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.
The manufacturer claims this stuff is 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 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 someone had apparently used a silicone-containing caulk, which admittedly made the tape have a 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.
One area we found the new tape wouldn’t stick – up on the metal roof, around a roof vent. Too much moss, perhaps, but the tape just wouldn’t cut it. We opted for a special sealant to chase away the rain.
You’ll find Nashua Waterproofing Repair Tape at most of the big box hardware stores in the duct tape row or, of course, on Amazon.com. There are lots of other brands of waterproofing repair tape available, but Nashua is what we have used.