How To Repair The Rubber Roof Of Your RV
Understanding how to maintain your RV is a different matter than riding and traveling with it. There are many things to consider when prepping your RV for a repair.
Weather conditions and water damages are the primary suspects why most RVs start to lower their value and degrade. Even if your RV has a rubber roof, the results of ignoring such conditions can be damaging and may end up losing your RV permanently. So, before that happens, you need to start thinking about how to repair the rubber roof on RV. It's crucial to check the quality of your RV roof thoroughly twice a year.
This article looks specifically at how to maintain your RV. I will also share with you the two types of rubber roof so you can plan the repair of your RV.
What Is A Rubber Roof
Rubber roofs are the most commonly used materials in RVs today. Rubber roofs are durable and offer low-maintenance. You should clean your RV roof at least two times a year, or more, depending on your RV usage and where you park the vehicle.
Keep in mind not to use petroleum-based cleaners or any product that has citrus ingredients on your rubber roof. These products will only cause permanent damage to your rubber RV roof. Your RV wall panels will damage as rain and melted snow seeps into the seams and ruin the RV's insulation.
When the winter comes, stored water in the seams expands as it freezes, causing cracks and further damage to your RV roof. These small cracks can lead to holes, rips, and tears to your RV roof, which is why it's essential to check your roof regularly.
Two types of rubber roof
There are two types of rubber RV roofs, the EPDM and the TPO roofs. EPDM and TPO rubber roofs are the most common materials used in motorhomes, travel trailers, and other RV vehicles.
EPDM rubber roofs are designed to oxidize over time. As the oxidization happens in your RV's roof, it only improves its durability against the sunlight. Study shows that only 10% of EPDM roofs overall thickness will deteriorate over 10 to 12 years. However, when the EPDM roofs start to wear off, streaks begin to appear on the side of the RV, which becomes slippery when wet.
On the other hand, the TPO roofs are designed to avoid such oxidization from the RV roof. This type of rubber roof shows no streaks and does not shed any layers.
Regardless of what type of rubber roof your RV has, caution should be exercised when conducting repairs on your RV roof.
Tips And Tricks: When Repairing The Rubber Roof On RV
Here are some ideas and tips to keep in mind before conducting a repair to your RV roof.
- Repair the defective area first – always remember to find and repair the root of the problem first. Neglecting to get rid of the source before you fix the rubber roof will only cause further damage to your RV and the roof. Applying a sealant is just a temporary remedy to cover a spot on your leak.
- Use rubber roof coating – if a small leak persists in your RV roof, you should use a rubber roof coating instead to cover such a hole. You will need to clean the spot where the leak is before applying the layer. You can paint the leaking area and then let it dry for some time to cover the hole.
- Don't use abrasive products – never use harmful products to trim off a spot on your RV roof. Using harsh products to rubber roof will likely lose the resistance of the roof to weather and water. The petroleum-based cleaner is the primary type of product that degrades the quality of the rubber roof.
- Avoid poking holes – keep in mind to avoid making any spots bigger when you're repairing your RV roof. When you see a 'bubble' spot on your roof, the safest way to fix it is to cover the place with a rubber roof coating. Don't let your habit of poking around makes matters worst on your RV roof.
- Use butyl rubber products - you should use a sealant that has a butyl rubber in it. These rubber sealants tend to cover the spot correctly.
How To Repair The Rubber Roof On RV
EPDM roofs are the preferred type of RV roof by most RVers because they last longer compared to other roofs. You can use Dicor coating to cover the spot on your RV roof. However, because the EPDM roof features low maintenance, washing with soap is enough to clean off the roof.
If your roof begins to deteriorate and degrade, then it's time for you to repair the roof of your RV. Sealant products will not do the job if your RV roof takes too much beating to such weather conditions. The only way to revive these kinds of RV roof is by stripping off the cover and then installing a new coat.
That's why we listed the procedures on how to repair the rubber roof on RV so that you can follow the steps easily.
- You should examine the damages that lie in your RV roofing first.
- Remove the RV roof coating and the old EPDM roofing
- Remove the plumbing vent cap from RV rubber roof
- Remove the covers from RV refrigerator and vent fan
- Remove the TV and radio antenna from the RV roof
- Carefully remove the air conditioner cover and the AC unit
- Slowly remove the front and rear termination bar of the RV roof
- Slowly trim and remove the side roof molding of the RV
- Remove the RV awning and the deck
- You should also remove the RV awning's rail
- Strip off the remaining woods on the roof deck
- Remove the damaged wood and the roof decking plywood
- Install and seal the new roof plywood
- You can replace the marker lights on the side of the RV
- Insert the second layer of plywood on the roof
- Cut a new roof vent hole
- Measure the surface of the roof
- Prep and install the RV rubber roof replacement
- Install a new RV roof trim
- Re-install the RV roof fixtures
- Make sure that the new RV rubber roof coating fits on each side of the RV
- Apply the Dicor sealant in every corner and sides of the fresh RV rubber roof coat
Let the sealant dry for some time to hug the adhesive into the rubber roof coating firmly.
The primary cause of major repairs in all types of RVs is water damage and the age of the RV. As the RV gets old, the roof starts to deteriorate, and leaks show up. However, you can still salvage and revive the appearance of the RV to make it new again. Restoring the roof of an RV is extremely important, and we believe that you should start from top to bottom of the RV. Now that we've discussed each step on how to repair the rubber roof on RV, being a DIY handyman should be easy.
Buying an RV gives you the responsibility to take care of it as well. One of the ways of doing so is to purchase the best rubber roof sealant for RV.
Knowing how to reroof an RV is a skill that every RV should know. Whether it’s a spot repair or a whole roof replacement, having the skills and knowledge to replace your roof will save you money.