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Selling an RV with Delamination is Possible. Here’s How.

Published on November 30th, 2023 by Patty Lyles

So you have an RV with delamination you want to sell. You might wonder “Who would do that? Who would buy a damaged RV in the first place?!” If the very idea of selling a rig in that condition sounds nutty to you, rest assured people do it all the time. If you are that seller putting your delaminated RV up for sale, these tips can help you get it sold quickly and honestly. 

What Causes RV Delamination? Can you Fix It?

Before you try to sell your delaminated RV, you need to know what caused the damage. Motorhomes and travel trailers are typically affected. The causes of RV delamination usually involve water leaks around window seals.

Water gets in-between the styrofoam and plywood layers of wall construction substrates.
The glue weakens, and the adhesive attaching the RV’s fiberglass shell to the backing material separates.
Moisture creates a bubble or distortion of RV sidewalls that you can feel and see on the outer layer of the walls of your RV.
  Small cracks and wood rot follow.

RV delamination rarely affects the interior walls. The delamination areas on the fiberglass exterior can be so small that it goes unnoticed for a long time. Until one day with just the right sunlight hitting it from just the right angle, you see the damage. Sadly, RV insurance doesn’t usually pay to fix RV delamination.

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I’ve seen some videos in the past showing people drilling holes and injecting epoxy all into the delaminated area. Then they use boards between it and the wall of a building to clamp it over a few days. The results looked good at least on the video. I don’t know the real success rate of that process but it looks like there are some companies out there selling kits to do just that.

Delamination: Easy Fix? iRV2 Forums Member @Traygar,

Many RVers buy RV delamination repair kits to repair sidewall delamination, but it’s not a cheap project. Repair costs run into the thousands of dollars. The final repair bill depends on the size of your RV, the delamination square footage, the extent of the damage, and the location.

How to Sell an RV with a Delamination Problem

Selling an RV with delamination is all about having a genuine conversation with potential buyers. 

The experienced RVer will know and recognize the delamination issue. Most will be wary and ready to run as soon as they see it. What will give them pause when they see yours? How about the boldness and vigor with which you talk about that labor of love to restore, clean up, and fix that delamination.

For example, be up front and talk openly about what delamination is, and what you have done (or intended to do) to fix it moving forward.

Don’t Avoid Talking About the Damage

You might tell a potential buyer “Let’s be honest, it may not be perfect but it is fixed and water intrusion has been stopped before further damage could have been done.” In doing so, you show them you aren’t trying to hide anything, or make the buyer feel like you are trying to cheat them. 

A genuine conversation about your delaminated RV invites questions and opens up opportunities for honest answers.
Speak in a way that is unarguableBase your conversation on fact.
You might say “Yes, this camper has/had delamination and it was fixed by tearing it apart and putting it back together.”
 Avoid saying things like “Yes, this camper has/had delamination, but its not that bad.” Remember, everyone’s idea of “not that bad” is different.

On the other hand, if a brand new, inexperienced RVer looks at your delaminated RV, they may not know or recognize the problem. They may not be wary at all, and ready to buy the minute they go up your driveway. The ethical RV seller won’t lead them on. Be just as honest as you would with an experienced RVer. Speak about the problem factually, with confidence. This immediately shows that you are an accountable, trustworthy RVer.

Look inside the coach along the sidewall and floor in that area, checking for water damage (soft spots, moldy smell, etc). If no worries there, I’d fix the leak and just leave the delam alone unless it is a serious cosmetic issue for you.

Delamination, iRV2 Forums member @Gary RVRoamer

Make It Easy for Buyers to Understand The Delamination

Transparency is the cornerstone of trust between an RV buyer and seller. Rather than avoid the delamination discussion, embrace it. If you practice full disclosure with potential buyers, you will firmly plant the seed of trust needed for a sale.

Talking to potential buyers of a delaminated RV should be done in such a way that it is easy for them to see and understand how to fix RV delamination. Don’t forget to talk about all the great features of your camper, too! Bring up the what, when, where, how and why of how you cared for your RV,  took prevention steps to avoid further damage, and why you are selling it. Talk in depth about the labor of love needed to restore, clean up, and fix that RV delamination. 

Delamination on 2017 Cougar (Image: @PaulForinash88, KeystoneForums.com)
Delamination on 2017 Cougar (Image: @PaulForinash88, KeystoneForums.com)

Make An Emotional Connection

The way your conversation is perceived, the easier or harder it will be to build trust between you and the buyer. If you are willing to share your true reasons for selling, just be honest and genuine. People will connect with that. There is high emotional value in meeting an RV seller who seems genuine, and honest. 

Be bold and enthusiastic when you talk about your experiences with that RV. For example, many RVers name their RV. If you named yours, introduce it by name to potential buyers. Also, many RVers spend just as much time with RV maintenance as they do going camping. Share your enjoyment of this awesome lifestyle. Let potential buyers see, hear and feel your enthusiasm with the whole RV owner experience. 

Our 2006 Monaco Diplomat developed de-lamination on one of its bedroom slide extending about 14” up from the bottom & along most of the wall. To repair this, I followed a tip given to me at an RV facility.

Delamination Repair, iRV2 Forums @karencollins

Take Responsibility And Accountability

This means two things. First, have an honest appreciation for what you are selling. Then mentally conduct an honest evaluation of the potential buyer. And remember, selling an RV with delamination is not something the average or new RVer should immediately jump into.

I can not overstate the fact that some RVers should avoid buying an RV with delamination.

Let’s say a family comes looking at your camper that has some delamination. In talking to them, you followed the above selling tips, being clear and honest in answering their questions. But then you realize while talking to them that they seem to be more caught up in the floor plan, colors, extras features and other non-structural things. They seem unconcerned about the delamination.

Some people would say “Buyer beware, it’s their problem for not doing their research.” But remember when you were new at this RVing thing? Consider that many RV newbies are ill informed about the cost to fix RV problems like delamination.

If you are seeing a potential buyer throw caution to the wind, should you still sell that delaminated RV? 

Remember, just like all of us, a new RV buyer is spending large sums of hard-earned money to share the same dream you once had. Can you live with yourself if you take advantage of an excited buyer? 

How to Make a No-Fail Selling Agreement

An honest RV sales conversation invites curiosity from the buyer. That curiosity leads to questions. Questions lead to answers. Answers lead to transparency. Transparency leads to Emotional Connection and Accountability. One step builds upon the other.

In the final analysis, once you highlight the positives and negatives of your delaminated RV (giving equal time to both), you will be in the best position possible to sell your RV.  Check and double check throughout the course of your conversation that the buyer is comfortable with maintaining, operating, what it takes to repair RV delamination, and any other issues that will undoubtedly arise after the sale. 

Your potential buyer should expect and accept the importance of a good RV maintenance routine, the reality of incurring ongoing costs beyond the purchase price, and ongoing repairs.

A clean selling agreement has full disclosure. Take your time to go over every oddity, blemish and problem, no matter how minor or unseen. Discuss every upgrade, all RV repairs, maintenance, and upgrades. Provide assurances of a “well taken care of” RV.

Finally, provide some helpful RV repair resources to help your buyer to get off to a great start.  

If your clean selling agreement is successfully constructed, then selling an RV with delamination is no different than any other camper sale.

The Final Word on Selling a Delaminated RV

When a buyer is in the market to purchase a used RV, they consider the RV’s age, mileage, and the condition in relation to how much they are willing to spend. And whether you are a buyer or seller, remember to never move forward with a deal that instinctively you just don’t want to make, or one that you would not take. 

New RVs might be selling slower in today’s economy, but used RVs are as in demand as ever. This is a lifestyle people want to enjoy and in today’s RV marketplace, a camper with delamination doesn’t have to scream “Run!” to buyers. 

Remember, people looking for pre-owned RVs want to save hundreds if not thousands of dollars. They are looking for RVs they can afford, and the first mention of an issue probably won’t scare the most determined buyers. Selling an RV with a delamination problem can be easier and more profitable than you think.

This post may contain affiliate links or mention our own products, please check out our disclosure policy here.

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