When you purchase a used RV one of the first things you should do is inspect all the seams and sealants. When RVs travel down the road they flex and twist making the seams and sealants vulnerable to water damage over time. Lots of times, RV owners add more sealant as part of their routine maintenance or in an attempt to stop a leak.
More often than not this is the result, and if you look closely there are still areas where water can penetrate the surface.
Let’s do some real hands-on and reseal the RV corners right now
A common area for water intrusion on RVs is where the sidewalls meet the front or rear end caps. This RV has corrugated aluminum sheeting on the exterior and I suspect water is penetrating along these seams at the corners. The good news is Dicor offers an aftermarket product called Seal Tite Corner Seal to help solve the problem.
The Seal Tite Coner Seal product uses a pressure sensitive elastomer on one side and a fleece back lining on the other side. It is designed specifically for areas like this and it provides an instant and permanent seal, conforming to the contour of the RV.
The first step is to remove the existing corner molding. If you plan on reusing the molding you need to be as careful as possible when you remove it. After the insert trim is removed we have access to the screws attaching the corner molding to the RV. Remove all the screws and molding where you plan to make repairs.
Under the molding there will usually be putty tape or butyl tape. All remnants of the tape and any other sealants need to be removed.
I use plastic tools designed to remove automotive trim for this job. They come in assorted shapes and sizes and work well removing the old sealants. You can use a thin blade putty knife to help remove stubborn sealant, but be careful not to remove any paint.
Next I clean the surface using a cleaner compatible with the surface I am working on. As a final prep I go over the area with denatured alcohol on a rag. This is a good time to inspect for any water damage that needs to be repaired.
Next I like to remove any rusty or damaged staples and add more staples to help hold the corner metal tight.
The corner seal product comes in 1 ½ “and 2” widths. The key to the installation is to install the corner seal evenly so no excess tape is showing after the installation. I put small marks along the side of the molding to help align the tape. We are using the 1/ ½ inch wide tape for our repairs. The sealing side of the corner seal consists of a thick, pressure-sensitive elastomeric seal. The fleece side provides better caulk-cure adhesion than the typical smooth surface of RV exteriors.
When you apply the corner seal tape keep it as straight as possible on both sides and press the tape so it conforms to any irregular surface like our corrugated aluminum siding. The product provides an instant seal so carefully work done the corners applying the tape as you go. You can see how efficiently it seals the corner.
The next step is to apply butyl sealant to the corner molding. The butyl sealant is our second line of defense against future leaks. What we want to do is run a bead of sealant along both sides of the molding so it seals the edges when we screw the molding back on. Because the corrugated aluminum sheeting has low areas I applied a thicker bead of sealant than I usually would.
If the old screws are rusty or have damaged heads replace them with new screws. I like to use coated screws designed for decking so there is no chance of rusting in the future. Position the molding where you want it and start a couple screws to hold it in place.
You can see there are no signs of the corner seal so the seal was positioned properly.
Tighten the screws until you see the butyl sealant start to ooze out around the edges. Do not over tighten the screws.
You can clean up the butyl sealant on the edges of the molding using a wet cloth and your finger. If you take your time and you keep the cloth clean and wet the end result will look great.
The final step to our corner seal repair project is to install new insert trim in the corner molding.
The final product looks looks much better than it did before we started and you can rest assured there won’t be any more leaks in the corner molding. This is a straight forward repair and a pretty easy job using the corner seal product. If you don’t feel comfortable making these repairs to your RV have the work done by a qualified RV service facility and let them know you want them to use corner seal to do the job.
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