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Do RV Window Seals Shrink?

Do RV Window Seals Shrink?

The seals on your RV windows play an important role in protecting your RV.

Keeping them in good working order is essential to avoid costly repairs that could put your RV out of commission just when you need it most.

But could those seals secretly shrink on you?

Let’s find out!

Why Are Snug-Fitting RV Window Seals So Important?

When your RV window seals are snug-fitting, they keep water and cold air from entering your rig. A cold draft may be annoying, but a leaky window can cause severe damage to your RV. It seems that no matter where there’s a gap in your seals, water is sure to find it. 

Do RV Window Seals Shrink?

Yes, the window seals on your RV can and often do shrink. Many RVers love large windows and enjoy beautiful landscape views. However, the seals around RV windows can shrink for a variety of reasons.

Make sure you keep up with your maintenance and inspect your window seals regularly. By doing so, you can avoid a much larger and more expensive repair.

RV window reflecting sunset by beach.
RV window seals keep cold air and water out of your RV, so replacing them when they shrink is crucial for RV maintenance.

What Causes RV Window Seals to Shrink? 

There are a few reasons why RV window seals shrink. They’re often made from rubber, which is prone to shrinking when exposed to temperature fluctuations and direct sunlight. An RV spends most of its time sitting in the sun, whether you’re actively using it or not. Even if you can keep your RV in covered storage, it likely sat exposed to the elements on a dealership or manufacturing lot for an extended time.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have covered storage, you might want to consider Do You Need an RV Camper Cover? 

Temperature changes, especially extreme temperature changes, can accelerate the drying out process of RV window seals. The older your seals are, the more likely they are to shrink or develop other defects. However, just because you have a new RV doesn’t mean you have nothing to worry about.

Some RV window seals cause issues straight from the manufacturer. It’s no secret that some new RVs have less than stellar construction or that manufacturers use low-quality parts. If the manufacturer uses low-quality window seals, it’s only a matter of time before an issue will arise.

RV parked outside in the snow with no cover.
Extreme temperatures and weather exposer can cause your RV window seals to shrink.

How Do You Fix the Seal on RV Windows?

While the damage from rotten RV window seals can be costly and extensive, fixes are relatively easy if addressed sooner rather than later. With a few tools you likely already have on hand, you can quickly and easily fix your RV window seals.

One of the most common causes for RV window seals shrinking is that they dry out. The first method you should use is to stretch the seal. You can do this by removing the shrinking seal from the window, applying 303 Protectant Spray to the entire seal and massaging it in, and then putting the seal back onto the window.

The protectant spray will bring new life to your seals and most likely resolve any issues. Applying heat is also another great way to stretch out a seal. Avoid using too much heat, as it can further damage your seals.

The final method for fixing your RV window seals is to replace the rubber entirely. While it may feel intimidating or sound complicated, it isn’t as difficult as you might think and doesn’t require a tremendous amount of supplies. We can even walk you through the process.

Keep in Mind: Window seals not only help you stay warm, but also prevent water damage. Make sure to maintain these areas Where RV Water Damage Will Show Up First.

Woman confused while reading an instruction manual
Replacing window seals is not as complicated as it seems and does not require many materials.

How Do You Replace RV Window Seals? 

If all else fails, you’ll only need some sealant tape, a tube of premium elastomeric sealant, and a putty knife to replace your RV window seals. While this isn’t a difficult task, it helps to have a friend around to lend a hand.

After removing all of the interior screws, loosen any caulk on the edging. Have one person on the inside and another on the outside and carefully remove the window from the frame. Be careful not to damage or break the glass.

After removing the window, use a putty knife to help clear any sealant from the trim and RV. You should also remove any adhesive. Cleaning as much of the sealant as possible creates the best seal possible when putting the window back in place.

Now that you’ve prepped the surface, you can install the sealant tape. Verify that there are no gaps between the sealant and the window. Address any gaps before reinstalling the window. Use the same caution when reinstalling the window and double-check that your screws are tight but not too tight.

To finish the process, apply a sealant to the outside of the window frame. A wet finger can provide a smooth and professional look. It’s not difficult to complete this essential task. If you need to fix your window seals, don’t put them off any longer.

How Can You Prevent RV Window Seal Shrinkage?

There are a few things you can do to prevent seal shrinkage on your RV windows. Let’s take a look.

Store Your RV Properly

Storing your RV in covered storage is one of the best ways to keep your seals in good shape. Doing so will limit your RV’s exposure to harmful UV rays. While covered RV storage can be expensive, there are RV covers you can use to protect not only the finish but also the seals.

RV parked and properly stored with a cover.
Store your RV out of UV ray exposure when not in use, to maintain the window seals condition.

Perform Regular Window Maintenance

You can avoid many RV issues by doing regular maintenance; this includes the seals. Using a sealant protectant spray can keep your seals in good working condition and keep them from drying out, cracking, or shrinking. Maintenance also helps you quickly catch potential issues. Detecting issues as soon as possible minimizes the cost and work required to correct the problem.

Avoid Prolonged Exposure to the Elements

One of the leading causes of sealant failure is prolonged exposure to the elements. It’s exciting to take your RV into new and exciting places. However, prolonged exposure to harsh elements will deteriorate your RV seals. If your RV sits exposed to the elements for an extended time, make sure to stay up to date on your maintenance to avoid issues.

Must You Fix or Replace Your RV Window Seals? 

You need to fix or replace any seals that show signs of aging or failure. Otherwise, you run the risk of water entering your RV and causing extensive damage. This isn’t a surprise you want to discover when you open up your RV after arriving at a campsite. Have you ever had to fix or replace any window seals on your RV?

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