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How to Restore Your RV After Water Damage

Carrie Price-profile-image
Carrie Price
June 30, 2020

TL;DR: After RV water damage, locate and repair leaks, clean out dirt, remove damaged parts like floors and walls, replace seals on windows, remove mold with bleach solution, air out thoroughly, and replace damaged areas with quality parts to restore your RV. Regular inspections help prevent water damage in the future.

How to Restore Your RV After Water Damage

Having a recreational vehicle brings a lot of convenience to life. You can travel in both style and relaxation, bringing with you some of the comforts of home. Getting an RV, of course, will require quite an investment. Hence, you really need to keep it well-maintained if you want to make the most out of it. You may want to even remodel your RV over time. We do understand, though, that there might be instances where you will have RV water] damage. Here are some helpful tips on how to restore your RV after water damage.

Locate and Repair the Source of RV water damage

There might be differences between the extent and resulting damage of water between one that happens in your home and what happens in your RV. A complete RV renovation is not always necessary. However, the first step to resolving both will always remain the same. You need to locate and repair the source of water.

Here are some points to focus on during your inspection:

  • Check if there are any leaks especially along the walls, roofing, and toilet area.
  • See if there are any soft spots, especially along with roof vents or where areas of the roof have been cut off in order to install AC units, TV antennas, and plumbing.
  • Any discoloration and wrinkles on your wallpaper especially around windows, doors, and other openings is a tell-tale sign that seals are dislodged and are not properly keeping water and humidity out.
  • Don’t forget to check the cabinets and compartments as well.
  • Finally, don’t just do these inspections if you suspect that there’s water damage already. Do so regularly, especially during the rainy season, or you have met exceptionally muddy roads during your travels.

Clean Out Dirt

Speaking of mud, there’s bound to some dirt and grime that comes with it. Don’t wait for it to completely dry if you want to minimize staining as much as possible. You can also take this opportunity to assess the damage as you’re going through each of the areas of your RV since it will allow you to determine between simple staining from actual discoloration.

Remove Damaged Parts

Once you have identified the damaged areas, the next thing is to remove them. This will potentially stop the damage from spreading and even allow you to salvage other parts that haven’t been reached yet. One has to understand that water damage encourages mold growth, and it does spread. It can even severely affect the indoor air quality of your RV and make passengers sick—something that we want to avoid.

Floor

RV floors are typically made of plywood. This material is exceptionally vulnerable to water damage. You’ll find that older models are even more so since they’re not made with the extra layer of protection that newer models are designed with.It’s not that elegant, but the best way to check for rotting is to get down on your hands and knees and push towards your flooring. Be on the lookout for flexing or softer, mushier parts. You can even use a screwdriver to push through the exposed wooden elements of your floor to see if any part is deteriorating as well. There’s no way to salvage rotting wood. The only way to restore rotting floors is to replace them completely.

Walls

As we have mentioned above, you should be on the lookout for water staining, discoloration, and wrinkling wallpaper. Stripping off your wall covering will also help reveal any damage that’s happening underneath.

Windows

What we like about windows is that you don’t usually need to replace them. Most of the time, you only need to replace its seals.

That is unless you’re dealing with a broken window or an issue other than water damage. If that’s the case, then you would really need to replace it. Fortunately, it’s actually very easy to do. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Make sure that you have the proper dimensions of your window opening (and not your old window).
  • Align the foam tape seals under the window instead of on top of it.
  • Spray your foam seal with water before installation. It will help to strengthen its water resistance.
  • Install your window from the outside. Push it flat, then screw securely to the inside frame.
  • While you're at it, why not update your RV window treatments!

Remove Any Mold Growth

Mild to slightly severe cases can still be remedied with a cleaning formula made from four parts of water and one part of bleach. Mix it thoroughly, pour into a spray bottle, spray directly to the problem area and let it soak for a while before scrubbing off.Really severe cases, however, might require the assistance of a mold remediation company. Should you choose to handle the removal and cleaning job on your own, though, just remember to wear the proper personal protective gear such as a face mask and a pair of gloves.

Air Out Until Thoroughly Dry

Once you’re done cleaning, rinse off the bleach solution with soap and water and allow your RV to air out until it’s completely dry. You can also invest in getting an air blower. It’s a piece of equipment that provides additional ventilation through the use of pressure. It is helpful in drying out interiors and even drying out the excessive moisture that can cause water damage.

Replace All Damaged Areas

Finally, the only thing that you need to do now is to replace the damaged parts that you have removed earlier with new ones. Try to invest in quality parts as much as you can. While they might cost more, they will also last you longer and prevent the extent of water damage that you’ve just experienced from happening again.

Restoring RV Water Damage

There are various ways to prevent your RV from water damage. Constantly expecting your vehicle for leaks and faulty seals regularly, for instance, can already save you a great deal of inconvenience.If water damage does happen, though, then know that there are ways in order to restore your RV to its former glory. Inspect for damaged parts to identify the source of the issue. Remove severely damaged parts. Clean off the moldy residue. And of course, replace the damaged parts with new ones. We wish you safe travels!

About Harvest Hosts
Harvest Hosts is a unique RV camping membership that offers self-contained RVers unlimited overnight stays at over 5,657 small businesses across North America with no camping fees. Boondock at farms, wineries, breweries, attractions, and other one-of-a-kind destinations throughout North America, and you’ll get peace of mind knowing that a safe place to stay is always nearby!
Carrie Price-profile-image
Carrie Price
My husband and I were full-time RVers for about two years, traveling to 24 states and three provinces. We traveled all the way from Florida to Alaska and back. While on the road, I used both Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts as well as other apps to find boondocking locations. I joined the Harvest Hosts team in 2021 as part of the Boondockers Welcome (BW) merger as I was the one and only BW employee. I am thrilled to be on the Marketing team at Harvest Hosts to continue my passion for the Boondockers Welcome and RV community.