RV Glass 101: Safety, Service and More
While on the road, the windshield is a protective barrier against everything from rocks and debris to bugs and the weather. The windows throughout your RV provide great views and natural light, and are also instrumental in maintaining the temperature inside your RV.
Proper maintenance and upkeep are vital in making sure you're safe and comfortable both on the road and off. While your RV windshield and windows are both made of glass, there are some differences in how they are made and the potential problems you could run into with them. Below, we’ll discuss those differences along with everything from maintenance and repair tips to problems RVers typically face, and more!
How they are made
Your RV’s windshield is designed with safety as a foremost concern. Motorhomes feature either one- or two-piece windshields and are either set in a gasket or embedded in urethane. RV windshields are made of laminated safety glass, which have several unique properties to prevent injuries to the driver and passengers in the event of an accident. This laminated glass is composed of two pieces of glass with a thin layer of vinyl in-between. They are bonded together by heat and pressure in an oven.
The vinyl layer adds two important safety features to your RV windshield:
- When an object, such as a rock, hits the windshield, typically the outer layer sustains damage while the inner layer remains intact.
- In the event of a major accident or a large object piercing the windshield, the glass shatters, but usually does not come apart due to the vinyl holding the pieces together.
RV windshields are durable and can withstand a lot of things, however there are a few things that can cause you issues. The most common problems you can face are rock chips, stress cracks and rust.
Rock chips are by far the most common, and in many cases, can be fixed relatively easily. Rock chips are caused by that pesky debris you run into on the highway that impacts the outer layer of glass on the windshield. These can usually be repaired if they are only in the outer layer, do not have pieces of glass missing, and if they do not have long cracks (known as legs) running out from it.
Stress cracks come by way of several things. One way is from extreme differences in the unit’s level, either from uneven terrain or out of sync leveling (one side more than the other causing a twist). Another way to get a stress crack is from issues with the front cap. In time, older caps can shift causing undue stress that isn’t always seen right away.
Rust on the framework behind the windshield is not always seen until it has caused either wind noise or leaks. It can come from a gap in the sealant around the windshield or leak in the cap that runs in behind the pillars and across where the frame meets the windshield.
How they are made
RV windows are made of tempered glass, which is produced by heating the glass to more than 1,100°F and then rapidly cooling it. The “tempering” done in this process makes the glass many times stronger that your standard plate glass.
If broken, tempered glass is designed to disintegrate into small pieces of glass, leaving no large sharp pieces to injure you or your passengers
Your RV’s windows are designed to be sturdy and last for years. However, a few things can create problems that will need to be addressed. The most common are that the window leaks or gets “foggy”.
Leaks are caused by missing or aged sealant around the window or weathered seals in the frame itself. Like your roof sealant, your sealant around your RV windows should be checked regularly for gaps or sealant that has come out from around the window. Also check the rubber seals around the frame work. The rubber can shrink or crack in time, allowing water to get into your RV.
Window fogging comes from the spacer seal between the two panes of glass fails, allowing moisture to creep in. Once in, the moisture gets trapped. This water, in time, deposits calcium on the glass, which eventually etches into the glass, causing the window to look “foggy”. If left too long, you will be looking at replacement of the panes or the entire window. The seal failure comes from poor spacer seal application or a breakdown of the spacer seal material. One cause for this breakdown is using silicone sprays on the window tracks!
Cleaning and Maintenance Tips
Cleaning and inspecting your windows and windshield should be on every RVer’s pre-trip and annual checklist.
Check your windshield for:
- Chips or cracks
- Visible damage to any gasket or molding around the windshield
- Evidence of leaking
Check your windows for:
- Proper sealant around the outside of the frames
- Seals that have either shrank or cracked
- Evidence of moisture between the panes
- Movement of the seal between the frames
Once your inspection is complete, give your RV windshield and windows a thorough cleaning. Soap and water cleanup will get rid of the heavy grime followed up with a good glass cleaner will help you see things clearly. For windows that are difficult to move, we recommend using Plexus, plastic cleaner and polish, which lifts away dust while leaving a micro-thin layer of non-cumulative wax to allow free movement of your windows, (and should not cause a future issue with your spacer seal).
Lazydays RV Glass and Windshield Repair and Replacement
Defogging a window or replacing and RV windshield can be a challenging process that is best done by an experienced professional. At Lazydays RV, we offer a range of glass and windshield services including:
- Fogged Window Repair: Stay safe on the road and get rid of vision blocking fog with help from Lazydays RV. Our technicians can get rid of troublesome window fog most of the time without having to replace the entire window, saving you hundreds of dollars.
- RV Window Replacement and Repair: Lazydays glass technicians perform replacement and repair services for RV windows in a quick and timely manner.
- Windshield replacement: Our professional glass shop technicians replace windshields in all makes and models, from the smallest C-class windshield to the largest A-class windshield, and will get you back on the road in no time!
Schedule a service appointment or contact us today to learn more about our RV glass and windshield services offered by a specific Lazydays location. If you’re in need of new solar shades, blinds or other window accessories, visit a Lazydays RV Accessories & More store near you!