Using a tarp to prevent leaks

The rain just keeps coming, it’s being sent to test me, or at least my tarping skills.

After discovering the leak in the roof of the RV a few days ago, I thought that by throwing a 30’ by 20’ high quality tarp over the roof would have solved all my issues, but tonight’s rain has proven me wrong.

There are water droplets appearing in the join between the wall and ceiling in the back of the cupboards above the sink area. It’s not pouring in, but the very fact that there is water getting inside, is a good indication to me that the roof is in need of some more repairs.

The previous owner told me there were no leaks. This was either a deliberate deceitful remark, or he genuinely wasn’t aware of the leaks, as he lived in it through the summer. I’m hoping that I am able to add more roof sealant fairly cheaply to rectify this issue because I’m not expecting a full shop repair to be pariculary cost effective at this stage. Fingers crossed that some additional sealant will solve this issue. I’m currently in talks with the local RV dealer as to the best option.

Try Before you Buy

If you’re looking at buyig a used RV, my recommendation to you is to check all the panelling on the inside and outside of the RV to feel for spacing. I’ve noticed that if water is getting in between the panels then it causes them to separate. This is a good indication that something is not right and you should maybe stay away from that particular vehicle.

On the outside you can line your eye up with the trailer and look along the side to see if you can see panels bowing outwards. On the inside, simply feel along the walls and ceiling pushing to test for any give or pop. You shouldn’t be able to feel any give, if you do, then it’s likely that water has caused the panels to seperate.

Re-adjusting the Tarp

I’m not 100% sure of why there is still water seeping in at this spot however and I’m now doubting my tarping skills. I am of the understanding that I need to lift the tarp off the roof a little .

When I installed the tarp originally, I had placed some upturned buckets on the roof in various places to assist with the slant of the tarp, but as I climbed up the ladder earlier tonight, during a break in the rain, I noticed that there was still some water pooling near to where the leak is. I had two more buckets left over, so decided to add these under the tarp to create a little more lift in those areas.

The heavy downpour has re-commenced and I can now hear small volmes of water falling from the side of the RV so I’m hopeful that my adjustments have worked.

I can only sit it out until the morning, before checking the seams again.

I feel like I’m going to have to call in the help of a friend who has lived in RV’s for the last 13 years. It’s nice to try and figure things out for yourself, but there comes a time when we must lean on those around us for some advice and assistance.

Update – the morning after

So there was a very very tiny amount of water inside this morning, just droplets, so something worked. After climbing on the roof again this mornign, I noticed that there was room for improvement in the way the tarp was being angled.

I decided to throw up about 4 more buckets under the tarp to raise the tarp completely away from the roof of the RV. I am expecting this to help reduce the possibility of condesation and water pooling, but this might now cause issues with wind. I think need some tarping lessons.

I somehow have a feeling that I might be talking to you again about this topic!


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