A little repair work on an RV’s compromised roof can prevent holiday headaches and protect the camper’s resale value.
There’s nothing worse than a leaky roof, and it’s even more frustrating when it’s your mobile vacation home. After all, RVing is supposed to be fun. But with a few tools and patch supplies, you can stay warm and dry in even the worst weather.
First, understand that the insulation and framing of campers is much more delicate than their immovable equivalents, so it’s vital to attack the problem the moment it appears. Putting the task off may soon make the situation catastrophic.
Inspect the roof closely
Begin by inspecting the roof inside and out to determine the source of the leak. It might be difficult to find, but even if you don’t, a visual inspection will usually show you a good place to start. Chances are it’s along a seam (or several) where roofing panels join. Pinholes and cracks you can barely see are also frequent culprits, as are the places where items like vents and air conditioners protrude from the roof. Often, too, water enters where old patch repairs have flaked off in summer’s heat, only to leak again.
Prepare the roof — and yourself
Clean the roof well, then use a scraper and wire brush to remove any loose patching. Now’s the time to consult an RV dealer to determine which of the two common solutions — specialized repair tape or rubberized goop (or a combination of the two) — is most appropriate for your particular surface. It’s very sticky stuff, so it will definitely be a job for rubber gloves and old clothes.
Apply your patching
Systematically apply the patch material according to package directions. If you think you’ve found the leaking spot, look around the roof to see where the identical problem might be developing. Ultimately, you’ll probably want to seal every seam and corner you can while you’re up there. It won’t be pretty, but it likely will do the trick.
You may need a professional
If your inspection reveals extensive structural damage, or if the problem is a large gash from some previous impact, patching alone is probably not going to get the job done. At that point you’re looking at partially or completely rebuilding the roof and much like the one over your home, that’s almost certainly a job best left to an expert.