How To Replace Cracked Plexiglass Windows on an RV

Understanding the Importance of Plexiglass Windows in RVs

As an RV enthusiast and the owner of a repair shop in Orange County, California, I’ve had my fair share of experience dealing with cracked plexiglass windows. These windows are not only crucial for the aesthetic appeal of your RV, but they also play a vital role in maintaining the structural integrity and overall functionality of your vehicle. Imagine you’re out on the open road, cruising through the scenic vistas of California, and suddenly, a crack appears in your window. It’s not only an unsightly blemish, but it can also compromise the weather-tight seal, leading to potential leaks, drafts, and even structural damage over time.

That’s why it’s essential to address any cracks or damage to your RV’s plexiglass windows promptly. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of replacing cracked plexiglass windows on your RV, sharing my expertise and insights gained from years of hands-on experience. Whether you’re a seasoned RV owner or a newcomer to the world of recreational vehicles, this article will equip you with the knowledge and confidence to tackle this task head-on.

Gathering the Necessary Supplies

Before we dive into the actual replacement process, let’s make sure you have all the essential supplies on hand. This will not only ensure a smooth and efficient repair but also minimize the risk of any mishaps or delays.

The key items you’ll need include:
– Replacement plexiglass window panel(s) in the appropriate size
– Silicone sealant or butyl tape
– Utility knife or razor blade
– Painter’s tape or masking tape
– Isopropyl alcohol or window cleaner
– Sandpaper (fine grit)
– Drill and drill bits (if required)
– Screwdrivers and other tools for removing the old window

It’s important to measure the dimensions of your existing plexiglass window carefully and order the replacement panel(s) accordingly. This will save you time and frustration during the installation process. Additionally, make sure to purchase high-quality sealants and adhesives that are specifically designed for RV applications, as they’ll provide a stronger, more durable bond.

Preparing the Work Area and Removing the Old Window

Now that you have all the necessary supplies, let’s begin the window replacement process. Start by thoroughly cleaning the area around the cracked window. Use isopropyl alcohol or a window cleaner to remove any dirt, debris, or residue from the frame and surrounding surfaces. This will ensure a clean surface for the new window to adhere to.

Next, it’s time to remove the old window. This step may vary depending on the specific design and construction of your RV’s windows, so be sure to refer to your owner’s manual or consult with a professional if you’re unsure of the process. In general, you’ll need to locate and remove any screws, clips, or fasteners that are holding the window in place. Carefully pry the window out, taking care not to damage the surrounding frame or structure.

Once the old window is out, use a utility knife or razor blade to remove any remaining sealant or adhesive from the frame. Be gentle and take your time to avoid damaging the surface. If there are any rough or uneven spots, lightly sand them down to create a smooth, even surface for the new window.

Measuring and Cutting the Replacement Plexiglass

With the old window removed, it’s time to measure and cut the replacement plexiglass panel. Carefully measure the opening in your RV’s frame, making sure to account for any slight variations or irregularities. It’s better to err on the side of caution and order a panel that’s slightly larger than the opening, as you can always trim it down to size.

When it comes to cutting the plexiglass, you’ll want to use a sharp utility knife or a specialized plexiglass cutter. Score the surface multiple times, applying firm pressure, until the panel cuts cleanly. Avoid attempting to cut the plexiglass in one swift motion, as this can lead to jagged, uneven edges.

Remember, plexiglass is a delicate material, so handle it with care to prevent any scratches or cracks. If you’re unsure about your cutting skills or want a professional finish, consider taking the panel to a local hardware store or glass shop and have them cut it to the precise dimensions you need.

Preparing the Plexiglass for Installation

With the replacement panel cut to size, it’s time to prepare the surface for installation. Start by thoroughly cleaning the plexiglass with isopropyl alcohol or a specialized glass cleaner. This will remove any fingerprints, dust, or debris that may have accumulated during the cutting process.

Next, use fine-grit sandpaper to lightly buff the edges of the plexiglass panel. This will create a slightly roughened surface, which will help the sealant or adhesive bond more effectively. Be careful not to overdo it, as you don’t want to compromise the structural integrity of the panel.

If your RV’s window frame has any existing sealant or adhesive residue, use a razor blade or scraper to carefully remove it. This will ensure a clean, even surface for the new plexiglass to adhere to.

Once the preparation is complete, it’s time to apply the sealant or adhesive. Depending on your preference and the specific requirements of your RV, you can use either silicone sealant or butyl tape. Both options offer excellent weatherproofing and adhesive properties, but butyl tape may be easier to work with for some DIY enthusiasts.

Installing the New Plexiglass Window

With the replacement panel prepped and the sealant or adhesive applied, it’s time to carefully install the new plexiglass window. Gently lower the panel into the frame, taking care to align it properly and ensure a snug, even fit.

If your RV’s window frame has pre-drilled holes, use a drill and the appropriate-sized drill bits to create new holes that align with the panel. Secure the plexiglass in place using screws or clips, following the manufacturer’s instructions and tightening them evenly to prevent any warping or distortion.

For windows without pre-drilled holes, you can use a bead of silicone sealant or a strip of butyl tape around the perimeter of the panel to hold it in place. Smooth out the sealant or tape with your finger to create a clean, uniform seal.

Be patient and take your time during this process, as a proper, watertight installation is crucial for the long-term performance and protection of your RV’s plexiglass windows.

Finishing Touches and Maintenance

With the new plexiglass window securely in place, it’s time to add the finishing touches. Use painter’s tape or masking tape to create clean, crisp edges around the window frame. This will give the installation a professional, factory-like appearance.

Finally, apply a generous bead of silicone sealant or a layer of butyl tape around the entire perimeter of the window. This will create an additional barrier against the elements, ensuring a long-lasting, weatherproof seal.

Remember to allow the sealant or adhesive to fully cure before taking your RV out on the road. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommended curing times, which are typically 24-48 hours.

Maintaining your RV’s plexiglass windows is crucial for preserving their appearance and functionality. Regularly inspect the windows for any cracks, chips, or signs of deterioration, and address any issues promptly. Clean the windows with a specialized glass cleaner or a mix of warm water and mild soap, and be sure to use a soft, lint-free cloth to avoid scratches.

By following these steps and practicing proper maintenance, you can extend the life of your RV’s plexiglass windows and enjoy a smoother, safer, and more enjoyable journey on the open road.

Now that you’ve mastered the art of replacing cracked plexiglass windows on your RV, why not explore our wide range of RV and fleet repair services at From routine maintenance to complex repairs, our experienced team is dedicated to keeping your vehicle in top-notch condition, no matter the make or model. Let us help you get back on the road and make the most of your RV adventures!