For those who have an RV that is several years’ old, repairs often pop up due to general wear and tear. We recently experienced a water leak around the skylight in our bathroom. We inspect our roof at least twice a year and even with this effort, very fine cracks occurred in the RV skylight during our travels. On a recent trip, enough road vibration, hot sun then cool North Carolina evenings open these cracks. After a hard rain we discovered water dripping from the bathroom ceiling and knew we needed to act quickly.
Temporary RV Skylight Repair
The RV Skylight is in two pieces. The inside unit is part aesthetics and part light diffuser. I removed the inside unit and discovered very fine cracks around the base rising up to the edge of the outside skylight. It was easy to see where water was seeping inside. Equally concerning, was the beginning of mildew and mold on the inside edge of the wood. We suspect gentle leaking started allowing a small amount of water to enter, but the cracks had not increased in size to allow larger amounts of water into the bathroom ceiling.
I caught the water leak early, treated the area multiple times with 100% bleach and a good scrub with a souring pad. I also went on top of the RV and applied Dicor Self Leveling Compound over the crack in the RV Skylight and again on the inside. This gave some assurance that we could stop the leaks until a more permanent RV Skylight replacement could be made. Allowing the inside wood to dry throughorly, I replaced the inside unit.
Removing the Cracked RV Skylight
Fortunately, an exact size RV Skylight replacement was found on Amazon. Replacing the crack unit took about an hour. First step is to remove the old lap sealant compound from around the RV skylight. This took a little patience and gentle force to scrape the lap sealant first from the top and around the screws of the plastic.
Next is to work a paint scraper underneath the RV skylight to release any sealant bonding the unit to the roof. I like using a 6-in-1 painters tool to remove the lap sealant. This tool is ridged, has a beveled edge and with careful use can easily slide against the roof without ripping or tearing the fabric.
Once the old RV Skylight is removed, I take a few extra steps to ensure the roof is clean and the old lap sealant is removed. One note, it’s very difficult to remove 100% if the old lap sealant. Work to make the roof surface as flat as possible without damaging the roof fabric.
Installing the new RV Skylight
This new RV Skylight was an Amazon reseller product. It had limited screw holes, about a third of those found in the Heartland unit. I matched the old and new skylights together, marked where the holes should be located and carefully drilled, ensuring not the crack the plastic.
Now apply a thin bead of lap sealant on the roof, just inside the screw holes. This will provide an extra bond for the RV Skylight to the roof. Placed the new skylight on the roof and lined up the holes to match. Here where more cautions applies. I did not want to over tighten the screws. I believe this was part of the reason the old skylight cracked, having too much pressure on the plastic adding stress and eventual failure.
Last step was to cover the screws and sides with lap sealant and we were done.
Overall, not a difficult installation. Using extra care removing the damage RV skylight is key and most of all, liberally applying lap sealant will ensure new leaks will not occur.
Dicor Self-Leveling Lap Sealant Creates a secure, secondary seal along the roof’s edges, air vents, vent pipes and screw heads. Compatible TPO RV roofs.
6-in-1 Painters Tool 6 uses in one tool include gouger, scraper, putty remover, spreader and roller cleaner. Great for removing laps sealant from your RV roof.
Black and Decker Cordless Drill This is a very handy drill for general installations plus those quick fixes – a loose drawer, replacing cabinet screws or just minor maintenance where a good cordless drill is needed.
Kline 11-in-1 Multi Tool It would be great to have a toolbox filled with every tool I may possibly need. This is one of my favorites. I keep this multi-tool screwdriver in the RV for those times when you just need to tighten something. Well made and a good quality product.
Not sure about what RV accessories you need as you start RV travel? Check out our RV Accessories page where we have listed a wide range of products from essential items to those “nice to have” RV products to make RV life more enjoyable. Every item listed is being used or has been used by Joan and I as we’ve traveled across the country in our RV.
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