Tuesday, November 28, 2023


RVs without slideout toppers: Do they leak?

By Chuck Woodbury

Without a topper

I was talking to my neighbor in the RV park. He’s a traveling nurse on his way from his last assignment in Cooperstown, New York, to his next one near Atlanta. After talking about what it’s like to be a traveling nurse (good, with lots of job opportunities), the discussion turned to RVs.

The subject of slideout toppers came up. Slideout toppers, if you do not know, are like awnings that cover your RV’s slideouts to keep out water and debris. His Montana Fifth Wheel does not have toppers. My motorhome does. So this is not a topic I have thought about much.

With topper

He said that when it’s raining or has been raining, he needs to get up on his roof to clean the top of his slides. He uses a towel to remove as much water as he can. “If I don’t, water drips into the RV,” he said.

That sounds like a bad thing to me. The last thing I want in my RV is water, except in the sinks and shower. I’m pretty sure you feel the same.

But now I’m curious: If your RV DOES NOT HAVE slideout toppers does rain water seep in when you pull in the slides? Please feel free to leave a comment.

##RVT815 ##RVDT1373

Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodburyhttps://rvtravel.com
I'm the founder and publisher of RVtravel.com. I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.



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Roe Gary (@guest_96268)
3 years ago

You should not have any problems at all when it comes to protecting your already hefty investment, and the part that needs the most attention is the slide-out room.
The seals around the slide-out room will be the one that gets hit the hardest as it has to deal with wear and tear due to the moving parts. It will also need to deal with the effects of the weather. When the damage to the seals get too much, it will cause serious issues, such as leaking and mold and mildew growth. I think so

Snayte (@guest_85989)
3 years ago

MY 2011 K-Z Spree has no toppers and I have never had a leak as far as I know. I would like a topper to prevent leaves and sticks from landing on the slide in the fall.

Vanessa Simmons (@guest_85322)
3 years ago

I now have a topper after pulling in the topper several times and watching water drip down the sides. The first time I thought it was a puppy accident. The second time I actually watched it run down the side of the slide.

David Kendall (@guest_85273)
3 years ago

If the sides of your slides are wet, be sure you will bring water. Slide topper or not, I’d never bring in my slides without inspecting tops and sides. Plus, you could have ants under your topper and bring them inside. Right now, I’m still not sure what’s best.

Helen Lottridge (@guest_85267)
3 years ago

We don’t have slide toppers, and have never had water drip inside the 5th wheel when retracting the slides, even after a heavy rain.

Karen Persico (@guest_85261)
3 years ago

We have an Aspen Trail 2340BHS with one slide, no topper. Have been in heavy rains, but no leaks when out or while bringing in.

Bob p (@guest_85260)
3 years ago

On all my trailers travel and 5th wheels none had slide toppers, I always raised the front up a few inches before I went up on the roof to blow trash off the slides with a leaf blower, now that I’m 77 I don’t go on the roof unless I have to and slide toppers are on my slides and will be there always.

James (@guest_85257)
3 years ago

Our motorhome had slide toppers that I happily removed and discarded. They were noisy in high winds. Worse, was when parked for a long time I found paper wasps adhering nests beneath the topper. My wife is deathly allergic to stings and I could not chance having all or parts of nests remaining stuck and finding wasps INSIDE of the house while driving down the road. As far as water from melting frost on the roof, I simply laid towels in the floor at each end of the retracted slides which quickly and completely absorbed melted frost – same for any temporarily trapped rainwater, i spoke with.an RV technician who said slide toppers can be huge problems and you are better off without them.

James Conrado (@guest_85254)
3 years ago

If you have a topper how do you treat the top seal with a lubricant?

John R Crawford (@guest_85276)
3 years ago
Reply to  James Conrado

You can get a spray lubricant that will reach your seals.

Marthella Leamon (@guest_85251)
3 years ago

We have a Newmar with 4 slides. There are toppers on three slides and the fourth slide without a topper is slanted so water runs off, not in.

Bill (@guest_85238)
3 years ago

I had slide toppers added at the factory when my 2016 Wildcat 295rsx was built. I’ve never had a leak problem but I’ve been in contact with others with this same model and both of them had slide leak problems on their bedroom slide. In both cases the dealer or factory installed slide toppers and in both cases their leak problems stopped. It’s now been about 5 years and none of us with that model have had any water penetration at all since.

Danny Wells (@guest_85232)
3 years ago

We didn’t have toppers on our trailer but I got tired of getting on top to sweep off leaves and pine straw. Water was not a problem. I measured, ordered and installed toppers and now I go on top to clean and inspect the roof 2 or 3 times a year.

Kenneth Serr (@guest_85227)
3 years ago

I have never had water leak in when slides are out and when ready to retract slides I make sure water and other are swept off or you can raise the front of the trailer or 5er and the slides will drain. I also have lubed the slide seals which keeps them pliable and keep water out.
Ken Serr

Wolfe (@guest_85225)
3 years ago

No toppers on 09 Jayco… …no leaks on several slides. I do sweep if there’s heavy leaves or snow before retracting slides. If yours leaks it’s a seal issue that should be fixed.

Marc Ornstein (@guest_85220)
3 years ago

I do not have a slide out topper and yes I get a bit of water inside, if it has rained, recently, before retracting the slide. The amount is negligable and all shows up on the vinyl floor. A quick wipe with a towel is all that is necessary. Unless I should experience worse, I’m not inclined to add a topper. Lance 1995 TT

Don (@guest_85218)
3 years ago

Our current Country Coach has toppers, which recently became a major repair expense when they finally got too worn to use after 12 years. Our 5th wheel, which preceded the Class A, had none. It never leaked in a storm, but I did have to be careful to remove leaves, branches, or even snow that would accumulate up there before pulling them in. I’d prefer having toppers to not…

CTK (@guest_85217)
3 years ago

Just added toppers to our new Grand Design. Would not be without them after having them on our old Montana. They really do a great job keeping leaves, etc. off the slide tops. The only issue is wind flapping once they break-in, stretch with time. But, a rope or electric cord thrown over the topper alleviates the flapping for the few times it may be necessary.

Kathy Derting (@guest_85215)
3 years ago

We do not have toppers on our slides of our Heartland, Torque. We have never had them leak.

Travis (@guest_85204)
3 years ago

My 2005 Jayco slide does not have a topper on it and has never leaked. I do clean it often but it has never leaked. If your slide is leaking then it is a seal issue. My understanding was that toppers were made to keep leaves, sticks, etc. out so you do not have to climb up to remove such stuff before closing in slides. If you install a topper to fix a leak in your slide then that is just putting a band aid on the problem.

Deborah (@guest_85203)
3 years ago

I don’t have toppers on either side of my full wall slides. I don’t have any water leak in how ever I do have a corner in my living room that I need adjustments on as it doesn’t extend out all the way so when it rains it will get wet along that that inside wall behind the driver’s seat.

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