Installing A Rubber Roof On A Camper Using Mechanical Fasteners
What Causes A Camper Roof To Leak
One of the more common causes of RV roof leaks is damage to the roof itself. 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.
Prepare For The New Rv Roof Material
Now that youve removed the old leaky roof, its time to replace it. In the opposite order of removal, you now need to install a layer of plywood .
For those who have to replace the plywood, clean the insulation surface without taking off too much insulation so you get maximum adhesion. Depending on your RVs framing, you may want to use wood-to-metal self-tapping screws. In addition to screwing the wood to the frame, use a layer of high-quality adhesive to keep the wood bonded.
After youve installed the plywood sublayer, skim coat your wood to make the joints seamless with the existing roof.
Before you install the new roofing material, clean the entire surface of your RV roof before installing the seam tape. You can opt to follow the manufacturers instructions or apply the seam tape to all the joints on the RV roof.
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Removing The Old Roof
Now, its time to remove that old roof!
If you have an existing rubber roof, youll just have to use your putty knife and start scraping it up.
In some cases, RVs have metallic roofs. If youre dealing with a metal roof, be sure to wear protective clothing before you start using the shears or saw. Its wise to wear gloves for hand protection and additional layers of clothing to enhance your safety.
*Tip: Park your truck or dumpster next to your RV so you can throw the old roofing material right into it.
Does Insurance Cover Mold In Camper
Unfortunately, RV insurance usually does not cover mold inside the vehicle. Depending on the coverage you add, RV insurance can also cover damage to your RV and even damage to personal items inside the vehicle. But most RV insurance policies wont cover mold or similar issues, like rust and dry rot.
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How Long Does A Rubber Roof Last On A Camper
RV rubber roofs are relatively inexpensive, and they last an average of seven years. But if you want to get the most out of your RV roof investment, it is important that you maintain it properly with a yearly inspection.
When replacing the camper roof or repairing small cracks in the material, many people opt for a quick fix instead of investing more time and money into fixing their current one. The cost difference between these two options may be substantial depending on how big your camper is as well as its condition.
A quick fix might involve a spray-on rubber coating that is not designed to last as long. These types of quick fixes are usually a cheaper solution, but they need more frequent maintenance because the material becomes brittle and succumbs to leaks or cracks easier than if it was properly maintained with yearly inspections.
Replacing an RV roof entirely will take time and labor, but ultimately save you money in the future by protecting your investment from damages such as leaks or wear-and-tear. The process can be expensive without doing research beforehand about how much materials cost and what companies offer this service at competitive rates for your specific camper size.
A reputable company that offers a quality job installs new panels using heat-welded seams which prevents water seepage through the roofing material.
How To Tell When An Rv Rubber Roof Needs Replacement
Looking at the age of your camper is a good place to start. Many of the manufacturers of camper rubber roofing materials will have a 10-15 year warranty on their products.
You should expect at least that much out of both TPO and EPDM rubber camper roofs with the proper maintenance and storage.
But numbers dont necessarily mean that your RV roof is going to last as long as it should. If youve recently purchased a used camper you should always check the roof to see what kind of shape its in.
How It Looks
Visually, a rubber RV roof should have no wrinkles, no dark or brown areas that could mean sun or water damage, and you shouldnt be able to see a weaving pattern.
If you can see the weave of the bottom layer it means the rubber outer layer has worn off and a replacement is necessary.
Water leaks are another key sign that either the roof or the sealant is damaged or old. Usually, its the sealant that lets in water but if all of the seals seem watertight and theres still water getting in it might be the rubber roof to blame.
How It Feels
Something to feel for when you are on your camper roof is soft spots. Underneath the rubber roof membrane is a thin layer of plywood, foam, and then more plywood.
It usually has a little give but if you find spots where its weaker than other areas that could be a sign of rotted wood that has lost its integrity.
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Installing A Rubber Roof On A Camper Using Rivets
6. Finally, caulk all around the edges of the roof to ensure a tight seal.
No matter which method you choose, be sure to follow the instructions carefully. Also, be sure to allow the roof plenty of time to cure before using your camper.
How To Put Rubber Coating On Rv Roof
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Adding a rubber coating to an RV roof can help prevent weather damage to the material. With the right product and application, the camper roof will have extra resistance against heat, moisture, and/or other elemental hazards. But how can you apply rubber coating to your RV roof? We researched for you and found out the appropriate way to apply this product.
Cleaning will be the first step to a rubber coating application on an RV roof. Once the camper vehicles roofing is spotless, rig owners can proceed with the next steps:
Take note that you need to know the material of your RV roof before smearing rubber coating to an RV roof. Keep reading as we talk about the common materials used for camper and travel trailer roofing. Well also tackle the process of applying a rubber coating to an RVs roof in greater detail.
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Mounting Flexible Solar Panels On An Rv Rubber Roof
Mounting flexible solar panels is even easier. Use whatever adhesive is suggested for the product and stick it on the roof. No need for lag bolts or any screws. These adhesives have a very strong bond so once it is in place the panel will be very hard to remove.
A quick note about flexible solar panels. Because these panels are bonded on the roof, there is no gap between the module and roof. Ideally, air has to flow between a solar panel and RV roof to keep the temperature down. Contrary to popular myth, solar panels do not work better at hot temperatures, in fact performance will dip the hotter it gets as the voltage level goes down.
Modern flexible solar panels are designed to keep temperature around as low as possible. But be aware of the lack of air flow and how it can lead to overheating in certain situations.
Track Your Rv Maintenance And Repairs
Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but youll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.
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Whats The Easiest Way To Remove Eternabond Tape
EternaBond tape is very difficult to remove, which is part of the reason its one of the best camper roof sealants.
You may need to remove it at some point and your best friend is going to be heat.
Heat makes the adhesive soft which loosens it and makes it possible to pull up. Combining heat with a razor to cut any stubborn strands that dont want to release makes EternaBond removal a lot easier.
One great way to soften it up is to let it sit out in the hot sun for a day and start removing the sealant tape in the evening. You can also use a heat gun or hairdryer to keep it hot.
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Once the tape part is removed there will be some gray adhesive leftover. If you will be reapplying Eternabond tape or even lap sealant to the area you just need to keep it clean and you can apply the new sealant over the top.
If you want it completely gone its going to take some work, especially if your RV has a soft rubber roof.
You dont want to scrape too hard and damage the soft roof membrane.
Keep the adhesive warm and loose while you scrape it away. Turpentine works pretty well on EternaBond adhesive and will help you get the stubborn leftovers off.
You may not be able to get 100% of the adhesive off but most of it should be removed at this point. Its much easier to remove from a hard and smooth surface like aluminum, fiberglass, or glass but the process of heat and scraping is the same.
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How To Maintain Your Rubber Roof
Rubber roofs do require more maintenance than fiberglass or aluminum roofs, although fiberglass and aluminum roofs also require proper cleaning, visual inspections and repairs are more expensive.
Soft-soled shoes should be worn when walking on the roof of your RV or camper to clean or make a close visual inspection. Harsh, abrasive cleaners, products with petroleum distillates, or citrus ingredients should not be used to clean either an EPDM or TPO roof.
Maintaining a EPDM Rubber Roof
EPDM roofs should be cleaned every few months to keep the roof under warranty. The hotter and more humid your climate is, the more frequent the cleaning and conditioning should take place. Start by sweeping loose debris from the roof. With a bucket of water and a sponge mop, mop the roof. Some campers recommend dishwashing detergents. Dicor makes a product for cleaning rubber roofs if preferred. Make sure that your cleaning product does not have petroleum distillates.
After mopping, rinse thoroughly with a hose. You can choose to cover the sides of the RV or camper with plastic before you rinse, to avoid black streaking down the sides which will save you work later on.
Inspect the rubber roof for cracks and pin-sized holes which will allow water to leak into the wood structure. Check the edges of the barrier. Look for any areas where the self-leveling sealant might be lifting away. If so, remove as much as you can and replace with self-leveling sealant in a caulking gun.
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How Much Does Rv Armor Roof Cost
How much does RV armor cost? Direct from the company, a new RV armor roof costs about $140 per linear foot with a minimum cost of $3,650. That may be a steal given the fact that RV Armor guarantees its news roofs for life. To learn more about RV Armor roofs and their costs, etc., just keep reading our article.
One: Remove The Metal Roof
Before you can install a rubber roof, youll have to take off the old one. If your RV already came with a rubber roof, then youll have a much easier time, since all you have to do is peel that one off.
If you are removing a metal roof, make sure to work slowly and carefully. Its easy to cut yourself on the sharp edges of both the tools and the metal itself, so wear thick gloves and extra layers of clothing to be safe.
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Installing A Rubber Roof On A Camper Using An Adhesive
How Much Does A New Rv Roof Cost
The cost of replacing an RV roof will be around $300-$325 per linear foot. If your RV is 36 feet long, it would cost between $7,000 and $12,000 to replace the roof of your RV. As we told you in our article on RV roofing types, there are several types of RV roofing materials. Click here to read the article.
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How To Install Rubber Roof On Camper
How to replace RV roof isnt very complicated you can find it explained here in 7 steps. All you need to do is to remove the old roof, clean up the deck, and adhere the new roof with adhesive. Its best to do it in sections. There are a few other extra things you need to do before and after, such as removing any vents and then reinstalling them afterward.
You may want to get an RV rubber roof replacement kit, as it would have a lot of things thatll help you out.
Lets go into further detail, step by step, on how to install a rubber roof.
How To Install A Rubber Roof On A Camper
The roof of your RV is one of its most integral features.
Its the main component protecting you from the harsh elements outdoors: fog, dust, sandstorms, rainstorms and more.
This is why having a high-quality rubber roof on your recreational vehicle is of utmost importance.
If youve never done a rubber roof installation on your camper, this step-by-step guide highlights everything you need to get the job done quickly and done right!
And feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions!
- Putty knife
- Metal shears or saw
Although you can sand manually, we recommend using an electric sander. This will save you multiple hours of wearisome hand-sanding and scraping, especially if you have a medium to large camper. If you dont have this tool, consider borrowing or renting one from a friend or neighbor.
Also important to note is that if your recreational vehicle is already equipped with a rubber roof, then theres no need for shears. The only time you need shears is if youre removing an old metallic roof before installing the rubber one.
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