Emergency repairs: Go a step beyond duct tape


By Russ and Tiña De Maris

We know we may be stepping onto hallowed ground: RVers love their duct tape. It’s the greatest thing for on-the-fly repairs of all kinds. But we found something that you may want to add to your tape deck, if you’ll allow it: It’s called Waterproofing Repair Tape, made by Nashua, one of the big duct tape producers.

tape-744This stuff claims it’s so good that it’ll stick to almost anything, and it’ll do it even underwater. Well, we haven’t tried the underwater claim yet, but it is pretty sticky, and it is certainly durable. It goes beyond duct tape in that its outside cover isn’t the venerable gray stuff, but rather silvery metallic, reminiscent of “silver tape” used on fiberglass ducts. There’s a backing strip to protect the “business end” of the matter, a butyl sealing adhesive.

We found our “visiting” travel trailer was oozing a bit of a leak through a sidewall. The weather was typically Northwest Winter: Cold, miserable rain, compounded with high winds. No time (or tools) to remove the suspect water heater or the alternative villain, a kaput marker light. Instead, we removed the marker light, tucked the connecting wires back in the sidewall, and cut off a chunk of the Nashua stuff. After rubbing it down well, we’ll let it sit out the winter until the weather clears and we can do a “real” repair.

To work around the suspected dried out putty tape around the heater, we cut appropriate lengths of repair tape, pulled the backing off, and wrapped a shield around the outer edges of the water heater. Here some clown had apparently used a silicon containing caulk, which admittedly made the tape have much harder time sticking. We did a double row of repair tape here, and we’ll see how it all holds up.

While the repair areas were wet, we decided to take no chances and cautiously wiped the areas down with a dry rag to clear dirt and excess moisture. Time will tell, but we suspect the outer shell of this tape will hold up much better than plain old duct tape.

In one case, on the metal roof around a roof vent, the new tape wouldn’t stick — too much moss, perhaps. 

You’ll find Nashua Waterproofing Repair Tape at most of the big box hardware stores as well as at Amazon.com.


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I have found that using a wood popsicle or craft stick works best for burnishing down the metal tape. The rounded ends prevent the stick from tearing the tape and allows the tape to burnish down very smoothly. I keep these little wooden sticks in the bus as they are very handy. I buy them at DollarTree or Wal-Mart in the craft section.