Like any home, mobile or otherwise, the function and durability of the roof is key. If that fails, everything else goes with it. Which is why it’s important to consider the types of RV roofs, their required maintenance and the pros and cons of each.
Typically, there are three types of roofs on standard motorhomes: fiberglass, aluminum and rubber. We’re going to focus on rubber RV roofs, the most common type, so you’re in the know should you purchase an RV with this type of material.
RV Rubber Roofs
Rubber roofs for RVs are made of either a solid roll of rubber material you lay out and secure to your roof, or they come in liquid form and must be painted onto a solid surface that has been primed for its application.
You might also see rubber RV roofs referred to as EPDM, which is an acronym for the type of rubber concoction itself. It stands for ethylene propylene diene terpolymer, and it’s used in roofs for buildings and homes as well.
RV Rubber Roof Installation
Installation of your rubber roof depends on the type. If you’re replacing your RV’s existing roof, you’ll want to first remove the current roof. If your current roof is rubber, this involves peeling the roof off and cleaning the surface underneath. It can be a tedious process, but it’s one that you can do yourself. Be sure to patch damaged areas you find after removing the roof.
The next step will be to apply glue and then roll out the rubber roofing. This is a job you can do yourself, but it’s made easier with help to ensure the roof is pulled taut. You’ll want to cut holes for things like your air conditioning unit and any roof vents. Be sure to have everything aligned before making these cuts.
Once the rolled rubber has been glued, allow it to set then replace each item you removed including the AC unit, any antennas and side trims.
RV Rubber Roof Maintenance
Rubber roofs for RVs are the cheapest of the roofing types. As such, they also require regular maintenance, more than your average aluminum option.
Each year, you’ll want to apply a few key RV rubber roof treatments. The first is RV rubber roof paint, also called sealant. The point here is not to change the color or appearance of your roof, necessarily. Instead, this coating seals cracks and helps to keep a solid surface over your head. It’s required if you want the roof to last a long time.
Similarly, RV rubber roof caulk is required for all of the elements installed through the roof. That includes any vents, windows or air conditioning units. You can purchase a tube of RV grade caulking online and the repair takes just minutes. Luckily, this inexpensive step packs a lot of bang for its buck and can help you to avoid some real headaches when it rains.
Finally, you’ll want to make regular checks for any holes or weak spots in your roof. But if you happen to see a leak one day, you should look to purchase an RV rubber roof patch. These might seem like temporary fixes, but they can save you during a road trip when you don’t have time to address the root cause of the problem. We recommend that those with rubber roofs keep a couple patches on hand.
And lastly, regularly cleaning of your roof will help you maintain a good look and appearance but also alert you to any water damage or other problem spots that might be forming. You can do this with several types of cleaners, including RV grade roof cleaner.
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