RV Maintenance 101: Calculating Your RV Roof Reseal Cost

RVs are a unique creation: part vehicle, part living space, and all of it requires routine maintenance and care that can be quite different from that of a car or a permanent structure. Even mobile homes, which are often similar to RVs in roofing materials and styles, still use different products and materials. That’s why the first step on your RV maintenance checklist should be to educate yourself on the proper materials and methods for handling things like the roof of your RV.

Resealing an RV roof is a standard part of maintenance that can give your roof years of additional life. Those who have EPDM rubber roofs don’t need to worry about this process because EPDM roofs are maintenance-free when applied correctly, aside from the occasional washing. Over time, however, it may be necessary to fill in cracks, replace worn or damaged seals, or even reseal the entire roof for a fresh start. The cost of the process will vary significantly, depending on a number of factors.

Do It Yourself to Save

Professional RV shops and dealerships do provide a number of maintenance services, including resealing. However, most places will charge over $1,000 for the job, with larger RVs requiring an estimated $1,500 to $2,000 for a full reseal. You can cut your RV roof reseal cost significantly by doing the work yourself. If you have the time, the tools and materials that you need are reasonably affordable on their own. Keep in mind that with the estimated costs provided here, the majority of the charge is in labor (many shops and dealerships charge $80-$100 per man hour). Doing the work yourself can cut the bill down to about 1/3 of what they charge.

How Big is Your RV?

As mentioned above, the larger the RV, the larger the cost of maintenance services like resealing. Even if you do the work yourself, your RV roof reseal cost is going to be affected by how big of a roof you have to reseal. Also factored into this is the style of RV roof you have, as well as how many fixtures are on it. If you’re dealing with a vent, air conditioner, satellite dish, skylight, and every other possible roof fixture, you are going to spend a lot more time and money on the sealing process, regardless of who does the work.

Don’t Cheap Out

Keep in mind that you get what you pay for with RV resealing, as with any professional service. This is a laborious process that involves removing all of the old sealant. That part can take hours, because a careful hand is required to remove the caulk or adhesive without damaging the fixtures or the roof itself. Remember that while a quote might seem expensive, these people really are putting in a lot of work.

On the same hand, when you do the work yourself, you have to do it right. You could save a lot of time by just caulking over the old seals, but that isn’t doing anyone any favors. All that will do is make it even harder to scrape and prep whenever you finally do get around to resealing the entire RV roof. You might spend 15 or 20 hours prepping and resealing your own roof, but you can save a fortune on labor costs and know that the job is done right.

There are a lot of elements that go into determining the average RV roof reseal cost. Materials, the size of your RV, and who is doing the work are going to have the biggest impact. Be sure to ask around and find out what others in your area are spending, and how they are saving, by making the most of DIY roof resealing.

Why More RV Owners are Considering Liquid Roofing

Rubber has been used as a roofing material for RVs for over 25 years. It provides a durable, flexible surface that can add strength to the seals around seams and fixtures, and it is much more affordable and easy to install than other roofing materials. To increase the benefits and convenience of this material, EPDM liquid roofing was developed. This liquid possesses all the qualities of EPDM sheeting membranes, but when it dries it provides a more flexible, durable finish.

Liquid Roofing Dries White

Although choosing a roof material is about more than aesthetics, it does matter. In fact, it matters a lot to many RV owners who avoid rubber roofing because they assume that it will be black. Not only is this not as visually appealing on a white or off-white RV, but it can attract more heat and doesn’t offer as much energy efficiency, despite its strong, durable sealing power.

However, liquid roofing products have been uniquely formulated for this exact reason. The formula goes on as a black liquid, but as it dries and cures, it turns white. The white finish will reflect heat and harmful UV rays, and offer a better-looking finish on RVs of a similar color scheme.

Liquid Roofing Offers Full Protection

Liquid EPDM is engineered to protect your RV from more than just UV rays. In fact, this product can resist ozone elements, freezing and extreme heat, snow, acids and alkalis, and even saltwater. No matter what climate you live in or where you take your RV, you can trust that your roof will be better protected with a liquid product than other roofing materials. Plus, the liquid will get into every single crevice and crack on your roof, ensuring a watertight seal across the entire surface.

In case that isn’t enough, liquid roofing has self-leveling properties. While you do have to spread it during application, you don’t have to worry about getting it perfectly even. It will finish leveling out as it dries, giving you a flat surface that won’t be prone to pooling water and other potential damage or leaks as a result of an uneven application.

DIYers Love the Easy Application

If you’re looking for a weekend project for your RV, a new roof or roof coating could be a great choice. With liquid roofing, it’s as easy to apply the coating as it is to paint a wall. Using a brush, roller, or squeegee, you can apply the liquid product in a short amount of time and let it air dry for a full cure in less than 24 hours. Plus, this convenient material can be applied to almost any surface. So long as the surface is clean, liquid roof can be applied to:

  • Fiberglass
  • Sheet Rubber
  • Fabric
  • Plywood
  • Metal or Aluminum

The liquid roof will cure to a flexible finish on any of these surfaces, providing optimal protection and easy application regardless of your existing roof material.

The Bottom Line: The Bottom Dollar

Perhaps the most popular reason that people choose this option for their RV is how cost-effective it is when compared to other roofing options. The cost of replacing your roof can vary significantly depending on a number of factors, but you can typically expect to pay a repair shop around $300 per linear foot to replace other types of RV roofing.

Liquid roofing, on the other hand, can be done in a matter of hours by anyone with basic painting skills. A gallon of liquid EPDM ranges from $50-$100, and will cover as much as 45 square feet. Depending on the size of your RV, you can get the job done for a couple hundred bucks over the course of a weekend.

Are You Planning on Doing RV Roof Waterproofing?

The weather is starting to get nice and you’re beginning to get the itch. It’s time to get the RV ready for another season of camping. You always perform a thorough inspection before and after each season, and today, you noticed that the roof is looking a little rough. It’s been years since you’ve done anything to the roof, so maybe it’s time to do some RV roof waterproofing. What’s the first step?

Are You Planning on Doing the RV Roof Waterproofing Yourself?

The first thing that you’re going to want to consider is whether you’re comfortable going up onto the roof and doing the work yourself. There’s no shame in hiring a competent roofing professional to do the job for you. Most of them are insured and will guarantee their work, and because the area of an RV roof is relatively small, the cost of hiring someone shouldn’t be too high. Many of them will allow you to supply the materials, so you can shop around and take advantage of sales promotions, further reducing your costs. If you do decide to do the job yourself, please be careful! Falling from the roof of an RV can cause serious injury or even death. RV roof waterproofing is not a complicated process and can usually be done on a weekend, weather permitting.

Which Waterproofing Sealant to Choose

When choosing an RV roof waterproofing material, there are a number of factors to consider, such as the material that your roof is made of and how you use your RV. Most RV roofs are made from either metal, fiberglass or EPDM synthetic rubber, so be sure to choose a waterproofing material that will work on your unit. Liquid rubber sealants work effectively on most RV roof surfaces, which makes them a popular choice for do-it-yourselfers. You may not think that the way in which you use your RV is a factor when choosing an RV roof waterproofing material. If your unit is parked at a camp ground year round, a liquid rubber sealant will give you the protection that you need. An RV that is constantly moving around will require a liquid roof material because it will better tolerate movement.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

An RV roof waterproofing material will adhere well only if the underlying surface has been thoroughly cleaned, so it’s time to get out the bucket and brush. Before washing the roof, sweep or blow off all of the debris and loose material. You can wash the surface with warm soapy water; ordinary soaps should work fine. Scrub the roof well with a brush, removing all dirt and mildew. Next, rinse it thoroughly; you can use a pressure washer or garden hose. If you can’t seem to get the results that you want with regular soaps, there are cleaners specifically designed to clean RV roofs. Some detergents can leave a film behind which will keep the rubber sealant from adhering properly, so the point about rinsing thoroughly can’t be over-stated.

Applying the Sealant

It’s probably taken hours to sweep and clean the roof’s surface and now you’re ready to apply the sealant. Some people don’t do the work themselves because they think that it will be too difficult. The reality is, if you can paint a wall, you can seal your RV roof. Start by applying the sealant around the vents with a brush, and then do the rest of the roof with a medium nap roller. Let it dry and you’re ready for a summer of fun. Happy camping!