Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) can confer benefits to their host but present a threat to genome integrity if not regulated correctly. Here we identify the SWI/SNF-like remodeler SMARCAD1 as a key factor in the control of ERVs in embryonic stem cells. SMARCAD1 is enriched at ERV subfamilies class I and II, particularly at active intracisternal A-type particles (IAPs), where it preserves repressive histone methylation marks. Depletion of SMARCAD1 results in de-repression of IAPs and adjacent genes. Recruitment of SMARCAD1 to ERVs is dependent on KAP1, a central component of the silencing machinery. SMARCAD1 and KAP1 occupancy at ERVs is co-dependent and requires the ATPase function of SMARCAD1. Our findings uncover a role for the enzymatic activity of SMARCAD1 in cooperating with KAP1 to silence ERVs. This reveals ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling as an integral step in retrotransposon regulation in stem cells and advances our understanding of the mechanisms driving heterochromatin establishment.