Magazine, Tools & Home Improvement

Gluing and Sealing Motor Home Properly

Gluing and sealing at the camper & caravan. When it’s raining in, it’s high time to seal leaking motorhome windows, skylights or traffic jams. If you have made a hole in the outside wall or you want to assemble your solar system yourself – in all of these areas, adhesives and sealants for motorhomes are used. There is now a wide range of repair products for indoor and outdoor use on the motorhome. With this guide on “gluing and sealing on the camper,” I would like to give you a little help and show how I manage myself in many cases of leaky windows, skylights or storage hatches. Even small damage to the exterior wall can usually be repaired and cheaply.

Whether roof hatch, hood or flap installation – the most common question is: sealing or gluing, and with which material? The correct answer is: sealing with sealant based on BUTYL! Only solar modules and satellite systems are fixed.

Motorhome – seal properly

Water is usually stupid, whether it comes from above as rain, or from below in the form of a flood. Water is excellent only if you can stand with the motorhome right on its shore. If water comes from above, it may rain through your skylight through the skylight or the leaky opening window.

Caravans and motorhomes without sandwich construction, so with the narrow aluminum corner strips, which are screwed with many screws with the structure and roof, are here just like leaking. Over the years, the sealing material becomes hard and the strips are leaking. If the caravan is damp inside the corners, this indicates leaky edge strips.

But the corner strips can be sealed; it is only necessary that the wooden structure underneath has not been damaged. Otherwise, the repair will be much more complicated. My buddy once said that if the knife does not get stuck in the wood, it is rotten and needs to be replaced.

However, if you have discovered the water damage on the caravan in good time, it is usually sufficient to re-seal the edge strips. To do this, however, you must obliterate it, remove the old sealant and remount it with 

Even leaking camper doors and flaps are not uncommon. Both are always in motion and the seal between the wall and the frame loses its elasticity over time and becomes leaky. Again, you can help yourself with the right sealant.

Motorhome seal windows and skylights

Closing windows and roof hatches are not difficult at all and can quickly be done by yourself. Was the window previously installed by the specialist with the right “adhesive sealant for motorhome window,” the removal and installation of camper windows are done super quickly. If the window with Sikaflex glue installed, I wish a lot of fun with the expansion; it may take some time.

When to glue, when to seal and why not from the outside caulk ??

Quick help if the roof hatch is leaking

It’s raining through the skylight, what to do? I always have a cartridge sealant DEKASEAL 8936 for motor home windows. The cartridge is also open long-lasting and can be used over and over again.

If suddenly it begins to drip inside, I can provide a short term with a seam sealant outside the frame of the roof hood or even the side window reliably for tightness. It is only essential that at the time, the surfaces are dry. Otherwise, the sealing material will not stick. In this way, I had sealed my stoppers once “emergency” and then drove around for another year until I finally removed them and re-sealed them.

The advantage of DEKASEAL 8936 sealant is that it adheres exceptionally well to all surfaces, but does not stick. The sealing around a leaky motor home window is not necessarily beautiful but in an emergency quite useful. If the window is professionally sealed at a later date, the emergency seal can be easily removed without leaving any traces.

Therefore you should not use silicone!

Permanently seal FRP fronts and overlapping parts

Fully integrated motorhomes with fiberglass fronts are usually leaked sooner or later in the roof area. Due to the movement in the structure and the different expansion in heat and cold of the different materials, the adhesive bonds break at some point and become leaky. It’s the same as the camper window.

An excellent remedy is a 3M tape, which stays flexible and even overpaintable. I have also generously used it on my motorhome to seal the bolt holes of the lashing rails at the rear once and for all.

Seal GRP cracks

Especially GRP parts tend to crack in old age due to the effects of weathering. Once there is a crack, moisture and frost will cause further damage.

The structure of my motor home consists of a wooden sandwich cabin (6mm wood, 40mm rigid polyurethane foam, 6mm wood), which is sealed from the outside with a thin fiberglass layer against moisture. Now after 25 years, this fiberglass layer bursts at various points again and again and I’ve tried many ways over the last few years to repair the damage back. Abrasive over a large area and coat with new epoxy resin is not only very time-consuming but also leads to an optically unattractive result.

Captain Tolley’s Creeping crack cure was recommended to me and this is the perfect way to seal small cracks permanently. It is essential that it was dry for a longer time, and there is no more water in the crack. The liquid is applied drop by drop to the crack, then penetrates the crack and fills it up from inside. The break remains visible, but no longer poses any danger to the body or the GFK parts.

You can also read our Best RV Cover for The Money Reviews to buy the best RV cover.

Correctly stick to the camper

Dekalin and Sikaflex are the market leaders for adhesives and sealants. Each of these manufacturers of adhesives/sealants has unique resources for every application. Here are some examples of which glue should be used best for the particular application.

Mobile home solar system sticking

Retaining spoiler of solar modules are glued and not screwed! This saves unnecessary holes in the roof. Fixed correctly, a solar module lasts a lifetime on the living-room roof. Important for these adhesives is that the adhesive surfaces are well prepared.

Cleaning the adhesive surfaces

Adhesive surfaces on the roof and solar spoiler should be clean and free of grease. If you buy a complete adhesive set for solar panels, then all means are included, which are necessary for cleaning, priming and gluing. I wash off the adhesive surfaces with coarse dirt with moss first; then a degreaser has cleaned the surface. Brake Cleaner is also great here!

Primer for solar spoiler

Plastic surfaces must be treated with an introduction, a bonding agent, to ensure proper adhesion of the adhesive. If this does not happen, the glue may dissolve again from the plastic. I use Excavator from Dekalin for this.

Glue solar system

Sticking always sounds so bad, but is typical in this day and age. In the automotive industry is glued a lot today and also motorhome bodies are often fixed together without a single screw. The advantage is that adhesive bonds over the entire surface have high strength and can transmit significantly more forces than a simple screw connection. In the case of solar systems on the motorhome, every screw hole poses an additional risk of water damage.

When gluing with assembly adhesive, the thickness of the adhesive seam is particularly essential. If it falls below a minimum layer thickness of 3mm, the adhesive can not develop its full strength. Therefore, you should not press the glued parts together when mounting your solar system. Especially the retaining spoiler of the solar modules, I press only slightly on the roof, so that the adhesive can indeed spread well on the sticky surface, but not unnecessarily much glue on the sides is pushed out.

A uniform applied bead on the parts to be glued a nice adhesive seam at the edge. All around, so much adhesive is pressed out and the glue joint does not have to be removed. This spares ugly graffiti.

Solar modules are glued in three steps:

  1. First, clean the roof of coarse dirt,
  2. then lightly sand the adhesive surface and apply primer,
  3. Now use the adhesive on one side and place the holders on the roof.

Mount satellite system on a mobile home

You can also apply the instructions for the solar system for all other gluing work on the motorhome. Whether you stick a satellite system on the roof or want to install a roof duct for the solar cable tightly. Cleaning, priming and bonding always work the same way.

Repairs after parking damage

Small holes and cracks in the side wall of the camper after a parking bump are usually only a visual defect and can generally be repaired quickly. The hole is filled with a 2K adhesive (DEKAPUR) and smoothed. So that you can not see the place afterward, you stick a stainless steel ventilation grille on the damaged area. Already it looks for the unsuspecting camping neighbor like an additional exhaust opening for a safe weighted device which he does not have and now absolutely would like to have. The stories that you can invent are then up to your imagination.

The motorhome seal itself

Broken water on a motorhome through leaky windows can easily be fixed with a little skill. It is always essential to use the right sealant for the respective application. Many RV manufacturers use Dekalin products to produce their vehicles. Since I had only had good experiences with Dekalin, especially when sealing windows on mobile homes, I also recommend the products.

I summarize again

Right DICHTEN on the camper
RV & Trailer 
skylights seal
butyl sealant with skin formation for seals with visible joint edge or if the seam stops as protection (roof hatch, panel van)
Motorhome & caravan sealwindowsDippable sealing compound for applications without a visible joint edge (flap, hatches, doors, side windows, etc.)
Butt joints and overlapping GRP components to seal the vehicle wall or roofFlexible, scratch-resistant, UV-resistant. High adhesion with overlapping bonds
Small cracks in the GRPliquid, the permanently elastic sealant that penetrates very well into cracks and seals them.
Correct gluing on the camper
Solar systems, attach satellite systemsMS-polymer-based adhesive with high adhesion and initial strength for the structural bonding of holders, covers and components
Pretreatment primer, especially for plasticsCleaning and activation of substrates with low surface tension (mostly plastics)
REPAIR at the camper
Fill up small holesTwo-component PU adhesive for structural repairs of plastic parts
Underbody protection for wooden floorsSprayable underbody protection especially for wooden floor panels in caravan and mobile
Surface protection for vehicle parts made of sheet metalDEKAPHON 958 
U-protection brushable
Cavity protection for vehicle parts made of sheet metalDEKAPHON PRO WAX 
Cavity sealing

Dekalin has also provided a very informative booklet on camper sealing and sticking for download. It’s almost the Holy Bible – not just when the camper window should be leaking.

I hope you can now fix with the help of my guide simple water damage, such as leaky windows on your camper, now even. It not only saves a lot of money but especially when traveling in foreign countries, it is not always so easy to quickly find a workshop that can even re-seal a leaking motorhome window.

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