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Old 06-03-2014, 08:34 AM   #1
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Flat Polycarbonate skylight...

Hello all!

Not sure if this is the right section to post this, but here goes... I'm in the process of re-roofing our 36' Spinnaker (Forest River 5th wheel) and have come to the realization that the skylight over the living room is beyond repair. It's a sizable skylight and expensive to replace, so my thought is to replace it with a sheet of 1/4" polycarbonate (which I already have), maybe add a single support across the middle for snow load and call it a day. The roof in that section is at a 5 degree angle, sloped toward the rear and the roof is also slightly convex. My question is, is there a reason this isn't common practice? Has anyone else done this successfully? Thoughts?

Thanks!
Lorne
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:13 AM   #2
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Don't know if anyone's done this, but your skylight should be two layer the way RV bath ones are. If you haven't done so, look for aftermarket manufacturers. I've had good experience with a Canadian company, Icon Direct - their skylights are here: RV Skylight | Skylights | Sky light Domes | RV Skylight Replacements
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:15 AM   #3
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IMO, even if you design the supports with a slight upward bow, the skylight still will have a tendency to collect water, which will want to seep in around the edges. The factory skylights are vacuum formed with a fairly steep upward bow for a reason.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:42 AM   #4
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Interesting, the skylight over the shower is just a single layer. The one in the livingroom is a two layer, smoked over clear. It looks like the roof has had many repair attempts made in the past.
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Old 06-03-2014, 02:05 PM   #5
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Having the two layer dome will cut down on condensation on the inside, and give you better insulation compared to a single layer.

Since the normal domed skylights have a flat flange where they are fixed to the roof, using a completely flat panel shouldn't make any difference to the sealing between the plastic and the roof.
You will probably get a build-up of dirt sitting in the dished flat sheet but that may not matter
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Old 06-04-2014, 06:49 AM   #6
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All valid points... After reading the posts and looking at it, I'm thinking maybe use the flat sheet of polycarb on the inside to replace the inside dome and use what was the inside dome as the outside dome. The inside dome was in much better shape and it actually appears to be a bit thicker material than the original outside dome. Anyone see where this could be problematic?

Thanks,
Lorne
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Old 06-04-2014, 08:19 AM   #7
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Hmmmm, if that ends up working out, maybe I would do something similar to the shower skylight. There's only a single dome there...
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Old 06-04-2014, 11:08 AM   #8
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I replaced the exterior portion of our shower skylight with 1/2" Lexan last year, retaining the interior piece and it has worked out fine. Bevelled the edges like you would see on the raised panel of a cabinet door for a smoother transition. 1/4" plexi does not seem like it would be sturdy enough. Just my opinion.
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Old 06-04-2014, 12:28 PM   #9
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Bcovey, out of curiosity, what was the interior piece made of? My current inner piece in the living room skylight is a dome that is slightly shallower than the exterior piece. Shower has no inner piece at all, just a single dome over the opening.

My last sailboat had opening hatches with 21x21 acrylic panels 3/8" think, glued in with adhesive. I replaced the acrylic with 1/2" thick polycarb and it worked excellent (where I got the thought for flat skylight).
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:38 AM   #10
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The interior portion of the skylight is also made from a translucent plastic, I assume to be the same type of plastic as the original exterior portion. There is still clearance between the new flat Lexan I installed and the interior dome. Before installation, I went over the inside surface of the Lexan with fine sandpaper (400 grit) to make it translucent (personal choice, but it does look better and helps diffuse the light)
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:10 AM   #11
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Nice! The frosted look would hide a lot and add a nice decorative touch as well. Good idea.
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Old 06-05-2014, 11:04 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhutter1 View Post
Hello all!

Not sure if this is the right section to post this, but here goes... I'm in the process of re-roofing our 36' Spinnaker (Forest River 5th wheel) and have come to the realization that the skylight over the living room is beyond repair. It's a sizable skylight and expensive to replace, so my thought is to replace it with a sheet of 1/4" polycarbonate (which I already have), maybe add a single support across the middle for snow load and call it a day. The roof in that section is at a 5 degree angle, sloped toward the rear and the roof is also slightly convex. My question is, is there a reason this isn't common practice? Has anyone else done this successfully? Thoughts?

Thanks!
Lorne
Lorne,
I most certainly applaud your idea(s) here. I dig it when guys think "out side" the box. So many times on here and other RV forums, a poster is advised to go "right back to the factory or, dealer" for repairs or, parts or, something in need of attention. If one has the drive and thought process, for a possible remedy to a situation, GO FOR IT!!

Now, one thing on your intended repair idea. I don't know how much you know about certain plastics or not but, just in case you're not aware of it, Poly carbonate is a much softer plastic than many of its counter parts. And, in it's chemical make up, being softer has some seriously better benefits than say, "Plexiglass". The main one is, it's very "IMPACT" resistant. You can blast it with a hammer and, nothing will happen. Plexiglass, on the other hand, will shatter.

Poly carbonate cuts better with table saws etc. It has way less tendency to chip-out at the blades edge. Many of the windows, at Donavan State Prison, close to San Diego are made of Poly Carbonate. By using that material, it's shatter proof, bullet proof (depending on thickness) and, it's not very easy to destruct.

But, one of the "bad" points about it is, being so soft, and resilient, it SCRATCHES very easily. It's not very tolerant to cleaning with normal procedures. This is where Plexiglass, Lexan and others have the advantage over Poly carb.

Anyway, just thought I'd throw some info at ya, case you were interested. Good luck on your project. I'd like to see pics of the before and after, if possible.
Scott
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Old 06-05-2014, 11:28 AM   #13
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Polycarb/Lexan is one of my favorite materials for both work and personal use for machining, impact and UV resistance. Scratch resistant polycarb is the best, but it costs a fortune. Acrylic is a huge pain in the backside, plus it gets spider cracks in it with long term UV exposure... :(
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Old 06-05-2014, 04:05 PM   #14
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Polycarb/Lexan is one of my favorite materials for both work and personal use for machining, impact and UV resistance. Scratch resistant polycarb is the best, but it costs a fortune. Acrylic is a huge pain in the backside, plus it gets spider cracks in it with long term UV exposure... :(
Well Sir,
Sounds definitely like you've got experience in what you're working with. That's great. I'm anxious to see the end result. Good luck.
Scott
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