If you don’t inspect, reseal, and repair your RV roof regularly, you will end up with some pretty awful water damage. This is something that will quickly lower the value of your RV and could even render it unusable. Fortunately, taking care of your RV roof is something you can probably do all on your own.
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Rubber RV Roof Repair and Maintenance
In order to keep your RV roof in tip top shape, you will need to clean and inspect it at least four times a year, repair any holes or tears immediately, and reseal all seams at least once a year. After about ten years, it will also be necessary to reseal the entire roof.
Safely Working on Your Rubber Roof
To do this, you’ll need to climb onto the roof, but be very careful when you do. Are you sure it’s strong enough to support you? Is there a ladder at the back? If not, it most likely isn’t strong enough to be walked on. In such a case, find some plywood to lay on it so as to distribute your weight a little more.
Cleaning Your Rubber Roof
Next, you’ll want to clean your roof thoroughly, so as to remove any dirt particles. You can use a long handled brush for this, but never use a cleaner that contains petroleum solvents or citrus ingredients on your rubber or vinyl roof. These types of cleaners will cause permanent damage to the surface. This damage could allow rain or melted snow to easily seep into seams and damage wall panels, ruin insulation and even rot framework.
While you’re cleaning, scrape off any debris or old roof material, but be careful while you do this as you could easily elongate a tear, or even punch a hole through the roof. You should then dry the roof as best as you can.
Note: Rubber RV roofs can be very slippery when wet. Be extra cautious when washing your roof.
The Best Rubber RV Roof Sealers
After the roof is clean, you are going to want to inspect the seams for holes, cracks or peeling, so you can reseal wherever necessary. On top of that, you’ll want to make a point of resealing all seams once a year whether or not they show signs of wear. To do this, you need a good RV roof sealant.
When it comes to selecting the best RV roof sealant, you’ll want to consider whether you are repairing a tear, resealing a seam, or sealing the entire roof. The type of roof is also important to keep in mind, as RV roofs can be made from either EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) and TPO (Thermal Polyolefin) and you need the product you use to be compatible with your roof type.
Of course, there are some brands which carry a better reputation than others, so brand name should be considered as well.
We’ve listed some of the most popular sealants below to help you start your search:
EternaBond RoofSeal Sealant Tape
EternaBond RoofSeal Sealant Tape is perfect for covering rips and holes and making emergency repairs. It is somewhat like duct tape, but has a much stronger hold. After cleaning the roof, you should lay the tape carefully. Once it’s down, you won’t be able to peel it off.
Dicor Self-Leveling Lap Sealant
Dicor Self-Leveling Lap Sealant is a good choice for going over old roof seals. It can be used for spot sealing or to reseal every seam on the RV roof. Just clean the area well and apply with a caulk gun. The stuff will level itself out, so don’t worry about that part.
Dicor EPDM Rubber Roof Coating System
If your RV roof needs to be completely resealed, the Dicor EPDM Rubber Roof Coating System might be for you. This primes and coats the roof to create a lovely, protective coating that’ll last for years.
Dicor TPO Roof Coating System
Finally, there is the Dicor TPO Roof Coating System. Similar to the EPDM system listed above, this coating product will cover your TPO roof and help it last another 10 years.
RV Metal Roof Repair and Maintenance
Before EPDM and TPO, metal was the material of choice for RV roofs. You will, of course, need to care for your metal RV roof, but the maintenance and repair of one of these roofs is a bit different from the care of a rubber RV roof.
The aforementioned EternaBond is still king when it comes to repairing small damages on a metal roof. It also works well for sealing seams.
RV metal roofs do need to be totally resealed from time to time. Household roof coatings will seal a metal roof just fine, but the best product by far, for metal roofs, is Dicor Metal RV Roof Coating.
RV Fiberglass Roof Repair and Maintenance
A fiberglass RV roof might be tougher than the typical rubber potion, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore it completely.
You will still need to clean the roof regularly with a product such as Bar Keepers Friend. If you’re dealing with stains, Davis Instruments 790 FSR Fiberglass Stain Remover is the perfect product. Meanwhile, those who are dealing with oxidation might need to turn to a product like Meguiar’s Marine/RV Heavy Duty Oxidation Remover.
On top of cleaning, you will need to inspect your RV roof seams the same 4 times a year. Make sure to reseal whenever necessary and make a point of resealing all of the seams once every 12 months or so. Dicor Self-Leveling Lap Sealant works well for this job as well.
If your fiberglass roof needs to be coated, Dicor Fiberglass Roof Coating is a good pick.
How to Replace an RV Roof
Removing the Old Roof
First, you’ll need to remove the current roofing. The best tool for this project is a putty knife or your hands.
- Remove the vent fans, skylights, and AC unit.
- Peel the current layer of rubber back until you see the plywood structure underneath.
- Check plywood for rot, bowing, mold, or splintering.
- Replace damaged pieces.
- Once the plywood is ready, it’s best to clean the plywood with something like mineral spirits to remove any kind of debris.
- Seam tape is recommended for all places where plywood pieces meet or where the edge or the roof meets the sides. The seam tape will reinforce weak joints and ensure a good seal between pieces of wood.
New Roof Installation
Next, you’ll install the new EPDM or TPO rubber roof replacement,
- Begin by painting a special adhesive onto the plywood.
- Let the adhesive sit for a bit until it’s tacky and ready to stick.
- Roll your rubber roof over top and press all air bubbles out. Do this in small chunks all along the roof, cutting holes in the rubber roofing for any feature that will go back into the roof.
- Finally, replace your roof’s fans, skylights, and AC unit.
- Seal each seam with the lap sealant we mentioned earlier.
- You’ll also want to apply lap sealant to the edges of the roof.
There you have it, everything you need to know about RV roof repair and maintenance. Hopefully this helps you keep your RV roof in good condition, so you can continue to enjoy your motorhome or trailer for years to come.