Help is your RV Window Seal Shrinking?
I love having windows in my RV, and plenty of them. The more natural light the better in my opinion. However, RV windows can develop small gaps over time which can cause leaking of water during periods of rain.
These gaps or holes may also cause fogging of the window and can lead to mold and other related issues. Such gaps and holes are often the results of the window sealant shrinking, but its not the end of the world.
What causes RV windows to Shrink?
Let’s start by determining what caused the seals on your RV window to shrink. There are several potential causes of RV seals shrinking. Normal use and aging are two of the most frequent culprits.
Those RV window seals are susceptible to drying out and shrinking from repeated use and age. Sunlight is another culprit in the premature deterioration of RV window seals. Sunlight’s ultraviolet rays can quickly deteriorate a wide variety of materials.
Materials composed of silicone, rubber, and similar compounds tend to degrade in direct sunlight. As a result, the silicone or rubber will dry out and contract in size.
It is the same if we are discussing significant temperature changes. This sealant can dry out and contract if exposed to air that is excessively hot and dry. Extreme changes in temperature, particularly from hot to cold and back again, could also play a role in triggering this.
Is your RV under warranty?
Now, if you have a relatively new RV and you see that the RV window seals are shrinking, it could simply be a case of poor installation.
As a side note, it’s always wise to check the warranty on your RV window seals before attempting to repair or replace them yourself. The window seals should be replaced by the manufacturer if the warranty is still in effect.
The best repair is to reseal or simply replace the window. Most people choose to take their RV to a service center and get the repair done. However, it’s very easy to do it ourselves and in this article, we’ll be looking at how to reseal or replace the RV windows.
How To Reseal An RV Window
To start with, we’ll first need a sealing window kit which will have everything for getting the job done. Most of them come with one or two rolls of hybrid seal tapes. These tapes are normally 5/16 inch round and their length is more than sufficient for several windows.
The good things about these tapes are that they do not require any trimming, they do not ooze or sag, and they have very good temperature resistance for warm and cold climates.
These tapes have round shapes and they allow precise placement around the radiuses of the window without leaving any gaps or without falling off or rolling.
The tape has to be run along the inside seams. On the corners, take the small little pieces of the tape and mold it around so that it joins other pieces on either side.
The kit also comes with cartridges of clean finishing sealing. Normally, they have a unique white color, which after drying becomes clear. The white color helps the user to know where he is placing the sealant, and then the finishing dries to a clear, clean finish which provides a good look at all the RV exteriors.
Using the putty knife, which may or may not come with the kit, we can clean the surfaces, and the finishing of the sealant is then done with the spray bottle.
The kit can also have other useful items along with a brief catalog to teach about how to replace the RV window.
How To Remove And Replace An RV Windows
On the interior window frames, there are screws which keep the clamping secured to the window. We have to locate them and remove all of the screws using the right screwdriver tip. Once we have removed the clamp rings from the window frame, the window can be easily removed.
Always use two people to remove the window—one person to push the window from the inside while the other person has to hold the window properly so that it doesn’t fall down and break.
Proper cleaning is essential!
After this, clean the old sealant from the edges of the window, the interiors of the frames, fiberglass frame, and also from the exterior metal on the window. With the help of the putty knife, we can easily scrape off the old sealant from the window frame.
After the old sealants have been removed, the exterior surface of the unit and the window has to be cleaned using a suitable cleaner. There are many types of cleaners available in the market, but the most popularly used cleaner is denatured alcohol, which can be easily soaked by a cloth for cleaning.
For those units which have metallic exteriors, we will check the staples and see if they are rusted, and if they are, then we will replace those staples with new ones.
We’ll remove the old staples and re-staple the metal to the frames. It is best to start from the bottom where the component weep holes are located. Install all the new seal type sealant around the window frame and make sure to leave no gaps.
For an approximation, position the tape at 1/8th of an inch from the window edge.
Overlap the tape to a length of 3/8th of an inch where it meets the bottom corner. Since the tape doesn’t require trimming and doesn’t sag, it fits into the frame perfectly.
Just as we did while removing the window, we’ll have two people while reinstalling as well—one person on the outside and the other person on the inside for assisting the outer person.
While installing, we’ll make sure that the window component is on the right side up and the weep holes in the window are at the bottom. We’ll place the interior column ring against the window and now we have to insert the screws, but before that, we’ll be assured that the screw holes are in line.
We can fasten the screws in any sequence we want, but to hold the window in position while we’re fastening, we should fasten them in an opposite screw position pattern. For example, if we start with upper-left corner screw, then fasten the lower-right screw next.
If the next screw is lower-right, then the following one should be upper right. We’ll proceed in this manner with fastening left-middle, then right-middle and so on until all the screws have been fastened securely. We will make sure we do not over-tighten the screws as this may break the glass.
After fastening all the screws, the process of finishing is to be done using the white finishing sealing. We’ll start from the top and then do the finishing around the top window radiuses. The while color of the finishing will give us the idea of whether we are applying the finish correctly.
We will make sure to apply it well and then leave it to dry. After drying, it will automatically become transparent. It’s good to use such a finish which doesn’t have any solvent and is waterproof because they can be cleaned easily using water.
In the end, using the putty knife, we’ll peel off the extra sealing tape which may bleed out while the window was compressed against the sides. We should be careful while moving the knife to the edge and not pulling the tape from underneath the window itself.
Resealing and replacing the RV window is not a difficult task and it can be done with ease and in no time if we follow the above-mentioned steps.