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Your Guide to Resealing Your RV Exterior

Kyle Arnold-profile-image
Kyle Arnold
April 14, 2023

TL;DR: Regular inspection and resealing of your RV's exterior, especially the roof and joints, is key to preventing water damage. Avoid silicone sealants; opt for RV-specific products. Inspect at season's start/end and reseal as needed for longevity.

Your Guide to Resealing Your RV Exterior

Do you suspect your RV exterior needs some love? Not sure how to handle all those little cracks? Do this before you start seeing water inside your RV.

Resealing the exterior of your RV is crucial in preventing water damage, which can be an expensive problem that often goes unnoticed. Below, we will provide instructions on how to properly reseal your RV exterior to avoid any potential issues in the future. There are certain areas that are more prone to having problems than others. The entire roof gets the brunt of the harmful UV rays that can create cracking. In addition, the corners where the walls meet can slowly separate creating problem areas. Then, you have the typical spots around the windows, doors, and flanges. When your RV was built, they put a seal over all of these problem areas, but they will break down from the constant movement and exposure to the sun. That is why it is vital you inspect these areas on a regular basis and reseal them when necessary.

What Type of Sealant Should You Use?

The temptation is to use silicone because it is used all over your traditional home. However, silicone might not be your best bet. Silicone struggles to stick to previously used silicone making it annoying to repair in the future. Plus, silicone will occasionally have issues with peeling. And that isn’t ideal for something that moves down the road at 60+ miles per hour. Instead of silicone you will want to use something designed for RVs and its specific application. For RV roof repair and roof flanges—around your roof vents—you will want to use a self-leveling lap sealant from a company like Dicor. For the sides, you can use a non-self-leveling sealant.

Don’t Wait Until It Leaks

When inspecting your RV's seams, pay special attention to areas around windows, slide-outs, corner joints, and any RV appliances or internal compartments. It's recommended that you inspect your RV's roof at the beginning and end of each season, and consider resealing or replacing it after 7 to 10 years. By following these guidelines and properly resealing your RV exterior, you can prevent water damage and extend the life of your RV. If you aren’t quite ready to completely redo the roof, there are takes that do a pretty great job. Dicor makes two different types that can cover long cracks or reseal corners. But do not use these tapes as a way to avoid replacing your roof.

Inspecting Your Roof

While inspecting your roof, you’ll want to take your time and not rush through this process. It can take a long time, but typically a good 30 minute inspection and you’ll be good to go. So what should you be looking for?

Observe and Clean the Areas

As you inspect your roof, make sure to carefully examine all of the seams for any cracks or gaps. Minor cracks are normal—due to sun exposure—so don’t worry, but don’t ignore them either. There could be some major damage too. If you do find severe cracks, you will need to remove any debris and sealant that was previously used. To make it easier, you could try using a heat gun. This will soften up the material and make it easier to scrape the remaining sealant off with a screwdriver or paint scraper. But please be careful not to scratch your RV’s exterior paint. Before applying the new sealant, clean the area with acetone to remove all residue, oils, dust, and debris, ensuring a clear base for the product to adhere to. This helps ensure a long lasting sealant is taking place.

You Can Make It Look Good

If you want to make it look good, you can achieve this with a little bit of patience and plenty of tape. To achieve a clean edge, tape off both sides of the seam that you'll be resealing. Then, apply a bead of sealant using a caulk gun and smooth the bead with your finger or a caulk tool. After applying and smoothing the bead of sealant, remove the painter's tape immediately, and let the sealant cure for at least 24 hours. By following these steps, you can reseal your RV exterior effectively, ensuring maximum protection against water damage.If you suspect your RV roof needs to be replaced, that is a different conversation. You can read more about that here.

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Harvest Hosts is a unique RV camping membership that offers self-contained RVers unlimited overnight stays at over 5,634 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!
Kyle Arnold-profile-image
Kyle Arnold
I'm a freelance adventure travel copywriter. My wife, 2 dogs and I have been on many adventures together in either a big, blue bus or our camper van. While touring the country, we take advantage of checking out new towns, hikes and waterways. We are often found hiking, paddling or drinking coffee and love meeting new people.