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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Laid back in an old saloon
    Posts
    161

    PSA: Make your own fucking RV Storm Windows

    So yeah, as the title says, this is a step by step on how to make condensation free storm windows for your RV / Camper / Van / Shell / whatever. This is the 3rd RV I have made these for, it works.

    I debated putting this into the running RV thread on the main page but concluded it might stand alone as a search provided no hits for this topic. There has been much discussion on what to use but I have never seen the actual "how" addressed, which I believe is more important. If you have air leakage, the window and/or frame will sweat. The following is how to prevent that.

    What you will need:

    The Velcro was $86 with free shipping, the Reflectix and Vinyl was about $45, so $130 in total materials.

    I went with 2 different materials, as I was only concerned with light transmission for a few of the 7 windows and 3 skylight/vents I was working with. For around the bed I went with Reflectix for the additional thermal properties. To be honest, I don't think there is really that big of a difference between the 2, but in a ski area parking lot, I'll take the black-out version for this application. I used 10 linear feet of this stuff:
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    For the windows and skylights/vents I wanted to see out of, I went with 8mm Vinyl. Both products were sourced from the local hardware store. I used the top one, the middle is 4mm and too flimsy if you plan to remove them in warmer weather as it stretches very easily. The 4mm is also not as clear as the 8mm. I used 10 linear feet of this stuff too:
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    Vinyl comes with tissue paper so it doesn't stick to itself on the giant roll.
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    Its quite clear, not too wavy/grainy.
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    The other items you will need are pictured below. As I plan to remove them every summer, I am using 1" Velcro, in hindsight I could have used 3/4". For anyone making a more permanent install, simple double-sided tape with the foam layer will suffice. About the Velcro, when buying bulk you have the option of 5 different adhesives and can mix and match, which is what I did. I ordered 28 yards (yes, 84 FEET of Velcro), it is the most expensive part of this project. I found the best price online from the iTape store, no affiliation, located in NJ. The Loop side is Adhesive #19 (general purpose not rubber based), the Hook side is #75 (specifically for vinyl).
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    Its best to pre-assemble your Velcro, this method works well. By keeping the spools on their sides, the edges line up nicely, just keep everything on the carpet/floor.
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    It helps if you have someone to hold the wheels to provide some tension, or place the legs of a folding chair through the hubs. It is very important to pinch the layers together tightly, wavy sections will be a mess later in the process.
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    Once you have all the Velcro matched, disassemble one of the hubs and restart the spool like this.
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    Then reassemble so you can wind everything back up
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    From this mess
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    to this.
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    After squaring up the cut ends of the vinyl and measuring the lengths needed, I again used the square as a fence, rather than mark lines with the Sharpie. I used the Sharpies on the Reflectix as it was easy to hide the marker residue on the back side the Velcro attached to. I used the 6' square as my straight edge, as I was using 48" material and my longest run was 64"
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    The Velcro has 1-1/4' clear backing on the adhesive side, making it very easy to line up with the edge of your panel, just slide your thumb along as you go. I always attach the "hook" side of the Velcro to the covering, which leaves the fuzzy "loop" side on the wall in the summer. I also prefer to only expose a small amount of adhesive as I go, YMMV.
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    Performance of the window covering will be determined by how good you can make the corners. Try to trim to fit like this. I should also note here why I had 2 pair of Fiskar's in the supplies picture. The adhesive is insanely sticky, unless you cut all your covers first, then cut Velcro, you will be cursing said adhesive when trying to cut more cover material. It was very easy to get a "run" started with clean scissors without snipping, in both the vinyl and the Reflectix. With gummed- up scissors, not so much.
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    Peel back the backing and snug up the seam as tight as possible.
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    This may sound overly OCD, but any gaps here will let air move, causing condensation to form on the windows. Your corners should look like this.
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    This is a pile of covers, mid-production its time to take this to the driveway.
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    Crippled but free, I was blind all the time, I was learning to 'ski'.

    The best backcountry advice ever given on the TGR forums:

    Quote Originally Posted by skibee View Post
    Tits are a good thing, if making a good decision so you can live to see tits again is all that motivates you then so be it!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Laid back in an old saloon
    Posts
    161
    My RV has window valances, which needed to be removed prior to installing the storm covering. This is the typical single pane RV window I am working with. All windows were measured +3", to give me 1/4" on either side of the Velcro once installed to the cover and matching the 1/4" backing strip I used to align the Velcro when I installed it.
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    Shown is how I moved the bracket up to allow for the 1-1/2' I needed around the outside of the frame. It is important to note here why. You want your window frame completely inside the cover, within the dead air space and not exposed to ambient humidity within the RV, for the best performance.
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    Front window with Reflectix
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    and with the valance replaced. Only a small strip visible along the bottom of the shade.
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    Front escape window, picture shows poorly how the handles for opening the window are still in place, with the covering formed around them at the bottom.
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    This is a side window with the vinyl treatment, the white Velcro blends in well with the wall.
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    Close-up of the lower corner of the same window, after the valance was replaced
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    And one last picture of the same window, showing how the vinyl has a bit of an optic effect, kinda like looking through a window with 1/8" of freezing rain on it. I can live with it.
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    Here is one of the skylights, in addition to the clear vinyl, I also cut a scrap of the Reflectix to fit above. I'm hoping it helps as these type of skylights suck in the snow. I also used the clear so it will be very evident if any water is building up on the vinyl so it can be dried if there is a leak due to a crack or whatever.
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    Lastly, here is the best solvent on the planet (shameless plug, no product affiliation). I used it for adhesive removal on this project, but it works anywhere. Removes silicone residue, caulking, you name it. You can use it on anything, even cleans leather. Find it in RV or auto body supply shops or order online. Costs about $30 a quart, worth every penny, get some.
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    Last edited by Teh Poacher; 11-08-2018 at 08:43 PM.
    Crippled but free, I was blind all the time, I was learning to 'ski'.

    The best backcountry advice ever given on the TGR forums:

    Quote Originally Posted by skibee View Post
    Tits are a good thing, if making a good decision so you can live to see tits again is all that motivates you then so be it!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    LV-426
    Posts
    15,123
    Awesome writeup. Thank you for taking the time to detail this so thoroughly.
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Albuquerque
    Posts
    21
    I'm with Chup. Thanks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Southern Oregon
    Posts
    844
    Did mine with magnets instead of Velcro ..... Great write up

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using TGR Forums mobile app
    That fly seems to like you!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Simi Valley, CA
    Posts
    4,699
    I did something similar with mosquito netting and magnetic strip for placement outside the windows on my 4runner, for bug-free Summer camping with the windows down.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    3,233
    You missed that spot on the velcro.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Posts
    12
    Great write up! I did something similar on an old RV more than once. I wish I would have had good directions back then.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hell Track
    Posts
    7,637
    Nice. I've been vaguely planning to do something along these lines for a while now. I think this will be inspiration to actually do it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Beautiful BC
    Posts
    2,760
    I the past I used window shrink film on my camper windows. Works great and lets the light in.
    If you have a problem & think that someone else is going to solve it for you then you have two problems.

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