Do you know how to repair a tear in your RV roof? If you don’t, you’re probably setting yourself up for a frustrating experience while you’re out camping. As much as you want to keep your RV roof pristine and scratch-free, there’s no way to prevent bumps, tears, and scratches while you’re on the road. What’s more, normal wear and tear will happen to your RV as you use it over the years.
Weather damage, road damage, and animal damage are only some of the sources of damage to your rig. As the damage accumulates, the value of your RV lowers as well as the safety and performance of your vehicle. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be if your RV suddenly gets a hole on the roof while it’s raining? Not to mention, what kind of water damage it can cause your appliances, furniture, and gadgets inside your RV?
In order to avoid all these complications while on the road, you need to know how to repair tears in your RV roof, as well as other small damages.
Before Repairing Your RV Roof: A Quick Checklist
Here is a quick checklist that you need to go through before performing any repairs on your RV roof:
Do you know what kind of roof you have?
The first thing that you need to know before performing any roof repairs is what kind of roof your RV has. The roof material will dictate how much work you’re going to put into repairing the roof as well as what kind of materials and tools you need.
There are three types of materials used for RV roofs: rubber, metal, and fiberglass.
Rubber roofs are the easiest and cheapest to repair. For metal and fiberglass roofs, you may need to consult your owner’s manual to see if you have the proper materials and tools for repairs. Furthermore, metal and fiberglass roofs need a bit more know-how to ensure that you put the repairs seamlessly.
Do you have the proper tools and materials?
Different roof materials require different repair tools and products. Rubber roofs need to use rubberized sealant while fiberglass roofs use fiberglass repair tape and gelcoat. If you are unsure what kind of roofing products you need, you can either consult your owner’s manual or ask at your local hardware store.
If the damage is too large for a DIY repair, you should consider bringing your RV to a professional repair shop.
Is your roof clean of dirt and debris?
Before repairing your RV roof, you need to make sure that the surface is clean and dry. Remove any dust, dirt, and road debris from your roof. Wipe it down with a clean cloth to ensure that the sealant will adhere properly to your roof surface.
Does your roof have any equipment such as antennas or racks?
If your roof has any equipment installed, such as antennas or racks, you can include them in your sealant application. Over time, the seams in these areas can develop small leaks or cracks that can cause water to seep into the interior of your RV. Since you’re repairing your roof, you can also coat the seams around any installations in your roof.
Repairing a Rubber RV Roof
While rubber roofs tend to last longer compared to metal or fiberglass roofs, they are prone to becoming brittle over time. If your rubber RV roof has holes, the best product on the market is ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber membrane coatings. When you use EPDM products, you will be able to have a solid and durable RV roof that can last you up to 10 years. However, make sure that you only wash it with mild soap, as petroleum-based cleaners can damage the structural integrity of EPDM roofing materials.
After applying the EPDM membrane, you need to apply a sealant on top to prevent the EDPM from oxidizing when it rains. If you do not apply the sealant, the EDPM will develop a “chalky” appearance with streaks running through the membrane.
You also need to seal the roof joints to ensure that your roof is watertight. Caulk is a good material to use to help prevent water damage to your roof.
Repairing a Metal RV Roof
For metal RV roof tears, you can choose between elastomeric roof coating products or products such as Eternabond. An elastomeric roof coating can be applied using either a roller or by spraying the product directly on the roof surface. For larger repairs or repairing structural damage, Eternabond seam tape is a better choice because it is easier to apply and more durable. Once the Eternabond tape has been placed on the roof, the bond becomes permanent.
Repairing a Fiberglass RV Roof
To repair holes in fiberglass RV roofs, you need to use fiberglass repair tape, a sealant, and a gel coating. First, spread the sealant over the hole and cover it with a patch of fiberglass repair tape that’s large enough to cover the hole. After the hole has been covered, you need to place a gel coat over the fiberglass tape to prevent oxidation. The gel coat will give your fiberglass roof an attractive color and shine.
If you want to prolong the gel coating, you need to apply a layer of wax on top of the gel coat after it has dried. The wax will not only give your roof a shiny and flawless appearance, but it will also add another layer of protection against water damage.
Do I Need to Buff my RV Roof?
If you want the RV roof to that perfect shine and clarity, you need to buff your roof after repairing it. You can apply the compound, wax, and buff your roof by hand, but you can also use an electric buffer to get the job done much faster.
As an RV owner, if you know how to repair a tear in your RV roof by yourself, you can save a lot of time and money with DIY fixes. In some cases, the tear might be too severe, and you’ll need to hire a professional repairer, but most of the time, you can prevent large tears just by performing regular maintenance and small repairs by yourself. Furthermore, knowing how to repair a tear in your RV roof on your own will be helpful if you’re on the road because you can quickly perform small repairs to prevent any untoward incidents from ruining your vacation. Know more about RV care.