Talk’s cheap…and so am I. So I really wasn’t excited about paying someone to help me with my leak test – $15 an hour to mark leaky spots with a sharpie. Fortunately, the first major storm of the season rolled into the Bay Area yesterday so I decided to let mother nature assist me. In order to manage the flow of water onto Sparta, I decided to cover her with plastic sheeting before the rains came. Then, as it rained, I would be able to peel it back, incrementally, to see where the water seaped through. So, Thursday was spent spreading 5 rolls of 1 mil. 9′ X 12′ plastic over Sparta – not an easy task for one person in a light wind. But I managed to do so, securing them as I went with duct tape.
When I awoke yesterday morning the rain was coming down as forecast, so I bussed out to the trailer, Sharpie in hand. I also brought a desk lamp to provide maximum visibility of even the smallest leaks. To my relief, I found the plastic undisturbed by the increasing winds. So I then began the process.
Starting with the ceiling, I examined Sparta from stem to stern and found not a single leak coming through the roof. There were leaks in a few expected places like furnace stacks, but I was very pleasantly surprised to find little in the way of serious breaches. This is pretty amazing when you consider the thousands of rivets holding Sparta’s roof in place and is testimony to just how conscientious Spartan’s aircraft assemblers were back in the day. Incredible. I did, however, find a hole in the ceiling that was lurking behind some insulation remnant. It was patched and there was no water coming through, thankfully.
Having detected no roof leaks, I then inspected the floor and, in particular the perimeter, to see where there was standing water. This revealed issues with the windows and the problems were either with the window glazing or the seams where the windows were mounted. In all, I found 15 leaks and there is work to be done, again, mostly with the windows. Some glass will need to be reglazed and certain windows sealed. The doors were fine.
After continuing rains this weekend, a dry-out is forecast for mid week and I will return with my Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure to plug the holes. Given that the leaks fell far short of my expectations, I may not even need both bottles.