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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Scraper tool blue CRL stick
- Tapered Tip Stick and Handle
- The best caulking gun
- Boss sealant 378 clear
- Boss sealant 378 black
- Geocel GC28100 Pro Flex RV Flexible Sealant – Clear
- Geocel 28101V Pro Flex White RV Flexible Sealant
More from Dustin
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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. 🙂
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.
Water – RV Kryptonite