Water Tight

  • The goal is to make Alice as water tight as possible

We have spent probably 10-12 hours scrapping away the old caulk.

Granted it wasn’t an all zoned-in, diligent work time. I probably spent about 1/4 of that time whining and trying to come up with a way to scrape caulk faster/more efficiently/with as little effort as possible. Every time the kids came in to peek at the progress we invited them in and encouraged them to stay and entertain us by asking them, “what do you think the back ‘bunk room’ should look like?!” IMG_7111 Here Patrick is posing where his bunk will be. He has already claimed curbside. It makes me so happy to see them excited about this project. IMG_7109 In the end, we had to ignore all the welcome distractions and then it just came down to elbow grease and time. I have said it before and I will say it again, least favorite part of Alice renovation process so far has been removing the caulk.

Now that the old caulk is finally gone, it is time to re-seal Alice. And this day could not come any closer to the wire. We have been having really strange, super wet weather in Minnesota. The rain has been off the charts and every time it has rained, our newly unsealed seams and rivets leak tons of water onto our already rotted sub-floors. It makes for a stinky Alice and we need to fix that before the snow starts!

When choosing a sealant we consulted the AirForums for recommendations. The AirForums is our go-to for advice and opinions on products. We found a great thread on sealants and used that as a starting point for our research. IMG_7116IMG_7128 We ended up choosing Vulkem 116 because it is flexible even after it dries, and it will be good in extreme temps and it dries strong. IMG_7132 Our tip to you, dig out a shish kabob stick from the back of the kitchen junk drawer and use that to open the Vulkem. It is the right length and you can toss it when you are done. No clean up! I am not sure how pros open up their Vulkem but this method works great for us.IMG_7137 IMG_7126 We had to seal every single one of the Olympic rivets that were used when the curbside of Alice was replaced (you can read about our discovery of curbside aluminum replacement, here) Vulkem-ing was a tedious task and a surprisingly expensive one. At $5.27 a tube it added up quick. To date we have emptied 8 tubes. I know it is only $43 but when you think about caulk as a line item in a budget, I never thought that it would be near that expensive. Maybe saying that proves how novice we truly are at Airstream renovation!

  Stocking up for a weekend of Airstream cleaning and sealing. #LetsDoThis #airstream #diy   A photo posted by Meg (@rumblestripramblings) on

I am just realizing that we have been on this caulk scraping and re-sealing stage for a little over 2 months! It is crazy how little time we have had to work on Alice now that the kids are back in school and all of their school activities have begun!

I am excited to say that we are almost done with the Vulkem 116. Today we water tested for the first time since sealing (more on that later this week) Spoiler alert, the Vulkem 116 worked great but I will still be running to Home Depot specifically for a little more of the stinky, flexible sealant.



7 thoughts on “Water Tight

  1. Nick Burg

    I’m about 90% sealed up on mine. I’m also using the same product. It’s awesome. And, yes, extremely messy. But worth it. I use a wire brush (disc?) on an 18v Milwaukee cordless grinder for removal, and it works awesome. Even when the bristles get gunked up, it still goes strong. Really fast. Even if you don’t have a grinder, even a drill with wire brush works great too. Check it out!

    1. Meg Post author

      That’s a great tip Nick. We used a soft bristle brush on a drill to clean off insulation. A wire brush would be great for the tougher jobs!

  2. Tim

    Looks like our next big step is sealing the door. It’s basically a waterfall there right now. I’m hoping it’s just a matter of replacing the weather strip, but it may be that the door is bent too far off it’s frame to seal properly.

    We’ll see.

  3. Karen

    Ok, I had just sent you a message on IG, but here I see some more answers to what I’d asked about the back kids bunk room. Would love to chat about what you guys have planned and we are in this exact same scraping/waterproofing stage. It is exhausting! I feel like we have been sucked into a pit of quicksand and will never get out and onto the next phase! lol Love all your documentation here and good luck!

  4. Calvin

    Ah! I just stumbled into your blog. I’m currently gutting a 1958 26′ Overland and this is certainly in my future. I’m in Vermont, so it’s nice to see someone in a cold weather climate as it’s a little more relatable for me. Congrats on everything!


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