Most people will agree that RV maintenance isn’t the most fun way to spend your weekend. When life keeps you busy elsewhere, RV chores are easy to avoid. But since common sense dictates that bad things happen when you delay this important part of RV ownership, last Sunday my husband and I tackled two of our twice-yearly RV moisture maintenance chores: bathtub caulking and rubber roof cleaning and conditioning.
RV Moisture Maintenance Duties Keep Water Out
The best thing you can do for your home on wheels is to take the proper measures to keep water out of cracks and crevices. Doing it from the top down is the best place to start. Look up and ask yourself: when was the last time you got up on that roof and cleaned it? Whether you have a stick house, an RV or both, the roof is one of the easiest things to forget about. Until it isn’t, when the rain starts falling inside your kitchen or ruining your mattress.
The bathroom is another common area for water damage to occur. What other part of your RV is constantly subjected to water? Take a close look at the growing gaps between the wall and the shower pan or tub where you bathe. If you see cracks, it’s time to re-caulk.
Quick and Dirty RV Bathtub Caulk Job Tips
Re-caulking the bathtub is one RV maintenance job that anyone can do, but it’s a real pain. Unfortunately, there’s no other chore that will give your bathtub the best cleaning it’s had in months. My husband cringes whenever it’s time to re-caulk our RV bathtub because removing old caulk and laying a new sealant takes time and effort. Through the years he’s tried all sorts of ways to make RV bathtub caulking easier, and here’s what he’s learned.
- Get the right tools for the job. A couple of tubes of 100% white silicone bath sealant, caulk removal tools, rubbing alcohol and paper towels are all you need.
- Give the bathtub or shower pan and walls a thorough cleaning to ensure the new caulk will stick. Then chip away at the old caulk with the removal tool.
- Use small tubes of silicone. They’re easier to handle than an unwieldy caulking gun.
- Although store-bought caulk removal tools come with an applicator tip, you may find it easier to just run a moist finger along the seam to smooth and straighten it out.
- Clean up excess caulk and smears immediately by using a dry paper towel. Rubbing alcohol will remove dried caulk from your fingers.
- Allow it to dry overnight. Then enjoy your new bathtub!
Common Sense RV Rubber Roof Maintenance Tips
It’s hard to believe that a layer of rubber (well, ethylene propylene diene terpolymer or just EDPM to be exact) is about the only thing keeping water out of our home on wheels. But it does and we’ve learned that when you treat it with respect, the thin EDPM membrane will keep water out for as long as you own your trailer. Last weekend was my opportunity to show it some love, so while Jim was below me in the bathroom taking care of the caulking job, I was up top doing double duty: getting a tan and conditioning the roof. Here’s what I’ve learned about this job:
- Do this when you wash your RV–or at least start with a clean RV. We washed ours just a few weeks earlier at a truck wash but didn’t have time for a thorough roof cleaning. Starting with a clean RV made roof maintenance easy and relatively fast.
- Wear good shoes with plenty of traction to keep from falling off.
- Inspect the seams and other caulked areas for separation. Note which ones need re-caulking.
- Clean and wash every exposed area. Use care around wires and plastic items that could easily break.
Even though I had to hand-clean the roof with rags because we don’t have storage space for an RV cleaning brush, it only took me about an hour and a half to thoroughly clean a small section at a time. Using a simple Roof Cleaner and Conditioner product by Camco, I hand-washed and rinsed every exposed area. In the process, I discovered a potential mildew issue in development. I also accidentally broke a cable tie that will need fixing before we roam again. Unfortunately, the moment I crossed roof maintenance off our Honey Do List, I added these other two issues that need attention for the next sunny day.
Hauling a home on wheels around the country is the best kind of freedom there is, but it comes at a cost. Even the best RVs aren’t as durable as stick houses, and you’ll need to pay close attention to annual RV maintenance chores if you want your rig to last as long as your adventures do.
About the author: Rene Agredano
Rene Agredano, a Coach-Net member since 2015, is a self-employed full-time RVer who enjoys writing, jewelry design and animal advocacy. Her adventures with a three-legged dog and husband Jim are chronicled at LiveWorkDream.com
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