The number one cause of broken RV roof is water damage. Once rainwater or melted snow penetrates the structure of your RV roof, you have to inspect it as soon as possible. Otherwise, it will cost you a considerable amount of money. Learn how to repair RV roof if a “must” of RV ownership.
How to repair a water damaged RV roof
Items and tools you will need:
- Number 2 square drive which most RVs are built with
- New OSB patch if needed when you want to replace the unfixable old part
- Regular contact cement (picture below). It is available on Amazon.
Weldwood contact cement
- Stick micro bond seal. You can buy the product on Amazon, it price will depend on the brands and the length of the tape.
Step 1: Clean off the RV roof and let it dry
The very first thing you need to do is clean the RV roof correctly and intensively. Follow these below steps:
- Use a small hand brush to remove all remaining water in the lower and sagging areas.
- Next, take a hand towel to wipe the roof
- Scrape off any old roof patch material or remaining debris by using a flat scraper or wide tipped screwdriver
- Let it dry as thoroughly as possible
Step 2: Replace OSB patch if needed
Check to see the real situation of the broken part. If the OSB part is heavily damaged, for example, water soaked wood, large leaking holes, you better off replacing the broken part with a new piece. Just measure carefully to get the new one match perfectly into the whole roof.
Remember to use number 2 square drive to remove the old panel.
Step 3: Get the rubber roof rollback
Normally, the rubber roof will get lifted off, so technically, after cleaning and drying the surface, replacing necessary OSB patch, your challenge is rollback the rubber roof.
Regular contact cement is a very powerful liquid which will attach your rubber roof to the OSB. It is advised to put a coating layer on both the OSB and the rubber roof. Let the surfaces dry to the tackiness, and then they will stick well. Of course, you must prepare a brush to paint the contact cement.
Step 4: Reinforce the trim
To make sure the border look nicer and will not be lifted off again, I suggest that you apply a layer of sticking micro seal bond. One important note is once you stick the bond to the roof, it is nearly impossible to remove, so be carefully and do it slowly.
Watch this below video to see how to repair an RV roof when it is partly water-soaked, and its rubber roof is lifted off.
How to repair holes in an RV roof
Items and tools you will need:
- Mineral spirits
- Auto polishing compound (applicable for fiberglass), or specific types of other RV roofs. Follow the instruction from manufacturer to avoid doing any regretful damage to the roof
- Dicor self-leveling lap sealant
- Eternal Bond Tape (in other words, sticking micro bond seal)
- A small roller
As you might know, there are several types of RV Roof: fiberglass, TPO, EPDM material, etc. This below procedure of patching a hole in RV roof can be applied to any RV roof.
Step 1: Clean the surface
The purpose of cleaning the roof is to make sure the repair would stick to the surface at maximum level, especially after you just remove a device or thing on the RV roof, and leave holes on it.
Start with mineral spirits; you should use a piece of cloth to wide off the roof. Be advised that this technique is suitable for a fiberglass roof only, another rubber roof is more dedicated than fiberglass. Hence, you should refer to the manufacturer to get precise cleaning liquid. After that, finish the cleaning process by using the auto polishing compound.
Step 2: Apply dicor self-leveling lap sealant
If the holes are small, you just need to apply directly dicor self-leveling lap sealant to each hole until they are all covered. A tube of dicor is recommended to have on board for periodical inspection since, after a long time of exposure to weather and sunlight, cracks will appear.
In the case of a larger hole, you have to prepare an extra piece of cover which is made of metal and large enough to patch the hole. Add a good bead of dicor all around the hole, then put the cover in place, install the screws into the cover’s corners, and finally put another layer of dicor. By doing this, water cannot get in under any circumstances.
Step 3: Seal with eternal bond tape
This step is optional since, after step 2, all the holes are maintained well enough to keep water leak into the roof. However, it would be better to add another layer of eternal bond tape on the holes to prevent any cracks might have in the future.
Use a small roller to apply pressure to the eternal bond in order increase the adhesive, and make it permanent. Make sure to let the dicor dry overnight before taking this final step.
Check this video of detailed instructions:
How to repair RV Roof once it leaks
Items and tools you will need:
- Brush, hand towel, and flat scraper
- Rubberized Leak Stopper
- Paint brush or metal trowel
- Fiberglass Repair Screen
Step 1: Wash the roof
As always, before going to the main repairing stage, you need to clean the broken surface by using a brush and a hand towel. Later, a flat scraper is good to take off any loose tar or patching material.
Let it dry out perfectly.
Step 2: Use Rubberized Leak Stopper to seep the cracks
The right repairing material here is the Rubberized Leak Stopper which costs you a cheap price for a gallon but works very effectively. To avoid tar from ruining your clothes, wear protective clothing when doing this task because it will not wash off.
Use a paint brush or metal trowel to spread Rubberized Leak Stopper into every cracks and seam, and coat about one inch extra on each side of the seam. All the things sticking up above the roof need sealing also to guarantee any problems might cause later. It is much better to prevent than cure.
Step 3: Provide extra protection to the cracks
If the cracks are big, you may need to use fiberglass repair screen to place all over the patched area. Next, coat another layer of patching tar on top. By doing that, your roof will hardly ever be leaked again.
Watch this below video to see how the roof after getting patched.
Important notes for maintaining RV roof
Each type of RV roof requires different maintaining techniques. EPDM rubber roof usually does not need taking care of for up to 10 years; you just need to wash it with soap and water from time to time. However, do not use any harsh chemicals or petroleum-based products if you do not want to pay a considerable amount of money to fix it later.
With TPO rubber roof, you simply just wash it with mild soap (for example Murphy’s Oil Soap) and a mop once in a while. That is enough to make the TPO look shiny.
If you own a metal RV roof, Kool Seal is an advisable product to fix minor damages, and also cooling the inside rig.
What about fiberglass RV roof? You can check out this link to get full ideas of how to restore the glossy look of a fiberglass surface.
I hope the above easy ways to repair RV roof will help you save time and money when having problems with your RV. Well, maintaining work is very important, so choose the right method, and give your RV frequent inspection before you have to buy repair materials.
Treat your rig nicely; then it will last for years and years. If you have any other problems, and still have not found the answer for yourself from above, please comment below, and we will figure a way to fix it.