Should You Perform DIY RV Roof Repair?

When you own an RV, you should take the time to learn how to maintain and perform at least some repairs on your own. When you know how to take care of at least the basics, you will find increased confidence in your own abilities to keep your vehicle running and in good shape. You should learn how to do some basic engine repair, how to check the tire pressure and add fluids. You might also want to learn more about RV roof repair, just in case.

Having something go wrong with the roof of your RV is one of the worst things that could possibly happen to your RV. A leaky roof means damage as soon as it starts to rain, so you want to find and eliminate these problems as quickly as you possibly can. Fortunately, when it comes to RV roof repair regarding things such as leaks, it is easier than you might imagine.

Liquid Roof

Using Liquid Roof

One of the best ways to take care of a leaky RV roof is with Liquid Roof. This is a liquid material that you can paint onto your roof. It is essentially a barrier or membrane that will keep out the water to protect you from leaks. It goes on very easily, and this is one of the RV roof repairs you can do on your own without much trouble at all.

Before you apply the product though, be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow them. You will need to clean off your entire roof. Remove the dirt and debris. If you have an RV that has a few rust spots on the roof, it is a good idea to use a wire brush on these spots to remove the surface rust. Clean it off before adding the Liquid Roof. This way, it will have a much easier time of adhering to the roof.

For the actual application of the EPDM, you can use paint rollers and brushes. Apply it in an even coat. One of the nice things about the product is it will continue to cure even if the weather turns nasty and wet, so long as it is above 55 degrees F. Make sure you check the weather before you apply the product though, as it will cure faster when it is nice out.

Some other types of RV roof repair are simple enough for DIYers as well. Replacing flashing and vents, for example, tends to be easy and you can find instructions and tutorials that can guide you through the process.

When You Need the Professionals

Even though there are many different types of RV roof repair you can do on your own, if the roof has some serious damage, you will want to get in touch with the professionals. It will eliminate the chance of you doing something to the roof that could damage it further. They can provide you with the help you need when it comes to keeping your roof in good shape.

RV Roof Repair Coatings Offer Cost Effective Fixes

As your RV starts to get a bit older, you might start to see some more wear and tear around the vehicle. So long as you are willing to keep up with the repairs and maintenance for the vehicle though, it can last you a long time. Since you love the sense of freedom that the RV gives you, it makes sense that you would want to keep your RV in great shape. One of the ways that you can do that is with RV roof repair coatings, such as Liquid Roof. It provides your roof with the protection it needs.

What Are the Benefits?

Consider how much effort and money would be involved if you had to replace your entire roof. Even on a small RV, this is a huge hassle. Many people would rather get rid of the vehicle than go through all of that. Fortunately, this is where the RV roof repair coatings can help. You can fix some of the larger damaged areas on the roof, and then you can add the coating.

The coating is a very cost effective option. The product itself is affordable, and you do not have to pay the professionals to install if for you. Instead, you can roll up your sleeves and do it yourself. It goes onto the roof very easily and is like applying paint. Once it is applied and dries, it creates an impermeable membrane. You no longer need to worry about leaks unless the roof later suffers some catastrophic damage.

Apply Correctly

Of course, if you are going to add the RV roof repair coatings, you need to do it the right way if you want the full protection they can offer. Always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. These should supersede other instructions that you might find online or elsewhere. The manufacturers created the product, so they know the best way to apply it.

One of the things you always need to do before applying the RV roof repair coatings though is to clean the roof. You need to remove all the debris, grit, grime and dust if you want the coating to adhere correctly. You will only need to have a single coat of the material, and you want to be sure you are applying it evenly. You can do this with a paint roller and brushes, so you do not have to worry about spending a lot of money on equipment.

Danger of Not Acting

If you do not take good care of your roof and you are not vigilant when you see a leak, it will mean larger problems down the road. Leaks in your RV can damage the ceiling, the walls, the furnishings, cabinetry and more in the RV. In addition, mold can grow and create a terrible scent, not to mention an unhealthy environment. If you see a small crack now, do not ignore it thinking it is too small to fix and not worthy of your time. That crack will grow and cause more problems and it will take a long time to fix.

The Most Common Causes of RV Roof Leaks

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.

Leaking Caulk

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.

Roof Racks

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.

Ladder Mounts

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).

Physical Damage

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.

Aging

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.

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.

RV

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.