Saturday, April 28, 2007
Aluminum siding goes on
I now have been working on the camper for about 6 months, the inside cabinet work is done, wiring done, and some of the plumbing. I have ran all the wires for the clearance lights that go on the outside of the camper and have insulated all the outside walls. So now it is time to put on the siding I ordered from "The Metal Company" out of Alvardo Colorado. I paid approx $1,800 for the siding, corner modeling, rubber roof, and the rubber roof kit. It cost me another $200 to have it shipped via DHL to my house. I ordered the siding with the Pittsburg Lock. You start at the top, putting the first sheet on which was a full 16' long. I used an air stapler, 1/8" staples, 1" long. After i got the first sheet up, and made sure it was level, the second sheet slides up into the Pittsburg lock and you staple it at the bottom and that holds it. I started on the right side and then did the left side. Then i used my router with a 1/8" flush trimming bit to cut out the window openings. I found out that if you route about 2 or 3' and then spray your bit down with WD 40 the aluminum will not build up in the bit. You can tell when the bit gets clogged because it will quit cutting and he have to stop and dig the aluminum out of it. But using the router bit made fast work of the cut outs. I then put the siding on the back wall the next day. Then used the router bit to cut out the doorway, propane tank door, and thetford toilet door access. Now I couldn't do the front until i put on the rubber roof. Before I spread the glue I shop vac'd the plywood roof and then went over every square inch. I found 4 screws that were not recessed to my liking so i reset them. I wanted a smooth roof with no bumps in it. I rolled the Rubber roof material up on the roof. I noticed that it had some waves in it. this was due to it being rolled up when shipped in a tube. So I let it stay up on the roof for 2 days and the memory lines were gone, it was now flat. I rolled it in half, right down the center of the camper. I then rolled on the glue with a paint roller like the instructions said to do. Well when i got this one half side rolled i noticed that the plywood had absorbed most of the glue. So I rolled on a 2nd thicker coat and that did it. I then folded the roof over on the glue and then folded the other side on top of the side i had just glued down. I then spread two coats on this side and rolled the roof back over on top of the glue. I let all the edges hang over about 3". I then got a large 4' wide shop broom and started working the air bubbles out, from the center to the outside edges. The job turned out perfect, and this was a first for me. It was fairly simple. I let the roof dry for 3 days before i did any more work. I then put on the front wall siding starting up on the roof just over the cabinets on the front wall and then wrapped around all the way to the box area. It took me two days to finish the front. I am slow but sure. Then i put the putty tape on all the corners and started putting on the corner molding. I bought the molding with predrilled holes every 4". I think i drove around 400 screws into all the molding. The molding process took me about a week to do. I would work on it a little each day plus i ran into a major problem with the corner bends. I tried making the bends myself but you cannot just make a bend with this stuff, it is aluminum, but still very rigid. I called around to machine shops and never could find anyone who had the right machine to make my bends here in the Houston, Texas area. Well I had to put my thinking cap on and i came up with the idea of using rubber boat rub rail molding. I got on line and found some J molding and ordered 10' of it for around $35. I had to wait another week for it to come in. Well it would bend but not very much so i thought of heating the rubber up to get it to bend around my corners. I put it in the microwave and kept pulling it out every 15 seconds until i found that if i heated it up for 2 mins it was flexible enough to work with. So I predrilled a bunch of holes in it, heated it up, then ran over and screwed it down while bending it around the corners while it was still hot. Once it cooled off it was very rigid again. It worked out perfect, as you can see in the photos. Actually you could do all the camper in this stuff and it would probably be cheaper that the aluminum modeling. After i got all the molding on, and of course it was backed up with 3/4" putty tape, I had to cover all the screws with a plastic insert molding. I bought 100' on line for $12.00. Took another week to get it in. After I got all the insert molding in the groves to cover the screw heads i started caulking. Now if you have never used the special RV caulk before you are in for a surprise. It has to be the stickiest caulk i have used in my life. It is a rubber based and it sticks even to grease, says so on the tube. Well it is hard to get off your hands too. I found that if i kept my hands soaked in Mineral spirits it would not stick as much to my fingers. So i had my hands soaked in mineral spirits for two days while working with this stuff. Well i got all the siding on and all the corner molding, it took me about 5 weeks due to having to order parts and wait on them to come in. See on going photos of this project. I will enter just one more blog after this that will show the finished project.