Water damage can wreak havoc on your RV, causing mold, mildew, and wood rot to take hold. Since most RVs spend a good part of the year in storage, you may not discover flood damage until long after it’s occurred. Though there are several steps to repairing your RV, take heart from the fact that these repairs usually consume more time than money.
1. Locate and Repair the Source of the Water
Before you can begin cleaning and repairing your RV, you need to determine how it became flooded in the first place. A roof leak is the most likely source, which means caulking and resealing the roof is the most common solution. Repair holes and leaks in other areas in a similar manner.
2. Clean Out Dirt and Debris
Depending on the source, the flood water may have brought dirt and debris in with it. Sweep, mop, or scrape out the mess as much as possible before you begin more extensive repairs.
3. Remove Damaged Flooring, Ceiling, and Walls
Carefully examine all parts of the RV for water damage. Anywhere you can see water stains or feel a soft mushy spot, pull away wallpaper, paneling, and flooring to access the wood underneath. Remove any wood that has begun to rot and pull out wet insulation. It’s important to do a thorough job because leaving even a small patch of rotting wood will damage the structure of your RV. Save a small piece of the wallpaper or flooring for pattern matching if there are areas you aren’t replacing.
4. Disinfect All Surfaces
Spray all surfaces in the RV with a bleach solution to disinfect them. Scrub thoroughly to remove any mold or mildew growth. Disinfecting subflooring and paneling that you aren’t planning to replace will help prevent mold and mildew growth in the future.
5. Air Out the RV Until Thoroughly Dry
Though you may feel an urge to rush through the project and restore your RV to its former glory, it’s important that you let it dry completely before you proceed to the next step. Never install new wood, flooring, paneling, or wallpaper over a damp surface. Let your RV dry out for at least a few weeks. Ideally, you will leave your RV to dry for a full three months of warm, dry weather with the windows open.
6. Replace Damaged Areas
Replace any wood you had to remove from the frame of the RV. Match new paneling to the remaining paneling in the walls and use a matching wallpaper to seamlessly cover the areas you had to repair. Align your flooring with the existing flooring tiles, or replace the entire floor if the damage is extensive or you can’t match the pattern. Carefully replace any fixtures you had to remove during the repair process.
Though flood damage may keep your RV off the road for a while, you can handle much of the damage with inexpensive supplies and simple DIY projects. With proper care, you can get your RV back in prime condition.