Artwork for podcast The Smart RVer Podcast
↓ Episode 138 – RV Skylights and everything you need to know – Rocking the Roof Top
24th November 2023 • The Smart RVer Podcast • Eric Stark
00:00:00 00:23:49

Share Episode


This is Eric Stark with The Smart RV’er Podcast, Delivering the smarts you need to enjoy the freedom of the RV Lifestyle without the fear of breaking down! Enjoying the RV Life: Eric and Alexis engage in a comprehensive discussion, expounding upon the top five essential RV hacks that every avid RVer should be well-versed in. Their paramount objective is to empower their listeners with a repertoire of strategies that not only facilitate a smoother RV experience but also enrich their overall enjoyment of the RV lifestyle. These hacks are intended to optimize the functionality and convenience of recreational vehicle living, covering aspects such as maintenance, travel efficiency, and lifestyle enhancements.   Staying On The Road: Eric provides a detailed exposition on skylights, and their typical locations within RVs, and offers insights on sourcing suitable replacements. Skylights, when strategically positioned, not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of recreational vehicles but also introduce valuable natural lighting, contributing to a more inviting and well-illuminated interior ambiance. The Next Stop The Sawtooth National Recreation Area, located in the picturesque state of Idaho, offers a breathtaking destination for travelers seeking natural beauty and outdoor experiences. Alexis and Eric provide valuable insights regarding the optimal timing for visits and a plethora of engaging activities to partake in while exploring this remarkable region. For a deeper dive into the details and attractions within the recreation area, we encourage you to explore the comprehensive information available on RV Envy: Eric delves into a comprehensive exploration of Dicor products, highlighting their exceptional efficacy in sealing and maintaining the integrity of RV structures. Furthermore, he provides valuable guidance to his audience on the convenient sourcing of Dicor products, ensuring accessibility to these reputable solutions for RV enthusiasts. Check Out Our No-Nonsense YouTube Videos RV Sunshade, Windshield Covers & Slide Out Awning Fabrics RV Parts & Accessories The Smart RVer Podcast Website Marine Cordage- Anchor Lines, Dock Lines, Tow Lines etc.RV Roof Magic Dicor Products- Rudys (Dicor) Tips and Tricks Book- RudysRoofbook.pdf RV Destinations Magazine- TheSmartRVer YouTube Channel-



RV skylights and everything you need to know about them. Whoopie that calls for a big whoop, whoop, whoopie, right? Skylights. How exciting. Well, that's what's on the agenda for today, and staying on the road and enjoying the RV life segment today, it's, it's all about. Top five RVer hacks. So, we're going to break that down and get into some easy hacks for you to do.

Once again, we're going to go on a road trip this week with Alexis, and she's going to take us to the Sawtooth National Recreation Area in Idaho. And that's going to be at the Next Stop. And then we're going to wrap up the show with RV Envy. And in that segment, we're going to talk about Dicor products for ceilings.

Dicor is one of our favorite brands, so we're going to dig into it with them as well. So, this brings us to episode 138, and this is Eric Stark with TheSmartRVer Podcast, delivering the smarts you need to enjoy the freedom of the RV lifestyle without the fear of breaking down. So here we are. Welcome to the show, Alexis.


Thanks, Eric. Happy to be here. Happy to be here. All right. That's what we like to hear. Enthusiasm. Yes. Because we love helping our customers. We do. We do. Honestly. People out there in RV land. They need it. Hopefully. Everybody does. You know, there's a lot of things, moving parts on an RV, a lot of things to break, a lot of things to maintain, and that's why we're here, to help everybody do that.

Yes, sir. Whatever their skill set is, or just to know, hey, I need to get this to the dealership. Yep. Cause this isn't working right, and I know it's wrong and I know it's beyond my skill set. So, I'm going to take it in then the other guy who's the real do it yourself or like who cares, man, I'm going to get that in my driveway and I'm going to tear this thing apart and I'm going to fix it myself.

That's impressive. That's cool, man. You know, it saves a lot of money, a lot of headaches that way, you know? Yep, it helps through life, to be able to do things yourself. Alright, so now, let's get into enjoying the RV life and talk about the top 5 RVer hacks. Alrighty. You know, everything's hacked today, that's all they talk about.

Um. Exactly. Yeah, soon they're going to hack the human body and you won't be in control of your mind. Oh boy, here we go. That's a good excuse. My brain, it's been hacked. Your parents are like, hey, I'm going to clean your room. I was hacked. Yeah. I didn't have control. Sorry. I had to go play. Get rebooted.

Yeah, I'll reboot you, son. My dad used to reboot me, and I think that worked. Yeah, definitely. Well, everybody needs a good rebooting. Alright, so the first one on our list, remember, is five top RVer hacks, so these are the top five. Yep. Yeah, so organization and storage solutions came up first. This is just something that we might overlook a little bit, but it's, it's a good thing to keep in mind.

So, we want our RV to be organized. We know what's in it. We know what's not in it. Uh, we can kind of keep things simple, have only what we need, and that way it's not overloaded. And we just don't have a bunch of garbage lying around, you know? Um, the next one is maximizing space. So, this kind of goes into the RV envy.

There might be going to. We can put in that might make it a little bit better, like bed risers, that's kind of cool. Uh, using storage for extra bedding. We can hang collapsible laundry hampers. There's just an endless amount of things we can do. Yeah, you know, keeping stuff kind of out of sight, but organized at the same time is important, you know.

Um. It's a small space. Yeah. I sometimes tend to like using it and I just throw it in the cabinet. It's out of sight, but there's, you know, too many things end up in there that it's hard to get it, you know, especially if it has cords. But, you know, one thing you can do too is you can make hangers, you know, I saw this, um, for on a Jeep a while back on the rear door on the inside, they had a pouch that hung on the door and you could roll up the window and everything, but it'd be for storage like you're camping.

See, you know, it's getting creative, clever finding ways to put things, bags that maybe hold magazines rather than a wood rack, simple things. Sometimes, you know, a lot of these things can be bought at, you know. Um, Walmart, places like that, Ikea, you know, um, yeah, basically anywhere. Yeah. So also, you know, keeping the storage good, but it's also keeping some, um, air and ventilation.

Oh my gosh. Yeah. You wouldn't think about that, but that is huge. So, one thing we were talking about is. The vent covers allow for that ventilation. You need that when you're cooking or just have an airflow. Um, even when it rains, you can use it for that, which is nice. Have the airflow still going, which could be right.

So, that's the external vent covers that mount over existing 14 by 14 vents and leave that vent open in that air. Exactly. Super nice. And if it's colder out, you can get the vent stuffers that go up in the vent to keep the cool out in that area. Yeah. You can put, um, insulation of the windows now here on this one, it says reflective window covering.

Yeah. What do you think about that? You know, in the wintertime, they're fine, but in the summer, I don't like the reflective because it builds up so much heat between it and the glass. Sure. Yeah. It'll dry out the seals. I don't think that's a good one because it's like a microwave oven behind there. Gotcha.

Yeah. We discovered that while we were in Arizona, how much hotter windows got with that. Versus has a cover on the outside of the window, which is made from sunshade material, which by the way, Sun Pro manufacturing makes. So, if you want an exterior window cover for all your side windows, we can do that for you.

Okay. So, no reflective window covers. That's a non-hack. That's a non-hack. Yeah. Okay. That's where I've been hacked. And then putting some fans inside the RV to move the air around. I think that's obvious people do in their homes. RV or sometimes it's harder to find little fans that are quiet too, so not so noisy.

Okay, then what about power, Alexis? We got power management on here, which means investing possibly in solar panels because that's going to be a good way to get that, um, power flow in, um, using the sun for that. And I hear you install solar panels and sell them. So, you know what it's like. So, when you're out camping, you're not worried about your power, you know, running out of battery.

Type of thing having to run your generator firing up your truck or whatever to charge up the batteries That's a slow charge. Anyway, exactly the solar is just there. Yep, portable generators are good, too I prefer those much over the built-in generator. Yeah, but yeah, keeping, making sure you have power, you know, and we just talked about surge protectors in our last episode.

Yep, we did. But using surge protectors to protect that RV. Just have one. Just do it. Yeah. Don't even think about it. That's right. If nothing ever happens, well, then nothing ever happens. Yeah, then you're set. Just in case. Mm hmm. And then, of course, on the list is RV maintenance and safety. Always. I think we just always talk about this one because of how important it is.

So, you want to have your, you know, essential toolkit with you. You're going to need things, you know, common parts for your RV. Um, you want to have a carbon monoxide and propane detector. And just keeping... Track everything like tire pressure. There are tools you can use to back off that and you know You can go all crazy with add-ons like tire pressure monitoring systems, but you don't have to have that Those are nice to have really, you know backup cameras and things but if you just Create a list and just stick to it and all the things that are essential before you travel.

Yeah, when you're setting up, when you're tearing down, you know, it's easy to forget about things, you know, drive off with the, you know, the new RVs have the steps that fold up into the door. You can get everything put away and forget to put the step up and drive off, you know. Oh boy. Yeah. It'd be a disaster, you know.

Yes. And they're not designed to like to break away and they should be designed to break away, but they're not. So. Yeah. So, if you're a genius out there and you like making and inventing things, there you go. Make a breakaway system for those fold-up steps. So, if someone pulls forward, it just snaps off and doesn't destroy the RV.

And you can just send those commissions to me and Eric at TheSmartRVer Podcast. Yep. Along with the PEZ dispensers. Okay. So that's going to bring us to the end of the, uh, our living the RV life or enjoying the RV life. Um, The top five RV or hacks. And of course, these will be on our website under enjoying the RV life.

Everything's always there. As a reminder, we have come up with the Freightliner windshield cover for the M2 and S2 RV in solid black or block-out material. So, people cannot see in during the day. So, you can go to to check that out. Look for the link for class C windshield covers and click on it and bam, they're there.


So that's a great choice if you're looking for a windshield cover for an M2 or an S2 RV. Now, this brings us to staying on the road, and today we're going to talk about skylights. Now, skylights aren't that exciting. Kind of a boring subject. It's just up on the roof. But we do have to know what a skylight is versus a vent because there's confusion there.

I know it's just words, but words matter. When you're going into a store and you say you need, a vent, a lid, a cover, something for the roof of your RV, you know, then the person must start asking questions. Well, what do you mean? Does it open and close? Does it do this and that? And you get annoyed with them and, you know, get a little snarky.

Now, maybe that doesn't happen, but. You know, the questions start flying and really, it's just a skylight. So, it's a light on the roof made of plastic for the most basic definition. It doesn't open or close generally. They're in the bathroom over the bathtub or the shower. And that's it. That's generally where they're at.

Not always. So don't hold me to that, but that's usually where they're at now. A skylight doesn't open or close. It's just mounted to the roof. And sometimes they have a garnish on the inside that has plastic on it. And, what that does, is it just hides all the ugly. From where they cut the hole in the roof and that's it.

It is not critical to anything. It's not going to keep water out. Nothing. It just covers the ugly. That’s it. And even those come in different shapes sizes and flavors, so the skylight is permanently stationary. It doesn't open or close. And so, when you go into a store, you want to make sure you explain that it is a skylight now.

I've said this before. I think in our last episode, number 137, I talked about vents. And when you look at a vent, you think that Vince in all RVs, cause it's in yours, a skylight can be the same way. You know, you think that, well, this skylight must be on all RVs. So, they're all the same size and they're not, there are different brands, different styles.

So, you must get up on the roof of your RV. Do a little leg work or take your inner skylight down or the inner or the garnish, whatever you want to call it, take it down and measure the hole in the roof. So, you need to go on the roof and measure the flange of the skylight. So, the flange is where the screws are mounted to the roof.

So, you're going to have to peel off some of the sealant because it's going to be covered with sealant. And so, you can get to the edge of the flange so you can measure the width and the length. So, you need two measurements. So that would be the flange measurement. If you take the garnish down or what they call the inner down on the inside, then you can measure the cutout in the roof.

Either one of those measurements will get you in the right direction of getting a replacement skylight, but there's no point looking for one. And I've seen it. I mean, we've had people who brought skylights in and say, here, you can have this, we bought it online, we thought they were all this size and they're not.

And so, you know, measuring it and getting the right ones, the first step in this journey, but understanding what you must, you know, you might think because your skylight has an aluminum frame on it, and it sits two inches off the roof that. Every RV has that. They don't. Most RVs have skylights that mount directly to the roof.

There's no aluminum flange or framework or anything. That's a completely different version of a skylight. Sometimes they're much harder to find parts for, or a new skylight itself. You might have to replace it and get one of these styles that mount right to the roof. And it doesn't matter how it mounts.

If it goes right to the roof, it's still going to seal and become watertight. If it's sitting on an aluminum frame, it doesn't matter. It's still watertight. The same principles apply. So that measuring is important and sometimes the depth of it, you know, um, if it's four inches deep, five and a half inches deep, especially if it has an inner and you're not replacing the inner or the inside piece, then that depth will be very important.

But if yours doesn't have an inside piece, it maybe has, um, cloth or something else to cover up the hole in the roof, then you don't have to worry about it. And I say that too because not all skylights have a matching inner for it. At least not with the brands that most RV stores can get, which are Specialty Recreation and Icon.

They have some inners, but not an inner for every skylight, so you must keep that in mind. So, the manufacturer of the RV might have done something else for the inner one that's not going to crack and fall apart, maybe last forever, just depending on how they did it. Then some skylights come with the upper piece and the inner piece as a kit.

It's the only way you can buy it, which is great, and makes it simple if you come across one of those. So that's an if you if you have one of those. So, there's more to it than it's just a skylight on the roof. You know, there are sizes, styles, is it clear, is it white, is it smoke? And then when you're installing it, after you get a new one, some brands will come with the sealant that goes underneath it between it and the roof.

Some won't come with anything. So, when you're installing it, it's critical that you get it sealed correctly, otherwise it's going to leak water. And, when you're tightening the screws, you don't run them in so tight that you start cracking the skylight itself. You want them to be tight, but without bowing it and cracking it.

So, if it doesn't come with a sealant, you can use butyl tape. Not putty tape, use butyl tape. Or you can get a, um, A butyl that comes in a cartridge, Dicor makes it, and it will, you know, you put it in a cartridge gun, and you squeeze it out, and that works the same as butyl table, easier to use, um, either way, you know, either one you want to do, like, especially recreation comes with a butyl In a cartridge, so it works great.

And then after you get that sealed, you're going to get that on the base of it all the way around, make a nice layer of it. If it's butyl tape, it's naturally going to cover three, cover three-quarters of an inch or an inch wide. If it's butyl, you want to accomplish the same thing, a nice bead around there, about three-quarters of an inch wide.

So, I'm just going to squeeze it out. You don't have to worry about that. You can clean that up. And then after you do that, you're going to put a layer of lap sealant around the skylight, on the flange, all the way around it, going on the skylight, or the flange, and the roof of the RV, making a nice seal, and you're going to put it on every screw head.

That's going to keep the water out. Now as I said that it dawned on me about taking the old one off. Be careful not to ruin the rubber roof. You know, don't just pull that sucker off. You might pull off part of the roof with it. If some of the old, um, sealant doesn't come off that was around the edge of the skylight, don't worry about it.

If your new one fits in and there's already a layer of lap sealant around it and you can't get it off, do not try to get it off. You'll probably ruin the rubber roof. If the skylight fits in there and you can get a good seal, don't sweat it. In other words, the old sealant will leave a rectangular shape.

If you're a new one, you would dry fit it before you ever put sealant on it, make sure it'll fit in there and sit down on the roof, then you just seal it like normal and when you're done, put the lap sealant on, it'll overlap the flange and the old lap sealant. But do not ruin your rubber roof in the process of this.

And it can happen. So be careful there. So, skylights are a simple thing to do. You know, I emphasize that water leaks, just so you're aware of how important it is, which I think is obvious. You don't want to leak water, but as well as things, just take your time. Don't be in a rush to do it. Don't do it when it's rainy or wet out and do it when the RVs dried, nice sunny day, make it a nice installation.

And then you do the inside ever, how you must do the inside. If you can get a new inside piece if you need one. If the factory one will still work, you can use it. So, I hope that helps. And we'll have more information on our website at the smart RV or. com. So check that out when you get a chance. And now we're going to go to the Sawtooth National Recreation Area in Idaho.


Woohoo! So, Alexis is back alive again.

Alexis- That's right.

Eric- She takes a nap while staying on the road.

Alexis- Yeah, I do. I hope you couldn't hear my snoring. Sorry.

Eric- Right. You turned your microphone off. Yeah. All right. So, Alexis, what can you tell us about Sawtooth?

Alexis- Oh, these are just beautiful mountains. They’re very jagged. Um, I think you said you were camping back a few weeks ago, kind of close to these. Yeah, that's cool. So, it's just these, they're just beautiful. Um, look up a picture online if you haven't seen them, but they've, they've got Alpine lakes near them. It's just a lush forest. Um, and then the Sawtooth Scenic Byway is cool.

Eric- That's accessible by car. You can drive that, and I guess it's outstandingly beautiful. So, I've not been on it yet. Yeah. You know that the whole area is just filled with beauty. Um, Yeah, we went to Chalice. We did a big loop. We went through, um, um, Park City, not Park City. Uh, I just had it a second ago. Oh, it's okay.

The ski places. Oh, grass. I'm trying to think. Ketchum. Ketchum, Idaho is next to... I forgot, something else: the city, I can't remember, a very popular area. You know, we did a big loop through there, but in that entire area, there is so much to see. There are lakes, there's rivers, you know, there's flat land, there's marshes, meadows, animals.

Um, unbelievable. Yeah. So that, you know, that entire area can be just a big loop. You can spend weeks there. Welcome to Sawtooth, this recreation area. There are tons of stuff to do. So much stuff. We are planning on going back to spend more time there. Good. Yeah. There's just so much to see and do. Yep. Yeah. I don't blame you.

You know, little towns. Um, we stopped at a place, a great pizza place. Oh, that's right. Man, I wanted some of that. So, you know, if you're in the area or you want to have a nice trip, like for a week, you can go here for a couple of weeks and not get bored with it. Man, that's awesome. And you can move around.

And experience it. Yeah, that's so cool. Yeah, it'd be a great place to go. I kind of cut you off there, but no, I'm glad you did. You've been up there. Yeah, that's neat. Just being there. It was fresh in my mind. Although I can't remember the names of cities. Oh, well, who cares? Ketchum was the place.

So yeah, and you can take a road from Ketchum over to the highway where Chalice is. It's a back road. They close in the wintertime. Which is unbelievable. You're at the top of this mountain peak looking down into this valley, you know, 10, 000 feet down. You're like, man, if you went over the edge right now, things wouldn't work out too well for you.

And you probably wouldn't want to take an RV on that road either, by the way. Yeah. Too narrow. All right. So, I'm having a hard time talking now for whatever reason. So, check out RV Destinations Magazine. You know, it's just as beautiful as the Sawtooth Recreation Area. Made from paper. You can get a copy of it, or you can download it on the internet.


Very high-quality magazine. and you can see for yourself. What they're doing and how great that product is. Now that's going to bring us to RV Envy. Today we're going to talk about Dicor products for sealing your RV. So Dicor products are products that work.

They've been in the RV industry for decades. Their products are sold everywhere. That's what we prefer to sell in our store. There are other brands out there, but we know what we're getting with Dicor. They work all the time, they're not complex, easy to understand, and easy to apply. The instructions are right on the packaging.

So, they make various sealants, they make tapes, and whatever you need for sealing your RV. They make butyl, they make it all. And if you want to keep your RV dry, one of the most important things is keeping the inside of your RV dry, because that's where your investment is. It's not outside, it's inside.

So Dicor for keeping your RV sealed is the way to go. Especially on the roof, using their products like their lap sealant. That's all we use, that's all we sell. Yeah, using it on the roof, Dicor products are what we just flat-out prefer. Great product, we've never had a complaint. No one says this stuff doesn't work.

Can you get this or that? Now everybody has their favorite brand too. You know, some people like this brand or that brand and that's fine. We just prefer Dicor. So, I'm just going to leave it at that. So that's RV Envy. You know, if you're using the right product, people are going to be envious of your RV because it's going to be bone dry on the inside.

So, don't forget to check out our YouTube channel, the Smart RV here, to look at the videos we're doing there. They're very enjoyable. They help, they're very helpful. So, like, and subscribe to our channel on YouTube. In our next episode, we're going to be talking about low-voltage RV parks and what you can do to increase the voltage and not ruin appliances in your RV.


So, I want to thank everybody for listening today. This is Eric Stark with TheSmartRVer Podcast. It's been great hanging out with you. If I don't see you on the road, let's connect at