How to repair travel RV trailer roof?
1. Determine The Damage
The first thing is to determine what type of repair will work best for your particular leak. A few small leaks can be fixed by caulking, which is a good temporary solution.
If the area is too large this may make things worse though so it might not be the best option here. You should also caulk any cracks and holes that are larger than 1/4 inch in diameter to prevent more air from getting into the rv trailer roof through these cracks.
The bigger issue you have with your rv trailer roof, however, is probably larger holes or even cracked areas where the material has actually come off due to age or wear and tear. For this you’ll want to replace all of the damaged portions of your RV roof completely.
Most of the time this won’t be something that you can do yourself and will require the assistance of an experienced professional.
If you don’t know many people with roofing experience, your best bet is to find a high quality mobile rv service to help you out.
2. Find The Leaks
The next step you want to do is find the leak. You will have to remove all of the rv trailer roof panels and check for any stains or wet spots.
The easier way to find leaks is by using a co2 detector. It can detect gas leaks and moisture in your RV roof. Simply plug it into the interior electrical outlet, set it off automatically with a 5-minute timer, and leave the RV for a few hours.
If there are any area that light up on the detector afterward, you can be sure that there’s a leak in that area of the rv trailer roof.
3. A good cleaning
The first step to any roof repair will be the same across all materials. Always be sure to first thoroughly clean the area to remove any debris or grime that may prevent repair materials from properly adhering to the surfaces.
Never use petroleum-based cleaners, harsh abrasives, or citrus-based acidic cleaners. These can break down the roofing material, weakening it over time. There are special cleaners for RV roofs and each type of material.
If working with a large area, it’s also recommended that you tape off and cover the rest of your RV with plastic so that roofing cleaners or sealants don’t drip down the sides. If you forgo this step, make sure to rinse any drippings off with water immediately.
Now let’s get into the specifics of RV roof repair by material. We’ll cover how to repair a:
- Rubber RV roof
- Fiberglass RV roof
- Aluminum RV roof
How to repair rubber RV roof
Improper roof care can lead to serious problems that can be costly to repair for the RV owner.
The first step in repairing and ensuring your RV trailer’s rubber roof is done correctly is getting the right supplies. These include:
- A rubber roof repair kit. You can get one at most RV supply stores.
- Bubble sealant, pre-formed for the application of repairing seams on your RV’s rubber roof.
- Latex gloves to protect your hands and help in working with materials properly.
Once you have these supplies, the next step is mixing the materials and applying them to your RV trailer’s roof. This process will depend largely on how massive the damage to your RV’s rubber roof is.
Posted are some basic steps that may be taken after you have assessed the damage:
1) Remove loose debris from damaged area using a brush or broom and dispose of it in a nearby garbage container or simply scatter it off of your travel trailer’s rooftop.
2) Wear your rubber gloves to protect your hands from possible contamination, avoid touching the damaged area.
3) Apply a generous amount of clean water over the affected area using a spray bottle or garden hose (depending on size of roof leak).
NOTE: This step is done to slightly soften up the material and make it easier to remove. The more time this process has the better that it will work in order for an effective repair product.
4) After 10 minutes passes, use a brush or broom with stiff bristles and lightly scrub away residue until surface is mostly dry. If unable to brush off debris, then wait until surface is completely dry before proceeding further down below steps 5-7.
5) Next take the putty knife and lay a small bead of the roof sealer along the damaged seam. Then, using your putty knife spread it out in towards edges forming a smooth layer across the damaged area.
6) Wait for about 10 minutes after applying material to dry before proceeding onto step 7.
7) With latex gloves on use your hands or a cloth to gently wipe away excess residue, until you are left with only an even layer covering damage.
This should leave the repair looking consistent with surrounding rubber roofing material that has not been repaired. You may want to lightly hit or tap areas with loose debris to make sure they have set properly before going further with pressure washing steps below.
NOTE: Roof sealer has a tendency to be sticky to the touch, so you may want to have some extra sealer available in order to correct any missed spots.
8) Next put on rubber gloves and walk around elevated areas of roof gently tapping with your hands or lightly hitting with a broom handle until all remaining debris is pushed down towards the ground, then remove by hand. Now fully power wash damaged area, using soft water and low pressure setting.
This will help make sure adhesive has completely set properly and remove any excess residue that remained after light tapping or brushing off.
NOTE: Make sure water is gently flowing over repair area and not directly hitting it as this can cause further damage (especially for older leaks).
9) Finally take sharp-tipped scissors or other she device and cut any excess rubber that has bonded to surrounding material.
This process may not fix every type of damage, but it should be enough to handle small leaks or surface level cracks with many applications necessary until they are fully repaired. In the end this repair method will save you a lot of money and work in comparison to replacing your RV’s rubber roof so long as you take the proper steps and care during repairs.
How To Replace RV rubber roof
In some cases, the entire roof may need to be replaced. For most, this is a job best left to the professionals, but the process is usually broken down into five steps.
- First, take off all of the rooftop objects like the A/C, vents, etc.
- Remove the old rubber membrane and sub-roof sheeting from the roof.
- Place a new rubber membrane and sheeting that goes under the rubber.
- Reinstall the rooftop objects.
- Apply sealant to all of the seams and joints.
If you choose to do this on your own, you’ll want to seek the advice of a professional who will know your particular rig and can offer specific guidance.
How to repair fiberglass RV roof
The RV roof repair kit (below) includes advice for ensuring that the job is done in an effective manner. The instructions are clear and easy to follow, making this a DIY procedure suitable for all skill levels.
You do not have to worry about spending extra money on new materials or tools because each one of these items plays a vital role in the quality of your finished work.
You should practice using them on scrap material until you develop confidence with their use; even then, be very careful when handling sharp parts like metal edges and points on the scraper or knife blade.
Simply roll out your new panels over the top of old ones which can now be stored at the bottom until they are needed again. When it comes time to put them back in place, you will be able to see more easily where they need to go.
The RV roof repair kit is made by a company that has been making these kits for years and uses the most advanced materials on the market today.
Use this kit to make your repairs with confidence and look forward to many more years of enjoyment from your travel trailer RV.
How to repair aluminum RV roof
One of the benefits of aluminum roofs is that they are easy to repair and last a long time. If you see dents in your aluminum roof, there are two options to repair it:
You can use a propane torch or heat from a dryer and push the dent out. Before doing this, it’s important to cover your eyes with goggles and keep moving around. If you leave the area of the dent on too long, it might become permanently damaged.
Once you’ve pushed the dent back out with your hand, use some metal putty to fill it in. You can also find information online about how to weld aluminum with an acetylene torch if the dent is more serious.
Another option for repairing an aluminum roof is to use a flattening agent. This is really only necessary if you have a big dent in your roof, because the heat technique works fine for small dents. You can find out about dealing with larger dents by looking online.
It’s also important to check that there aren’t any leaks following the repair and that water doesn’t build up on top of the aluminum panels.
If there are any holes in your RV wall paneling, you can either replace it or repair it using self-adhesive metal patch kits which go over the hole like a sticker.
There are various types of these patches available but they all work pretty much the same way: get rid of all screws holding down pieces near where you would be placing a patch, peel off the covering from the patch and place it onto the hole. If any screws are in the way, fix them later with a drill or screwdriver.
There are also propane torch kits you can buy online if you have large holes in your RV roof or walls that you need to repair quickly without having to buy replacement parts.
The kit consists of a propane torch, heat-resistant gloves and an assortment of patches that range from 2 x 3 inches to 10 x 15 inches. You’ll probably find this one useful for other types of similar repairs on your travel trailer as well, such as replacing broken window panes .
If part of your travel trailer’s exterior is chipped, then there’s no point getting aluminum repair panels since they would have to be custom made and would probably cost a lot more than simply getting new parts for the affected area. A simple metal putty will do just fine in these circumstances.
If your travel trailer is coated with paint, then you should consider sanding it before repairing dents so that you can get better adhesion from any aluminum repair panels or patches that you might need to buy. To do this use an electric sander on low speed (remember not to overdo it).
The best time of the day for sanding is either early morning before sunrise or late afternoon when there’s no heat in the sun; if it’s too hot outside the aluminum will heat up and turn darker as well as expand a bit, affecting its integrity.
It’s also a good idea to do the repair work in phases.
For example, first tackle any damage caused by fire or smoke from cooking that might be on your RV wall panels; then take care of dents and dings next; last, you can sand down areas where the paint is flaking off and touch it up with new paint.
Whenever you’re working with paint (or when using an electric sander), always start from a clean surface so that there aren’t any invisible oils or dirt which could affect the quality of the finish.
Always read instructions
You’ll always want to be sure you thoroughly read any instructions for any repair materials you buy. Some may call for specific cleaners, wipe downs with denatured alcohol, or special primers. Some manufacturers’ instructions may differ slightly from the processes outlined here. In those cases, follow what is written by the manufacturer.
Be sure to plan your repairs during a time where weather conditions will be optimal. Some sealants need to sit for 24-48 hours before being subjected to elements like rain.
When to hire a professional for an RV roof repair
If you aren’t confident in your ability to repair a specific problem, don’t hesitate to call a professional or RV dealership. They will be able to give you more guidance on whether or not it’s a job for a pro or what additional supplies you may need.
Now that your roof is like new, you can hit the road without worrying about springing a leak! Always keep an eye on repairs to see how they are holding up and address any areas of concern immediately.
And if you’re on the road and need some help with your RV repairs, hire a mobile RV repair service!