Pete’s RV-TV YouTube Channel resident Randal Murray is here to give you all a quick tutorial on how to properly care for and maintain the seals around your RV that need to be caulked. Randy wants to show you how to help properly maintain your RV for years of enjoyment, and one fix that he sees a lot of people attempt, and not always do well, themselves is resealing seams on the RV with new caulking.
First off he goes over what you are going to need to do the job; proper caulking for the surface, a quality caulking gun with stopper, oder-less mineral spirits, clean rags and sometimes a razor blade to clean out dry, cracked caulking. To begin with Randy wets a rag with mineral spirits to clean and prep the surface he is going to be sealing making sure to get the entire area including behind the wiper seal. Once everything is cleaned and dry you can get your caulking ready to use and set up in the gun. Make sure not to cut too large of a hole in the caulking tube as too much can interfere with doing a proper job. Placing a thin bead of caulk along the seam, Randy works his way in a single, fluent motion. The key to doing this job is using the mineral spirits on your finger to help press and spread the caulking into the seam, giving it a professional look and tapering each side to help shed water. Make sure to not do too long of an area, start small and slow so you can work your way up. The same process is done for a vertical seam as well, but make sure that you start with a clean tip to ensure you get a seamless bead.
Video Transcript for “How to Reseal Your RV”
Randal Murray: Hey guys, Randy with Pete’s RV TV today. Another quick tip segment for you.Today we’re in the Burlington, Vermont location shop and I want to show you how the industry puts on these great looking caulking jobs to seal up our corner moldings and the base of our slides and other areas around the coach. I see a lot of units come in where customers have done their own caulking job and they just don’t look so good and they’re not sealing very well either. So let me show you some tricks that I use when I do it. It makes it look good and makes sure that we get a great seal.
So first of all, a few things that we need. We need some caulking, and if you go to your local RV dealer or come to us, we’ll show you the best stuff to use for the right surface and the right job, so we’ll instruct you on that, and any local RV dealers should be able to take care of that. I also like to use a quality caulking gun. Now, there’s one that you can buy that costs like $1.99 at the big box stores, the Home Depots, the Lowe’s and things like that. This one is actually a little bit more expensive, about 15 or 20 bucks, but it’s a lot more manageable and it makes the job a lot easier to do, so I do recommend if you do own an RV, invest in a good caulking gun and you can use it for other things around the house as well. This actually does have a stop on it so I can stop pushing. So the caulking is not coming out of the end of the tube and just very nice control on Very easy to use. So invest in good caulking gun.
One of the most important things that makes me look good too is odorless mineral spirits. Odorless mineral spirits is the active ingredient in a lot of the caulking out there. This is the one we use. I like the odorless ’cause it doesn’t stink quite as bad and it’s super easy. It’s just a light duty paint thinner, but it’s going to help us work the caulking and clean the surface as well, which is very important. So let’s get started. So we can get sealant gaps on our coaches from them just being used. Only roll a camper down the road, it’s like putting your house through a 3.4 earthquake on the Richter scale every time it moves. So lots of moving parts, lots of things that can open up for sealant gaps and we need to maintain these just like we maintain the seals on our roof. So first thing I do is I’m gonna clean the surface before I go ahead and apply. So I’m just going to take white rag here and I am going to put some mineral spirits on I go ahead here. And I fold it up just for ease of use. Now I don’t need to soak, soak the rag, but I do like to get it damp, kind of like that. I also always have another clean rag on me as well, so we want both of them. So let’s clean the area here at the base of this slide. And I’m just going to take the mineral spirits and just wipe the area that I am going to clean and that’s going to help get the dirt off the existing caulking, clean the surface, and allow us to get good contact and good adhesion when we apply the caulking. So I’ll get that wiped down pretty good. Get all the dirt and grime off, tuck back my wiper seal there in there. If the caulking is really old and dried and cracked, we probably will want to remove that with some sort of razor or some sort of scraping blade. This one’s not too bad, so I don’t need to get that tool out, but you may. We don’t want to go over bad caulking and we want a real flat surface to make sure that we get a good looking caulking, a joint, and a good seal. If it’s really bumpy, it’s going to be really hard to maintain that quality of the look and the seal and ensure we have no leaks. So get this cleaned up pretty good there.
Now, I’m going to take my caulking. We’ll set this here for a second. The other thing that I see a lot of people do is they put way too big a little hole on the end of the caulking tube. We do not need a whole lot of material and having too much material is going to actually make it not a good looking job and hinder, uh, our sealing process. So I’m going to take and just put a small, small hole in this. I’m going to put it at about a 22 degree angle too. That allows me just to work it a little bit. I like it to be nice and straight at my angle, that way I’m not pushing into the caulking when I’m doing it, so it looks pretty good. Put my knife back in my pocket here. And I’m going to fill the tube. I don’t know Karl, if you can see that white coming up through that clear plastic tube there. I’m going to get it to the end so we get all the air and everything out and I’m going to stop it by hitting my button on the back of that good caulking gun that I just referred to. So our area is clean. I’m going to take the dry rag and just wipe any excess off from a cleaning process, make sure we get all the dirt, all the mineral spirits and everything off, and then we’re going to go ahead and start to apply. Again, I’ve got my mineral spirit rag in my hand because I’m gonna use that here in a minute. It’s gonna become very important.
So now I’m gonna pump this thing up and I’m going to start to apply and I’m not going to put a huge bead. I don’t need huge bead. Kind of pushing it into the crack, into the transition, right straight across. We’ll stop right there. Don’t go too far because you want to be able to work the area that you’re doing and if you go too far, you may start getting a skim coat over the top of it. So now this is the trick that separates the men from the boys. After we get a small bead on there, I’m actually going to take that wet mineral spirits soaked rag, mineral spirits soaked rag, and I’m going to put a little on my finger and this is where we get a good looking job. So I’m actually going to take my finger and I’m going to go about four to six inches and then I’m going to clean my finger and I’m going to continue that process down my whole caulking joint. What that does is it pushes it into the crack, seals any cracks that are there. It also tapers, so we get a nice transition. We don’t have a place where water is going to sit or moisture is going to sit. We’ve pushed it into the crack and we’ve finished it off and I’m actually going to go back to the other way and just get any excess off. Well, Karl, if you want to take a look at that, that’s not a horrible looking caulking job. We’ve tapered both the edges. We’ve pushed the caulking into the crack. We don’t have a ton of material on there. We don’t need a ton of material on there. Any water that runs down the slide box will go right over that caulking joint right off the side of the slide box, just the way we want it. Now, that was easy. That was the horizontal one. Let’s do a quick vertical one here just so we can show you that as well, and it’s gonna be kinda the same way. Gonna take my mineral spirit damp rag here. I’m just going to clean the area. Get that dirt and debris off there. Make sure I got good adhesion. Clean the area up really good. I’m gonna take my dry rag and again, get any of the excess off, dry it out where I run my caulking. Back to the caulking gun. Again, notice it’s not continuing to push out because I have a good caulking gun and I can take the pressure off it very easily. I’m going to make sure I clean the end of my gun so I’m starting fresh. I’m just going to go up here and again, start that bead. Nice, easy, small bead. I’m pushing it into the crack as I go. I don’t need too much material. If you get an air bubble, you can back up a little bit. Not a big deal. We’re just going to go down, nice fluid motion. Make sure to only do what you can work as well, so if you can only do two or three feet until you get good at it, just do that. Back to the mineral spirit rag. I’m going to put it on my finger again and I’m just going to start drawing down, again cleaning my finger about every three or four inches. The mineral spirits is going to give us a little bit more working time as well, and I’m just doing a light touch here, giving it a nice taper. I’m just kind of feathering it in so you can’t see where I’ve started and stopped. I’m going to go down there and you can see how quick and easy this is. Karl, if you want to take a look at that job there, and that’s how the guys do it at the factory and it’s super simple to do. Nice and easy. It looks professionally done and we’ve got a great seal, a great taper, and we have penetrated both sides of the surface plus sealed our joint.
So if you do my couple little tricks here with you’re caulking gun, get a good caulking gun, use mineral spirits, make sure you dampen your finger. Don’t put too much product on, all that’s going to do is push out and get all over the place and get real ugly while you’re playing around with trying to clean that up, the other stuff’s going to skim over and make it really hard to work. So if we just do a little bit, taper it in, keep things clean, there’s no residue left on my finger when I’m done. Life is good. That’ll seal all your cracks. That’ll make a great taper and a great looking caulking job when you’re done and they’ll take a professional did it, not just you. So thanks again for watching Pete’s RV TV with Randy today. I look forward to seeing you on the road, and happy camping!
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