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Living or traveling in an RV has its perks, however, increasingly frequent rainstorms can bring a host of different issues for the average RV dweller. A recent study has found that climate change is causing heavier rains in the US, and even typically drier areas like El Paso and Nevada saw large jumps in extreme rainfall in 2022. Constant and heavy rainfall means having a higher chance of flooding, which can damage crops, properties, and vehicles. 

If your RV was a casualty of recent flooding, or if leaks have somehow found their way into the vehicle, you’re probably wondering whether to scrap it or salvage it as best as you can. Thankfully, there are ways to properly restore your RV after water damage and revert it to its former condition.

Find the Source of Water Damage

Whether it’s a home or an RV, it’s a fact that the process of water damage mitigation can be daunting. If you’re unsure how to go about it, you may consult water damage professionals to save your assets. But you can also jumpstart the process by assessing your vehicle and locating the source of water damage.

If your vehicle wasn’t flooded yet the flooring and interior are always damp, you’ll need to see if there are leaks in the walls or roof. Also, check for any soft spots where water can seep through, or gaps in the door or windows. You’ll also need to check the inside of cabinets and other storage areas to make sure that they’re completely dry. If your RV’s walls are covered in wallpaper, strip off all wall coverings so you can check if there’s any damage.  

Clean it Up

The first thing that you’ll need to do to restore a flooded or rain-damaged RV is to clean it up thoroughly. Scrub it free of mud, grime, and dirt as soon as you can, since waiting for it to dry can make the cleanup process even more difficult. If you have an older RV, it likely has a wooden floor, so you’ll need to check if it’s soft or rotting. If it is, or it’s completely waterlogged, then you’ll need to replace it. It’s a good idea to pull out the entire floor instead of just leaving seemingly dry areas since those parts may be damaged too. Other soft surfaces, such as seats, should also be replaced, so plan on reupholstering these areas. You should also make sure to remove any signs of mold growth since it may cause mold sickness or health symptoms that range from sneezing to skin itching. 

Air it Out

Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned your RV inside and out, you’ll need to dry it. Open all the windows and doors and let them dry under the sun. Be mindful of the weather though since an unexpected rainstorm can derail your RV restoration. You can use desk fans or stand fans to provide additional ventilation and speed up the drying process. You may also spot dry areas with a blow dryer, or leave opened boxes of baking soda inside the RV to absorb excess moisture. For another DIY option, place dry cat litter in bags and leave them in the RV for 24 hours to pull the moisture out of the interior.

Fixing a waterlogged RV can be a challenge, but with some time and effort, you can restore your vehicle to its former glory. Replace all damaged components and never drive your RV if you suspect that some crucial parts were affected by flooding or leaks. Finally, if the water damage is extensive, consult a professional who has years of experience restoring RVs.

Author: Alicia Rennoll

Bob B. ~ “Consistent with our past experience, the dispatcher was friendly, concerned, and efficient; she returned calls as promised to let us know who the provider would be and when to expect arrival, as well as to confirm arrival. The service provider, Ratholland Automotive Service, and its driver, J.T. called immediately to estimate arrival time, and arrived within 5 minutes of the estimate. J.T. was prompt, friendly, and efficient. He had the proper equipment and took care of changing our tire and getting us on the road quickly and professionally. We’ve had Coach-Net for about 14 years, and you’ve always come through when needed. I’m now the Director of the Forest River Owners’ Group, and we provide Coach-Net coverage to all new Forest River RV purchasers. I’m happy to be able to promote that affiliation.”