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Nick, RVIA Certification
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 664
Experience:  5 years RV repair and reconstruction, Fleetwood RV Training course completion.
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The best way to remove water stains on RV celings that are a material

Customer Question

What is the best way to remove water stains on RV celings that are a material like, low pile carpet?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: RV
Expert:  John "Papa" replied 8 years ago.

Hi vajy,

If this is just a yellow water stain on a WHITE ceiling, try a 50/50 mix of bleach and water in a spray bottle. Don't soak it. Do not rub it. If it's a water stain, it will start to fade. It may take several applications. But If you don't notice a difference after the first two applications, you'll have to vacuum the dirt out with a suction vacuum somehow.


Good Luck

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you John.

We tried that, but it didn't work. The celing material also has brown stain along with the water stains. It is as if the wood also became wet, and stained through.

Any other suggestions would be appreciated.


Thanks again, vajy
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I wrote you back saying we had tried the bleach and water with no luck. Also the vacuuming did not work either.

( But I have had no response to my second request from you.)

I'm sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. I have had a health problem and been going to the Dr several days a week.-- ( So I will try you again )

This staining is as if the wood got wet and stained through the ( carpet like material of the celling) Is there any type of paint that would possibly cover this type of material ?

Or since we can't seem to remove the staining, could it be covered with something else?


Do you have any other possible help or suggestions?

We will be waiting for your ( second help try)


Thanking you John, in advance

Expert:  Nick replied 8 years ago.
seems its been a while since anyone answered.
unfortunately, there is no way to really remove these stains. once they have set in, they are there for good. we see it alot with trade in units.
our cleaning crew have had limited success with various combinations of bleech and also some mild carpet cleaners but 9 times out of 10, we have to overay the ceiling.
replacign with the same panels will be near on impossible. they dont come down easy and dont go up easy. if you can even get matching panels now.
we use white panels and overlay them.
lowes or homedepot sell them, white 3/16th wall panels. using 3m or sta-put spray adhesive. then white battern striping around the edges.
since the ceiling is put on in one piece, you will have to cut the panels to go around cabinets etc and the ceiling is put ontop of the walls, so you wont be able to do it the way factory does.
use spray glue and nail them where possible. finding the cross memebers in the ceiling will give you something to nail too, but they are usually aluminum and dont hold nails to well so dont rely on it solely.
if you dont want to use plain panels (granted it doesnt look as nice as the fabric) you may be able to source some speaker box covering material from custom car stereo places. it probably wont be white, but you may find a matching color that will look ok. this can be glued on easily and stretched to a nice finish. costs more and you will have to source it by the roll.
some textile stores also sell material you could use.

before you spend the money and time in doing this, you should find the source of the stains first. make sure you fix the leak before you fix anything else, otherwise you will find you wasted your time.
even if you think you found it. for the sake of a few extra bucks, buy enough sealant to reseal the whole roof. around vents and frotn and rear cap. especially side rails. if its a rubber roof, use dicor lap seal, dont use silicone, it reacts with the rubber and wont stick. you can get dicor from any camping world or good RV parts store.

im afraid thats about all you can do. we usually have about 8 or 9 hours in overlaying a ceiling, and you will need assistance to help hold the panels while you attach them. try and avoid seeming at existing seams, stagger it to add strength. also get up on the roof and make sure you have no soft spots of rot. the roof is most likely laminated. soft rotten spots will require a roof repair, consisting of the rotten wood replacing,t he entire roof being overlayed and then new rubber, 35-40 hours labor and about 1000 in parts, so you really need to ake sure all leaks are gone and roof is still sound.

hope that helps.
sorry i dont have an easier answer for you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Hi Nick,


Thanks for your fast and extensive answer.

The one correction is that the staining is on the celling of our livingroom slide-out, not the main RV.

This past spring we did lightly pressure wash and recoated the rubber roof also the slide out roof. This fall when, Hericane Ike, came here to east Texas, we brought the 15ft slide out inside. We were hoping that no more water would leak onto celling. While it was in, we recaulked the full length of slide out that went aginst the outside wall so when it was put back out hopefully would not leak any more.

Do you think this will prevent future staining ?

We will try to find some speaker covering material, that idea seemed the less costly, and easier to do.


Thanks again Nick, and we will check tomarrow for any more helpful answers you may have..

vajy fulltimers

Expert:  Nick replied 8 years ago.
sorry been a while.
the room in will usually keep it from leaking. because most ceiling leaks come from either the outside facia boards or around the top sides.
if you resealed those facias, should be good. the corners can sometimes leak and worth checking. if it has plastic caps on the corners, remove them (if they are screwed on) and seal behind them.

another expert suggested oxy clean. ive never tried that so cant speak for its effectivness but may be worth a shot. also worth maybe trying a professional carpet cleaning company. they sometimes have chemicals you cant buy at your local walmart.