How to Properly Seal and Repair Your RV Roof

Taking care of your RV’s roof is a large part of RV maintenance. This is one of the most important parts of your mobile home-away-from-home, after all, and deserves a little TLC from time to time. Even the most durable roofing products are going to face damage and wear over time, so the best thing that you can do is to learn how to repair and seal your roof for the best chances of avoiding future issues. That starts by making an assessment of the roof to decide what your next steps will be.

What is the Problem?

Water damage is the leading cause of RV repairs, and it usually is a result of a leaky roof that was improperly maintained or incorrectly repaired. Before you do anything, you need to figure out what problem you are trying to solve. If, for example, you are looking to reseal all of the seams on your roof, you will be looking for the best RV roof seam sealant. If you need to repair cracks or fill in missing areas on a rubber roof, a liquid roofing product might be a better option.

Identify the problem so that you can choose the correct solution. After all, it doesn’t matter how well you know how to seal or repair things if you aren’t sure of exactly what needs done.

Choose the Right Products

The increasing demand for universal products has created a new place for brands that cater to RV owners with all types of roofing materials. However, there are still many repair and sealing products that are uniquely designed to work with a specific material or another. For example, you need to avoid petroleum oils and citric acids in products that you are going to use on a rubber roof, because these can cause irreparable damage.

Read the product information to find reputable brands. Look at repair kits, which might offer a better deal depending on the types of repairs that you are dealing with. Finally, make absolutely sure that the products you buy are compatible with your roofing material. A great deal on the supposed best RV roof seam sealant is no good if the specific adhesive is damaging to your fiberglass roof, for example.

Use Your Resources

Some people assume that they have to take their RV to a shop or dealership for a roof repair. The fact of the matter is that this simply isn’t true. In fact, the majority of resealing jobs, repairs, and even full replacements can be done by the average handy person, with the right information. Take advantage of online RV communities and articles that can help you learn the best products and methods for repairing and sealing your roof. Watch YouTube videos of tricky repairs or things you aren’t certain of so that you can follow along.

Preparation is Key

The biggest part of most RV repair and sealing jobs is removing the old sealant or damaged roofing material. Having a clean, smooth surface to place the patch, pour in liquid rubber, or install brand new sealant around all the seams is going to make all the difference. Repairs will last longer and seams will be stronger when the area is cleaned and prepped prior to applying the new materials.

Wrap Up

To sum it up, it’s all about preparation and knowing what you are getting into when dealing with RV sealants and repair jobs. Take the time to learn about the project ahead of you and find the best RV roof seam sealant or repair kit for the job. Remove all of the damage so that you can start with a clean slate, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If the job is too big or simply outside of your abilities, there are repair shops and dealerships that can help. Just make sure that you shop around to find the best service and rates before you schedule your service.

RV Roof Leaks: Understanding the Most Common Causes of Roof Damage

When your RV is new, you have few things to worry about other than basic maintenance. You want to wash and wax it regularly to protect the paint job. You want to have the oil changed regularly to ensure the engine is protected. You want to change the air filter when necessary to improve fuel economy. You’ll invest in air conditioner maintenance, tire maintenance and the like. However, over time, other problems will develop, including roof leaks. What are the most common causes or RV roof leaks? What leads to this type of damage?

Physical Damage

One reason for a roof leak is physical damage. This can be from any number of things, but is often caused by falling tree branches when parked under trees in a campground or RV park. While a branch may not punch a hole through the roof on impact, it may cause enough damage that the roof is dimpled, which can lead to ponding water. This is detrimental to many types of RV roofing material.

Age-Related Shrinkage

RV roofs must put up with a lot of stress and strain not found with other types of roofs, such as that on your home. You have heat-related flexion, but you also need to account for sheering forces such as during turns while driving. Because of this, roofing materials must be flexible. However, over time, most materials will lose a lot of their flexibility. This makes them brittle, but it also causes them to shrink. One of the most common areas to notice shrinkage is around the seams.

Lack of Maintenance

Failure to maintain your roof properly can lead to leaks, as well. For instance, RV roof leaks may be caused by not resealing your roof when it is time, or from neglecting to inspect and repair damage after a storm. Ideally, you should inspect your RV’s roof at least twice per year – once in the spring when getting it out of storage, and then again in fall before you put it away for the year. Be prepared to handle any needed repairs during these inspection periods, and you will have less to worry about in the way of surprise RV roof leaks. In addition to inspecting the roof itself, you should also inspect the interior of the RV for signs of water intrusion, as well as the exterior siding for signs of bubbling or waves.

RV Roof Leaks

RV Roof Leaks

Not Maintaining Existing Seals

The roof of your RV is not solid. There are a number of protrusions – the air conditioning unit is mounted to the roof. You have several vents, and vent pipes protruding, as well. Each of those is a potential leak. Ideally, caulk and flashing around vents and AC units will help to prevent leaks, but those will deteriorate over time and if damaged. During your annual inspection, make it a priority to check all existing seals for flexibility and damage. If you notice that caulk is missing in some areas, has become brittle, or that flashing is damaged or missing, repair it quickly to prevent damage.

How to Prevent RV Roof Leaks

In most cases, preventing RV roof leaks is simple. You just need to reapply the EPDM rubber coating on top of your roof periodically. This can be done in just a few hours, and requires nothing more than a few basic tools. Of course, you can also hire a professional to handle it for you, and if you are not able to get on top of your RV to do the work, or you’re worried about safety should you get on the roof, then hiring a professional is the better option.