We are one of Dallas / Ft. Worth’s largest motorhome and RV repair shops and that is where our expertise lies. Even though we are concerned mostly with Dallas Motorhome issues, our advice in many cases is true for Motorhomes in all states, especially since RV’s were built to travel the states.
One thing we preach over and over again is to be vigilant about water leaks. With water leaks come water damage, and then that leads to large repair bills. The elements are always at odds with your Motorhome, but with a careful eye and prevention you can avoid these costly repairs.
While we have often covered the subject of RV sealants we have never gone into too much detail about sealant types and that is what we are going to discuss today.
Leak prevention starts on the roof and depending on your RV, you could have any number of types of roofs, and the care and maintenance basics are the same on all of them, but the methods change depending on the roof type.
Roof sealants must be inspected for gaps, separations and cracks, and must be reapplied as necessary to prevent leaks. Some motorhome manufacturers even require that this work be completed every 90 days to keep the warranty in effect.
Motorhome Roof Sealant Types
Roof Cleanings are the first step to leak prevention and to clean a roof you need an approved cleaner for your motorhome’s particular roofing product. Motorhome roofs are made of aluminum, fiberglass, thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM). The most common one today is TPO, which is a type of plastic, followed by EPDM, which is a synthetic rubber compound.
Fiberglass and aluminum roofs can be cleaned using any product that would be safe for the motorhome’s sidewalls.
Self -leveling Motorhome roof sealants
The most common form of roof sealants is the self-leveling sealant which comes in a caulk tube, and just about any of the commercial products, such as C-10, Geocel Pro Flex and Dicor, can be used, although it’s always best to stick with the same sealant used by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).
Motorhome roof sealant tapes
Another commonly used product is sealant tape, sometimes called EternaBond. These elastic tapes are very tough, also known as a micro sealant, and provides a permanent seam seal.
Failures of these tapes can happen though and while rare, these can still fail, especially if the tape is not applied correctly or if some lesser-known brand is used. When these fail the fail, the tape skin separates from the sealant. Application of these tapes can be effective as long as the directions are followed carefully, including prepping the surface and having a roller to activate the sealant once the tape is applied.
Side Seals need love too
Second in priority are the he sides of a motorhome that also need resealing to prevent any water intrusion and damage. Older Motorhomes will have butyl or putty tapes for sealing windows, doors and awning extrusions, , while newer RV’s will have some type of a foam gasket tape, which is more susceptible to leaking in certain circumstances. To back up the foam tape, the manufacturers will use silicone caulk around each window, door or extrusion to keep it sealed.
A good-quality pure silicone caulk, like GE Silicone II Window and Door, or equivalent is often all that you need to keep these areas leak free. But do not use a latex caulk which can hold moisture.. There are other products you can use for the side seams on your motorhome, like Geocel’s Pro Flex, a polymer-based sealant or Sikaflex 221, a polyurethane product often used by RV manufacturers. These sealants require more skill and care when using, but following the directions will result in an excellent seal.
To make a new seal all you need to do is clean the surface to be caulked carefully, and remove any loose caulk. Adhesive or caulk remover will help with this, along with non-marring automotive scrapers.
Carefully caulk the seam, then lightly spray over the bead and surrounding area with a spray bottle filled with water and a slight amount of dish soap. Then use a caulk tool to smooth the bead, and when it dries, you will have a nice, professional-looking seam.
Some motorhomes with front-facing windows and complex seams, like Class C cabovers, require more seam care and attention and over time, as those sites are often trouble spots for leaks. Don’t forget to check the side-roof-termination seams that go down the length of the unit, and awning brackets on the side walls.
Taking some extra time a couple times a year will save your Motorhome from water destruction and will help you maintain the resale value should you ever desire to trade up.
If this seems like too much work for you, don’t despair! We offer a roof inspection and a roof re-seal that comes with free lifetime roof inspections. Just click the button below to schedule yours.