Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I realize that I keep getting ahead of myself in these posts. Something you should know about before painting is removing EVERYTHING possible to check for leaks, replace any rusting hardware and re-putty/re-seal as much as possible. Just about everything is screwed to the frame through the outer-skin of the trailer and everything from windows and doors to drip-rails and vents has a potential to leak.
Painting is a great opportunity to remove everything possible and reseal any joints as well as a good opportunity to get to know your trailer better and head off any potential problems. Most things like windows can just be removed and cleaned up, but I also took this opportunity to replace a few things that were broken like the drip railing that goes along the top perimeter of the trailer. These can be a little pricey but they are actually fairly easy to bend and work with and they look like a million bucks when they are done. Since they protrude slightly from the trailer they are likely to be one of the first things to get damaged so they can get a little banged up over the years.
The putty is sold in rolls separated by some sort of paper and can be cut and shaped to fit into any seams. I also bought some special caulking that is designed to be more flexible especially for trailers. It is important to pay special attention to areas that might get a lot of road and weather damage like the seams along the front edge of the trailer down near the road.
You will also probably discover during this step that many of the screws and bolts are rusted beyond easy removal. For this you will need a screw extraction tool and a tiny drill bit of similar dimension (you can find these at almost any hardware store). Basically you just drill slightly into the screw, then tap in the extraction tool and unscrew. The extraction tool is reverse threaded so that when you are turning the screw to remove it you are also actually tightening the extractor tighter into the screw. It take a few times to get the hang of this. When you are replacing screws and bolts, make sure that you get stainless steel screws.