An essential part of your RV is the roof. Without an intact, dry roof, you could find yourself in a messy, expensive repair jam. Inspections are easy to do and provide an early warning system of sorts to potential problems. RV roof replacement is not for the squeamish, so consider the alternative. Go up on the roof every year, at least to look it over. Also, get up there and look around if you happen to run under an obstacle that bangs or scraps the roof. It’s easy to do, and all it takes is a ladder. Be extra careful before actually getting onto the roof, though. RV roofs may not support body weight. If your RV doesn’t have a ladder, then find a flat piece of wood to lay on the roof to distribute the load. Hopefully, all your RV will need is a proper washing.
The most common material used for roofs is rubber. Other materials used include vinyl, aluminum, and fiberglass. For a rubber roof, clean it at least four times a year or even more depending on where it’s parked. Don’t use solutions containing petroleum solvents or citrus on rubber or vinyl roofs. If you do, it can damage the surface and lead to interior water damage and even mold down the line, which can cause respiratory problems. It can also lead to structural issues if your RV is in a cold-weather area, and water has seeped into cracks caused by improper cleaners and then freezes.
RV roof replacement is something you can do yourself as long as the shell is still intact, even if it’s an old one. The first thing to do is clean the roof of dirt and old roofing material, but be careful not to puncture or tear the roof itself. You’ll need to contact your RV dealer to find the most compatible sealant for your roof. Pick up a roll of Eternabond, which is a universal crack and seam sealer fixer. Also suitable for leaks is rubberized leak stopper, which settles into cracks and crevices to make a permanent seal. Careful not to ruin your clothes when using it! Don’t forget to seal up anything sticking through the roof like vents and antennas. If you don’t, the water will leak in eventually. For a torn or ripped surface, you’ll need fiberglass repair tape.
You can put off RV roof replacement for a longer-term by buying an RV with a rubber roof. They’re rated to last up to ten years with proper cleaning and maintenance. Remember, that means no petroleum products. When replacing, use EPDM and Dicor coatings as they are considered most reputable. Dyco Flow Seal Caulk is available to seal up seams on a yearly maintenance schedule. Metal roofs were the original RV roofs and are still in use. Most coatings will suffice, but Kool Seal is the recommended brand. For structural repairs, Eternabond is the product of choice. It has similar attributes as duct tape but much better. Careful when applying as once it’s on, it won’t come off.
If you have a fiberglass roof, you may want to keep the shine going for as long as possible. To maintain the glossy finish, thoroughly clean the surface with water or for grease stains, use MEK or acetone, and wear thick gloves when handling. When applying the Gelcoat, use a circular motion and then buff after drying. If there is too much build-up of wax, use a de-waxer such as Toluene followed by rubbing compound.
Remember, vigilance is vital to a long-lasting and problem-free RV roof.