If there is a way to get in your RV, water will find it. Water leaks on an RV can cause extensive damage and can be extremely costly to repair. When I worked at an RV dealership I saw the damaging effects that water can cause to an RV time and time again. I learned the lesson the hard way. I appraised a unit that was being traded in and didn’t identify the extensive water damage, which resulted in a thousand dollars worth of repairs. Hindsight is 20/20 and I quickly learned how to inspect for, and identify potential water damage on RVs. I mention inspecting your RV for water damage in my “Winterizing and Storing Your RV” video and in my “Checklists for RVers” e-book. My recommendation is that you inspect for potential water leaks twice a year, in the fall and again in the spring.
Recently, we went camping and it rained the entire weekend. We spent quite a bit of the trip inside our motor home. To my surprise, we noticed water dripping from around the edge of the dome over the shower. I was surprised because I inspected all of the seams on the roof earlier this spring. I am aware that everything flexes and moves on the RV when you are traveling, and that this leak could have started after my inspection, but this was not the case. When we returned home from our trip I went up on the roof, bent over, and checked the sealant around the shower dome the same way I check it during my bi-annual inspections. Everything looked fine so I went back in the shower to look again wondering to myself if it was condensation that caused the drops of water. I removed the trim ring from around the dome and the entire area was saturated with water. Now, as I stood there scratching my head, I was really confused. I made another trip up the ladder unto the roof. Upon closer examination, ON MY HANDS AND KNEES, I discovered two small splits through the sealant around the dome. I then realized that I wasn’t really, truly inspecting for leaks, I was just going through the motions. I also realized how fortunate I was to be in the RV when it was actually leaking. If I hadn’t caught it when I did I would be the one paying those costly repair bills.
Every seam on your RV and anywhere the manufacturer cut a hole in your RV has the potential to allow water in. To protect your investment and your wallet take the time to REALLY inspect all of these seams and sealants. Water damage on an RV is similar to progressive damage to a tire. The outside of the tire looks fine, but the internal damage over a long period of time causes the tire to fail without any warning. The outside of your RV looks fine but the internal damage caused by water over a long period of time can result in the entire roof, floor or wall rotting away without you knowing it. Here are a few things to look for during your inspections.
Don’t just inspect your RV for water damage; REALLY inspect your RV for water damage. If you do this on a regular basis you can locate and repair the source of any water damage before it has a chance to do a great deal of damage. I think I’ll start checking our motor home more than twice a year.