How to Fix a Camper That Leaks Around the Roof Vent

Updated February 21, 2017

A camper is a recreational vehicle that can come in the form of a travel trailer, slide-in camper, fifth-wheel trailer or a motor home. Most campers come equipped with at least one roof vent. A roof vent allows water vapour from showers, cooking odours or hot air escape though a screened opening in the roof. The vent has a plastic cover that can be closed to protect the interior of the camper during inclement weather. Over time, the roof vent may leak water from outside and will have to be resealed to the roof.

Remove the retaining screws from the trim surrounding the base of the vent on the ceiling of the camper with a Phillips screwdriver. Place the screws and the trim aside.

Climb on the roof of the camper using the built-in ladder at the rear of the rig, or using a step ladder if your camper does not have its own ladder. Scrape away the caulk from the mounting screws around the perimeter of the base of the vent with a plastic putty knife. Use a metal putty knife to remove stubborn caulking, but use care not to damage the vent or the surrounding roofing material. Remove the screws with a nut driver or a Phillips screwdriver, depending on what type of fasteners are used on your vent. Place the screws aside.

Carefully insert a metal putty knife in between the roof and the mounting flange of the vent. Use the putty knife as a lever to lift the vent from the roof surface. Work slowly around the perimeter of the vent so as to not inadvertently lift the roofing material. Remove the vent from the roof.

Clean the mounting surface on the roof by scraping any leftover caulking or other sealant off with a plastic putty knife. Work carefully, especially on a rubber roof, that you do not penetrate or puncture the roofing material. Remove any material from the underside of the vent mounting flange in the same manner.

Unwind a small amount of roof vent putty tape from a roll and push it into place around the roof vent mounting surface on the roof. Use slight pressure when applying the tape and do not compress it more than necessary. Cut the tape to length so that the ends meet and do not overlap.

Push the roof vent back into place and tighten the retaining screws. Remove any putty that may have squeezed out from under the vent mounting flange with a plastic putty knife. Apply a dab of silicone caulk to the tops of the screw heads, making sure they are completely covered.

Replace the trim panel and retaining screws to the underside of the vent on the ceiling.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Step ladder (optional)
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Metal putty knife
  • Nut driver set (optional)
  • Roof vent putty (available from RV dealers)
  • Silicone caulk
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