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Old 09-03-2020, 01:10 PM   #1
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Do the white or grey cabinet panels get water damage?

Our “maple baltic birch” cabinet panels are not sealed at all on the edges and are very prone to bubbling and eventual delamination with any water exposure. I have tried very hard to prevent any further water exposure and have tried to seal the edges with caulks. On our bathroom door I finally had to scrape the damaged part down and seal it with epoxy sealant but it looks lousy (darker).

We will probably have another van built some day. Do the Grey Melamine or White Baltic Birch panels do the same thing? This is just about the only complaint we have with our van.
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Old 09-03-2020, 01:48 PM   #2
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Jrobe,

What matters most when it comes to water penetration into the "panels" is the internal material . It looks like your current van uses an MDF (medium density fiberboard) core covered with a veneer of maple. MDF is notorious for soaking up water and is basically compressed cordboad. When you describe is as maple baltic birch, that describes a maple veneer over a baltic birch plywood. Is this the case? If so, then you already have a fairly water resistant material.

Using veneer over a plywood core is a pretty good construction method and can be made better by sealing any of the cut edges with a water resistant/proof coating such as polyurethane. As far as using melamine - it depends upon the inner core as how much it tends to wick up moisture. Melamine over MDF=Bad, Melamine over plywood=Much better and when edges are sealed it would be good. If the white baltic birch you're referencing is in-fact white melamine over baltic birch plywood then it would be good and better if edges are sealed.

Some van builders are using plastic panels now, which would be bomb proof as far as water is concerned.

Unfortunately, the only real way to fix your damaged panels would be to replace them.

Cheers! -steve-
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Old 09-03-2020, 02:38 PM   #3
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The labels that I used above are the stated options from Sportsmobile. I used their own labels from their website.

https://sportsmobile.com/colors-materials/

The maple panels in our van are a MDF core with veneer outside layers and unsealed T moldings on the edges. I think the brand name that SMB uses is "ArmorCore." Here is the spec sheet. Without a significant effort to seal the edges, they are not water resistant which we found out the hard way.

My question is, does everyone have this problem including the people with the white colored cabinets and doors?

https://www.statesind.com/sites/defa..._SpecSheet.pdf
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Old 09-03-2020, 02:54 PM   #4
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My question is, does everyone have this problem including the people with the white colored cabinets and doors?
My 2005 SMB West built cabinets in white do.

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Old 09-03-2020, 03:04 PM   #5
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Jrobe, sorry for any confusion. Those of us with older vans have cabinets with MDF cores - so all of ours will be prone to moisture wicking and cabinet swelling. Looks like SMB now uses much improved cabinet materials, so hopefully those with newer rigs can chime in...
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Old 09-03-2020, 03:06 PM   #6
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2006 : I've spilled water inside two cabinets, overflowed the sink accidentally once, and had a gallon water jug break open and run down the aisle of my walk-through (and it was there about 2hrs before we realized and reacted by soaking it up with towels) - I have no swelling anywhere.
I've seen numerous Threads on this issue, and can only assume some of the employees doing the SMB construction DID seal the exposed edges, and others did not???
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Old 09-03-2020, 03:32 PM   #7
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Our van was built in 2017 at SMB North. I think we have these ArmorCore panels with the water damage. I hate to even complain because we have been very happy with our van but these unsealed cabinets and panels are bad.

I am sure it would take quite a bit of work to seal the edges. I am not even sure how you would do it with this construction technique when you have to route the groove and then install the T molding.

Thanks for the responses.
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Old 09-04-2020, 02:07 PM   #8
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Looks like SMB now uses much improved cabinet materials, so hopefully those with newer rigs can chime in...
I have a Sportsmobile built in late 2018 at Sportsmobile North and it still uses panels that are susceptible to water damage if exposed to water on their cut edges.

I had the two face panels of my dinette get damaged with water from the floor. I could see that they had tried to seal the edge where the panel meets the floor with a bead of silicon, but the water found spots where the silicon was missing and caused the panels to swell.

Sportsmobile did replace the two panels under warranty, but it seems ridiculous to use a material which is so easily damaged by water.
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Old 09-05-2020, 06:54 AM   #9
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2006 : I've spilled water inside two cabinets, overflowed the sink accidentally once, and had a gallon water jug break open and run down the aisle of my walk-through (and it was there about 2hrs before we realized and reacted by soaking it up with towels) - I have no swelling anywhere.
I've seen numerous Threads on this issue, and can only assume some of the employees doing the SMB construction DID seal the exposed edges, and others did not???
Felix, I think you've just been lucky. Be careful! I have never seen or owned an RV that didn't have these cheap panels from the factory and with minor abuse they crumble.
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Old 09-05-2020, 02:24 PM   #10
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I'm with you on that Eric! Even though I'd like to think someone deliberately sealed all my cut edges, I'm pretty confident it has just been good fortune. No plans to re-test the integrity - at least not intentionally!
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