Draft. It plagues us all doesn’t it? You’re cuddled up in your favorite blanket on the couch, then out of nowhere you feel a chill in the air. Where is it coming from? This little nip in the air is most often traced back to the poor or absent seal of a door or window.
Whether you’re a weekender or live in your RV full time, dealing with drafty windows is frustrating! When window seals fail or go bad, the results can be costly and likely ruin the RV experience. So, what can you do to prevent draft? After all – draft is for football, not your home.
In this post we’ll outline the steps for replacing the stationary window seals in your RV. Look for our other post on replacing the sliding glass window seals in your RV – coming soon.
There are 3 key things to consider before replacing your window seals.
The first is exposure. What kind of environment are you traveling to in your RV? Annual beach trips with the family are always fun, but the salt in the air can be damaging. Salt is aggressive for the body of the RV as well as the weatherstripping. If you are RV camping at the beach, make sure to stop and wash everything well when you leave the coast. This will help slow down the effects of salt air damage.
Second, how old is your RV? If you bought the RV brand new, you won’t have to worry for a couple of years about replacing seals. If you bought the RV used, you won’t know the last time the seals were replaced (if ever). Check the weatherstripping for damage or looseness.
Last, consider the quality of the weatherstripping you are using. Going back to exposure for a moment, your RV spends a considerable time outside in the elements. Your weatherstripping needs to be the first defense against water and wind. Having a strong, high quality (and UV resistant) window seal is key for a long lasting life.
If you want to know how well your window weatherstripping is holding up – take a look. Do you see any dirt collecting? Where there is dirt, there is moisture! Moisture can lead to mold which not only leads to damage of the RV, but can also be detrimental to your health.
Where do I Start?
Now that you’ve determined it’s time to replace your window seals, where do you start? Window seals are an overlooked feature of window designs, but they are one of the most important. The first step to replacing the seals is finding out what type seal you need.
Window seals sit between the glass and the metal frame. Other terms for “window seal” can be “glazing”, “run-channel” or “window weatherstrip”.
What is the difference between stationary and sliding glass windows?
For the RV manufacturer, Stationary RV windows are more cost effective, and easy to make. For us RVers, stationary windows give us that picturesque view we all crave.
Here are a few examples of stationary RV windows:
Now you know what types of windows RV’s have. Okay, great! Now what? How do you determine the what seal you have and how to replace it?
An easy way to find what seal you need is to examine and measure the profile you already have. What do we mean by profile? The profiled of the seal is the face of the seal.
For a typical window seal your profile might look like one of these:
- The seal on the left is called a “U-Channel“
- The middle seal is called a “Window Edge Weatherstrip“
- And the last seal is called a “Gasket“
Think of the profile of the seal like a cookie cutter image. This “image” is a very important piece to our seal puzzle. The second piece of the puzzle is knowing the dimensions of your profile. You can see the dimensions we need to look for in the images above. Finally, you will want to have an approximate footage in mind so you know how much to buy. To get the footage you need, measure around the perimeter of the window.
Now that you know your seal profile, and you have dimensions, it’s time to enter the research phase. Have a sample of your seal handy (along with your dimension notes) to compare to some catalogs.
You can also compare your seal profile to what’s online. Pricing options by the foot are available on our website. When you’re shopping online, keep in mind that some manufacturers only offer their seals at a minimum or pre-cut lengths. That won’t work for every project. Make sure that the manufacturer you buy from offers by the foot options so you have control of price and length.
Call around, or chat with a representative to make sure you’re receiving quality parts! You want to make sure that your new window seals hold up to extreme weather, and provide you with ozone, UV and water resistance. EPDM is the rubber of choice for these qualities!
What Tools do I Need?
Before we get to replacing your seal, the are a few extra tools you’ll want to make sure you have on hand. If you’re missing something from this list you can find it at your local hardware store. You can also find them on our website under the “Tools & Adhesives” section.
- Scraper/Tuck Tool – a great tool for removing the old seal, and pressing the new seal in place
- Loctite Super Bonder 495 – not necessary, but will add security in corners if you have to make any adjustments
- Adhesive Remover – the RV manufacturer may have used adhesive to apply the original seal. Adhesive remover will be handy for removing the old seal
- Cleaning Rags – when you remove the old seal, you will want to wipe out the channel of dust, dirt and grime
- Eye and Hand Protection – always recommended as a precaution when using adhesive or adhesive remover. These chemicals can be dangerous if not used right
How do I Replace the Seal?
- Start by (carefully) removing the window. Place the window on a sheet covered table to prevent scratching. This will also make it easier to work with
- Remove the old seal from the window
- Clean off any dust, debris, dirt or grime. Adhesive remover is especially handy here. It will strip everything off the window frame – including any adhesive that may have been
- Clean out the RV frame, or channel where the window sits. You will want a clean surface for your new seal
- Once everything is clean, take your new seal and press into place. Start at the bottom middle of the frame to hide the seam
- Continue working around the perimeter of the window until you come to the end
- Snip off any extra, and push the last bit into place
- Take a tuck tool and run it around the perimeter of the seal to make sure everything is in place. You’re looking for a tight and secure fit
You might find that it’s easier to press into place corner by corner. Press a corner into place, then another corner. Finish off by pressing everything in-between into place. Gaskets will make an audible sound when they have snapped into place. Something else to note: some installations may need you to remove the glass from the window frame. You will see an example of this in our sliding glass article. After the glass is removed, the seal installation should be the same as outlined above.
When you replace the window seal, it’s also a good idea to check the window hardware to make sure nothing else needs replacing.
Once you have resealed your window, insert back into place and restore any hardware.
With the right tools, patience and the right parts, replacing your RV’s stationary window seals is a breeze! But not literally breezy – that’s why we replaced the seals in the first place.
Steele Rubber Products offers premium stationary & sliding glass window seal replacements. From U-Channels to Gaskets and everything between, we are here to make sure your project is a success.
If you need help finding the right window seal for your RV, or need help installing the seal, contact one of our Product Specialists over the phone (800-230-6752) or on Live Chat.
*For more help check out our How To series on YouTube!