An RV is one of the best ways to travel by land, especially for adventurous types of people. This practical vehicle is good for the long haul because they are built to endure toad trips, while also giving space for a small group of people. Plus, it can serve as your shelter on the road and while camping.
Because of this, RVs are designed to withstand exposure to the elements for extended periods. Every part is intended to keep direct sunlight, rain, snow, and strong winds out. Despite the reinforced structure of RVs, they can develop problems over time, especially in parts that are constantly exposed to the elements such as the roof.
If you notice any leaks with the top part of your vehicle, a resealing might be in order. You might think that it is too complicated to do on your own, but this guide can help you through the process. Here’s what you should know about resealing the roof of your RV.
Factors to Consider When Resealing RV Roofs
Before you go and get the materials for the project, you want to make sure that you have considered every important detail about the vehicle and your options. First-timers who do not have any experience or knowledge about roof repairs should consider the roof material, the type of repair material to use, and the upcoming weather.
It is important to know what kind of material your RV has on its top part because this can affect your other decisions. Remember, some materials can be sensitive to specific substances that may be present in your repair supplies.
RVs are typically built with rubber, fiberglass, and aluminum. Each of these choices has respective qualities that give them advantages and disadvantages when compared. They are also compatible with different types of cleaning substances and sealants.
The key is knowing what type of material your roof has. This information is typically provided by the distributor or manufacturer. If you are not sure what your roof is made of, you can consult the shop where you bought it or search the Internet for answers.
Compatibility of Products
Cleaning and resealing are essential parts of this project. Because of this, you want to make sure that you get the right cleaning agent and sealant. By this, we mean that you should look for products that are not only effective in doing what they need to do but also compatible with your roof.
For example, you do not want to get highly acidic products for your rubber roof as they can cause the material to corrode, thus damaging your RV even more.
In-depth research is important to know which substances or ingredients are harmful to your RV roof material. You can also ask a friend who has enough experience in construction and roofing, If you are not confident enough to do this yourself, a professional will be glad to help.
If you think you are ready to do the job because you know what you need to know and you have all the equipment you will need, you might think that you can immediately undertake the project. This should not be the case.
What you need to do is to take a look at the upcoming weather before deciding to proceed with the project. This way, you do not have to worry about unexpected rains, strong winds, snow, and strong sunlight, which can delay the completion of the resealing.
Extreme weather conditions can also botch the job as some sealants tend to harden or fail to stick when it is too cold or too hot.
Type of Sealant
Say, you already know what material was used for your RV roof and you are aware of what substances to avoid to preserve its good condition. What you need to decide next is the type of sealant you will use.
Two forms are available in the market: adhesive and liquid-type. Sealants in adhesive forms come in rolling tape packaging. This is very easy to apply, especially for flat surfaces with straight lines and corners. This is suitable for all types of temperatures, making it a pretty convenient option. Plus, it is most affordable.
Meanwhile, liquid-type sealants are more versatile because of the application method. It can be placed inside a bottle with a nozzle for easy placement. They are perfect for small corners and other places that are not that easy to access. Plus, they can be molded around attachments for more efficient resealing.
You might want to get both types as adhesive types are easier to apply, while liquid types are easier to shape. A combination of both can provide optimum results when applied correctly.
Now, what kind of sealant material should you get? If you have a fiberglass roof, then you should get silicone sealants and gel coating. Meanwhile, rubber roofs need a rubber coating and aluminum roofs require a special coating. Before buying such products, make sure to ask the staff which type is suitable for your roof type.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Resealing Your RV Roof
After checking the things mentioned above, and choosing the right materials and timing, you may be ready to reseal the roof of your RV. You can effectively do this by following this step-by-step guide.
Gather all Equipment
Your project will go smoothly if you have all the things you will need ready at the time you decide to proceed. What you will need is the sealant of your choice or both. Again, having a sealing tape and a liquid sealant is a good idea for versatility.
You also need a ladder in case your RV is not equipped with one, as well as some cleaning materials. A trash bag is also necessary if you need to remove existing sealants.
Properly Clean the Roof
Before doing anything, you need to make sure that you thoroughly and properly clean the roof. Any dust or dirt can prevent the sealant from sticking. You might want to tape some plastic cover or tarp over the sides of your RV to protect it from sealant spillover.
The safest way to clean your RV roof is to use a mixture of detergent and warm water. This does not contain acidic substances or petroleum products that can cause the deterioration of your roof.
Remove Severely Damaged Sealants
Check your existing sealants before applying a fresh coat. If the old ones are cracked but are not lifted off the surface of the roof, you can simply apply the new coat without removing it.
However, cracked sealants that are loosening from the surface need to be removed. Clean the surface after doing so in preparation for the new coat of sealant.
Apply the Sealant
Now that you have thoroughly prepared the roof, you can apply the sealant on spots where necessary or over the entire roof if needed.
For punctures and tears, you can use adhesive sealant tape. If you intend to reseal the whole surface, you can use the tape across the whole roof and corners, then use pieces of tape or liquid-type sealants to address particular issues.
You might need to apply a top coating. Fiberglass roofs tend to be more protected when coated with a gel finish.
Make Sure to Seal Joints, Rivets, and Attachments
You might think that you have everything covered, but you need to remember to seal joints, rivets, and attachments like antennas. These are vulnerable points and may create risks of leaks if not reinforced. So, even if they look fine, the safest thing to do is to apply sealants at these points.
What to Do After Resealing?
Once your resealing project is done, your checklist of things to do don’t really end there. You also have to ensure that everything is in place so that you can avoid leaks and other problems in the future, especially when you’re traveling for days or weeks on end. Here are some aspects you should pay attention to.
Do a Visual Inspection
While you may be feeling confident in resealing the roof of your RV, this may not always come out the way you want it to. Because of this, taking a closer look and inspecting your RV’s roof is in order. This way, you can make sure that everything is sealed properly and water and leaks will become a thing of the past.
To do this, start by looking for any cracks, holes, or even tears you might have missed. It is quite easy to overlook these, particularly when you’re inspecting a relatively larger part of your RV. If you find any of these present, don’t forget to seal these up right away to prevent further damage.
Apart from cracks, holes, or tears, another aspect you should look into are the seams of the roof. Be sure to look closely, especially for signs of cracking or breakage. Pay close attention to where the roof meets the sides of the RV if there are spots you have overlooked.
Lastly, don’t forget to inspect the vents, solar panels, and even air conditioning units of your RV. These seals are also connected to the roof of your RV and these play a big role in your comfort and the vehicle’s overall wellbeing.
Watch Out for Leaks
Leaks inside your RV can be one of your worst nightmares, so keeping a look out for leaks and water damage is a great idea, even long after you have already resealed your roof. This is something you should do often, especially when taking long trips.
Some signs that your RV roof is getting water damage are soft spots on the roof or the walls around it. Even your flooring can get stained from having leaks on your roof. Besides these, a musty smell or mildew can also develop when the leaks are persistent.
Apart from these, you might also notice that your screws are getting rusty. You might also be susceptible to mold growth in your space.
Have Sealants at the Ready
They say that you can never be too prepared for anything. Anticipating the worst is something you might not like, but facing the reality that your RV’s roof could be damaged at any time is one of the best ways to become more prepared in facing difficult situations.
Having sealants at all times gives you the peace of mind you deserve knowing you can easily and readily patch your roof in times of trouble. In this case, some types of sealants, such as foam sealants, get dry faster, something which comes in handy when you need to fix things immediately.
The Bottom Line
Living the RV life is a great way to see different parts of the world and bring fun and excitement to your life. By learning how to reseal your own RV roof, you can do what you love while taking care of your vehicle from the inside out.