RV Roof Repair FAQ
There are three main materials for RV roofs.
The most common is a rubber roof. This consists of a rubber membrane that is laid over the top of your RV, extending to the edges and adhered to the sub-roof beneath it. Rubber roofs are soft to the touch. A rubber roof will need slightly more frequent attention than other roof types but is the least expensive to repair and replace.
Fiberglass roofs are less common but can be found on more high-end RVs. Fiberglass roofs are covered with a gel coat and may also be painted, giving them additional protection from the elements. If your roof is hard to the touch, then it is likely fiberglass.
Aluminum is the least common RV roof material. It’s expensive and heavy but requires the least maintenance of all the roof materials. It is usually only found on higher-end models, like Airstream RVs. Aluminum is easy to spot because of its metallic sheen.
The best way to find out if your RV’s roof needs repair is to check for cracks, tears and wearing of the roof coating. When you inspect your RV’s roof, be sure to pay special attention to the seams and seals around rooftop appliances. If your roof looks like it is cracked, discolored or the seams are beginning to widen, have an RV expert inspect the roof to determine the severity of the damage and repairs needed.
In extreme cases of wear or when a roof has been damaged, leaks may develop. If you find water leaking into your RV from the ceiling area, chances are it’s coming from a void in your roof material.
Damaged roofs allow moisture into the parts of your RV that aren’t protected against rot, mold, and mildew. Your sub roof, interior wall/floor paneling and even frame can be exposed to water that compromises its structure. This leads to warping and rotting, which eventually leads to the replacement of those interior and structural components. Additionally, mold and mildew can be hazardous to the RV’s occupants if left unchecked.
All in all, it’s always cheaper to have an RV’s roof inspected and repaired than it is to deal with the water damage fallout that comes from a damaged roof or compromised sealant.
In a pinch, you may need to patch a leak, tree damage or parting seam yourself while on the road. This can be done using RV roof tape, which is affordable and durable. However, it is always best to have your RV roof repaired or inspected by a professional, even after you’ve patched the problem area to determine if it needs to be resealed or replaced.
RV roof sealant is a coating that is applied to certain areas along the top and sides of your roof to prevent weather intrusion and protect from damage caused by tree branches and other obstacles. RV roof sealant comes in several forms and is a term commonly applied to:
RV roof tape is a very durable tape that can be used to patch seams, small punctures and other imperfections in a roof’s surface. RV tape is a must-have in any RV travel tool kit. In a pinch, it could be the difference between your roof lasting until you can have it professionally repaired and massive water damage to your interior.
Roof calking is used to help seal oddly shaped cutouts and seams in your RV’s roof. Most often it’s used along the edges of rooftop appliances like vents, to prevent water from seeping between the unit and your roof. Roof caulking needs more attention than the rest of your roof once sealed, so make sure to check it periodically throughout the year.
Because a rubber roof is a membrane layer atop a sub roof, rubber roof repair usually consists of removing and replacing the membrane and only repairing the sub roof where necessary. The new membrane is then layed on the sub roof and glued in place. Special attention is paid to all seams and rooftop appliances, which are caulked and sealed. A new layer of sealant is then applied to the roof to protect it.
Unlike a rubber roof, a fiberglass roof usually requires patching and repairing rather than replacement. While this sounds easier, the process of relaying fiberglass to patch holes and thing spots is tedious and difficult. Damaged areas are sanded and then patched with new fiberglass. The roof is then primed and sealed again to prevent future damage.
RV roof repair is less expensive than roof replacement, however, the cost depends on the level of damage and type of material a roof is made of. At the end of the day, both are more expensive, and the cheapest option for roof repair or replacement is to avoid it. You can stay away from more costly fixes by having your roof checked throughout the year and having preventative maintenance performed on it annually.