How to Repair Camper Water Damage

How to Repair Camper Water Damage
Water damage in campers is a common problem. Water leaks in through windows, the roof or through damage to the exterior siding, and damages interior wood in the camper. Repair water damage as soon as possible to minimize the amount of damage that occurs inside your camper. Once the wood is exposed to water, wood rot develops and eventually spreads. The sooner you repair the damage, the less wood you will need to repair.

Instructions

Difficulty: Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Eternabond tape 80-grit sandpaper Wood hardener or epoxy resin Wood putty Putty knife 60-grit sandpaper
  • Eternabond tape
  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • Wood hardener or epoxy resin
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • 60-grit sandpaper
Step 1
Identify and repair the source of the water leak to prevent future water damage. The most common sites in campers that allow water to enter are leaking windows, damage to the roof or damage to the exterior siding. Apply new flexible silicone window caulking if the water is entering through the windows. Camper roofs and siding repair or replacement are labor intensive. A professional repair job from an RV repair shop is your best bet for roof and exterior siding repairs.

You can quickly patch up roof and exterior siding leaks by applying a permanent waterproof tape called Eternabond. Eternabond can be purchased at RV supply stores. Apply Eternabond tape carefully because once the adhesive backing sticks to your camper, it will not come off. For rubber roofs, paint on a coat of rubber roof repair, also available for purchase at RV supply stores.
Step 2
Locate all of the areas of water damage inside your camper. Check the ceiling, walls and floor for visual signs of water damage and for signs of mushiness. A soft or mushy area is a sign of wood rot.
Step 3
Pull off wallpaper, paneling or flooring to gain access to the damaged wood. The best way to fix water-damaged areas is to cut out the damaged wood and replace it with new wood. An alternate and easier method is to repair the damaged wood. To repair the damaged wood, pull off loose pieces and smooth the remaining wood with 80-grit sand paper. Liberally spray or paint on a wood hardener or epoxy resin. The wood hardener or epoxy resin soaks into the wood, halts the growth of mold and hardens the wood. After 24 hours, use a putty knife to apply wood putty to the hardened wood. Use enough putty to fill in any indents in the wood caused by the water damage. Wait four hours for the wood putty to dry and sand the area smooth, using 60-grit sandpaper.
Step 4
Install new wallpaper, paneling or flooring over the repaired wood.

Tips & Warnings

 
Do not get stuck in a leaky camper during a rainy camping trip. Always keep a waterproof tape, such as Eternabond, handy when camping, so that you can do quick emergency repairs when needed. Eternabond will attach to your camper surface even during wet conditions. Use flexible silicone caulking designed for RVs to caulk your windows.The flexible caulking withstands and holds up to the vibrations caused by a moving camper. Wood hardener and epoxy resin are available in the wood-floor section in building supply stores and at marine supply stores.
 
Do not get stuck in a leaky camper during a rainy camping trip. Always keep a waterproof tape, such as Eternabond, handy when camping, so that you can do quick emergency repairs when needed. Eternabond will attach to your camper surface even during wet conditions.
 
Use flexible silicone caulking designed for RVs to caulk your windows.The flexible caulking withstands and holds up to the vibrations caused by a moving camper.
 
Wood hardener and epoxy resin are available in the wood-floor section in building supply stores and at marine supply stores.
 
Check your camper insurance policy before performing repairs. Some policies pay to have water damage repairs made at a dealership or RV body shop.

Article Written By Rose Kivi

Rose Kivi has been a writer for more than 10 years. She has a background in the nursing field, wildlife rehabilitation and habitat conservation. Kivi has authored educational textbooks, patient health care pamphlets, animal husbandry guides, outdoor survival manuals and was a contributing writer for two books in the Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Series.

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