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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

To Wax Or Not To Wax, THAT Is The Question - Better Looking RVs With Floor Finish!

Clean And Pretty!
    A LONG while back I had cleaned and then applied an acrylic floor finish to my RV. Red Max Pro was the brand; it's no longer available but a very similar product called Zep Wet-Look Floor Finish is. The results were spectacular to say the least. A couple of years ago I renewed the application (2 easy coats, no buffing) and was pleased with the results, for the most part. Seems that I didn't get the RV clean enough before re-application and I had sealed some dirt and faded black streaks under the new acrylic coating. Since this stuff is so durable, getting it looking good again was going to be an issue. With a regular wash and wax you have to do it many more times, but there would not have been an issue with crud under the coating.

Pretty Awful, Right?
What to do? I could strip the entire coating off, all the way back to the base gel coat layer and reapply from scratch. That seemed to me to be a lot of extra work. There must be a way to "spot" treat the application and get good results. Even if they are "good enough" I would be pleased. I began by isolating a 2ft by 2ft square on the sidewall that looked pretty bad. No amount of polishing by hand or power buffer was making any difference, so I decided to try some light scratch compound. This definitely worked, but was pretty harsh and required a steady hand and the right amount of pressure to work properly. I had read about using the same brand floor stripper to remove the acrylic coating, but was concerned over the use of even more chemicals on my gel coat finish (not to mention my hands!)

Close Up, Ready For New Acrylic.
Ultimately, I used a combination of Magic Eraser for REALLY bad spots and simple light buffing with "Barkeeper's Friend" (a not-too-harsh abrasive powder.) Once the bad stuff was gone, a new coating of acrylic was applied the same way I did the first time. The new coating allegedly will blend with the existing coating where it was still in good shape. After all this is finally done, I will likely go over the coating with a single (or maybe a double) light coat to make sure everything is sealed for the season. Looks like the deep shine WILL come back easily enough. I was a bit worried I would have to strip and re-do the entire RV! No fun at all.


If I would have properly re-applied last year, this problem would have never surfaced. It's all my fault. I was in a rush. That never works. Trust me! All in all, after almost 4 years (in 4 season weather) it still looks GREAT! If I had to wax my RV, no matter that it's pretty small, it would be lots of work and have to be done MANY times in a season, especially on the nose. This type of coating isn't for everyone. Since it's a floor finish, you can never get it glass smooth. Obviously, right? Who wants a really slick and slippery floor unless you're skating!?!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"
www.thewanderman.com

5 comments:

  1. Great idea but as windy as it has been here in the southwest I think I'll wait until I have an indoor venue to try this. I don't think a 36ft fuzzy dust covered fifth wheel would be quite the thing.

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    Replies
    1. PZ,
      Wow..didn't even consider wind blown dust. Or Pollen. Good thinking. I'll wait to have a zero wind day and keep it on the pavement!

      Thanks for the idea,

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  2. We have used ZEP for 2 years now, started by using BarKeeps friend to remove any oxidation or discoloring of the GELCOAT, then rinsed with TSP to remove any Bar Keeps residue, then rinsed with clear water, then started the process of applying the ZEP, I used old T-shirts cut up to apply. After the first coat I looked at it and thought I had made a huge mistake. The second coat filled a few more of the gelcoat pores. The 3rd coat it started to shine By the 5th coat i was as smooth as glass and you could see yourself in it.I did one side of the coach in 1 day and the other the next day. The product has a 15 minute drying time suggested between coats. 2 years later and all I have done is wash the rig. I mentioned GELCOAT because my rig, an 02 HR Endeavor 40 DST has a lot of painted surface too and that is clear coated already, no need to ZEP that area. So far the product has stood up to the intense heat of Baja, Mexico for 2 winters, the rain of the Pacific Northwest and the sand of the southwest and still looks awesome. There are many tutorials on You Tube.. Remember to do a proper preparation before applying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Walt,
      Glad other folks have shared my success! Since cleaning is so low on my list of recreation activities, this process is a MUST!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  3. Yep, I did the same thing to the front cap, rear cap and basement doors on my 5th wheel 2 years ago. (did 4 or 5 thin coats with ZEP wet look) Still looks great after spending three winters in the Arizona dessert. I'll likely touch it up this year with a couple more coats...thanks for the reminder to really get it clean before applying more.

    ReplyDelete

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