Camper and RV maintenance come in various forms and all are important. Ensuring your RV trim molding is one of the more important items. One may think the molding is purely added to the RV for aesthetic reasons, but cracked or a RV trim molding that is missing altogether can allow water to seep in the corners causing rot and mold ruining a camper in a very short period of time.
The good news is replacing camper trim molding is a very simple and inexpensive project. In the video we take you step by step replacing damaged RV trim molding along with a few other tips and repairs to prevent water damage to your RV.
Inspecting Camper Trim Molding
The need to replace camper trim molding is usually the result of age and sun exposure. Over time the molding can become brittle. When inspecting the camper trim molding look for cracks, missing sections, and shrinkage where the molding has pulled away from the ends of the aluminum mounting strip. When this occurs, water will enter around the missing or damaged sections, rust and seep around screws, and eventually cause water damage to the RV.
Replacing Camper Trim Molding
Replacing camper trim molding could not be easier. Remove the section that needs to be replaced. Depending on the installation there could be screwed end molding caps that need to be removed or simply an end of the molding with silicone or lap sealant covering the ends. In our case, we had both instances.
After removing the old trim, take a few minutes to ensure the tracks along the side of the aluminum mounting strip that holds the molding in place is free of debris, old sealant and isn’t bent or crushed. A thin blade knife or flat head screw driver can be used to clean the molding track and straighten any flattened tracks. It’s important the aluminum strip can easily accept the new camper molding and failure to do so can cause water to enter the track or wind can enter and pull the molding off during travel.
The molding also has a profile. There is an outer bow or center round edge that must be facing away from the camper. Placing the molding in backwards will cause the strip to pull away from the aluminum mounting strip and will probably come loose on your first trip after repair.
Cut about 6 extra inches to ensure you have enough molding for the job. It’s important that your use a single strip of molding going from end to end. A break in the molding can allow water to enter. Placing the strip between the finger and thumb with the center round edge facing the inside of the hand, simply pinch and insert in the aluminum strip. As you work along the strip, gently press the sides and center of the molding to ensure it’s well seated inside the strip.
Once the trim molding is in place, trim the ends flush with the mounting strip then fill ends with a little clear silicone adding a two small bead along the edge of each end to hold the strip in place. If equipped, replace the camper has screwed molding caps.
For our efforts, we replaced the entire front of the camper in less than thirty minutes.
A Good Time To Inspect The Roof and Side Lap Sealant
This is also a good time to check the lap sealant on the roof and sides of the camper. If you see exposed screws and cracks in the sealant, use Dicor or a similar RV lap sealant to fill the cracks. Do not use house latex caulk for this project. If the existing lap sealant has completely failed or there’s a large amount of build-up, this is a good time to take a plastic putty knife with a dull edge and carefully scrape and remove the old lap sealant. Don’t be too aggressive and be careful not to nick or cut the roofing material.
Taking these few maintenance steps at the beginning of each camping season can give you the added assurance your camper will be protected from water damage.
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