If you’re an RV owner, then you know how important it is to keep your rig watertight. Trims and seals are often overlooked when it comes to RV maintenance. But they’re important! Trims and seals keep water from getting in, so if worn out or broken, you could be dealing with serious problems. They come in many different sizes, shapes, and materials so it’s important to know what you need for your model before purchasing them.

Trims are pieces of rubber that frame windows, doors, and other openings in an RV, they help prevent drafts while still letting in light, and Seals are placed around door and window frames where they meet exterior walls to prevent the unwanted leakage of liquids, gases, and noise. There are two types of seals: foam or rubber (sometimes called gaskets). Foam seals are made using a soft pliable material that expands when compressed by an object such as a door frame or window opening. Rubber gaskets are often used on windows because they’re more durable than foam seals but they also tend to be more expensive than foam ones since they require more material for each piece installed on your rig’s exterior walls.

Therefore, if you want to save yourself from expensive repairs down the line (or even just get your RV ready for summer camping season), here’s what you need to know about checking these parts of your rig:

  • Drip Rail: This is an essential part that functions like the rain gutters that you may have in your home. A drip rail is a fixture that seals leaks around your vehicle’s windows, doors, and surfaces and prevents ugly streaking by channeling away the dirty water.
  • Edge Trim: These parts cover openings, such as windows and doors, and also decorate and cover up sharp or unfinished edges. They go along with a variety of materials, such as metal, plastic, glass, fiberglass, plexiglass, and wood, adding safety and beauty.
  • Rubber Trim: These are highly flexible plastic trims with excellent threshold against wear and tear, sealing the gaps between your electronics and your RV control panel to keep them protected with a nice look.
  • Seals: These are perfect for noise deadening, gap filling, and cushioning. It is the perfect way to replace interior and outer seals that are worn, torn, or leaky on entrance doors, windows, and storage compartments with a better-quality seal.

Now that you know what you should be checking on your RV, the good news is that the process of installing seals and trims is simple and you can do it by yourself, but there are some common mistakes to avoid. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Ensure you have all the parts needed for your project and enough material so you never pull or stretch the product during installation.
  2. The most important step is cleaning. Remove old material with a screwdriver or pliers and clean this area with a non-oily general-purpose wax and grease remover. Keep in mind that the grease remover product is still on the surface so you will need to use a small towel soaked with rubbing alcohol to clean the area where the material will be attached. Immediately wipe the alcohol-wet surface with a dry terry cloth or microfiber towel before it dries. Replace dirty towels with clean ones as needed. Make sure all wax, dirt, and polish have been removed.
  3. Select a starting point and cut the trim/seal at an appropriate angle using the anvil-type shears. If you are operating with chrome trim, remember to always cut moldings from the chrome side downward.
  4. Remove 8”-10” of adhesive band red liner while pressing the molding using a rolling motion in place (preferred). Never touch the acrylic foam adhesive tape with your hands.
  5. After placement of the desired length, cut again at an appropriate angle for a perfect fit and finish.

Tools needed:

  • Rubbing alcohol (70% isopropyl)
  • Non-oily General purpose cleaner (3M #08984 preferred)
  • Terry or microfiber cloth
  • Molding roller
  • Anvil-type pruning shears
  • Screwdriver or pliers
  • Clear silicon (use to fill small gaps)
  • Artist tape (to make guidelines) Instead of using a pencil or pen.

Keeping an eye on these aspects of your RV will save you money on repairs over time, as RVs tend to sit more than needed. So, if you notice any leaks around windows, doors, or surfaces, it’s time to check that your trims and seals are in good condition.

If you need any help to know what products are specifically designed to fit and improve the look and functionality of your Airstream, download our Airstream featured products guide HERE

Check out this video reference on how to install trims on your Airstream from AirstreamNerds Youtube channel:


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