Materials Youll Need To Repair A Fiberglass Rv Roof
If you want to restore the gloss of your fiberglass RV roof, youll first need to clean it thoroughly. You can use warm water with a sponge for cleaning and then allow it to dry for some time. If you want to achieve the best results, the surface of your fiberglass RV roof needs to be free from any grease or oil.
Silicone sealants work best. I also recommend placing a gel coat over it once youre done.
How To Remove A Rubber Roof Membrane
- Written by Brandi Grays on Jan 17, 2010To ensure our content is always up-to-date with current information, best practices, and professional advice, articles are routinely reviewed by industry experts with years of hands-on experience.Reviewed by
A rubber roof membrane is an essential part of any successful rubber roofing job. However, if you want to change the style of your roof, youll have to remove the rubber roof membrane. This can be achieved rather easily and without much expense on your part. You will only need a few readily available tools.
One thing to consider before performing the tear-off is the way that the roof was initially installed. The following procedure will guide you through the tear-off of a roof that was applied with liquid or latex adhesive. If your rubber roof was nailed down you will need to have a hammer available to remove nails. If staples were used, you will have to be able to remove them as well. Dont worry, however, rubber roofing is the easiest to remove and doesnt require a professional.
Step 1Check the Weather
It is easiest to remove the rubber membrane when the rubber is warm. When the rubber is cold it can become rigid and stiff. If it is at all possible you should wait for warm weather to remove the membrane. Check the forecast to determine the best time to begin the project.
Step 2Cut the Rubber Membrane
Step 3Remove the Membrane
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How To Inspect Your Roof For Holes
No matter what roofing material your RV uses, its very important to regularly inspect your RV roof for leaks, cracks and degrading or damaged sealants. Many RV manufacturers recommend checking all seals every 30-90 days. Catching holes and potential leaks early is the key to minimizing repair time and costs.
If your RV doesnt have an attached ladder, youll need a way to gain access to your RVs roof, such as a folding step ladder, or a collapsible extension ladder. Once you get up there, do a broad visual sweep of the surface, looking for scuffs, rips, tears, or dents, followed by a detailed inspection of every potential source of leaks.
Of course, you should only go up onto your RVs roof if youre comfortable that you can be safe up there. If youre not physically able to climb up there, then dont. And be especially careful if your roof is wet so that you dont slip and fall off!
A quick check of the sealant around vents, fans, solar panels, air conditioners, and antennas every 30 days or so keeps our RV roof in great condition, avoiding potentially costly leaks. This Dicor sealant has cracked severely enough that it could easily be allowing water to penetrate through the roof and needs to be cleaned and re-sealed.
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Patching A Large Area On A Rubber Rv Roof
Clean the damaged area with soapy water and allow to dry. Determine if you have a rubber roof. Repair of metal and fiberglass roofing is handled in the next section.
Apply splice cleaning solution to the damaged area and allow to dry.
Measure the damaged area and cut a piece of rubber roof membrane large enough to extend 3 inches past the area in all directions.
Apply a base coating of rubber roof adhesive to the damaged area, extending 3 inches past the damage in all directions. Allow to dry.
Apply a second coat of roof adhesive to the damaged area, covering the first coat completely. Apply a coat of adhesive to the membrane patch.
Place a patch over the damaged area. Go slow and smooth out the membrane as you apply the patch. Once contact is made between the membrane and roof, the membrane cannot be moved.
Repeat Steps 1 through 6 for very large repairs, overlapping the membrane material by 3 inches. Seal all seams and edges with lap sealant to complete the repair. Allow to sit for at least two hours before driving the RV.
They Require Just One Coat
Roof repair coatings made with EPDM can be applied with just a single coat, just a few mil thick. That offers a number of benefits. First, it ensures that just a little bit of liquid EPDM can go a very long way. In fact, a single gallon can cover up to 200 square feet. Second, it means that you spend less time resealing your roof. Of course, it also helps you save money, too.
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Does My Camper Or Rv Have A Rubber Roof
When deciding to take a look at my rubber roof on my camper to see if any repairs were needed, I wondered why rubber roofs are becoming more common on campers and RVs. It turns out there are several reasons. Rubber roofs are cheaper to maintain or repair, have low weight, are less slippery, and less likely to have weather damage.
If you own an RV or camper, you may be wondering which type of roof you have. In short, aluminum and fiberglass roofs are hard. Fiberglass tends to be solid but is not metallic while aluminum is definitely metallic. Vinyl kind of looks and feels like rubber, but if you try to pinch it, it wont pinch up. If your roof isnt fiberglass, aluminum, or vinyl, then its probably rubber.
But there are also 2 main types of rubber roof and they require different maintenance. There are ways to tell which type of roof you have and what maintenance you need to complete on the rubber roof of your RV.
Rubber roofs are low weight and dont cost as much. They are also the newer type of roofing for campers and RVs. In fact, campers report that RV repair shops often replace damaged fiberglass roofs with rubber. A rubber roof is less expensive to replace, while replacing a fiberglass roof could run into thousands of dollars. A TPO rubber roof might cost only a few hundred dollars to replace. A well-maintained rubber roof will last for years.
Recoat The Roof Surface
At some point during your RVs life, you will probably need to recoat the roof. This is a protective layer that covers the roofing material almost like paint.
Over time, the coating becomes chalky and may wear off. Although this is normal, its a clear sign that its time to recoat the roof.
The coating is important because it helps to increase the waterproof and weatherproof capability of the whole roof.
Be sure to keep in mind that you might need a specific type of coating depending on the type of roof material you have.
One method of recoating is an RV liquid roof, which is an EPDM coating that you paint onto the roof of your camper.
The liquid roof costs almost $90 per gallon, which covers about 42 square feet. For our 30-foot by 8 ½ foot camper example, wed need about six gallons to cover the roof.
You can save if you buy the material in larger quantities, such as four or five-gallon pails.
Once dry, the liquid roof barrier protects it from UV rays from the sun and also adds weatherproofing to block moisture and slow wear-and-tear from the elements.
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How To Repair An Rv Fiberglass Roof
Fiberglass RV roof repairs are a little more involved because of the material. When fixing a puncture or tear, you should be instructed in safety first wear a mask, as fiberglass and lungs dont get along with one another. You may need to dig a bit of the fiberglass out of a hole to patch it, so be prepared.
If your repair is deep or rather broad, you will need an Epoxy Kit to fill in the area and some fiberglass tape. To complete your RV roof repair, layer a piece of fiberglass tape, then epoxy, and let dry. Repeat with the necessary number of layers to fill in the hole. Then sand and paint the area to match the existing roof.
You can use Diseal patches or Dicor tape for smaller RV roof repairs, just as they are used on rubber roofs. Or consider using Eternabond, a tape that is a micro sealant that can make any surface waterproof. It is heavier than Dicor repair tape, but it is not difficult to apply. However, once the backing is removed, it immediately sticks in place, so make sure youve put the tape exactly where you want it!
Rubber Roof Is Not Glued Down
artmart said:nope. What year is this trailer? This is not common and occurs on some brands and you can blame whoever put it together. This can also be caused by a low branch that caught the front of the roof as you or the prior owner was driving away.
and it sometimes works loose and causes bubbles
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Materials Needed For An Rv Roof Repair
You only need a few items to repair your camper roof.
As you can see, you dont need to purchase many materials and they are relatively inexpensive. We had everything on hand already except for the Dicor Lap Sealant and the Eternabond tape which cost us less than $45 total.
Much cheaper than taking our RV to the shop for repairs or even an RV roof replacement!
Camper Roof Repair Step 1
Welcome to my RV Renovation Series! So you want an RV but cant afford one. If youre like me and have more time than money, then perhaps your best option is to buy an old RV and fix it up. If you happen to find a really good deal, then chances are it has water damage. All old RVs do! Time to consider an RV roof repair!
I know, an RV roof replacement can seem like an impossibly difficult task. I get it. I bought my RV over a year ago and didnt have the guts to start tackling this task until today. But Im here to tell you, if I can do it, you can do it. Can I actually do it? Stay tuned and find out!
I bought this 1993 Jamboree for $5000. It has only 55,000 miles and all the appliances work and I love the layout. The catch? Water damage! Ive never worked on an RV before and I have to admit, Im scared. Ive done a lot of house remodeling and Im still scared. Thats because this is all new to me and I have no idea what to expect. Hopefully if youre considering doing this yourself, following along on my RV roof replacement project will give you the courage to dive in!
Steps Covered Today:
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How Can Your Rv Roof Get Holes
Unless your RV is stored indoors, your RV roof is constantly exposed to varying climates and weather conditions. The ever-changing environment can cause caulking and seals to expand and contract repeatedly, which can eventually lead to holes, cracks or gaps in the roof.
Holes can also occur when youre on the move. A tree branch might scrape and puncture the rooftop if you were to underestimate the height of a tree limb, for example. This type of accident can easily occur and can cause significant damage to an RV roof.
RV roofs can be damaged by falling limbs or branches, or by the degradation of sealants over time and weather exposure. This is why its so important to regularly check the condition of your RVs roof.
Tree damage can also occur when youre sitting still. Anytime you park your RV under a tree, you risk damage. High winds, lightning, or a trees advanced age can cause branches or entire limbs to drop. If your RV happens to be parked there at the time, your RV roof could sustain extensive damage.
Lap Sealant For Sealing Gaps And Replacing Old Sealant
Lap sealant made for RV roof repair is the ideal material for sealing gaps and replacing old sealant. Silicone caulking commonly found in the hardware store is waterproof but dries out and shrinks rather quickly. Lap sealant is UV stabilized, so it remains pliable and watertight longer.
To repair a gap, clean it first, then fill it with self-leveling lap sealant. Be sure to fill the gap so that the lap sealant overlaps the gaps edges, which will keep water out.
Even lap sealant, over time, can lose its effectiveness. When the sealant around the edges of the roof, vents, antenna bases, and the like looks shrunken or cracked, remove it with a scraper and replace it with fresh sealant. When removing old sealant, be careful to work around the edges until the sealant begins to loosen. You dont want to damage your roofs rubber membrane.
The best way to know when to replace sealant is to inspect it often. How often? If you think you may have scraped the roof with a branch or have any other reason for concern, get on the ladder and take a look. Otherwise, its a good idea to inspect your RV roof at least every six months.
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What To Use For Rv Rubber Roof Repair
RV Roof Patch Kit
I recommend always having something on hand thats made for RV rubber roof repair. Whether its an RV roof patch kit or sealant tape.
If you dont have either of those things even some RV sealant could be used as a temporary fix. But you should replace it with a proper RV roof patch later.
Many full-time RVers, including me, recommend EternaBond Roof Seal Tape for RV rubber roof repairs and even resealing, which Ill talk more about later.
EternaBond repair tape has been around for a while. Many RVers have put this stuff to the test and the feedback has been super positive. Ive used it myself and my camper roof hasnt had any leaks yet.
Using whats called MicroSealant EternaBond can adhere to pretty much any surface, that includes TPO and EPDM rubber RV roofs.
Its super durable as well, the company claims it can last 18-35 years. So far that seems to be true.
Cleaner and/or Primer
The prep is the most important part of any camper repair. If its not cleaned right, nothing will work as it should.
I use dish soap and 91% isopropyl alcohol because thats usually what I have on hand.
If you are just patching over a small hole you wont need a roller but if its a long scratch or cracked seam you are going to want one.
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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Repair Rv Rubber Roof Leak
Rubber has quickly become the most common type of material used for RV roofs. To repair this type of roof, the materials and elements that you use are of extreme importance.
For RV rubber roof leaks, the best repair material is going to be one made of rubber. This can include butyl rubber products or rubber roof coating. Never use abrasive materials, as this will only cause further damage to your roof.
Tips For Installing Solar Panels On Rubber Roofs
- Use the screws, nuts and bolts that came with the solar mounting kit. You can buy these at any hardware store, but the ones bundled with the kit are designed specifically for solar mounting.
- Apply a generous amount of sealant. If your RV goes through rough roads or you drive through strong winds and rain, make sure to fortify the panel mount. This is only for flat modules, because you have to fold tilted panels when driving.
- Use a stud finder if possible. This provides extra support for the roof especially when combined with sealant.
- Ask for professional help if needed. If you are not sure how to proceed, ask a professional installer to do it for you. Installing solar panels is a serious undertaking, so dont hesitate to seek help from experts.
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