The allure of owning a camper is partly about keeping yourself dry and sheltered from the elements! It’s always nice to have a clean, dry place to rest! But if you’re not keeping up with the seals on the exterior of your RV, you could run into a lot of trouble with water damage, mold, and rotting. This could lead to pricey repairs and a lot of headaches, so it’s imperative to take action before you run into any problems! Here are some great tips on how to re-seal your camper like a pro!
1. Inspect Your RV
It is a good rule of thumb to make sure that you inspect your camper every few months to ensure that all seals are secure and not cracked, separated from the siding, or deteriorated. If you find a small problem area, it means you should re-seal it right away to prevent any damage. If the damaged area is large, or if the sealant is drastically deteriorated or almost non-existent, be sure to thoroughly inspect the surrounding area to ensure that there isn’t any resulting damage, which will need to be taken care of before re-sealing. Also be sure to check in places that might not seem obvious to you, such as around access panels and light fixtures.
2. Choose Your Sealant
There are a lot of opinions out there about which type of sealant is best for your camper. Some will say to stay away from silicone, while others highly recommend it. It is best to keep a few things in mind when choosing a sealant. Consider where you are going to be resealing. If you are fixing seals on your roof, you will have to consider the material your roof is made out of. Rubber roofs may not work with particular sealants, so a sealant tape might work better! You should also consider what type of sealant already exists on your camper. Certain sealants might not stick correctly to other types, or even to the same type! There are a variety of silicone sealants, caulks, and tapes out there that are great options! It really can be a trial-and-error process, but when in doubt, you could always contact the dealership where you bought your camper, or contact a professional, to help you determine which sealant is best for your specific unit!
3. Prepare Your Surface
Before you try to remove or add any sealants, it is important to completely clean the affected areas to remove any dirt, grime, bugs, etc. that might prevent sealants from sticking. Generally, soap and water will be sufficient. If you’re working on the roof, you might have to remove tougher things, like tree sap, which might require a tougher cleaning agent. Just keep in mind the material of your roof and double check that any solvents you might use are safe and won't cause damage! When you are cleaning, be sure not to get too much water or cleaning agent into severely broken seals. Use a damp cloth around these areas to minimize the amount of moisture around the seal.
4. Remove Existing Sealant, If Necessary
Depending on which sealants you have chosen, you may need to remove the existing sealant. This is especially true of silicone sealants, as few other sealants will stick to silicone, including other silicone sealants. On the other hand, if you are using sealing tape, or certain sealants, this may not be necessary. Consult with the directions of your product to be sure. To remove caulk, silicone, and other sealants of the like, get a sharp knife and cut along the sealant and carefully remove it. If any residue remains, use denatured alcohol and scrub with a rag to remove it.
5. Apply New Sealant
Since this step depends heavily on which sealant you have chosen, the best advice would be to follow the directions included on the packaging. You may need a caulk gun if you choose to work with caulk. If you choose to work with silicone, you should use rubber gloves to protect your hands. Aside from sealing tape, be sure to get sealant deep into the cracks and sufficiently around the edges for a complete, uniform seal.
5. Follow Up
Be sure to check your seals after the fact to ensure they've cured properly. If you have done this correctly, you shouldn’t have to re-seal them for quite some time, depending on the material used, and the general conditions of where you camper is located. Hopefully these tips on how to reseal your camper have helped! Have you gone through this process before? Have a preferred sealant? Comment with any additional tips or tricks!