RV Roofing Issues

In the article on choosing an RV, I touched on roofing issues and pointed out the problems with the rubber roofing materials that are so commonly used. Check your roof regularly, I can’t stress this enough. By the time water is dripping through the ceiling during that rainstorm, it is too late and you have internal damage. Roof leaks are the number one cause of expensive RV repairs. It’s not difficult to prevent this from happening. Be careful when buying your home on wheels and make certain that you look closely at the roof. If it’s in one piece when you get it then your only job is to keep it that way.

If it’s within the budget, always try repair the roof with the original materials used to seal the roof by the manufacturer. It will look better and provide a more even coverage. Dicor is the recommended brand for lap sealing rubber roofs. If the money is not available for what can turn out to be an expensive repair job, then there are alternatives.

Eternabond is a sealant tape with a built-in primer that creates a permanent watertight seal when applied to the rubber roof of an RV. It’s available at big box hardware stores and comes in different sizes, and I’ve seen it at a few Walmart’s in the RV section. It’s not cheap as in super cheap but it’s a very effective way of making a long-term repair to a few feet of damaged roof for less than thirty bucks.

Another cheap alternative if you’re not worried about how it looks to the birds flying overhead is good old-fashioned Gorilla Tape. The stuff is amazing. One day in the middle of an Oregon downpour, miles away from anywhere, I was up on the roof laying down strips of the stuff to patch a leak in an old motorhome. When the weather cleared, I had nothing else and there was more rain coming in, so I decided to use the rest of the roll to make a temporary repair. It was still in place years later when I sold the RV. The new owner planned to replace the roof and said that he’d never seen anything like the duct tape repair. If you have a black roof then you won’t really notice the tape but if it’s white then grab a can of spray paint from Walmart for less than two dollars and the birds will never notice.

Whatever method you use to repair, make sure you allow for some overlap because water will find its way in through even the smallest hole. Be particularly vigilant in areas around the seams and places where there may be gaps, like around the air conditioner and the television antenna.