You’re pulling out of the dealer lot with your new Winnebago. You’re ready to make memories and go on adventures. The thought of replacing your roof in 15 years isn’t anywhere near your mind.
But this will come up as long as you’re an RV owner. And the cost is quite expensive.
Let’s take a look at a camper roof replacement so you’ll be prepared for when that day comes.
What Are the Different Types of RV Roofs?
You need to know what type of RV roof you have to ensure proper maintenance and care. Certain roofs require specific care, while others need less maintenance. You also don’t want to use the same products on a rubber roof that you would on an aluminum roof. Let’s look more closely at these four types of RV roofs.
EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer. It’s a membrane-type rubber. These roofs are usually the least expensive and easiest to install.
They’re also lighter, so they don’t add a lot of weight to the RV. Maintenance is fairly easy since it doesn’t dent, scratch, or scuff easily. One disadvantage of owning a rubber EPDM roof is its aesthetic.
It’s not a “pretty” finish. It also absorbs heat, which means more work to keep your RV cool in the summer months. And even though it doesn’t dent, scratch, or scuff, things can puncture it easily.
A rubber TPO roof means you have a camper roof replacement made from thermoplastic polyolefin. It’s also a cheaper roofing option. Because it’s white, it reflects heat well.
This means it’s also an energy saver since your heating and cooling systems won’t have to work as hard. However, this type of roof requires a laminate cover to protect it from cracks.
If it doesn’t have this cover, the roof seams can contract and expand more easily, thus causing cracks.
A fiberglass roof uses reinforced plastic. It’s lightweight, keeping down the overall weight of the RV. This type of roof is more durable, which results in fewer cracks and leaks and less maintenance.
But even though it’s durable, if something does happen to a fiberglass roof, it’s more expensive to repair. It’s fire-resistant and rust-resistant, but it’s not heat-resistant. If exposed to intense heat, the roof will split and require immediate repair.
There’s more maintenance required if you keep your RV in an area where it receives extensive sun exposure.
Just like an aluminum roof on a house, an RV aluminum roof is made of sheets of aluminum. This will be the loudest type of roof. You’ll hear the rain, hail, sticks, and acorns falling on the roof.
It’s strong, so you won’t have to worry so much about tree limbs piercing an aluminum roof. You also don’t have to worry so much about the maintenance process if installed correctly.
However, because aluminum doesn’t adhere to glue, you have to fasten it with galvanized nails. Leaks can also hide easily under aluminum because it maintains its shape. An aluminum roof is also not heat-resistant, so you’ll be consistently running those air conditioning units in warmer summer months.
How Much Does a Camper Roof Replacement Cost?
Your camper roof replacement cost depends on a few factors. First, the type of roof will affect cost. Second, the amount of roof you have to replace will affect cost since they calculate the cost per linear foot. Finally, labor and materials will always affect pricing.
What it costs in Arizona may not be what it costs in Maine. Generally, it’s $300-$325 per linear foot. So if you’re replacing the entire roof on a 36-ft rig, it will cost around $7,000-$12,000.
Also, consider that they could find more damage underneath the roof, which requires additional cost and repairs.
Pro Tip: Help your roof last longer by using quality roof sealant. Unsure which sealant is right for you? We got you covered with Which RV Roof Sealant Should You Use?
When Do Camper Roofs Need Replacing?
Sometimes you only need to do a partial replacement. However, if you’ve made repairs over the years and your roof has sustained damage or long-term wear and tear, it might be time to replace the whole thing. Over time, sun, wind, hail, and rain wear down the quality of your RV roof.
To prevent leaks and tears, it’s a good idea to consider a full camper roof replacement. Aluminum roofs may outlast the RV, but the other types of roofs will wear down over the course of 10, 15, or 20 years.
Even if it’s just one area with extensive damage, you’ll want to replace the entire roof.
Can You Replace a Camper Roof Yourself?
You can decide to do your camper roof replacement yourself. If you’re handy and know what to do, it could save you thousands of dollars in labor costs. Knowing the type of roof is the first step.
You’ll need the appropriate tools, like a razor knife, safety glasses, and acetone cleaner. Picking a quality sealant is also very important. Paying a professional to seal your roof could cost an additional $1,000-$2,000.
If you feel comfortable with your DIY skills, you can replace your camper roof yourself.
Pro Tip: Need to do a quick roof repair? These are 5 Simple RV Roof Repair Hacks.
Is Replacing Your Camper Roof Worth the Cost?
Don’t take this job lightly. Having a roof sealed improperly can cause water damage down the road. And water damage means more repairs and more money. You may find that paying a professional is worth the cost to ensure a complete job. You also might not have the tools or time to do it yourself.
Whether you do it yourself or pay a professional, you must take care of your RV roof. Proper maintenance can postpone a full camper roof replacement for years. Stay alert for broken seals and repair them quickly. Consistently get on your roof and walk around, looking for tiny holes or damage.
Repairing your camper roof will cost you thousands of dollars. If you travel often or live in your RV, taking care of your roof will save you from forking out the money for a camper roof replacement too soon. Roofs do wear out. They can’t last forever. Just like a sticks-and-bricks house needs a new roof every 20 years or so, your RV roof will require a replacement eventually. When you purchase an RV, you take on this responsibility. But proper maintenance will help you postpone this expensive repair.
So when was the last time you got up on your roof? Let us know in the comments below!
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