Generally, fixing leaks in caravan awning rails isn’t too complicated. What can be, however, is choosing the right sealant for your campervan’s construction, budget, and skill level (if you’re doing it yourself) because every product is a bit different. If you’re struggling to find the right product for your specific needs, this is a must-read post.
The best sealants for caravan awning rails are the Sikaflex 512 Adhesive and Sealant, Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure, W4 Caravan Mastic Sealing Strip, Hodgson’s Seamseal CV Bedding Sealant, Dekalin Dekasyl MS-5, Butyl Mastic Tape, and the Soudaseal RVhite 61.
Read on for a detailed review and comparison of these products and handy tips on choosing the best option for your needs.
Choosing the Best Sealant for Your Caravan Awning Rail: What To Look For
Even with the wide range of options we’ve reviewed in the previous section, it can be challenging to choose the right sealant for your specific needs. To help you narrow down your options, let’s briefly review the most critical factors to consider when choosing a sealant for caravan awning rail.
Since caravan sealants are generally cheap to manufacture, many brands have created a solution. While this is great for giving consumers more options to choose from, some of the creations aren’t exactly top-notch.
As such, you might want to play it safe by sticking to established, reputable brands with a bit of history. An established brand will have more readily available consumer reviews. Customer reviews are one of the best ways to get an idea of a sealant’s strengths and weaknesses, the nature of the manufacturer’s customer service, return policy, and anything else that can help you make an informed buying decision.
Your Caravan’s Construction
All caravan sealants come with a list of materials that they’re compatible with, and using any given option on an incompatible surface can compromise its bonding and sealing effectiveness. That’s precisely why you need to factor in your caravan’s construction material when choosing a sealant.
On most caravans, the sealing surface will be made of rubber because it’s cheap, durable, and lightweight. If yours has this sealing surface, you’ll want to ensure that the sealant you choose works well on rubber.
Another critical factor to consider when shopping for caravan awning rail sealant is its ability to change shape without breaking. Expansion, twisting, and contraction can put a lot of pressure on the bond created by a sealant, forcing it to change its shape.
This ability to change shape and adjust to the forces of contraction, twisting, and expansion is known as tear resistance. The higher this figure, the better the sealant, and the longer the bond it forms will last. If you choose a sealant with low tear resistance, it won’t be able to alter its shape to conform to this pressure without breaking, and you’ll soon be needing repairs.
In simpler terms, this refers to the amount of time any given sealant requires to dry. This figure varies from one product to another, depending on the sealant type. Ideally, you want to opt for a sealant whose curing time isn’t too long so you can quickly fix your awning real and get back to enjoying your camping adventures. However, there’s a trade-off: choosing a quicker drying option may mean pay a few more bucks.
To determine any sealant’s curing time, check the manufacturer’s description. However, don’t just take their word for it. Go the extra mile of checking consumer reviews to determine whether the period indicated on the product description is actually how long it takes to cure. Some manufacturers indicate a short curing period when the reality is different.
Some brands provide a warranty or a satisfaction guarantee on their sealants. Depending on the terms and conditions of this offer, you may get a refund or a replacement if you happen to buy a product that doesn’t work as described.
Whether you end up needing a refund/replacement or not, you’ll want to have this option available. It’s not just good for your peace of mind; it’s also a sign that the manufacturer strongly believes in their sealant quality.
Ease of Use
In this context, the ease of use refers to whether a given sealant requires a primer or activator during application. Primers and activators can be costly. They also increase the amount of time you need to perform repairs, so you’ll want to choose a sealant that doesn’t require either pre-treatment.
It might also be a good idea to choose a sealant that doesn’t require you to dismantle the part of your caravan you’re looking to fix. Captain Tolley’s Creeping Cure is a perfect example of this.
Last but not least is the issue of money. While your instinct may be to spring for the least expensive sealant available, this might also mean choosing a lower-quality product. Generally, high-quality, easy-to-use sealants with great tear-resistance and short curing time will be priced higher, so keep that in mind before you opt for the least expensive sealant available.
If you often do caravan repairs yourself, you probably are familiar with the Sika brand. This prominent company has a diverse range of adhesives and sealants, and the Sikaflex 512 is arguably the most commonly used caravan sealant in their product line.
This multipurpose adhesive and sealant formula comes specially designed for motorhome, caravan, and trailer repair. When you’re not sealing awning rails, you can use it to fix other parts of your caravan, such as TV aerials, roof vents, lap joints, skylights, fillet corner joints, butt joints, leaky gaskets, and window strips.
Another benefit of the Sikaflex 512 is that it doesn’t require too many special pre-treatments. Before application, all you need to do is to clean the surface to remove oil, moisture, dirt, grease, and old sealant residue. The fact that primers aren’t required doesn’t just reduce your workload during repairs; it also minimizes the number of supplies you’ll need for your DIY, which helps save money.
It is also noteworthy that the sealant’s effectiveness doesn’t get compromised by sanding or painting over it once it dries out. This is great for keeping your caravan looking sleek because it means you can smoothen and paint over sealed parts to avoid leaving behind unsightly spots.
Lastly, Sikaflex 512 is non-corrosive, silicone-and-solvent-free, low on odor, PVC-free, and isocyanate-free. All this means that the product is generally safe to handle and can be used on your caravan’s interior. The only downside to this sealant is that it’s priced slightly higher than most other alternatives on this list.
Its name may have you mistaking it for an old-fashioned remedy. However, Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure is a modern solution to an age-old puzzle: locating and fixing leaks without having to dismantle everything. You can use it on your car, boat, caravan, motorhome, or even a conventional house (to seal leaky roofs and windows).
Essentially, Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure is a water-based, co-polymer sealant. Its formulation is so thin that it can penetrate fine joints and seams through capillary action and set to a clear, incredibly flexible seal.
This is the main selling point of Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure because this approach is entirely different from most other popular sealants. Having a formula thinner than water allows it to find its way into super-thin cracks and seams, where thicker sealants can’t reach.
Another benefit of Captain Tolley’s Creeping Cure is that it does the bulk of work for you. Being water-based allows the sealant to follow a similar path to that of water leaks. This means that you only need to apply it to a suspected seam and examine how quickly it gets absorbed.
If the absorption is rapid, chances are you’ve found your culprit. Keep applying until no more of the formula gets absorbed. Afterward, it’ll set and seal the crack without your intervention. You don’t need to remove old sealant residue, clean off dust and debris, or dry the surface beforehand.
The fact that you don’t need to take any parts apart when using Captain Tolley’s Creeping Cure is particularly handy when sealing caravan awning by yourself. That’s because awning rails are particularly prone to twisting if mishandled during removal. Since twisting/bending can leave you needing a new awning rail, using Captain Tolley’s Creeping Cure to seal it can help you avoid potential costly replacements.
Like the Sikaflex 512 sealant we’ve previously looked at, Captain Tolley’s Creeping Cure is safe to use. It can also be painted over, applied on various materials, and is unaffected by sunlight and most everyday chemicals.
W4 Caravan Mastic Sealing Strip can be a great alternative to the above two sealant formulas. It’s manufactured by a company that has been designing quality leisure products for almost half a century with a particular focus on the marine, camping, and caravan industries.
Should you choose to use this sealing strip instead of a liquid formula, you’ll want to choose a product from a reputable brand, and the W4 Caravan Mastic Sealing Strip fits the bill.
This sealing strip comes in a five-meter reel, with 19, 32, and 45 mm widths available. It’s a decent option for more than just sealing and re-bedding your caravan’s awning rail. You can also use it to seal roof lights, window surrounds, vents, overlap joints, and most of your caravan’s external trims. Regardless of where you use it, it’ll form a waterproof seal.
Hodgson’s Seamseal CV Bedding Sealant can be used on rails, door frames, bedding seams, moldings, and window frames. This non-setting sealant is genuinely a versatile option that can withstand slight movement. Thanks to its solvent release curing system, it dries in two to four days, providing excellent adhesion on various materials and surfacesーworks best on coated metals.
Other noteworthy finishing and tooling positives of this sealant include the fact that the sealant cures into a weather-resistance substance that will be easy to clean off in the future if need be. Hodgson’s Seamseal CV bedding sealant is also easy to work with, thanks to its excellent application properties that allow you to apply the product by hand or using air-operated guns.
Speaking of application, you may need to apply a primer before using Hudgon’s Seamseal CV Bedding Sealant. You’ll also need to ensure that all surfaces are clean, dry, and clear of frost. For an elegant finish, consider covering the joint’s face edges with masking tape and remove the tape as soon as you’re done tooling.
This product comes in the form of a Ms-polymer elastic adhesive and sealant. Since it’s both an adhesive and sealant, you can use it for more than just sealing your caravan’s awning rail. It can double up as a bonding agent when fixing other parts of your caravan, such as solar panels, windows, and satellite systems.
Dekasyl MS-5’s versatility has a lot to do with its compatibility with a range of materials such as stainless steel, zinc, aluminum, galvanized steel, brass, PVS, copper, powder-coated metal, GRP, glass, and painted/lacquered wood.
The other reason for its immense versatility is that it’s equally at home when used on both interior and exterior parts of your caravan. Wherever you decide to use it, it’ll leave behind a neat finish.
The only issue you may have with this sealant is that it’s on the higher end of the price scale. As such, it might not be the best option for someone on a tight budget, especially if your DIY awning rail sealing project won’t take up the entire 290 ml (8.45 oz) cartridge it comes in.
This is yet another highly rated single-component joint sealant that you can use to seal your caravan awning rail. It’s the most commonly used sealant brand by prominent UK caravan manufacturers, and it’s easy to see why.
One of the primary reasons behind Soundaseal RV61’s popularity is its chemically neutral hybrid polymer formulation, which allows the sealant to form a firm but elastic bond that can withstand vibration.
Manufacturers and campers also love the Soudaseal RVhite 61 for its versatility. It functions as both adhesive and sealant and can be used on metallic, plastic, and painted parts of your caravan. This means that in addition to being an excellent sealant for awning rails, it’s also ideal to use on windows, skylights, roofs, and many other parts of a caravan.
In terms of pricing, it’s on par with the Dekasyl MS-5 above. It’s not the cheapest option around, but its reputation, versatility, and excellent adhesive strength may be worth the extra bucks for some.
The Butyl Mastic Tape is a similar product to the W4 Caravan Mastic Sealing Strip we reviewed earlier. Like its counterpart, it comes in varying size rolls to accommodate the needs of different campers. However, that’s not its most impressive characteristic.
That would be its excellent UV resistance and the fact it retains its flexibility throughout its service life, allowing movement in whichever part of your caravan you’re looking to seal.
The Butyl Mastic Tape’s combination of long-lasting flexibility, UV resistance, and the incredible adhesion it provides on various surfaces is why it’s one of the most commonly used sealants in European mainland caravans.
Other impressive features of the Butyl Mastic tape are that:
- Its malleability makes it easy to work with.
- It leaves little to no waste behind.
- Its carefully selected fillers make it a chemical-resistant awning rail sealing solution.
- It can be used in sound insulation projects.
- It’s a versatile product that can be used for various applications, including fixing overlap jamming in facade and roof systems, sealing seams and joints against dust, water, and air, and sealing HVAC system channel flanges.
Caravan Sealant Comparison Table
To roughly sum up everything we’ve covered above, here’s a table comparing the various sealants for caravan awning rail.
|Product name||Quantity/Size||Price||Star Rating (Out of 5)|
|Sikaflex 512||100 ml (3.38 oz)||$16.30||4.7|
|Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure||59.1471 ml (2 oz)||$14.99||4.2|
|W4 Caravan Mastic Sealing Strip||32 mm x 5 m (1.26 in x 16.4 ft)||$18.92||4.6|
|Hodgson’s Seamseal CV Bedding Sealant||380 ml (12.85 oz)||$12.42||4.3|
|Dekalin Dekasyl MS-5 Caravan Sealant||290 ml (9.81 oz)||$20.72||4.8|
|Soudaseal RVhite 61 WCaravan Sealant||290 ml (9.81 oz)||$20.04||4.6|
|Butyl Mastic Tape||Width x thickness x Length: 15 mm x 1 mm x 25 m (0.59 in x 0.04 in x 82 ft)||$17.91||4.6|