Any form of caravan leakage is a problem, but a leaking hatch is perhaps the trickiest of them all. Leaks around your caravan’s windows and ceiling joints can be temporarily patched up you have a chance to perform a full reseal. At the very least, your furniture and appliances can be moved away from the affected area until you can seal the leak (not recommended as a long-term solution, though). But caravan hatches are right up there in the middle of your roof, which is why any kind of leakage there demands your immediate attention.
The basics of caravan hatch resealing
Resealing your caravan’s hatch involves the same sequence of steps as resealing any other leakage along its body, roof, or windows. You’ll need to remove all old sealant applied to the affected area, clean it thoroughly to remove any dirt or bits of dried sealant, apply the new sealant all along the leak, and inspect it when dry to ensure that the leak has been fully sealed. A silicone sealant is ideal, as it tends to last longer than cheaper caulking products. Use a neutral (or non-acidic) silicone sealant.
Where the process of resealing your caravan’s hatch stands out from other caravan resealing jobs, is in how you approach the leakage – literally. The standard method involves parking your caravan on level ground out in the open, placing a step-ladder beside it, and using the same to hoist yourself on the caravan’s roof. However, not everybody has the luxury of a large level area right by their home (many of us have sloping driveways and yards). Also, staying balanced atop a caravan isn’t exactly a cakewalk for everybody. Which is why approaching the resealing task from inside your caravan might be a good idea. We’ll outline the process in our step-by-step guide below.
A step-by-step guide to resealing your caravan hatch:
- Place a step ladder inside your caravan, under the hatch. Climb a step or two, until you can comfortably reach the inner face of the hatch cover.
- Pop open the rivets on the corner stakes of the hatch (located just below the hatch cover on most common hatches such as those by 4 Seasons). There should be 8 in all, 2 on each vertical face.
- Remove all fly screens and disconnect any other paraphernalia that may be connected to the hatch.
- Lift the hatch cover up and away, from where you’re standing inside your caravan. Remove the flaps as well.
- Climb another couple of steps till you’re at least a head and shoulders above the caravan roof surface, and can inspect the area surrounding the hatch.
- Pop out the rivets or screws holding the hatch frame in place, until the frame is completely removed.
- Thoroughly clean out any old caulk or sealant around the hatch base, and on the roof right where the base sits. You can take the hatch frame that you just removed to a more convenient working area (say your garage or the yard itself), and clean it there.
- Use a rag or piece of cloth to clean the surfaces of the hatch frame, and the caravan roof area where it will sit.
- Cleanly apply a layer of silicone sealant all around the cut out for the hatch, creating a fresh ‘bed’ for the hatch base and frame.
- Place the hatch base or frame in place and reattach with fresh rivets or screws, as before.
- Lower the hatch cover back on to the frame, while standing on the step-ladder inside your caravan, and reattach by means of new rivets.
And that’s it; you’re good to go! Just remember that just like with every other resealing task, working on a leaky caravan hatch as soon as possible will save you a great deal of time and effort.