What You Should Know about RV Roof Coatings

What would you say is the most critical part of your RV? Is it the engine? Maybe it’s the HVAC system. Perhaps it’s the size of the fresh water and waste water tanks. All of these are certainly important, but the roof is even more so. If the roof is in good shape and prevents water from leaking in, you’ll enjoy a comfortable trip no matter where you might be bound.

However, if the roof is aging, or already suffers from leaks, it’s a different story. RV roof coatings can be used to breathe fresh life into your existing roof, sealing leaks and giving you years more enjoyment out of the vehicle. Of course, they’re not all the same.

Compatibility with the Existing Roof Material

One of the most important considerations when comparing RV roof coatings is compatibility with the original material used to construct the RV’s roof. Manufacturers use several different materials, and not all coating products are compatible with each type. While you have plenty of options, Liquid Roof is one of the few that can be applied to just about any existing roofing surface with a little bit of prep work.

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When Does It Become Waterproof?

One of the most widely used RV roof coatings in the industry is a liquid acrylic elastomer product. Lightweight and relatively durable, these products offer some benefits. However, they are not immediately waterproof. This means that any exposure to moisture during or right after application can cause serious problems. Liquid Roof does not have this issue, and is waterproof as soon as it is applied to the roof of your RV.

Strength and Durability

It is important to realize that while you can find a broad range of RV roof coatings on the market, not all of them offer the same strength and durability. You’ll need to make sure that the product you choose offers good resistance to standing water/ponding, and that it is able to hold up well to the following:

  • Freezing temperatures
  • Severe precipitation
  • High heat
  • Direct sunlight
  • UV exposure

Does It Shrink?

Some RV roof coatings on the market are applied easily enough, but they shrink as they cure. This can complicate matters, meaning that you need to apply more of the product than you would with another option. Liquid Roof does not shrink as it cures, ensuring that the areas to which it is applied remain protected even after it has finished drying. It can also be applied in just a single layer (called a ply), which reduces the amount you must use.

Flexibility Is Important

Finally, make sure that any UV roof coatings you’re considering maintain their flexibility after they have dried. Liquid Roof maintains its flexibility, but other products can become stiff and brittle after curing. This makes them much more easily damaged, and can reduce the lifespan of your roof.

As you can see, Liquid Roof is one of the best options for anyone considering RV roof coatings to repair or replace their existing roof.

How to Check Your RV for Leaks

Water damage to your motorhome can cost thousands of dollars to repair. Prevention is simple, you think, right? Once you see water dripping through into the interior, you get up on the roof, apply some Liquid Roof to the trouble spot, and all is well again. Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple.

When a leak develops on your RV roof, the water may travel unnoticed in the area between the roof and the ceiling, dripping down into the walls and causing damage which may not be detected until you’ve got a very expensive problem on your hands. Inspecting the roof isn’t enough – you’ve got to go through the entire motorhome to see if there are any areas which show signs that water is getting in. Then you’ll be able to trace it back to the source and treat the roof with liquid roof to prevent further problems.

How to look for water damage in your RV:

Inspect the roof – Visually inspect all the seams, flashing, and areas around protrusions like antennae for cracked or damaged caulking and other gaps as well as soft spots or discoloration. Any problem areas can be cleaned and fixed with repair tape and liquid roof.

Check inlets – Examine the areas where the furnace, shower, water inlet, etc. come into the inside of the RV and make sure there are no signs of water damage.

Inspect the walls – Check for soft spots, discoloration, or wrinkles on the walls, particularly around doors, windows, slide-outs, and vents.

Inspect inside cabinets – Pay special attention to the area where the top inside corners of the cupboards meet the ceiling.

Check the cab-over – This area is often vulnerable in Class C motorhomes. Be sure to feel underneath the mattress for any soft spots.

Check for delamination – Stand at one end or the other on the outside of the RV and see if there are any ripples or irregularities in the shape of the fiberglass along the sides. This can be an indication that water has gotten between the outside of the motorhome and the walls.

Don’t forget storage – Inspect the insides of the exterior storage compartments for signs of water damage.

Once you’ve conducted a thorough inspection of your RV, you’ll need to address any issues by locating the source of the leak so that you can repair the roof damage with liquid roof.

In order to locate the leak, you can have an RV shop perform a smoke test, or you can conduct an air pressure test at home. This is achieved by blocking all vents and other places where air can escape and creating a pressurized environment inside the motorhome using fans or other equipment. You then apply bubble solution to the suspected problem areas on the roof to see if bubbles form.

Once you find the problem, liquid roof can be used to create a waterproof seal. Liquid roof – or EPDM – can be used for patching, or to apply a new surface to the entire roof. Just be sure to check the instructions to make sure you have a kind of liquid roof which is compatible with your roof material.