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Ask Dave: Can I insulate my shower skylight?

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. Today he discusses insulating a shower skylight.

Dear Dave,
The shower skylight in our RV lets in a lot of light and heat in the summer and a lot of cold in the winter. I would like to install a reflective insulation between the two plastic domes. Will this cause any problem? Thank you. —Roger Ewing

Dear Roger,
The skylight in a shower has two functions: one is to let in light, while the other is actually to create a little more headroom.

However, the downside, as you suggested, is the material is a relatively thin piece of ABS plastic with little or no insulation value. Some manufacturers use a black opaque material that helps limit the sunlight, if desired. But it still has little hot or cold insulation characteristics.

Over the years I have seen a few “inventive” DIY projects where owner’s have spray painted the plastic a darker shade and even some that sprayed the cover with a rubberized product such as Flex Seal. A few owners reconditioned their roof with a Dicor product and coated the skylight as well. This would help a little, probably more in the summer to keep out sunlight and with keeping heat from building up quite so much.

Camping World and others do have skylight covers available that are virtually a padded blanket applied to the top. But additional insulation from inside would be needed, in my opinion. Since you indicated you have two plastic domes, I would suspect there is an aftermarket cover on it. However, I’ve learned to never say never in the RV world as manufacturers and dealers like to change things up just to keep us guessing.

I do not think placing insulation between the two sheets would create any issues. Just make sure that you seal whatever cover you remove to add the insulation really well. I would suggest using the silver foam material such as Reflectix, as it is flexible and easy to work with.

If you don’t need the headroom, I would also suggest cutting a piece of styrofoam insulation the size of the opening and wedge it in from the inside. You can get creative with a fabric covering, plastic or other material to make it look more appealing.

Read more from Dave here

Related:

Camco vent insulator and skylight cover on Amazon.

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Gary Finneman
23 days ago

In regards to the shower sky light. I have been forced to spend a couple of Summers in Mesa, Arizona. I cured the problem by making a cover out of aluminum foil for pennies. You need to double layer it so that it won’t tear. I then taped it to the outside of the sky light with gorilla tape, you could also use flex tape. It works great for about $5.00 worth materiel. It has lasted at least a full summer in Mesa, Arizona where we see a fair amount of 110 to 115 degree heat. the only down side is it will tear off if you travel with it on. I also cover my ceiling vent covers with aluminum foil, you can cut it to size and then tuck it under the cover and tape it on the hinge side that work great as well!

Gene L
23 days ago

You can purchase a 2 pack of 14 x14 “pillows” that fit perfectly and don’t fall out. Keeps sun out, heat and ac in. Works great. Done deal, no muss, no fuss.

Jeff Craig
23 days ago

We have a split bath, and the shower is open to the bedroom. After our first morning in our Class A, we discovered the rising sun can shine right through the triangular-shaped shower dome and wake us up way, way before our usual 0800. Fortunately, I ran to Lowes and CW, got a roll of sticky-back velcro and reflectix, and custom cut a shade then affixed it to the ceiling around the dome.

Dan
23 days ago

I put a bar mop towel over the top of the inside dome. Let’s in some light and helps stop the heat transfer.

Joe
23 days ago

A few years ago my RV neighbor put some Reflectix in his shower dome to try to keep the heat from the south west sun from overheating the RV. When he took it down he discovered that the dome had melted and was now sagging down by a couple of inches

David C
23 days ago

I know what he means by 2 domes. The inner one, the one you see when in the shower, is easily removed with the 6 or so screws holding it. It isn’t sealed in any way. Just flimsy plastic. The upper dome is the one you see on the roof. You could easily add something between the 2 and not hinder or harm anything. You can see some framing, insulation and even some roofing where it’s cut and folded into the opening when you remove the inner dome.

I’ve removed the inner dome before. No big deal on my rig anyway.

Kathy Niemeyer
23 days ago

We follow the seasons in our Class C so we don’t deal with the cold but the heat through the skylights are a problem and we have 3 of them. I use Reflectix and two tension rods to hold the ReFlectix up in the shower. Husband takes it down to take a shower. We have a skylight above our dining table and another above our vanity that is across from our shower. I purchased room darkening curtains at Wal-Mart and sewed rod pockets in them so tension rods could be slid in. Now no more light coming in but I can slide the tension rods over to the side and let light in if I want.

Bob P
23 days ago

If in fact he has a double layer dome why not try putting simple bubble wrap between the layers as that would provide insulation plus still give light.

Bob
23 days ago

You can buy vent insulators. They are effectively a square pillow about 3 inches thick that fits into the vent. Some have a reflective material on one side. Easily removable.
They are made for the 14X14 vents.
When we had our last TT it had rectangular skylights. My wife made a “pillow” that fit in the opening.

tom
23 days ago

I would not break the seal between the two domes. A “cut to fit” block of foam would help.
I placed magnets under the rim (magnets with a center hole} and wife made a opaque cover with washers to snap in place. Blocks the light very well. You cannot see the magnets because they are covered by the rim of the dome.

Scott R. Ellis
23 days ago

Reflectix will be highly effective at blocking summer sun, and virtually useless at retaining heat in winter. It has an abysmal R factor. Maybe an outer layer of Reflectix over some actual insulation (foam, fiberglass, horse hair, ANYTHING is better than Reflectix).