When you buy an RV, chances are good that you’re thinking about things like fuel economy, engine performance, towing capacity, the number of beds and seats provided, and other considerations. It’s pretty unlikely that you’re thinking about the roof, or the possibility that it will leak. However, RV roof leaks are not uncommon, and they become much more likely as the roof ages. Here are some of the more common causes of RV roof leaks to bear in mind.
A number of vents, skylights and other elements actually pierce the roof of your RV. Where these meet the roof, you need to have a watertight seal. This is usually done with caulking. However, over time, caulking dries out. It can dry and shrink, pulling away from the very seams and edges it is meant to protect. If left untreated, it will eventually crumble away. It’s highly recommended that you reapply caulking once per year or so on the roof of your RV.
While not all RVs have them, roof racks are handy. They allow you to store extra items, extra equipment and more. However, because these are attached directly to the roof of the RV, there’s the potential for leaking over time. RV roof leaks from roof racks tend to be located around the screws that hold the rack to the roof, and usually coincide with caulking degradation or seal failure.
Most RVs have a ladder that grants you access to the top of the RV. While important and definitely more convenient than carrying a ladder with you at all times, the ladder’s mount points can become the source of RV roof leaks. There’s also the potential for leaks on the back of the RV where the ladder is located (where it attaches through the side to the frame).
One of the more common causes of RV roof leaks is damage to the roof itself. Falling tree branches are a good example of this, but such damage can be caused by any number of other things that come into contact with the roof. Even something with enough weight that just sits on the roof for an extended period can eventually cause damage.
The aging process, combined with exposure to the elements, will eventually weaken the roof of your RV all by itself. Over time, this can lead to leaks through damaged roofing material. Sunlight, freezing temperatures, and precipitation will all take their toll.
Repairing RV roof leaks can be a time-consuming process if left until the leak has caused significant damage. In a worst-case scenario, you might be looking at having the entire existing roof torn off, as well as damaged parts of the siding, and then replaced. It’s a better option to take a proactive stance and use a product like Liquid Roof to handle RV roof leaks while they are still relatively minor.