5 Simple RV Roof Repair Hacks
RV roof repair is one of the best skills you can learn for maintaining your RV. Damage to an RV roof is easy to overlook but one of the most critical elements of camper maintenance.
Rubber roofs have become the standard in the RV industry. This is fortunate because rubber roofs are relatively easy to repair. As a result, roof maintenance and repair is one of the easier RV skills to learn. We’ll walk you through the basics.
Let’s dig in!
DIY RV Roof Repair
Traveling in an RV for an extended amount of time, you’ve likely had to do some maintenance work. It comes with the territory. Being a “do-it-yourselfer” can help tide you over until you can get a professional repair. It can also be an easy way to save money.
5 Simple RV Roof Repair Hacks
We’re here to explain five simple, but effective RV roof repair hacks that you can do yourself.
#1 – Clean Roof to Remove Oil and Old Sealant
Before any RV roof repair, scrub the roof clean, then use a degreaser or solvent to remove any oil or grease. If you don’t remove grease, the new sealant won’t adhere.
Be careful in choosing the cleaning agents. Don’t use petroleum or citrus-based cleaners or harsh abrasives. These will damage a rubber RV roof. A mild laundry detergent or dish soap in warm water is generally sufficient. Even if you’re not prepping for a repair, and occasional cleaning can extend the life of your RV roof.
#2 – Eternabond Tape for Gouges and Tears
Eternabond tape is a long-lasting, easy repair for gouges or tears in an RV roof. Eternabond tape is made with resins and rubbers and infused with its own primer. It’s easily applied with a small roller that removes any air bubbles and presses the sealant into tears or cracks.
Eternabond is a go-to for RV roof repairs. It lasts for years and can also be painted over. A 4-inch wide, 50-foot roll costs about $50-$60 but is a great investment for quick repairs while on the road.
#3 – Lap Sealant for Sealing Gaps and Replacing Old Sealant
Lap sealant made for RV roof repair is the ideal material for sealing gaps and replacing old sealant. Silicone caulking commonly found in the hardware store is waterproof but dries out and shrinks rather quickly. Lap sealant is UV stabilized, so it remains pliable and watertight longer.
To repair a gap, clean it first, then fill it with self-leveling lap sealant. Be sure to fill the gap so that the lap sealant overlaps the gap’s edges, which will keep water out.
Even lap sealant, over time, can lose its effectiveness. When the sealant around the edges of the roof, vents, antenna bases, and the like looks shrunken or cracked, remove it with a scraper and replace it with fresh sealant. When removing old sealant, be careful to work around the edges until the sealant begins to loosen. You don’t want to damage your roof’s rubber membrane.
The best way to know when to replace sealant is to inspect it often. How often? If you think you may have scraped the roof with a branch or have any other reason for concern, get on the ladder and take a look. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to inspect your RV roof at least every six months.
#4 – Redoing Your Own Roof
If you’re fairly handy and safety minded, it’s not overly difficult to reseal your RV roof.
You’ll need enough tubes of lap sealant to make any repairs and to replace any old sealant that has seen better days. You can easily purchase lap sealant from an RV supply store, Amazon, or other online outlets. It typically costs around $10 to $12 a tube but can often be bought in multi-packs at a discounted price.
After making any repairs to your RV’s roof, it’s time to re-coat it with rubber. If you can paint with a roller, you can put a new rubber coating on your RV roof.
Once the roof is clean and the necessary repairs are made, apply the rubber roof paint with a roller. We recommend a roller with a long handle, so you don’t have to apply it while on your knees.
If the existing roof is chalky or has any exposed areas, it’s a good idea to apply two to three coats of new rubber roofing. If you’ve been keeping up with maintenance and the roof is just a bit dull, one coat will probably do the job.
Having a shop reseal and re-coat your RV roof can easily cost $1200 to $2000, depending upon the size of your RV. Most of that charge is typically from the labor. Doing it yourself can cut your outlay down to about one-quarter to one-third of the price of a professional shop.
#5 – Use Patches for Larger Areas
For larger gouges and tears in the roof, use a patch. Many manufacturers have patch kits that work well, but Eternabond and similar roofing tapes can also be used as patches.
Either of these options should hold you over until you get to the point that you can apply a new coat of roofing paint for a watertight RV roof repair.
DIY RV Roof Repair Saves Time and Money!
Most people who’ve been RVing for any amount of time have gotten used to the idea that they’ll at least occasionally have to rely upon themselves for maintenance and repairs. Doing it yourself is certainly helpful when traveling through areas where RV services aren’t readily available.
Water damage, for example, is one of the worst things when it comes to delaying RV maintenance and repair. It happens fast when there’s a problem with your roof.
Fixing the leak yourself can prevent or at least minimize water damage. Aside from that, there’s a certain satisfaction in doing things yourself. Plus, saving money is certainly a bonus side effect. So, you see, learning these simple RV roof repair hacks can not only save you money but also keep you warm and dry out on the road.
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