How we empty our RV waste tanks at a dump station

So, the inevitable task of emptying the waste tanks.  It’s often avoided by women and over exaggerated by men.  I certainly let my family believe I’m saving the day by sending all that funky sludge to the depths of hell, but it’s really not that bad of a job.  We usually stay at campgrounds with full hookups, but on the occasion we use  dump station I really like to milk it, so don’t tell my family.

What I learned along the way is a quality sewer hose and fittings are a must to make this go smoothly.  I started our RV adventures with a flimsy hose that was easily crushed and had sprung leaks from being drug across the ground.  The hose we use now, the Camco RhinoFlex (Amazon associate link), is stiffer, accordions in and out for easier storage and holds its shape, and the connectors firmly lock in place.  This one addition has made the entire process easier.

Two fittings we use that are also must-haves are the clear elbow and the adapter that screws into multiple size sewer openings and locks onto the hose.  Once we have the hose connected between the RV and sewer there’s little chance it’ll come loose.

To avoid cross contamination, keep your fresh water and sewer stuff stored in separate containers.  I know this seems like common sense, but it’s easy for these to get lumped together when you’re rushing around.

Last suggestion is to wear disposable gloves, skip the flip-flops, and wash your hands when done.  As careful as I am, that’s still some nasty ooze moving through that hose and I don’t want it on me.

To see how we manage this mucky mess checkout the video below.

Recovering RV dinette cushions by an amateur

It was probably one of the first concerns I had when I entered the trailer that was soon to be ours, the upholstery and curtains. While Mark was tasked with basically rebuilding the back half of the trailer, I was going to have to pretty up that fabric that had an unknown amount of behinds sitting on it over the years. Ugh, what was I going to do about this?

I knew I could figure out new curtains. I bought a few curtain panels and with my mom’s help, figured out how to use a sewing machine for the first time ever. I cut the panels into a few valances. Voila, done! Straight lines were about as basic as you can get. It was cheaper than buying fabric and saved me a lot of time.

Up next, the arm-less jackknife sofa, which was a HUGE eyesore. A new sofa, at about $500, was not in the budget. My saving grace was found at Wal-Mart. A sofa protector, in just the color I wanted, covered the entire sofa and was a steal at $25. Weeeeee!!!

Now, all that was left were the dinette cushions. Getting the cushions recovered was not something we wanted to spend money on while the entire back of the trailer was being completely rebuilt and a new rubber roof was needed. I did find a place that had replacement covers but the ready-made ones did not fit our size nor were they a good price for our budget. So, my fix was to paint them (I know, crazy!). After watching a few YouTube` videos on how to use fabric medium and latex paint, it was a band-aid fix that we could live with for a while. Going in, I knew I was going to be tasked with recovering them at some point.

Mark seemed to have growing confidence in my sewing abilities after I made him two costumes this past year.  The first was a Dorothy (yes, The Wizard of Oz Dorothy) dress for Halloween. The second was a Silent Bob coat for a costumed silent auction. Neither looked very good, in my opinion.  I had no idea what I was doing, but the results were wearable.  So now, he was confident I could make new covers. He was so confident, I fell for it too.

This last camping trip was the longest we ever stayed in the trailer.  By the end of the trip, I knew the rough, hard, painted cushions had to go.  Everyone was complaining about them being “scratchy” and scrapping their skin.  I heard them all loud and clear, I needed to recover the cushions before the next trip.

Mark tried to talk me into wrapping the fabric around the foam and stapling it to a piece of plywood.  It may have worked, but I was determined to do it the “right way” and with a zipper no less.  I watched a YouTube video on hidden zippers.  I could definitely do this. It was almost too easy!

Fast forward to the video below and you will see just how NOT easy this was.  I will say, while not perfect, they are leaps and bounds more comfortable than the painted covers.  They just need some Scotch-Gard and hopefully the kids won’t mess them up too badly on the next trip.  Clearly, don’t follow in my footsteps if you decide to tackle this project, but if you’re willing to learn how to sew recover your cushions is a great way to update the look of an RV.

How to seal your RV roof with Dicor lap sealant

Once again, spring is upon us and so are those RV maintenance chores! This week we climbed up on the roof to check all the seams and reapply Dicor lap sealant where needed.

For those that have followed along with us you’ll know that we replaced our entire roof (along with some walls & floor) about a year and a half ago. During that time we haven’t had any issues with the roof, but after dealing with the aftermath of water damage we know the importance of preventative maintenance. When we dewinterize in the spring we do a pretty thorough check of the RV and all the systems and nip any potential issues in the bud. One of our highest priorities is keeping water out of our RV!

As far as the roof goes, we first walk (or crawl) the entire roof looking for any damage to the rubber membrane. We then focus on all seams around vents, transitions, trim, etc. looking for cracks or holes that could potentially let water through. At this point we clean the seams and reapply Dicor lap sealant to anything questionable since it’s likely I won’t check again for another year. I apply new sealant directly over any cracks and only peel the old sealant away if it’s already hanging or coming off.

Watch how we completed this on our trailer!

Here are the supplies you’ll need to finish the job:

  • Self-leveling lap sealant
  • Caulk gun
  • Bucket or buckets
  • Soapy water (I used very watered down Mr Clean this year because that’s what I had)
  • Fresh water
  • Alcohol
  • Rags

Now that you have everything you need, here are the steps we follow to reapply Dicor lap sealant on our roof:

NOTE: Dicor lap sealant comes in self-leveling (for horizontal surfaces) and non-sag (for vertical surfaces)variations, so be sure to use the self-leveling type when sealing on the roof.

1- To get started you’ll need to clean the old sealant and surrounding areas well. We use soapy water and ring the rags out until they’re just damp. Continue scrubbing until all of surface dirt is removed and then go back and do the same with fresh water.

2 – Next, take a clean rag, apply alcohol to the rag and continue to clean the surface. This is when you’ll see things go from grey to white and really get clean.

3 – Once the areas are clean go back over the everything with a clean dry rag to remove any moisture or left over debris. Before applying the new Dicor sealant it’s also a good idea to let the roof air dry for a bit.

4 – After everything is clean and dry, you can now apply the Dicor lap sealant. This product applied just like any other caulk using a caulk gun. Apply it liberally to all areas to be sealed and the self leveling sealant will level and smooth out. There’s no need to go back and smooth anything out yourself.

Now that you have everything on the roof sealed nicely, continue around the RV and check your corner seams and anything protruding through the outside walls. For this I prefer to use Geocel ProFlex RV, but there are many RV specific sealant designed for vertical surfaces will work.

Do you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments below.