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RV Rubber Roof Repair

Netrajit Laishram
Just like other vehicles, even Recreation Vehicles (RVs) need repair and maintenance. RVs, particularly the ones with a rubber roof have to be repaired from time to time, as they are susceptible to damage. Read on to know more about RV rubber roof repair.
In recent years, RV traveling has become very popular and sales of these vehicles have skyrocketed. The RV lifestyle offers a very strong and enduring life, inculcating respect for natural living, while also being a new experience. There is a boom in the sales of recreation vehicles in the American automobile market, as living in these travel trailers is just becoming more popular with each passing day.
Recreation vehicles are used for an adventurous, outdoor experience in all kinds of weather. RVs usually have two types of roofing, a metallic roofing (which is expensive) or a rubber roofing. An RV with a rubber roof is more susceptible to wear and tear, than one with a metal roof.
Therefore, there is a need for regularly checking the RV rubber roof, as it is more prone to the harsh elements of nature. RV owners should learn about RV rubber roof repair, as it might be difficult for them to find a suitable mechanic while on the go.
According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), for every 12 households that own a vehicle, one household will always own an RV. Around 10 million American households own an RV. A recent study by the RVIA has profiled an RV owner as a married person, with his own house and a household income of around $62,000.
Many enthusiasts usually prefer to try RV traveling, by renting before buying. According to figures compiled by the U.S. Census of Retail Trade and the RV Rental Association (RVRA), the rental industry of RV is projected at around $350 million. Presently, there are around 500 RV rental outlets, across all the American states.

Repairing RV Rubber Roof

The rubber roof of an RV, alternatively called utility trailer, motor home, etc., shrinks and gets damaged in small places, by the constant pulling at the edges by the caulking. A rubber roof may, sometimes, develop a leak which needs patching.
The edges of the rubber roof require sealing from time to time. Regular repairs are required to avoid permanent damage. Lap sealants should be used instead of a silicone sealant in case of a rubber roof.
As there are many options, you should make a suitable choice keeping in mind the RV and your budget. Beware of inferior material which is sold in packaging similar to the original.

Things to Keep in Mind

Before applying the sealant, make sure that you clean the roof properly by scraping away all the patch material, including the caulking. You can use a stiff broom or blow off to remove any loose material on the surface. You can either remove the metallic edge found around the roof or overlap the outer side of the metal by using a sealant.
Clean and remove all the dirt and oxidation found on the surface of the roof. If there is a stubborn stain, grease or any sign of mildew, use a scrubber or a rag with a mixture of bleach and water to clean it. After washing the surface, let it dry out for some time. The method of repair usually depends on the type of roof material and the type of contamination, e.g. oil, grease, etc., which needs to be removed.

Steps for Repairing an RV Rubber Roof

  • Use a masking tape to seal the gutters around the roof, and also make sure that you don't spill the sealant.
  • Mix the base and the catalysts of the sealant.
  • Use a large mixing wand and a powerful drill to do the mixing.
  • While doing the mixing, always make sure that your drill doesn't pass through the twin battery pack.
  • Charge the battery; else you can always use a plug-in drill.
  • You should continue the mixing for approximately 10 minutes.
  • Check whether the mixture is thicker than a paint.
  • For best results, apply it in one attempt.
  • You can use a 5-inch putty knife, with a paint brush and a roller, to apply the mixture.
While repairing an RV rubber roof, take the help of someone else too if possible. Movement should be limited as much as possible, as it could get very messy if the sealant sticks to your body parts. It's not a very tiring job, but it involves some bending, climbing, and a little bit of kneeling.
The leftover sealant can be stored in a cool place for future use. Always use gloves or else you would need a proper solvent to clean up later. The results can be checked in a week's time and you can always give a touch up later.
Now that you've been through these tips, I'm sure you would not need to seek the help of a professional for your RV rubber roof repair, unless it is in a really bad condition and needs to be changed. So there's nothing that is going to stop you from truly enjoying your RV lifestyle.