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How to Replace Your RV Window Seals

Are your RV windows leaking? Are you concerned with your RV window seal shrinking and letting in water or cold air? 

If you’ve experienced an issue with drafts or moisture around your RV windows, you need to repair it and fast.

In this article, we take a closer look at RV window seals and how you can fix them. 

What Are RV Windows Sealed With?

An RV window seal is a seal between the wall of the RV and the window. In addition some RV’s have caulk around the outside of the window for extra protection as well.

Different RV windows have different types of seals depending on the type of RV and the age. Most have a flexible sealant caulk, butyl tape, rubber gaskets, or rubber weatherstripping. 

Manufacturers may use a combination of different sealants on an RV window. This is a maintenance task that you should inspect regularly.

What Causes RV Window Seals to Shrink?

Various factors cause RV window seals to shrink. UV rays, heat, constant movement, age, salty air, and normal wear and tear can cause damage. 

The main reason a window seal will shrink or crack is due to age and sunlight. Old sealant loses flexibility and becomes rigid and can dry up and shrink. Some may begin to crack and flake off.

Shrinking RV window seals cause problems because they don’t cover the edges as they used to, leading to water damage.

Close up image of exterior of RV window
Your RV window seals will shrink and crack as they age.

What Happens When RV Window Seals Go Bad?

When your RV window seal goes bad, you might experience drafts — an obvious sign that there’s a problem. 

But, before you ever experience a draft, a bad window seal will create a pocket for water to enter your RV sidewall when it rains or snows. Water can get in through the tiniest pinhole, and you’d never know unless you perform regular inspections. 

Water damage is a silent killer in an RV. You typically never even know you have a leak until the water damage becomes so extensive that the wood rots and falls apart.

Pro Tip: Upgrade your RV’s insulation by using our guide on How Do You Insulate Your RV Windows?

Interior of RV window.
Take note of any drafts in your RV to determine if it is time to replace your window seals.

How Do You Fix an RV Window Seal?

Luckily, you can fix your RV window seals. You should inspect all seals on your RV regularly. Look for signs of age and damage like small cracks, brittle material, or missing sealant. 

You should take action to fix a window seal at the first sign of damage. You can use an RV sealant caulk to cover a potential issue in the short term, but you need to replace a damaged one as soon as you have time. 

Pro Tip: While you’re resealing your RV windows, why not consider tinting them as well! Here’s how You Can Tint Your RV Windows.

How Do You Replace the Rubber Seal on an RV Window?

To replace the rubber window seal on your RV, first determine what type of window you have. Different windows have different seals. 

Your RV may have a u-channel rubber seal, a window edge weatherstrip, or a rubber gasket seal. 

RV 101® - RV How-To Reseal & Replace RV Windows

Consult your manufacturer to help you determine what type of seal you need. If you have an older RV, look at online forums for help.

Steele Rubber Products produces many RV window seals and has helpful catalogs to help you determine which one you need.

To replace your sealant, you will need to remove your window carefully. Then remove the old seal and old sealant caulk from your window. To clean off old adhesives and dirt, you may need to use a plastic paint scraper and adhesive remover.

Go ahead and clean the entire window frame. You don’t get to clean this area often. Next, firmly press the new seal into place around the frame. Be sure the two ends fit snugly together. 

Finally, insert your window and do any necessary caulking.

caulking around RV window
Caulking around your RV windows adds extra protection from drafts and water. This window needs Re-caulking

Should You Caulk Around RV Windows?

Caulking around your RV windows can provide an extra layer of protection from water and drafts. But is it necessary? It might be challenging to caulk around certain types of RV windows like seamless. And, if you’re not skilled with caulking, it can look very messy. 

RV window messy caulk
If you have a leak we recommend caulking as soon as possible to stop the leak, but it should not be your primary seal. It also does not look as good and can be messy.

Caulking works as a quick fix if you don’t have the time or resources to replace your rubber seal. Make sure to use a flexible RV sealant and not just regular silicone caulk. 

How to Prevent Your RV Windows from Leaking

Add RV window seals to your maintenance inspection checklist. It’s important to catch potential problem areas before they can cause an issue. Here are some ways to prevent window leaks.

Exterior RV window showing seals.
Continuously inspect your RV window seals to prevent leaks and drafts.

Inspect and Maintain Your RV Window Seals Regularly

First, inspect and maintain your RV window seals once a month and at minimum once a season. Check seals around appliances, on seams, and around your windows. Repair them at the first sign of cracking, a tear, or a missing section of sealant.

Clean Your Drip Slots

Most RV windows have drip slots, or weep holes, that create a path for water to drain off of your RV. If your drip slots become clogged with debris, it can force water to find an alternate route. Sometimes that leads to water getting inside. 

Check and clean your drip slots regularly. 

Inspect for Leaks After Washing Your RV

You can check for RV window leaks just after a rainstorm or after washing your rig. This way, you can see if you have leaks because you can direct pressurized water at your window. 

If your interior wall feels wet or you see water accumulating on the interior or around the window, you know you have a leak.

Keep in Mind: Leaks cause water damage, which causes damage to your budget! Read more about The Biggest Downfall to RVs: Water Damage (And How To Prevent It!)

Regular Maintenance Keeps Your RV Dry

We can’t stress the importance of regular RV inspections and maintenance. A routine inspection helps you identify leaks before they cause an issue and helps your RV last longer. 

When you take great care of your RV, it will last for years to come. Stopping water leaks before they cause water damage is the best way to preserve your RV, help it hold its value, and save money.

When did you last inspect your RV window seals? Drop a comment below!

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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Sunday 10th of October 2021

I learned about clogged drip slots the hard way.