Dealing with RV Water Damage: The Basic Repair Process

Anyone who has ever owned a vehicle knows that repairs are inevitable. Recreational vehicles (RVs) are no exception. Due to their size and complexity, they take on a lot of bumps and bruises when used regularly. Thus they require almost constant vigilance when it comes to maintenance and upkeep. One of the biggest concerns with RVs (as with many things) is water damage, which can lead to health problems due to the development of microorganisms like black mold.

However, when caught early, water damage can be treated easily and prevented in the future. When it comes to RVs, here’s how to deal with the problem through a basic repair process.

Checking for water damage

The best way to deal with RV water damage is to catch it as early as possible by keeping an eye out for early indicators. Checkups need to be done routinely before and after camping season—and preferably before and after long journeys. Thoroughly examine the RV by feeling along all window seals, door jambs, and slide-out screen both inside and out. Examine the seals of the roof and look for soft spots or holes. Discoloration and drips are the first warning signs that there’s a watertightness issue on hand, while mold means it’s been ongoing for some time.

 Fixing the leak

Say you’ve discovered a leak in the roof. Before addressing any damage, locate and stop the source of the water leak. Find out what kind of material the roof is made of in order to use chemicals, materials, and sealants that are compatible with it. The owner’s manual should have all of this information listed. Once the source of the moisture has been repaired, it’s time to deal with the damage.

Repairing the damage

Carpet and linoleum flooring can be easily removed and replaced, but it is much more challenging to address wood walls that have been damaged. As soon as water damage is detected, it needs to be repaired to prevent wood rot. If not caught early, wood rot can be harder to fix. 

Soak up all the water and give the affected area ample time to fully dry. Remove any wallpaper and loose wood around the affected area and apply a wood hardener to the damaged wood. Keep the RV ventilated and wear a mask when working with wood hardener. The product will penetrate the wood and harden to prevent rot. Allow the wood hardener to dry for 24 hours before continuing with repairs or replacements. 

Once the wood hardener has set, apply wood filler to the damaged areas and thoroughly fill in any cracks or holes. Give the filler a minimum of four hours to dry before sanding it down to smooth and even out the surface. After the wood has been repaired, stain, wallpaper, or repaint the area as desired to match the surroundings. 


There is nothing wrong with buying an RV second hand. In fact, one of the most practical ways to own one, financially speaking, is by visiting an rv auction spot like Auto Auction Mall, an online retailer of used and salvage RVs from across the country. But since pre-owned RVs may be more susceptible to water damage due to age, you must be even more proactive about doing inspections, or asking for more details about the cars you happen to be interested in. 

To avoid water damage, there are preventative measures to take when camping. It’s never a bad idea to re-caulk windows. Also, pay attention to clearance and try not to drive under low hanging branches that can scratch the paint. Avoid parking under trees whose sap can eat away at paint and surfacing. Cosmetic damage may seem harmless, but over time, these can contribute to a compromised roof and leaky ceiling.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *