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.

How to Find a Roof Repair Specialist

While it would be great if we could repair all the issues that pop up with our RV over time, the fact of the matter is that sometimes it’s necessary to call in the professionals. It may be that you don’t have the necessary knowledge, the tools/equipment/material, or the time available to complete the job. Whatever your reason for calling in a RV Roof Repair specialist, there are some tips you can follow in order to ensure you find the best person for the job. Let’s take a closer look.

Word of Mouth

One of the best ways to find a specialist is to ask around. Ask your friends who own RVs who they can recommend and even who they may have had a bad experience with. You may want to actually contact a couple of different specialists and ask for references, just be sure to follow up and give those references a call.

Know What to Ask

Of course contacting references and asking family and friends is only helpful if you know what to ask. Be prepared and have a list of questions handy. Some of the questions you may want to ask are:

  • Was the work completed in a timely manner? Was it completed in the timeframe the specialist gave?
  • Was the final price the same as the price that was quoted?
  • Does that specialist offer any sort of customer satisfaction guarantee?
  • What kind of supplies does the specialist use? Top quality, or is it cheaper materials?
  • Is the specialist easy to contact so you can set up the appointment?
  • Does the specialist follow-up after the job is complete?

Having your questions handy will ensure you get the answers you need. You can almost treat it like an interview, and you are the one interviewing your friends/family about the specialist.

Get a Quote in Writing

Once you narrow down your list to a couple, a good idea is to have them come out and offer a quote on the job. Be sure to get that quote in writing so it can’t be forgotten or changed later on. The specialist should offer a free quote, if they don’t you may want to find someone who does.

The quote should contain not only the price of the job but also the timeframe needed, the labor that will be done, and even a list of materials if you want all the details. Ask how long the specialist will honor the quote for, as some offer that price for a limited timeframe only.

Do Some Research of Your Own

It’s also wise to do a little research of your own, this means taking a look at the problem so you can get an idea of just how extensive the damage may be. You can look into the ways in which this problem is usually repaired so you’ll know if the quote the specialist is giving you seems’ reasonable. Look into such things as how to fix an RV roof, materials used on RV roofs, etc.

How Roof Coatings Works for RV Roof

While we put a lot of thought and consideration into what we choose to coat the roofs of our homes with, we don’t always give this same consideration to our RV’s. So why don’t we? Our RV’s often take much of the same environmental beating as our homes: wind, rain, hail, snow, ice, frost, falling debris, humidity, drastic changes in temperatures, sun exposure, and more. So with all of that said it’s actually quite important to be aware of the different roof sealant available.

In this story we’ll take a look at the important things to consider with your roof coating for your RV, so that you can be sure to pick the best material for your needs, and climate.

Where Will You Use your RV?

One of the first questions you should ask yourself is where you plan on using your RV? Will you be driving across country in it, or sticking to more local places? In the same regard, where do you plan on parking it? Often RV parks are filled with trees, bushes, and shrubs. Although these are beautiful, parking under them can cause damage to your roof. You could end up with a puncture or tear. If you plan on spending time in parks with trees, you may want to consider a durable roofing option such as EPDM, which is a heavy-duty synthetic rubber roofing membrane.

What are the Climate Conditions?

Another important thing to consider is what kind of climate conditions you’ll be dealing with. Do you experience four seasons where you are, do you tend to have warm humid days all year round, or maybe you live in a very dry and hot environment. Depending on what the climate is, some RV roof sealants will be better and more durable than others.

The Aesthetics of the RV

Of course the aesthetics of your RV should also be a consideration. Maybe you don’t want the roof to be the first thing people notice. If that’s the case EPDM is again a great option because it comes in so many different neutral colors. Common colors include beige, white, various shades of soft greys, and soft blue. These colors tend to blend with the RV so they don’t pop and become the central focus.

The Lifespan and Durability of the Roof

Lifespan and durability should be a huge consideration for consumers. It can mean the difference between a roof that lasts 10 years, to one that lasts 20 years with the help of RV roof repair. Some roofing options are just more durable and resilient than others. You’ll want to have all of this information at your fingertips so you can make an informed decision.

The Cost Factor

And let’s not forget the issue of cost. For many people cost is usually the first priority, and choosing an option that is cost-friendly is key.

The Importance of Roof Sealants

One never knows when extreme weather conditions are going to strike, so choosing the proper roof sealant is essential in order to make sure that you are protected when that time comes. The proper roof sealant is necessary to protect both your roof and house from adverse weather events, depending on what region of the country you are in. A sealant is actually a viscous material that becomes a solid after it has been applied to any given surface. Upon solidifying, it effectively protects the roof from possible damage that can be caused by such elements as dust, smoke, air, gas, or water. Since your roof structure basically protects the entire home itself, it is easy to see how critically important your choice of sealant becomes. As sealants can come in various forms, such as tar, rubber, concrete, or paint, it is critical to use the variety that will provide the maximum opportunity to withstand pressure.

Stationary Homes

Homes that are stationary typically have a roof that is either sloping or flat. Both types can be sealed appropriately to guard against water leaks and any other outside elements that might tend to get into the home otherwise. The most common types of sealant available for stationary roofs are paints or liquids. They are easy to apply, can be used in abundance, and dry much faster than other types of sealants do. It is important to note that you cannot really apply too much of a liquid sealant, and it is often advisable to reapply it after a period of time has elapsed.

It is also possible to use a concrete sealant on a concrete home, as this provides a mixture of materials that are known to be highly durable and able to protect most surfaces from any type of physical harm that might come their way. Concrete can help keep away excess rainwater that might have a tendency to seep into the crevices of a roof, but it does require a waterproof coating to be applied to the sealant as well. This is to prevent materials present in the concrete from dissolving.

Mobile Homes

By their unique nature, mobile homes require a different type of sealant to be applied. Mobile homes are particularly susceptible to extreme weather conditions such as heat, rain, and wind. The heat alone can crack and peel apart a sealant that is applied incorrectly. Most manufacturers of mobile homes usually apply a sealant to the roof prior to passing it onto the owner, but it is still recommended that you put another coat on yourself. Such roofs are typically made of fiber and metal, so they are more sensitive to water and heat when compared to the roof on a stationary home. The most common types of sealants to apply on a mobile home, then, are paint, rubber, or any of a number of other adhesives that are water resistant. Remember, the proper sealant should be used and liberally applied in order to protect your mobile home.

Roofing Sealants for RVs: Your Best Choice

When it comes to selecting roofing sealants for your RV, the market is huge. There’s all sorts of materials and treatments out there that will seal out moisture from infiltrating the roof of your RV and ruining your good time while you’re out on the road. The truth is that there’s only one market leader that you should be using. It’s called liquid rubber, and it’s the closest thing to perfect as you’re ever going to get.

The Best of the Best

Not all roofing sealants are created equal. That doesn’t mean that other sealant products won’t keep the water out of your RV – they will, or they wouldn’t be offered for sale – but either the ease of applying these coatings is low or the length of time these coatings offer good weatherproofing protection is relatively short. Other roofing sealants like acrylic usually need to be re-applied every two or three years, but a liquid rubber coating is much more tough and resilient – it will easily last two to three times as long, and it’s about as hard to apply to the roof of your camper as a coat of paint.

The Science of Liquid Rubber

No, liquid rubber isn’t magic – though it certainly can seem that way. Instead, it’s science – molecular science to be exact. Liquid rubber’s scientific name is ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM for short) and it has the same waterproofing properties of other products but offers none of the drawbacks. Even before an application of liquid rubber dries, it’s already protecting whatever it’s been applied to even though it’s still wet. Once it dries, it’s nigh indestructible; a single coating has the potential to keep its protective qualities for as long as 10 years before it needs to be replaced. That’s just the liquid version of EPDM; the older, more traditional solid rubber membranes that have been used in roofing and construction since the 1970s can keep a commercial building safe from the elements for 30 to 50 years at a time!

The Best Roofing Sealant Around

There are plenty of unique chemical quantities to liquid rubber that makes it ideal for its use in roofing sealants. Its durability is one of the most noteworthy ones, but the reason it’s so tough is because it leaves other RV roof sealants in the dust with its capabilities. EPDM stays rubbery and flexible even in some of the worst temperature extremes on the planet in both directions, and it’s naturally resistant to damage done by both ozone and ultraviolet light. It also acts as an excellent way to increase the heat reflexive properties of whatever it’s applied to, which means that any RV that has a liquid rubber coating on its roof won’t end up turning into a sweltering hotbox in the summer months if you park it out in the sun.