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How to go about fixing skylight leak

bobbolotune
Explorer
Explorer
It rained on a recent camping trip and I got water leaking into the camper from the corner of a skylight. This has me concerned. What if the camper leaks when in storage? If I don't get this fixed I could find major damage when picking the camper up from storage.

I'm trying to figure out where the water is going in. Today I took a hose onto the roof and hosed massive water to the area where it leaked, But it didn't leak. But then when I expanded the area I was hosing finally it started leaking through into the camper at a different, place further towards the back of the camper. I do now see some compromised caulking in this spot further back that I can believe could be leaking water.

On the camping trip I was tilted a little forward. The testing today was in my driveway where the best I can get, even with blocks, is completely level.

My current theory is that the leak is further back where the caulking is compromised. But when I was tilted forward the water must have run through above the ceiling to leak into the camper around 3 feet further forward. But today when it was level it leaked into the camper further back in the area of the compromised caulk.

Does this sound like a reasonable theory?

What should I do? Caulk the suspect spot and hope for the best? What other options do I have other than to caulk and hope? I have read about pressure tests, but would rather avoid needing to find someone to do that.

This is hurting my confidence in maintaining the caulking myself. Do I need to have an RV dealer help? For example, there are places under covers, especially under the air conditioner, that I can't caulk myself because I'm not about to attempt removing the air conditioner to inspect the caulk underneath it. I could say the area under the air conditioner is covered so not a problem. But with the hose today I observed the problem is that water will flow under the covered areas, especially when you are not completely level as is usually the case.

I am thinking I can continue to maintain the caulking myself (do the time consuming unskilled labor myself) but maybe I should also find a professional look at it. What do most people do about this? Would a professional know better than me what to look for?

But not to sidetrack. My main question is whether my theory about water flowing above the ceiling could actually be what happened. Otherwise I could have multiple problems here. And, more generally, advice about how I should proceed.
Lance 850 truck camper
2016 Ram 3500 regular cab long bed 4x4 DRW 6.4L HEMI gas
8 REPLIES 8

udidwht
Explorer
Explorer
Had same issue (Jan 2021) caught it as it was happening. Once the rain stopped crawled on top of RV on hands and knees. Literally.

Thoroughly checked the caulking around skylight & rear cap by pressing on and near any lap sealant areas and looking carefully for cracks in the Decor sealant. Sure enough found some. Clean the whole skylight all the way around and laid down new lap sealant.

No more leak.

Be sure and cover your RV when not in use. It will save you a lot of $$$$.

The front and rear cap areas flex a lot and are areas that are more prone to leak/s. My skylight is near the rear drivers die corner.
1994 Fleetwood Southwind Storm
P-30 chassis 7.4L 454 TBI 58,301 miles and counting....(as of 06/08/19)
VIN# 1GBJP37N4R3314754
Flight System Generator man 360 (PM me)

bobbolotune
Explorer
Explorer
Ruralgas wrote:
Spend the time and clean all the caulking with a solvent on a small cloth. Inspect the present caulking for cracking, gaps or coming loose and remove suspect area/s, then reapply self levelling Dicor on that area. Apply a good amount for good coverage/sealing. If the gap is large, you may have to apply a couple coats.
Do a very complete inspection and resealing and you'll be good to go.
You can soak your roof to check for a leak or leaks, but like said before, the water will travel. That's why you're much better off to do the cleaning and resealing.


All good advice, thanks. This is exactly what I am doing. Today I re-caulked the suspect area.

The thing that concerns me is that the place I now think was leaking. It was not apparent from visual inspection. It was only after hosing the roof with the camper completely level (to minimize travel) which pointed to this spot. Then I looked and said yes I can believe this could be the problem (that the caulk could be compromised). But it really wasn't until I pulled off the old caulk and saw the warped corner that my confidence increased. In other words, visual inspection alone might not be enough. The caulk was not cracked or peeling. My theory is the warp may have pulled up the caulk just enough for water to slide underneath.

Also that there are some problem spots. Some of the caulking is underneath covers, the air conditioner and I assume the other cover is the fridge exhaust. Today I shot caulk under the air conditioner and pushed it under with a soapy water soaked gloved hand. That is the best I can do.

I suppose there is nothing more I can do except hose it again, go through some rainstorms, and hope for the best. Unless I want to try to find a pressure test which might be overkill.

The camper is now over 6 years old. I suppose this is expected.
Lance 850 truck camper
2016 Ram 3500 regular cab long bed 4x4 DRW 6.4L HEMI gas

Ruralgas
Explorer
Explorer
Hello:
Spend the time and clean all the caulking with a solvent on a small cloth. Inspect the present caulking for cracking, gaps or coming loose and remove suspect area/s, then reapply self levelling Dicor on that area. Apply a good amount for good coverage/sealing. If the gap is large, you may have to apply a couple coats.
Do a very complete inspection and resealing and you'll be good to go.
You can soak your roof to check for a leak or leaks, but like said before, the water will travel. That's why you're much better off to do the cleaning and resealing.
Just my personal experience.
Good luck.

bobbolotune
Explorer
Explorer
CA Traveler wrote:
Water can easily trave 3' and more before its detected. Repair and then check for leaks including tilting the RV. Check while in storge after rains.


Thanks. Makes sense and helps.

Hearing that the water can travel before leaking into the RV increases my confidence I may be on the right track.

I dug further today and did find something very suspect. I pulled off the caulk around the suspect spot I talked about in my original post, which is the fantastic fan. It turns out that the edges and especially the corners don't lay flat on the roof. Especially one corner is warped upwards enough that there is a gap under the corner. I can't say if it was always warped like this. It could very well be that this warp pulled the caulk away from the roof enough for water to go under.

Today I removed the old caulk. Tomorrow I will re-caulk. Then after it dries I will do as you say, check for leaks. Take a hose up to the roof again and see if I can get a leak.

This doesn't prove I found the problem. There could be several other spots also about to leak. I was in the middle of a full re-caulk when this happened (unfinished before my last trip because I ran out of caulk). The suspect fan is one of the places I had not re-caulked yet. I am surprised because I have be assuming that the current re-caulk is only preventative maintenance, because the old caulk is getting old and was still adhering. Hopefully there is a real problem in only this one place because the plastic on the corner of the fan has warped.
Lance 850 truck camper
2016 Ram 3500 regular cab long bed 4x4 DRW 6.4L HEMI gas

2oldman
Explorer II
Explorer II
I had the same problem, and nothing, not Eternabond or Dicor would stop it. What did finally stop it was Heng's Rubber roof coating. It's thin.. more like paint, and gets into places other stuff doesn't. Apply with a paint brush.

I never could find the exact spot where it was leaking, but I guessed at one corner where water tended to pool and got lucky. I slathered on the Heng's generously, even up over onto the top of the plastic bubble to where it meets the frame. I do have a few ceiling stains from the leakage, but we did get it stopped.

About every 2 years I inspect and recoat it, as any sealant will develop cracks from drying out and vibration.
"If I'm wearing long pants, I'm too far north" - 2oldman

valhalla360
Nomad III
Nomad III
Eternabond is not temporary. "Eterna..." as in eternal.

It can travel a long way in the roof so the leak may not be directly above the interior dripping.

If you struggle to find the leak, you can put a box fan in a window and close everything else up. Then using soapy water, you will find bubbles where the leak is.
Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2021 Gray Wolf
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Full Time spliting time between boat and RV

CA_Traveler
Explorer III
Explorer III
Water can easily trave 3' and more before its detected. Repair and then check for leaks including tilting the RV. Check while in storge after rains.
2009 Holiday Rambler 42' Scepter with ISL 400 Cummins
750 Watts Solar Morningstar MPPT 60 Controller
2014 Grand Cherokee Overland

Bob

ACZL
Explorer
Explorer
As a temp fix tho tape isn't, use Eternabond to get you by. I re-caulked the entire roof/side walls couple years ago as as well as checking all places where factory caulked. After seeing a fellow Heartland owners new Roof Armor (I'm pretty sure that's who did it), made me think that I may want to go this route cuz they will seal everything probly better than what came from factory. Not cheap as I think it ran him several grand, but results have been great. Just saying this as an alternative.
2017 F350 DRW XLT, CC, 4x4, 6.7
2018 Big Country 3560 SS
"The best part of RVing and Snowmobiling is spending time with family and friends"
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