In this post I will be using the term RV seals to cover both caravans and motorhomes. I mentioned briefly about Seals in Tales From The Workshop, here is what I was talking about!
They all have them in one form or another and if they are not in good condition your motorhome/caravan can be destroyed in no time. What seals am I talking about? They are not the ones on your fridge. they are the ones on the outside of your RV that are supposed to keep the water from getting in. As well as the seals around your wet areas inside that are supposed to keep the water from getting to other areas.
The Damage From RV Seals
RV Seals – Not The Animal!
Throughout this post you will see a series of photographs taken of caravans that all had varying amounts of rot in their walls due to faulty weather seals. You might think that if your van is fairly new that leaking seals will not be possible. Think again. It is not uncommon to see Rv’s with leaky seals that are not even a year old.
By now you might be wondering whether your seals might be leaking and how can you tell. Vigilance is the key to making sure that your RV seals are doing what they are supposed to do. There are some tell tale signs that you may be present if you have a leak, as well as some checks that you can make to determine if your seals are in a serviceable condition.
Some of the signs that you may have a leak are:
- Discolouration or blistering in your internal wall or ceiling linings. It usually starts as a small spot that gets bigger as the damage spreads.
- Any wet spot that should not be there. Try to trace it to is source. Is the wall or ceiling wet in that area. Or is the water coming from around the edge of a window etc.
- Water dripping from under your RV where it is not supposed to. Water flows downhill so if it is flowing through the walls it may come out the bottom.
- Unexplainable musty smells. If your RV smells like mushrooms and you still can’t find where it is coming from even after cleaning the RV and airing it out. This may be a sign of hidden fungal growth and rot.
- Blisters of rust or corrosion under the paint/powder coat on the exterior cladding. Sometimes the first sign of water being in behind the exterior cladding is when rust or corrosion eats its way through from the inside to the outer coating where it will appear as bubbles under the surface before breaking through.
Rot in the Front of Caravan
Some of the things that you can check if you are able to safely are:
- Any sealant on the roof. If you have a new RV check that any sealant on the roof covers any joins fully and that it has a good grip on the surface that it has been applied to. I have seen new vans where I have been able to peel the silicone off the roof by hand because the surface was not cleaned properly before it was applied. If it can be lifted that easy it will not be long before the rain will get under it. On older RVs check that the old sealant has not gone hard or broken away
- Check for any physical damage to the exterior that may be letting water under the skin.
- If your RV has aluminium molds around the exterior edges check for any gaps under the edges and check to see that the screws that hold it down have a covering of silicone over each one to prevent water from getting past the edge of the screw.
- Check around windows and hatches for any cracked or missing sealant.
- After taking any appropriate safety precautions check underneath your RV for any damage that can let water in around the wheel arches etc. Also check that any sealant is still in place where pipes, hoses and wiring go through the floor or into the walls. Any wet spots under the floor and along the bottom of the walls will need to be investigated as well.
There are an alarming number of RVs out there which are quietly rotting away with their owners totally unaware. With a bit of vigilance the damage can be minimised or avoided in the first place. If you are unable to do these checks yourself it would be well worth having your RV seals checked next time you have your RV serviced. If you suspect that you might have a leak in the mean time I would have it checked by the manufacturers authorised repairers asap.
Another Van – More Damage!
Would you Believe that some of these Caravans are not even a year old?
This Wall needs to be re-built
This typical of the Rot that comes in for repairs.
The above post is my own opinion and does not cover every individuals RV or circumstance. If your RV is under warranty refer any queries to your manufacturer or their agent.
New Life On The Road