Tuesday, June 6, 2023


Check those seals around your RV’s compartment door frames

Today, we are looking at a 2016 Forest River Stealth that has a dry rotten floor from a leaking RV compartment door frame. It was brought in for inspection and possible repairs at our shop back in the summer of July 2019. At the time, the unit was only three years old and the owner was originally advised that the unit was totaled and could not be repaired.

Duct tape was applied by the owners to the front compartment door to help deflect the water.

But that wasn’t the case… This customer’s unit was ruined due to a compartment door leak on the exterior body that was not sealed, thus allowing water to seep past the aluminum door frame and aluminum wall sheeting that soaked the flooring. This was first noticed by the owner because of a smell in the bedroom area, which led them to the under-bed compartment, where they found their personal items soaked along with damage to the sub-flooring.

A rotted RV compartment door frames
Water had damaged the linoleum and subfloor of the unit.

This area was not noticeable because the bed platform covered most of the damage underneath the floor and did not show through the linoleum. It caused about 15 feet of damage from the front nose to the entry door area of the unit.

As you can see in this picture, the water soaked the OSB sheeting and continued from the compartment door down the hallway towards the entry door.

It is important to inspect RV’s exterior body sealants

I want to stress the importance of inspecting your RV’s exterior body sealants, as well as remind you that just because you have been told your unit is totaled that may not always be the case. We were able to make all the repairs needed and restore the unit for the owners. Here are some additional pictures during the tear-down prior to repairs.

Only light water stains on wood sheeting showed in some areas.
However, underneath that sheeting the floor framework was damaged due to the soaked insulation and mold.
Damaged floor sub floor joints.

Join us in the video below for a discussion on RV flooring repairs and what it takes to do this type of repair.

Exterior body reseal benefits

Caulking your RV helps to protect your investment and creates a watertight seal to protect your unit from outdoor elements.

Applying caulk around the trim, moldings, compartment doors and windows will help to ensure that no outside elements get inside through the window frame or other gaps.
When there is no caulk for blockage, dirt and dust enter the RV more freely. If moisture from condensation, rain or snow, or from washing your unit gets into the RV, it can damage the structure or cause dangerous mold and mildew. Water and mildew stains can appear on the carpet and on the walls. However, in most cases it doesn’t show up right away, causing unnoticed dry rot to occur.

Caulking around certain joints creates a watertight seal that prevents water from outside seeping into the cracks and crevices of your RV. If water gets in, it can cause a lot of damage that can be extremely costly to repair and even total your unit.

Applying caulking can also help prevent hot or cold air from moving outside or entering. If you don’t caulk the borders around doors, windows, and walls, cool or hot air will escape or enter.

We hope this information was helpful and serve as a reminder to check your units on a regular basis.

DIY products linked below are used to help clean and reseal your RV’s exterior body

More from Dustin

Read more of Dustin’s articles here.


Dustin Simpson
Dustin Simpsonhttps://calrvspecialists.com/
I have worn many hats in the RV industry through the years. From an RV Technician, Warranty Administrator, Parts Administrator, Parts Manager, Service Manager and now Business Owner. I have even been deemed an RV Expert by the California court system, working on behalf of the customers, dealers, and manufacturers. My repair facility has been servicing customers at the same location since 2003. What sets us apart from the dealerships is we are here to fix and maintain what you have, and not sell you a new one. Whether you own a million-dollar unit or an entry level, my message to you will be the same, it needs to be maintained.


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Neal Davis
10 days ago

Thanks, Justin! Newmar, the manufacturer of our RV, is very proud of their storage bay seals. The seals are so robust that the bay doors must be slammed shut. I am keen to see how tight the seals remain and how well the doors absorb routine slamming. Newmar’s confidence is so great that the storage bay floors are carpeted. So far (10+ months of ownership), so good. 🙂

Jim Johnson
11 days ago

For the DIYer… the sealant around the frame of the compartment door frame isn’t the only thing that should be inspected. Carefully inspect the rubber bulb gasket between the access door and the frame. I caught it soon enough, but the factory installed gasket had slipped slightly out of place (the adhesive wasn’t sticking to the frame) and allowed water to seep past it. The RV was 2.5 years old at the time.

The bulb gasket material is sold by many hardware stores or RV/marine dealers and is not all that expensive. And it is easy to install. But the prepwork to remove all the old gasket down to a clean mounting surface can be time consuming. Doing anything less just means you will be doing it a second time.

Tom H.
11 days ago

Water – RV Kryptonite

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