Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fixing Leaks in Roof Air Vents on Trailers or RV's - Part 1 - The Seal

If you have a trailer or an RV, you can know that at some point, it WILL leak. They are always moving and with the weather temperature changes, the seals shift during travel and with the air temperature changes as well.

I am not sure what the average length of time the seals on the windows and vents last and I am not sure if they have ever been repaired on my trailer. By the looks of the trailer top vents, I would guess yes.

By the looks on the windows, I would say "no."

About three years ago, I bought a VERY expensive elastic polymer type rubber that you pour or paint on the roof of your trailer or RV to stop leaks. I spent several days cleaning the areas and painting on the sealant. I thought I would have at least five or ten years where I wouldn't have to worry about the roof or leaking.

I was VERY wrong. When I was replacing the seal on the upper sides of the trailer, the rubber paint was cracking and peeling everywhere. I had to chisel it off of the edges so I could get a good seal where I was putting new butyl tape.

The elastic cracked right where the top air vents connected to the roof. We have had lots of rain recently and the cracks were soft and sticky verses the hard seal it should have had. It was such a mess to get off the trailer top and on the edges of the vents.

You can see in the pictures how the rubber white stuff is all around the aluminum edge and on the top of the trailer and on the top of the vent, you can see I didn't take the time to get all the white rubber stuff off or I would be there weeks doing it. My suggestion, DON'T ever use the rubber white stuff if you can help it. Perhaps it is that my roof is aluminum and gets hot and cold making it crack, I don't know but it was so much work to get the vents off to put new tape on.

I am sure it is worth it as the butyl tape seems to last for years as witnessed on the windows of my trailer. 

I used a metal scraper on the roof only and under the edges where scraping the paint won't be an issue. When I used it on the side of the windows and top edges, I had to be careful not to scratch the paint on the sides of the trailer.

The skinnier 1 to 1-1/2 inch scraper is better than the wider 2 1/2 inch I tried, as it didn't get into the edges as well and I scraped the trailer more.

Once you can get to the screws on the top of the vent, unscrew the vent. I used a bucket to keep all the screws in so I didn't have any roll off the top.

Then, put the scraper under the edges all the way around so that you don't bend the aluminum frame on the vent when pulling it up. When I did the first one, I had one of the girls go inside and make sure I didn't need to unscrew anything in there before pulling it up. You don't need to open the vent or anything to get if off.

One thing I did learn on the first one. DON'T set the vent upside down on the plastic lid. If yours is fragile, it may crack. I have lifetime plastic covers that I recently replaced on mine but when I stuck it upside down on the aluminum trailer top, the aluminum left black marks on the top of the plastic lid. This time, I placed it on a roll of paper towels under it before I started scraping the butyl tape off.

I have a bucket where I put all the scraped off tape and garbage. I forgot to line it and the old tape made it a mess. Always line your garbage buckets with a plastic bag for easy clean up.

Scrape off all the old tape and anything else that may have gotten stuck on the edge of the vent and the trailer top.

Once you have scraped it clean, take paper towels or rags and use mineral spirits to clean the edges of the vent where it attaches to the trailer top and the top of the trailer around the screw holes. The cleaner the better.

Make sure when you dispose of the paper towels to put them in an outside garbage so they don't combust in the house. We had friends who had their business burn to the ground due to this. Better safe than sorry.

Once they are clean, place the butyl tape on the bottom of the edges of the vent with one edge right up to the edge of the metal. This will ensure a good seal once you put it down.

I put another piece of tape all around the screw holes on the top of the trailer giving it a double seal. The reason I do this is because the tape that was used to put my trailer together was thicker than the tape you can purchase today. I have had to use a double layer on almost ever seal, especially on the variegated sides that go in and out and aren't smooth. I think they have learned on newer trailers that a smooth side is better than the variegated ones for a good seal.

My battery died about this point in the picture taking so I didn't want to climb down and charge my phone before moving on so I will just let you know the one or two main things left. Before putting the vent down onto the butyl tape, put the four screws through the corner holes on the top of the vent where you would screw them in. Push them through the butyl tape all the way so you have four long screws hanging on the corners. Put one corner in each corner hole at a time making sure the vent doesn't touch the top of the trailer as the sticky tapes will stick and may not be in the right spot. If you have help holding the vent up while you find the corner holes through the tape on the top of the trailer roof, all the better. I just kept poking it around until I got it in the hole. I then hand screwed it in just a bit to hold until I got the other corners in the their holes.

Make sure your vent is on the way you took it off. Usually, the hinge faces towards the front of the trailer as to not blow the cover off if you forget to close it before travel. 

Once the screws are all in the right holes, I used the drill to screw them in half way. I then did the middle hole on each side using the same technique in finding the hole in the top of the trailer and then hand tightening it and then, using the drill to put it in half way. I then did the other holes until they were all in. If one or two of the screws were stripped, (many of the corner screws were stripped for some reason and went round and round without gripping) I purchased some that were an inch longer than the ones that were in the trailer originally and I used the longer screws to secure those holes. It worked every time on the entire trailer but one.

I then tightened all the screws. If there were areas where the metal in between the screws was up high and wasn't sealing well, I took a hammer and hammered that aluminum back down giving it a better stick to the tape.

Because of the rubber stuff around the screws in some areas, I used another layer of the butyl tape and sealed the top of the screws with the tape as well. It will be easier to get off if needed in the future and I can use mineral spirits to soften it when I do. It will be MUCH easier to get off than the rubber paint or silicone as I have had a few spots where the last guy used that and it takes awhile to get that off as well.   I'll post later about how to replace the rubber seal inside the vent and the vent lids.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How to Decorate Your Oven For Halloween - Exploding Squash

The VERY first thing you need to do to decorate your oven for Halloween, is to drop your cell phone and have it skid across the floor.

When you pick up your said phone noisemaker, you need to have a black screen or a white screen. Those colors both match the Halloween Decorating color code. 

You need to have the phone break in such a way that it will make scary noises and only allow you to hear things on speaker phone. 

No other sound can be heard from the phone or it will ruin the excitement of getting to hear all your calls on speaker.

There is mystery involved when you can't see who is calling you and this only gets more intense when you hear that you are getting text messages that you will never be able to read or retrieve.

Once you have built up enough intense feelings over this phone holiday spirit, you then put a roast in for dinner. 

Once you have that done, you then call the local Halloween spooky support staff at the cell phone company. After being on said spooky support call for nearly 2 hours getting your new phone hooked up and then for some reason, the contact back up function isn't working, (I don't think they wanted me to be able to invite all my friends to the decorating party) You have your support gobblins arrive home from haunting school.

At this point, said Goblin number Five asked if I put squash in with the roast. Being so focused on the sound effects for Halloween, I told her I forgot but, if she wanted to throw a few in, she could. 
She rinsed them and threw them into the caldron.While I was on with the Spooky Sound Support, there was a huge "BOOM!" and the oven door flew open as the squash reacted in the caldron to the heat I guess.... 

Guts flew out the oven door onto the floor and surrounding drawers and then the haunted oven door slammed shut on its own. 

The degree of decorating that the haunted ghost of the oven did was beyond compare. I couldn't have done the same. I quickly turned off the oven after screaming in horror into the phone to the Spooky Support worker. He then replied with his own worried words asking if I needed to get off the Noise Making Device! 

I assured the Spooky Support worker that cleaning the hot guts off the floor and oven would have to wait until they weren't so hot.

I started cleaning the guts off the floor and drawers before Goblin Number 2 suggested that I take some pictures so she could see the wonderful decorating by the haunted oven.

The bigger problem, was that the "guts" had baked on the interior quite well while the Caldron was cooling making extraction VERY difficult in some situations. 

Goblin Four was kind enough to help me with the skeleton portion spraying and wiping them over and over. 

I thought about heating the Caldron to Self Clean but figured the smoke that came with that and the three and a half hour process may make the house full of smoke which would help with the decorating effect looking, like fog, but may make it difficult for the goblins to breath.

I hope you got the main instructions on how to decorate your oven for the holidays in the post above. Make sure that your helper Goblins don't know that when putting spaghetti squash or potatoes in the oven, they need to cut air holes in the sides. Potatoes would look like great brain matter and the spaghetti squash is the winner for guts! 

Happy Decorating! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cute Invitation To A Fall or Harvest Dance

 This May be
 “Candy Corny”
But I was wondering
If you would be my
Date for Twirp?!
Look through the corn
to find my name.
My first name is written
In one direction and my
Last name is written
In the other direction.

Princess Number Four wants to go the the Fall Dance at her school. She is inviting a boy she hasn't done much with before and wanted to think of a cute way to invite him. 

We put our thinking caps on and came up with this idea. She wanted a large jar to put candy corn in so she could say "This may be "candy corny" but...

So we found a large pickle jar to use but it had some really sticky labels on it so I took some mineral spirits and used paper towel to get the sticky off the jar. It worked in seconds. Within one minute, all the sticky was off the jar. I then just washed it with dish soap to get the gas smell off the jar outside. 

She then wrote the little poem type thing at the top of the page and got some candy corn clip art off the internet and printed it on the center of a page so it would be centered. 

We printed it on white first to make sure it would fit on the lid as we didn't want to put anything on the sides of the jar. 

We also wanted to cover up the top of the jar as it had words on it so we thought putting the little poem on the top would cover that and make the jar look more havesty. 
Once the poem was printed, we centered the lid over the poem and traced it with a pencil. We then cut the poem out and used a glue stick to glue it on the top of the jar lid. 

It was a bit bigger than we wanted so we just trimmed it up while it was on the lid as you can see here. 

Princess picked out some tulle ribbons and mixed the candy corn colors of Tulle so she could make the ribbon look more harvesty as well. 

We had to go to three different stores to find any candy corn. We decided to add the "fall blend" in that had pumpkins and browns in them as well. 

We purchased four of each type of candy corn / harvest blend in order to fill the jar. 

Before we put them all in, we wrote the letters of her first name in one direction on the candy corn and the letters of her last name in the other direction on the candy corn as you can see in the picture below. 
We practiced here by writing, "MY and NAME" in different directions. We then realized that some letters can be viewed in either direction so on some of them, we had to draw a line underneath them so they would know which direction they were supposed to be facing. 

For example, O or S could be viewed either way so drawing a line under the side you want the corn to face helps them know if it is for the first or last name. M could be mistaken for a W if there weren't a line under it.   

You can see we actually took a Sharpie pen to the store and wrote the letters on the candy at the store so we could make sure we purchased enough corn to fill the jar. The workers were happy to help us out. We just had them charge us using the empty bags. 

Once we had the name written on the candy, we put them in the bottom of the jar and each time we added a bag of candy, we shook the jar so that the letters would be mixed throughout the jar and candy evenly. 

She is going to be opening up an assembly at school this week and will call the boy up and tell him that "someone" wants to ask him to the dance and will hand him the jar. He will have no idea that she is the one asking him to the dance. 

She is so cute about it. I am sure they will have a wonderful time at the dance even though it may be a bit "Corny."

Monday, October 28, 2013

Thriller Weekend With My Princesses

Princess Four and Five are involved in a youth group that promotes a college education. I guess they had some extra funding this year so they decided to take a road trip. 

They hired out a tour bus and scheduled a fun weekend for the kids. 

They each got $25 for food, a shirt, free transportation and a ticket to "Thriller."

The purpose of the trip, was for them to see a few different schools and learn the benefits of each school and to speak with workers and students from each school. 

There were students from schools all over and the bus stopped and picked up kids at different pick up sites. 

From there, the bus drove long distances and we were happy when we reached our final destination. There is an outdoor amphitheater that has gotten more popular over the years in a small town in Southern Utah.

The kids went to the local university there and talked with students, faculty and did a building photo scavenger hunt. 

I have to say I wasn't prepared for the almost 90 degree weather but for the evening show, I was glad for the warmer temperature. 
The instructor who was scheduled to take the kids from our area backed out and they asked if any parents would like to be the chaperone for the 10 or so kids that went from our area. 

I jumped in on that one as I love spending time with the girls and have attended some shows at the theater there in the past. 

I loved the scavenger hunt as it made the kids learn where the buildings were on campus. They also had a meeting about college classes and why you need to attend the classes and why some kids sign up and then don't go. 

They also talked about places to get help on campuses and tutoring etc. I was impressed with the entire event and loved the way the leader handled the kids on the bus and at each venue. She asked each place we stopped for rest stops how the kids behaved in the store etc. There were over 50 kids on the bus and tours and we never had any issues. 

They were also giving shopping and eating times at malls and Princess Five decided to spend some money on a few cute things and we then ate dinner at Carls Jr. I had never eaten at Carls before. I wasn't really excited about my guacamole burger as it had spicy nacho cheese on it along with onions. I was in a hurry and didn't read the fine print. Princess four got Subway with some other kids and we met back up for the ride to the Theater/School. 

We got a tour of the campus and backstage. The kids were great and we got some great group photos of them all. 

I got a few great shots of my own with my girls in the theater and with the fun face painted photo ops they had out front. 

I found a few pennies and saw a few 11:11 as the bus's clock wasn't set right but I knew that Heavenly Father was blessing us. We all three got to go to a wonderful dance productions and tickets were over $20 a piece. We each got $25 for meals and the best part, I didn't have to drive! I always have to drive so to sit on a comfy tour bus and enjoy someone else driving was wonderful.The trip for us would have been well over $250 in gas, tickets and food.

I made a few new friends and enjoyed visiting with the kids and supervisors from other schools. The show was fabulous. We had a row of women behind us that said they have attended other "Thriller" shows for years and they were more expensive and were not as well done and said that his one would be the one they would attend from now on and it was worth the drive. 

I have to admit I was expecting more from the high school or local dance teams but the local school attendees were "Zombies" in the audience scaring people and they had only one youth group perform a "chucky" clown dance. The rest were all from a professional company and were amazing. It was quite entertaining and there were some really funny dances and skits thrown in. 

We arrived home after 2 a.m. Saturday night but it was well worth it for the wonderful time we had. The sound and environment of the outdoor theater and the red rocks all around was a perfect setting for the entire event. 

Oh, the funny picture of the girls doing a dance move in front of the grey set was the "Mary Poppins" set. I guess it finished its run the night before so the set was still backstage when we were touring. The girls were doing their version of "Step in Time" I guess.

I know my Heavenly Father was answering prayers as the girls have wanted to go see a show for awhile now. It was a wonderful gift. It was a Thrill for sure!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Duct Tape Make-up Bag

A few years ago the girls all got one of these plastic heart make-up or pencil cases on our annual Valentines treasure hunt. See this years post about that here. See last years hunt here. See the first post about it here.

Princess Four and Five asked me to show them how to put on make-up. I thought that was weird since they have had make-up put on for years with dance teams and photo shoots so I thought it funny they asked. 

I got new make-up for them both and gave them everything they would need in the colors best for their eyes and coloring. I gave them each a set and Princess Four had a make-up bag already as she sometimes uses a little on special occasions. Princess Five didn't have a bag for all her make-up stuff so she asked me if I had one. 

I pulled out a few and then she remembered she had the little heart bag she was using for her ipod case or something. 

She went and got it and thought she would rather not have the hearts and asked if she could cover it with Duck Tape. I told her with the amount of Duck Tape we have, she could make several bags. See a post about our Duck Tape collection here.

She picked her favorite colors for the job and just went at it layering the tape one over the other until it was covered. 

This method can be used for anything. Ripping binder corners, purses, backpacks or anything really. 

If you type "Duck Tape" into the search box at the bottom of my blog, you can see lots of our more viewed posts on Duck Tape items. We have pants, capes, gloves, suspenders, shirts and a few more I am sure I am forgetting.

She took off the little heart pull tab and braided herself a matching pull tab out of embroidery floss of the same colors that she chose to use of the Duck Tape. She just tied it on and in a knot as you can see in some of the pictures.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cutting Vinyl Blinds Shorter Than Recommended

I wrote about blinds a few weeks ago and told you I was going to share how I cut them down shorter than they suggest or state on the box. 

They have a long length of steel bar on the inside of the top mechanism box. I had these cut down at the store as short as they would go as the windows in the basement are the same size. 

I got home and neither set would fit in the one bedroom window even though they are the same style and size of window so I guess when they put it in, they made the frame around it a bit thinner than the other window. 

The blinds were cut down as far as they could with the metal steel bar on the inside. I wondered if I could cut the steel rod on the inside and thought it couldn't hurt to try since I had the blinds and now couldn't use them as the window was a bit small.

I used a hack saw to cut the metal box around the  end I was planning on cutting. The top picture is of the dremel tool with the cutting blade. The second picture is showing the extra length of steel rod that really doesn't do anything in the box top. The third picture is me showing how I cut off the box around the steel rod so that the rod is exposed and I know how much of the rod to cut off. 

I got out my handy dandy dremel tool and put on a cutting tip. I was able to cut through the steel rod down about a half inch as you can see in the photo, it is hanging down just before it fell off. I wanted you to be able to see how it was cut and how much. I am sure I could have cut off more but I didn't need to but if you do, it can be done. 

The picture with the glasses is in there to remind me to tell you that when using a tool with ANY metal item, use glasses to protect your eyes as tiny metal pieces fly around when the tool is spinning and cutting. 

Working in the ER, I saw several people come in with tiny metal shards in the eyes due to just this thing. I myself have gotten wooden splinters of dust from sawing and just yesterday, I was using my drill with a grinding stone on it to sand out some rough edges on my trailer awning so it would go up and down smoother. I wore glasses knowing how those flecks of metal fly. Always be safer than sorry! 

The last two pictures are of the blind in the window. It will make it so much easier to open and close the blinds now that they have a pull chord rather than the twisty thing to open and close them. 

I always had to thin plastic blinds in there and so much light came through in the mornings that it would wake guests early. Now, we have the easier blinds and I think they are easier to clean as well. I used to have to take the others in the shower with me and use a scrub brush.

Yahoo for getting another project done! Princess Five now has the larger blinds in her room and opens them often where she NEVER opened the other blinds. It is nice to have more light in her room now. 

In the past month, I have replaced five sets of blinds in the house. I feel so enlightened!