How to Protect RV Skylights from Hail?

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The RV skylight is valuable but also a little fragile. It’s at risk from an onslaught from a freak hailstorm that can happen under the right weather conditions. Hail forms when overhead cloud temperatures decline below freezing whereupon icy hail is created. When this happens, it can come pelting down on top of your RV skylight. Even your camper skylight isn’t safe!

How to protect your RV skylights from hail? It’s possible. You’ll either need an RV skylight cover to let hail bounce off it and onto the roof, or an extended RV rooftop vent cover (ideal with combination fan and skylight-in-one models). These will reduce hail’s damaging effects.

Our article covers different approaches to reduce potential hail damage to RV or camper skylights and makes suggestions on how to proactively protect against this threat.


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Predicting When Hail May Hit the Area

Prevention is better than cure. That applies to hail and the resulting hailstorms just as much as in healthcare.

It’s beneficial to check on the weather forecast each morning as one of the initial tasks of the day. This applies to the local area if you’re not moving that day or just planning to go into town to hit up Walmart.

It’s even more applicable if you’ll be driving today, passing through several towns or a city, and eventually entering a new state. Be aware that weather conditions can vary markedly from state to state.

Also Read: How to Secure a Travel Trailer in High Winds

Getting Extreme Weather Alerts

Install a weather app on your phone that specifically sends your SMS push alert notifications to advise about extreme weather conditions. Even when you’ve checked the weather in the morning, the situation can change drastically in a matter of hours. Signing up for the free alerts covers you even more.

Apps like WeatherBug and Storm Shield provide thunderstorm alerts. The latter is heavily customizable to only receive weather alerts that you care about. Both are available for Apple’s iOS and Android mobile devices (some smartwatches too). These apps can also advise about other weather concerns for RVers such as tornados too.

Also Read: How to Increase Space in a Pop Up Camper


Keep an Eye on the Sky

When their dark clouds forming in the distance and you’re heading that way (or you’re stopped for the night and it’s overcast), then you might not be able to avoid the bad weather. Storms are not ideal for RVers or campers because high winds can rock them about, so everything must be secured and locked down in that situation.

Seek cover for your RV or trailer. If that’s not possible, then at least get under cover yourself. That might mean staying in the motorhome or it could mean seeking emergency shelter elsewhere until the storm has passed.

Read Also: Towing a Travel Trailer in High Winds

How to Protect Your RV Skylights from Hail

RV skylights are sometimes simply that and nothing more. Others are a combination RV roof vent fan and skylight combined. Because they’re see-through, it provides additional light into the coach area, and with the fan versions, additional ventilation too.  

How do you cover an RV Roof Vent Fan?

The RV roof vent fan often performs double duty as a skylight of sorts. What camper or RV owners will notice is that they do get blown about in a storm when they’re without a vent cover. It can cause an annoying rattle and increased the potential for storm-related damage to the fan too.

Get the extended vent cover (not the almost flat style) for your RV roof vent fan. A Fan-Tastic vent cover will provide greater protection for this type of fan. However, as you can see from looking at the image below, it allows the sun to enter only from the side.

With that said, it will avoid most of the hail unless you’re unlucky enough that it’s striking the RV at the same angle as the opening. If so, it’s possible to park the RV at a different orientation to fix that.

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Read Also: Do RVs Have VIN Numbers?

A universal RV vent cover will also work. Many are designed to sit virtually flush. Many are produced using durable high-density UV-resistant polyurethane.

These types of universal covers can protect from water leaks and prevent physical damage to the RV vent fan and RV skylight.

Read Also: Long Term RV Park Rules

RV Skylight Cover Protection

There are hail covers for skylights that will protect them from a violent hailstorm. The idea with them is that they cover the skylight to enhance its protection. This avoids it potentially breaking from golf ball-size hail hitting it.

Many of the RV skylight cover protection will block out part of the sun, so it’s a trade-off. But these do offer a greater degree of protection. Some hail covers for skylights are fixed in position while others can be added temporarily when a storm is predicted and then removed afterward.

With an RV skylight that has no fan element, it’s usually possible to purchase a strengthened cover for it produced by the same manufacturer. There are a few generic versions available but because skylights for RVs don’t always conform to the standard 14-inch width that RV rooftop fans do, there’s less conformity for size fitting.

Read Also: Hail Damage on Camper

Should You Cover Over Your RV or Camper in a Storm?

When you’re wanting to further protect the RV from hail, should you cover it up entirely?

Certainly, protecting the RV from hail damage is important. But be aware that with storms that are powerful enough to generate hail, the winds are strong too. In all eventuality, any minimal covering such as a tarp across the entire RV or camper is going to get blown off, torn up, or worse.

Additionally, unless it’s a blanket with a padded thickness to it, large hail will still impact the RV roof’s surface. The best thing to do is to seek overhead cover in a covered parking structure or something similar. Look on Google Maps to locate an appropriate place to wait out the storm., when available.

Read Also: How to Repair Hole in RV Wall

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Enhancing Your RV Skylight

If the RV skylight is useful to you, it’s unfortunate that factory-fitted ones aren’t usually produced using tempered glass. This would have significantly strengthened them to withstand more of a knock or two from hail hitting it.

It’s possible to have a current skylight removed. It can then be replaced with one produced using tempered glass and other elements to make it stand up to storms. It won’t be a perfect solution though because when the winds pick up and it’s throwing hail at the RV or camper, it will still take a few good knocks.

Hopefully, at worst, a storm could splinter the tempered glass but it would likely hold together. This is unlike regular glass that would shatter into many shards that’ll come flying into your RV during a violent storm. These types of skylights aren’t cheap though. They’re often produced custom and are easily $1,000 to $1,500 putting them out of the price range of many RV owners.

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