By Chris Dougherty
Certified RV technician
Okay, I know I harp on leaks a lot, but these tools are essential to help keep your RV leak free.
Liquid RV sealants: From EPDM seam sealer to silicone to body sealers — all come in 10-ounce caulk tubes; so if you’re going to maintain your RV yourself, you need these.
Caulk gun: You don’t really need a “Cadillac” caulk gun if you’re not using it all the time — you can get a consumer-grade gun — plastic and no frills. They range up to $25, and there are even pneumatic ones for the air tool lovers out there. One with a piercing tool and tip cutter is convenient.
Little red nozzle caps: These little red caps are great for preserving open tubes of caulk and glue.
Newborn Caulk Buddy: Great little item for tooling a silicone caulk seam. Buy it separately or with their gun as a kit.
General Electric Co. M9001 Caulk Smoother: This stuff is slick. I first saw it in use at one of the RV plants, and it’s for use with silicone only. Once you place your bead on the clean surface, spray this on the entire seam and then use your caulk buddy or other tool (or finger) to finish or tool the seam. No smears and it looks fantastic.
Non-marring scraper: These plastic scrapers, available at Harbor Freight, are great for scraping old sealant and other things from surfaces you don’t want to damage.
Utility knife and long-tip awl: If your gun doesn’t have a piercing and cutting tool, you’ll need these. They also make a specific caulk gun cutting and piercing tool — I’ve never owned one, though.
In addition, paper towels or shop rags are important, and some people prefer to use latex gloves to protect their hands. For the common roof sealants, excess can be removed carefully with mineral spirits.