive backed exterior grade white decal stock? I was involved for setting up our factory to apply large decals to outboard motors back in the '70's. Putting them on a curved surface, without wrinkles, proved to be a big problem. I can think it would be near to impossible to apply it to the three dimensionally curved older Airstream roofs. The newer Airstreams are pretty flat, in the middle of the roof, where the precoated white aluminum is used.
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Old 06-10-2016, 09:35 PM   #4
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Who and where do you get 14 ft wide adhesive backed exterior grade white decal stock?
Possible typo. Shouldn't that be 14 inches wide?

If so, and if the OP allows for overlap between adjacent strips, it would take about 9 strips running the full length of the trailer, with gaps for existing roof penetrations. 14-inch strips with overlap would cover 12 inches wide per strip. So one 150-foot roll would cover one trailer at most, with some left over for short trailers and nothing at all left over for longer trailers.
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Old 06-10-2016, 09:58 PM   #5
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Yes, 14 inches.

The roof panel on my Sovereign is 21 feet long and about 4'-8" wide (according to the service manual).

That's about 4.5 strips per roof with about a 2" overlap. Round it up to 5 strips and that's 105 linear feet. Now subtract the AC, vents, solar panels, etc.

So my calculation was off a bit. You can do one large trailer and a small one with 1 roll.
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Old 06-10-2016, 11:34 PM   #6
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White vinyl decal for the roof to cut down on heat?

Here is my take.

Using vinyl is one of those ideas that looks good on paper, and sounds easy enough,,, it can be done, and it can be done well. But....

I have applied many square feet of large decals over the years, and in fact I had more than enough white vinyl to cover my roof when I painted my roof....... But I never even considered it.

It would (imo) be a NIGHTMARE to put that much vinyl on the roof of an Airstream.

I simply used a good epoxy paint, it was quick and easy. Sand, mask, paint, done. In just a couple a few hours.

It would take a long time on your knees on the roof to squeegee the thousands of bubbles that would form under several 14" wide strips of vinyl. (It would really, really suck)

If you decide to do this, shell out for better vinyl, not the economy stuff, it is going to take a beating on the roof. Cheap stuff will start cracking and peeling in a couple of years.


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Old 06-10-2016, 11:40 PM   #7
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Roof coating

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Originally Posted by CraigCA View Post
Yes, 14 inches.

The roof panel on my Sovereign is 21 feet long and about 4'-8" wide (according to the service manual).

That's about 4.5 strips per roof with about a 2" overlap. Round it up to 5 strips and that's 105 linear feet. Now subtract the AC, vents, solar panels, etc.

So my calculation was off a bit. You can do one large trailer and a small one with 1 roll.

That's all well and good but where is the benefit to doing this? There is no real insulating value to shrink wrap the roof with this kind of product and I truly doubt there is any lasting cure for leaks on the roof panel that would hold up over time! I don't see that using this product gains you anything. At least the elastometric coating helps insulate and reflect the sun thus creating a thermal barrier on the top of the roof panel. That helps keep the roof cooler and the trailer as well. Just sayin' Ed
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Old 06-11-2016, 12:16 AM   #8
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um, that's the point of this thread. I don't want to paint the roof and I'm looking for an alternative.

I've installed plenty of vinyl too. It doesn't have to be perfect because you can't see it from standing on the ground. If there's a small bubble, pop it with a pin or slice it with a razor blade and it will lay flat. The idea is to get something that will reflect the sun and try and lower the interior temperature and can be removed in the future.

Whatever Airstream is using now is some type of vinyl adhered to the aluminum sheet. I touched it a few weeks ago at the factory, but the get it that way from the supplier. If there was no benefit, Airstream wouldn't do it.

I'm in the desert. Soon the temps will be close to 110 in the day and in the 80's at night. I need to do something to try and lower the interior temps.
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Old 06-11-2016, 12:38 AM   #9
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White vinyl decal for the roof to cut down on heat?

Well, my opinion about covering the roof with vinyl is that the initial application will be a freaking nightmare, and that the longevity of the product will be eight years or less if you buy premium vinyl, and about two years if you buy economy vinyl. The roof is in full sun for an entire day, and the vinyl will take a beating up there. When it fails, (and it will), fixing it will be worse than if you had painted it.

The vinyl is going to crack into a thousand pieces of just a few square inches each. These pieces are going to stick like mad and require chemical removal to resurface the roof the second time.

Just my opinion..... But I wouldn't do this with a trailer I planned on keeping. Of course I might have the whole thing wrong, and I reserve the right ti be wrong about this, but if I thought I was wrong I wouldn't have posted these posts in the first place...

FWIW, a white roof really helps with the heat a lot. I am parked in full sun and it was 105 today where I am camped out, I was able to keep the trailer down to about 75 today.

Best of luck in whatever you decide.


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Old 06-11-2016, 01:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Yes, 14 inches.

The roof panel on my Sovereign is 21 feet long and about 4'-8" wide (according to the service manual).

That's about 4.5 strips per roof with about a 2" overlap. Round it up to 5 strips and that's 105 linear feet. Now subtract the AC, vents, solar panels, etc.

So my calculation was off a bit. You can do one large trailer and a small one with 1 roll.
I was thinking you'd want to extend it past the roof panel onto the curved sides, which are also heat collectors, which is why I was thinking nine strips.
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Old 06-11-2016, 06:15 AM   #11
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Not sure what the factory is currently using. The last time I checked it was a coating/paint, not a sticker. Elastomeric coating is the way to go in my opinion. I don't see how a vinyl sticker left in the sun for any long period of time is going to be easier to remove than a coating.

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Old 06-11-2016, 06:17 AM   #12
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Early Internationals did not have 30 amp service. Therefore, no air conditioning. At the first Rapid City Rally, with a plasticoated roof, interior trailer temperatures were over 105 degrees. My sick wife roasted. When I got home, I painted mine white. Next year, the trailer was more liveable. The paint lasted 10 years. I repainted. Putting on decals that big would be much more work and likely be more difficult to repair. Pick a paint that does not chauk. House paint will leave white strips down the side of your trailer.
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Old 06-11-2016, 09:17 AM   #13
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Ok, nobody thought it was worth a try so I'll just cover it with elastomeric roof coating.
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Old 06-11-2016, 09:30 AM   #14
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White vinyl decal for the roof to cut down on heat?

Dont get me wrong, I think that the idea would work to help keep the heat down, but when I read your post I was having visions of myself on my knees up on my Airstreams roof trying to peel the backing of of large strips of vinyl, wetting it, laying it down, cutting around the roof stuff, working out the bubbles, working the vinyl around the seams and every single rivet, and then trying to pull the top protective layer off the vinyl.......... Sheet, after sheet after sheet.

I am too lazy in my old age for that kind of work when it is so easy to sand, mask, and spray on a high quality epoxy that will last for at least ten years.


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