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Preventing and Repairing Leaking RV Roofs

Preventing and Repairing Leaking RV Roofs

Your RV can last for years, bringing you wonderful memories of fantastic journeys – but the one thing we’re inclined to overlook is roof maintenance - the result? You get leaks, water damage and unnecessary headaches that a smart DIYer can easily avoid. You’re about to get wise, and when the weather gets rough, you’ll be the first to be asked for advice as you step nonchalantly out of your comfortable (and perfectly dry) RV.

Getting started

The first step in the process is giving your RV’s rubber roof a decent cleaning. This should happen at least once a year, if not more often. You need to be very careful about what detergents you use for the task, since some cleaning materials will damage the rubber. Your best move would be to get something that’s specifically designed for RV roof cleaning. If you need any further encouragement to get a specialised product, you should note that it will also take a lot of the sweat and elbow grease out of the job. What’s more, if your roof is already leaking, the less water you need in the cleaning process, the better. If there are old patches or tar on the roof, you’ll have to scrape them off: do so with care!

Clean and protect or patch

If you haven’t got any damage or leaks that you can pick up during the cleaning process, you might find that just adding a protective coating is enough for now. However, if you do have damage to your roof, you’ll have to get busy with a roof repair kit. Choose a full kit that suits your roofing material, or go for a universal kit that can do it all. Large tears or gashes are best repaired with the help of a self-adhesive membrane, ensuring that your repair conforms to the shape of your RV’s roof and doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb.

Remember that the seals around vents are particularly susceptible to leaks. Giving them a go-over with a good sealant can save you from developing leaks later. You can use traditional caulking materials, but a flexible sealant that flexes as you drive will last a lot longer.

If you’ve got a rubber roof, you’re pretty much done now, and just a bit of UV protection will see your roof as good as new and ready to take on all weather. If you’d like to go the extra mile and add a nice touch to the finish, you’ll need at least two coats of a specially designed acrylic coating.

Metal roofs take a bit more work. Once you’re sure the roof is free of rust, you can prime and seal in one go provided you don’t have to do any patching first. Then it’s just a matter of adding coating to the equation, and you’ve got a perfectly finished job.

Fibreglass also means a slightly different approach to cleaning, repairs and coating. Make sure that you’ve got the right materials for your RV or choose universal products like one of the cool patching systems that suits all kinds of roofing.

November 22, 2015

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