Jayco roof material

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If your RV or camper’s roof is leaking, damaged, or worn down and old, it might be time to repair or replace the roof.

Over time, rain, wind, snow and even UV rays from the sun can break down the seals and RV roof material, leading to water damage and other issues. You should address RV roof issues as soon as possible, to avoid further damage. 

Is your RV roof leaking? Are you stressed out about how much it’s going to cost to fix? If so, you’re not alone. 

One of the first questions people have about their leaky motorhome and travel trailer roof is how much it will cost to repair or replace. 

Camper roof replacements typically cost between $300 and $325 per linear foot. For example, if your RV is 30 feet long, it would cost between $9,000 and $9,750 to replace its roof.

The cost largely depends on the type of roof material, and the labor costs of the auto shop completing the job. However, you may be able to repair or replace your RV roof yourself.

In this article, I’ll cover the best types of RV roof material and their costs, as well as provide the steps to re-seal, repair, and replace your camper’s roof. I will also offer some suggestions to keep your RV roof in the best condition.

Type Of RV Roofing Material And Which One Is Best

The most common types of camper roofing material are TPO, EPDM, fiberglass, and aluminum.

In general, EPDM and TPO are the most popular and common types of material used for RV roofs.

Each type of roofing material has different advantages, costs, and maintenance needs. Let’s get into it!

EPDM

Rubber EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) is a synthetic rubber material with membrane-like construction that is often used for flat roofs like those on RVs and travel trailers.

EPDM is extremely durable and cost-effective, typically costing around $4 to $8 per square foot.

Using our 30-foot RV example, it would cost about $1,020 to $2,040 for 255 square feet of EPDM roofing material for the RV, assuming the camper is 8 ½ feet wide.

TPO

TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) is probably the most common material used for RV roofs.

The material is a single-ply membrane, meaning that it’s a single layer of synthetic rubber with reinforcing scrim. Like EPDM, it’s used primarily for flat roofs.

TPO is very UV-resistant, and it can help reduce energy consumption when installed as your RV roof. Additionally, it’s very long-lasting and if properly maintained, could last as much as 30 years.

Decent quality TPO RV roofing will cost between $5.50 and $6 per square foot, so using our 30-foot camper, the cost for the TPO alone would be between $1,400 and $1,530 for 255 square feet of material.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is less popular as an RV roofing material because it’s heavier and more expensive than TPO or EPDM.

However, fiberglass roofs require less maintenance than roofs using the other materials, which may be preferable for some.

Fiberglass is one of the toughest roofing materials available, and it is highly resistant to heavy rain, snow, and hail.

It won’t rust, rot, or mildew, and is also fire-resistant. The material is also very long-lasting; a fiberglass roof should last for 25 to 30 years with little or no maintenance.

It’s also one of the most cost-effective RV roofing materials, costing $2 to $4 per square foot ($510 to $1,020 to replace 255 square feet of roof). 

Aluminum

The least most common RV roofing material you’ll find is aluminum. Some travel trailer brands – such as Airstream – use aluminum roofing, but it adds a lot more weight than the other camper roofing materials.

Like fiberglass, aluminum has fairly low maintenance needs, and unlike rubber or fiberglass, it’s non-toxic.

You can also recycle your scrap roofing when you replace it, since aluminum is one of the few materials that doesn’t diminish in value.

Aluminum roofing sheets cost around $3 per square foot, so the cost to replace the roofing material on a 30-foot by 8 ½-foot camper would be around $770.

How RV Sealant and Coating Protects The Roof

The roofing material is just one of the things you’ll need to purchase for an RV roof replacement or repair job.

Sealant is key; water damage is one of the most common reasons an RV roof needs to be repaired or replaced, and usually, the damage happens around the seals or because the roof coating has deteriorated.

If you catch a leak and fix it quickly, you could save yourself a lot of time and money. 

If you decide to pay a professional when replacing your RV roof or just resealing it, the resealing portion of the job alone may cost between $1,000 and $1,700, or as much as $2,000 for larger RVs.

You can begin to see why an RV roof replacement can cost as much as $10,000, and why you may want to do the job or parts of it yourself.

Reinforce the Sealant

It’s recommended that you regularly check your camper’s roof for leaks, and that you reinforce the sealant around the seams at least once each year.

When doing so, be sure to caulk all around the air conditioning unit, roof vents, skylights and any other places where there may be a crack or seam in the roofing material.

If you haven’t used the sealant before, spot check its compatibility by applying a small amount in an inconspicuous area before applying it to all areas.

Keep in mind that, if you live in a humid climate, you may need to use a different type of RV sealant.

You can always check with your camper’s manufacturer for product recommendations.

Recoat the Roof Surface

At some point during your RV’s life, you will probably need to recoat the roof. This is a protective layer that covers the roofing material almost like paint.

Over time, the coating becomes chalky and may wear off. Although this is normal, it’s a clear sign that it’s time to recoat the roof. 

The coating is important because it helps to increase the waterproof and weatherproof capability of the whole roof.

Be sure to keep in mind that you might need a specific type of coating depending on the type of roof material you have. 

One method of recoating is an RV liquid roof, which is an EPDM coating that you paint onto the roof of your camper.

The liquid roof costs almost $90 per gallon, which covers about 42 square feet. For our 30-foot by 8 ½ foot camper example, we’d need about six gallons to cover the roof.

You can save if you buy the material in larger quantities, such as four or five-gallon pails.

Once dry, the liquid roof barrier protects it from UV rays from the sun and also adds weatherproofing to block moisture and slow wear-and-tear from the elements. 

By regularly coating your RV roof with this type of protective sealant, you can prolong the life of your RV and prevent water damage from happening. 

How to Repair or Replace Your RV Roof

If you own an older RV of you’ve owned your camper for awhile, there’s a good chance that you’ll need to replace the roof at least one time during its lifespan.

If you stay on top of repairs and maintenance, and fix any leaks quickly, you can minimize or postpone the need to replace the whole roof.

However, if there are multiple areas where the roof is damaged, or there’s a single area with extensive damage that is compromising the rest of the roof, it may be time to replace it. 

Tools You Will Need

When you plan to repair or replace your camper’s roof yourself, there are some tools you’ll need to get the job done as quickly and effectively as possible.

Although every job is different, some general tools you should have on hand for dealing with your RV roof include:

  • Safety glasses

  • Roller to roll out and flow the adhesive

  • Acetone or other cleaner, like a 3M Scotch Bright Pad

  • Razor knife or shears for cutting the replacement material

  • Scraper or utility blade to remove old caulking

  • Respirator (for fiberglass roofs)

  • Rubber gloves

  • Bucket for mixing adhesive/catalyst

Prepare Your RV Roof for Repair or Replacement

The first step to any RV roof job is to clean the existing roof or repair area well. In order for the adhesive or catalyst material to bond with the roof material, all traces of oil, grease, grime, oxidation and silicone sealants must be removed.

If it’s just a small repair, feel free to use a rag and a solvent to scrub the area clean.

For larger repairs and full roof resealing jobs or replacements, it might be more effective to first power-wash, then scrub where necessary until the roof is completely clean. 

With EPDM roofing, you will need to cut away any residual silicone caulking and remove any surface wax with a removing agent designed for this purpose.

Once the roof is dry after cleaning, you will likely need to apply an EPDM primer.

Even if you did a fantastic job cleaning the roof, it’s likely to still be dirty or stained in some areas, so using a EPDM primer will prepare the surface for a better bond between the roof and the tape.

How to Repair a Punctured RV Roof

Although you might pay a professional to do a full roof replacement for your RV, there are many roof repair jobs that are easy and far cheaper if you do them yourself.

One of these is repairing a punctured or torn RV roof. To fix this kind of damage, all you really need to do is install a patch:

  1. Thoroughly clean the area around the repair. 

  2. Remove any excess silicone. 

  3. Apply sealant or caulking to any recesses, and let dry. 

  4. Glue down any loose roof membrane, and add fasteners if needed. 

  5. Let it cure 24 hours. 

  6. Apply the patch so that there’s at least two inches of overlap on all sides of the repair area, and cover any reinforcement fasteners.

  7. Seal the patch and edges around it with RV roof coating.

RV roof tape or RV roof patches are easy to apply, with adhesive on one side that sticks to your RV roof and seals up the torn or punctured area.

These patches are very durable, and provide a permanent solution to a tear or small hole.

It’s a good idea to keep some in your RV’s emergency tool kit just in case something happens while you’re out on a trip. You don’t want a punctured roof causing leaks and creating water damage!

How to Replace Your RV Or Motorhome Roof

A DIY RV roof replacement is certainly possible, and will help you save lots of money since you will only need to buy the materials.

The following are all of the steps to follow when replacing your RV’s roof:

  1. Remove any fixtures, such as vents, antennas, or air conditioning units. Remove the awning as well.
  2. Use a high-quality stainless steel putty knife to scrape away the old sealant around the removed fixtures.
  3. Remove the existing roof membrane. For RV’s rubber roofs such as TPO or EPDM, you will need to peel back the roofing material until you can see the plywood structure beneath. Aluminum roofs require you to unscrew the old panels to remove them, and you will need a dye grinder to remove the fiberglass matting that covers these types of roofs.
  4. Check the plywood beneath the roof membrane for damage. If you notice areas where the wood is rotted or bowing, it has water damage and should be replaced. Clean the rest of the (undamaged) plywood with mineral spirits to treat it to prevent mold and mildew from growing.
  5. Install seam tape in places where the plywood meets and along the edge of the camper’s roof where it meets the side of your camper. This will help maintain a good seal and reinforce any weak areas.
  6. Rubber roofs are installed by coating layers of adhesive onto the plywood roof, then rolling on the roof replacement panels. Fiberglass roofs have similar installation, and you will paint on the adhesive catalyst resin before covering it with the fiberglass matting and gel coat. Allow the adhesive to sit for a little bit until it’s tacky, and then roll your roofing material over the top, pressing out all air bubbles as you go. Cut holes in the rubber or matting for any fixtures that are going back on the roof.
  7. Rubber roofs are installed by coating layers of adhesive onto the plywood roof, then rolling on the roof replacement panels. Fiberglass roofs have similar installation, and you will paint on the adhesive catalyst resin before covering it with the fiberglass matting and gel coat. Allow the adhesive to sit for a little bit until it’s tacky, and then roll your roofing material over the top, pressing out all air bubbles as you go. Cut holes in the rubber or matting for any fixtures that are going back on the roof.
  8. After your roof is replaced, the final step is to reinstall your RV’s roof fixtures and seal them with caulking to prevent any leaks in the new roof.

How to Fix a Leaky Skylight, Roof Vent, AC Unit or Hatch

Since RV’s rooftop systems such as the A/C unit or roof vent are essentially holes cut in the roof, the edges around them can develop leaks that you will need to fix to avoid water damage.

Luckily, it’s a pretty easy job:

  1. Scrape away any residual silicone caulking.
  2. Clean the surface of the roof around the leak with a plastic scrub pad or sandpaper, then swab with a solvent-soaked rag. 
  3. Seal the edges around the vent or system with sealant or sealant strips, covering all screws.
  4. Position the vent flange so that it overlaps the roof surface by about two inches in either direction, and be sure to roll-in the sealant so that it bonds permanently.

How to Seal and Coat Your RV’s Roof

A significant part of maintaining, repairing and replacing your RV’s roof involves sealing and coating the surface so that it’s more durable and weather-resistant. 

What is the Best RV Roof Sealant?

The best sealant to use depends on the roof surface and the application. For EPDM, TPO and aluminum roofs, the recommended material is M-1 sealant ($7.25 per 10.1-ounce tube).

If you’re sealing around a roof vent or skylight, industry experts recommend using SB-140 butyl caulking ($5.75 per 10.3-ounce tube).

For resealing RV windows, the experts again suggest M-1 sealant, but Duralink ($6.25 per 10.1-ounce tube) is also used and has excellent adhesion to glass. 

If you are sealing around irregular surfaces, the best sealant to use is WebSeal tape.

It has a unique, woven fabric backing with microsealant composition so that it bonds perfectly on flat surfaces as well as around curves, angles, bolts and pipes.

It’s also highly weather resistant, and remains flexible even in climates with temperatures as low as negative 70 degrees Fahrenheit. 

How to Coat a Rubber RV Roof

If your RV’s roof is made of EPDM or TPO, you will need to re-coat it every year or so to maintain it properly and maximize its lifespan. Here are the steps for Applying Rubber Roof Coating To Your Camper:

  1. Check the roof for any leaks, and repair them before coating your camper foof.
  2. Deep-clean the entire roof; power-wash, then scrub stained or dirty areas with a 1:3 bleach/water mixture and a thick bristled street broom or scrubber. If the bleach doesn’t get the stains out, try TSP and water. Power wash the roof again after cleaning to rinse it.
  3. Remove old RV roof coatings and all silicone excess around the roof vents, air conditioning unit, and other systems.
  4. Glue down any raised areas around the roof with M-1 sealant or EternaBond DoubleStick.
  5. For EPDM roofs, you should apply a thin layer of EPDM primer (and allow it to cure about 30 minutes) before applying the roof coating.
  6. Open the coating can and remove any ‘skin’ on the surface. Stir the coating for four to five minutes, until it is fully combined.
  7. Apply the roof coating (RoofMate HT for light foot traffic or AES-125 epoxy for more long-lasting results). Let it cure for one to three days, depending on the temperature in your area. Then, apply a second coat in the opposite direction.

Different Types of RV Roof Coating Sealants

As mentioned throughout this article so far, there are a few different types of RV roof coating materials, and your choice will depend on what type of RV roof you have and the durability you need it to have. 

  • RoofMate HT: Non-flammable, easy to apply, and quick to cure, RoofMate HT is a high-performance elastomeric acrylic roof coating that lasts for about six years before you need to recoat. It’s designed to accommodate light foot traffic, with both a high tensile and high elongation. Use a primer before coating with RoofMate HT, which costs about $166.95 for a 5-gallon bucket.
  • Ultra Shield: If you don’t need to get on top of your RV, Ultra Shield is a good option. It’s another elastomeric acrylic roof coating that’s cost-effective, has easy roll-on application, cures quickly, and is non-flammable. Ultra Shield will last for about five years before recoating. Use a primer before coating with Ultra Shield, which costs about $76.95 for a 5-gallon bucket.
  • AES-125: This two-part elastomeric epoxy coating is very long-lasting and highly waterproof. Despite its durability, it’s not designed for foot traffic. Application also requires practice. AES-125 costs $485 for a 5-gallon bucket.
  • EPDM Rubber Coating: Liquid EPDM rubber coating comes in a two-part solvent base. This is the most expensive of the RV roof coating, and it’s also the most difficult to work with. It is not oil resistant, it’s flammable before it’s cured, and it’s not recommended for foot traffic areas. EPDM rubber coating also has a lower elongation, and costs between $1.50 and $2.50 per square foot of material. So, for a 255-square-foot roof, the coating material will cost between $382.50 and $637.50.

How to Maintain Your RV Roof

Even if you’re repairing or replacing your RV roof yourself, the materials alone are going to cost several hundreds of dollars.

You can maximize the lifespan of your roof and minimize the frequency of re-coating by regularly cleaning it, checking frequently for leaks, repairing damage quickly, and keeping it covered. 

Here are some RV roof maintenance tips as well as best practices you can follow for RV Roof Damage Prevention.

1: Clean Your RV Roof Regularly

As part of your RV maintenance schedule, you should clean the roof of your camper.

Dirt and debris can damage the sealant on your RV roof over time, and make it more prone to developing leaks and causing water damage.

Therefore, a regular washing is important to maintaining the integrity of the seals and waterproofing of the camper’s roof.

A good rule of thumb is to wash the roof when you’re deep-cleaning after each camping trip. 

To wash your RV roof properly, choose your detergent based on the type of roof you have.

If your RV’s roof is aluminum or fiberglass, you can use the same mild detergent you use to wash the rest of the RV.

If your camper’s roof is TPO or EPDM, you might need a rubber-safe RV roof cleanser. Either way, rinse well after sudsing!

2: Check For Leaks

The roof-cleaning process offers the perfect time to check your RV’s roof for leaks.

As you power-wash the roof, ask your spouse or a friend to walk around below you inside the camper, checking the ceiling and walls for dampness or drips.

As you wash or rinse the roof, look for cracks in the roof seal and feel for any soft areas that may be a sign of water damage or rot. Fix leaks quickly and as you discover them to minimize damage. 

3: Repair RV Roof Damage ASAP

As soon as you notice leaks or other damage in the roof or its fixtures, repair them.

It’s better to spend a few hundred dollars on a repair job now, than to have to pay nearly $10,000 to replace the whole roof. 

Additionally, damage that’s allowed to sit unaddressed can get worse, and lead to more issues or more extensive and expensive repairs.

The same goes for your rooftop systems, like the air conditioning unit. If it stops working, moisture can build up in the system and may strain the seal between the unit and the roof, or cause mold and mildew to develop.

4: Investing In A RV Roof Cover for Durability

In addition to all of the maintenance you should do to maximize the lifetime of your RV’s roof, you may want to consider a cover for your camper or just for the roof.

It’s optimal to store your RV indoors, but this is often very expensive and might be out of budget for most RV owners.

An alternative is a waterproof and UV-resistant RV cover or an RV roof cover.

These come in a wide range of measurements, so the trick is to get one that is specifically designed to fit your camper or its roof. 

However, even RV covers have their disadvantages. A good quality RV cover will allow moisture to evaporate, but it also prevents airflow from circulating around your RV underneath it, so mildew can grow.

So, it’s best to give your RV a break and only cover it during storage season.

Note: Tarps are even worse than RV covers at allowing mildew and mold to grow in a short period of time, so only use these as a short-term solution.

Conclusion

Although a professional RV roof replacement job will likely cost as much as $325 per linear foot, you can significantly reduce the cost if you replace your RV roof yourself.

I hope this article has provided all of the resources you need to know how much an RV roof replacement might cost, the materials involved, and how to repair or replace your camper’s roof on your own.

Last Updated on by Aaron Richardson


Aron

Aaron Richardson

Aaron and his wife Evelyn have lived on the road since 2017, traveling the country in their Keystone Fuzion. They’ve sought adventure together for 5 years now and have done a lot of international traveling, including RVing in Mexico. Aaron is the co-founder of RVing Know How, where he shares their experiences and RV-related tips to make life better for other RV owners. If you’re looking for Aaron, chances are you’ll find him either pedaling the backroads or hiking to sunset spots.

Sours: https://www.rvingknowhow.com/rv-roof-replacement-and-repair-guide/

We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

4 Types of Rv Roofs (And Which One Is Best for You)Aren’t all RV roofs the same? Are there different types of RV roofs, and if so which one should you get? Well, the truth is no; they are not all the same.  Let’s talk about those differences and the pros and cons of each.

There are four types of RV roofs:

  1. Rubber EPDM roof stands for  Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer; it is a membrane-type rubber used for flat roofs.
  2. Rubber TPO roof is single ply and made from polypropylene and ethylene-propylene the integrity of the rubber is changed by a chemical reaction to bond them.
  3. Fiberglass roof is a reinforced plastic of textile fiber embedded with glass in a resin.
  4.  An Aluminum roof is a silver-white metal made from sheets of aluminum roofing.

The above is just a straightforward list of the types of RV roofs. There are various factors that you need to take into consideration before you choose a roof for your RV. Below we will give you more details about the pros and cons of each type of roof.

Types Of RV Roof

EPDM RV Roofs

One of there most significant advantages of EPDM Roofs is that the materials tend to be the least expensive and is easy to install.

Pros

  • It is lightweight, which helps keep the overall weight of your RV to a minimum.
  •  EPDM doesn’t dent, scuff, or scratch easily.
  • When EPDM roofs need small repairs, it is as easy as applying liquid roof membranes, some types of rubber shingles, or latex tape or adhesives.

Cons

  • EPDM’s most significant disadvantage is its finished appearance. It looks like a stretched out innertube.
  • It also absorbs heat quickly, even if you find it in lighter colored rolls. This heating can lead to more work for keeping an RV cool.
  • EPDM material can puncture easily and needs repair quickly to avoid water under the layers.

RV Models with EPDM Roofing

The Winnebago Ultra Lite 2014 model has a one-piece seamless EPDM roof. Click here to see more.

Rubber TPO Roof

Thermoplastic polyolefin is a type of single-ply rubber.

Pros

There are several advantages to this type of RV roof.

  • TPO material is white, which reflects heat.
  • It is gaining popularity as a less expensive reflective roofing material.
  • You will need to choose how to install it, and the cloth can be fastened directly to the roof deck, or glued on with adhesives. It can also be welded on around rooftop fixtures.

Cons

  • Unfortunately, there is a lack of consistency between the quality of different products. You could buy the same-priced product from two manufacturers, and get two products very different in quality.
  • Another con of TPO for a roof is that there is that the thickness of the product can vary. This variety of thickness leads some people to think that thicker products will last longer.
  • The TPO material wears out and degrades at the same rate no matter the depth.
  • Thermoplastic polyolefin must also have a laminate cover. If it does not, it can develop weakness and cracks in the roofing materials very quickly.  The rolls of the rubber are relatively small in width; this means that you will have more seams that will contract and expand, causing cracking and leaking in the roof, which may allow water to enter.

RV Types with TPO Roofs

This Fleetwood Flair has a one-piece TPO roof. Click here to see her specs.

The Winnebago Micro Minnie has options for a TPO roof. Click here to see more.

Fiberglass Roofs

Fiberglass roofing is an auxiliary roof made using a mix of synthetic materials and glass fibers established in large panels or individual sheets.

Pros

Pros of fiberglass roofing include:

  • Durability, which translates into a low risk of cracks and damage.
  • Similarly, Fiberglass is rot and rust-resistant, as well as being fire-resistant.
  • It is also very lightweight, and easily custom made in color, shape, and patterns.

Cons

  • If a fiberglass roof is damaged, it is expensive to repair. Often it is cheaper to replace sections than to repair, and the time estimate goes up quickly in that case.
  • One other significant con to fiberglass as a roof is that it isn’t heat resistant. With exposure to extensive heat, fiberglass will form thermal splits, and repair will need to be completed immediately.

Types of RVs with Fiberglass Roofs

Venture Sonic RVs have a seamless fiberglass roof.  Click here to see the floorplans available, and specs on this model.

Winnebago Minnie Winnie has a one-piece fiberglass roof. Click here to see the floorplans and specs.

Aluminum Roofing

Once loved for its longevity, there are some things to consider with aluminum roofs for RVs.

Pros

Several pros include:

  • Its ability to resist tree limb piercing.
  • Aluminum is less susceptible to holes from the friction of the RV’s motion. Aluminum will far outlast the softer roof materials, though it will also be fire-resistant.

Cons

Next, we move into the cons of aluminum roofing”:

  • While aluminum will outlast a softer roof, it will quickly lose its visual appeal, in addition to being susceptible to seam failure.
  • Aluminum is not heat resistant.
  • Aluminum will not adhere well to glue, so it must be fastened. Using galvanized nails is a must to prevent rust, and subsequently hidden leaks.
  • Leaks under aluminum can hide easily as aluminum will maintain its structure until pressure is applied in a weakened hole area.

Types of RVs with Aluminum Roofing

These days it is challenging to find aluminum roofs on RV’s but a few places like LazeDaze RVs you can find a few options. Click here to see the specs on these RVs.

Roofing Material Comparison

Even though we have given you a few separate views of each roofing material, it is essential to take a moment to compare them side by side.

TPO vs. EPDM

West Roofing Systems, which can be found if you click here,  gives this link gives a great comparison of these materials. Highlights of the comparison are as follows.

EPDM Roof

  • Used for 60 years
  • Retains sunlight
  • Mechanically attached
  • Tape fused seams
  • Color options: black
  • Lower cost per sq ft
  • typically last 20-25 year

TPO Roof

  • Used for around 20 years
  • Reflects sunlight
  • Adheres chemically
  • Seams welded by hot air gun
  • Color Options: Grey, Tan, White, Specialty colors
  • Lower cost per sq ft
  • typically lasts 15-25 years

Comparatively, these two materials are similar in use and installations. Each is cost-effective and will last for a while, and require inspections for repairs.

Similarly, let’s compare fiberglass and TPO roofs.

Fiberglass Roof

  • Could last 40 years, may need repairs if thermal cracks occur
  • Cost is medium in the range
  • Does not reflect sunlight
  • Cost of repair is higher

TPO Roof

  • Used for around 20 years
  • Reflects sunlight
  • Adheres chemically
  • Seams fused by hot air gun
  • Color Options: Grey, Tan, White, Specialty colors
  • Lower cost per sq ft
  • typically lasts 15-25 years

Roof Structure of RVs

Walking into an RV, most people look at the aesthetic appeal. The structure of your RV is vital to know and understand.  If you have ever wondered what the bare bones of an RV look like click here.

Naturally, an RV similar to a house will have layers. The main structure is built first, then the roof and outer walls are built. Then the studs are covered to make the inside pretty.  For our purposes, let’s focus on the roof.

The layers going from lowest to highest of an RV roof are as follows:

  1. Ceiling
  2. Studs
  3. Membrane
  4. Roof Material

The membrane layer is extra security. It covers the two inner layers of the top of the RV. It is laid down before the roof. The membrane is sealed to protect the studs and ceiling of your RV in case of a roof leak. In essence, your RV roof should have two layers of sealing: an inner membrane layer and an outer roof covering layer.

The membrane separates the outside of the roof from the inside layers of your ceiling and the roof.

What Type Of RV Roof Will You Pick?

Are you ready to purchase an RV? Here is an excellent link to buying used RVs. You now know that no matter what type of RV roof you choose, each one comes with a list of repair costs, maintenance requirements, and specs to consider. Click here for an article about maintenance schedules for RVs.

So no matter what type of RV roof you pick you, set up a schedule for checking for leaks. Prevention is the best roof protection plan. Each type of RV roof, EPDM, TPO, Fiberglass, or Aluminum will need sealing or repairing at some point.

Comment and let us know what type of RV roof you have, and if you have ever had to repair it?

Tags: RV Troubleshooting & Maintenance

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Choosing the best RV roof material is largely a matter of personal preference. Still, there are some factors that are involved in your decision that you should be aware of before you begin shopping for a new roof. Two of the most popular options on the market for today’s RVs are TPO and EPDM. Both of these are synthetic polymers that are designed specifically for use on RVs and mobile homes. They offer low maintenance roofing solutions, but each has its own pros and cons to consider.

Before you can compare the two, you really have to understand a little more about what they are:

EPDM: This synthetic rubber is designed specifically for roofing, and is available in both liquid and sheet form. When used as a liquid, it will dry to a semi-solid finish, offering a flexible watertight seal. EPDM sheets are dried out and cured, which offers less flexibility but a slightly sturdier finish. This material is usually black, although many liquid products dry to a white finish to offer better UV protection and other benefits.

TPO: This synthetic material is a laminated membrane that is relatively cheap. This roofing material can be attached by mechanical screws or adhesion with glue or other roofing adhesives. Details and seams can be heat welded, or they can simply be glued and sealed. This material can also be combined with fiber reinforcements for added strength, but this can also cause more rigidity, leading to difficulty with installation in some cases.

The Best RV Roof Material is Affordable

Since roofing material selection is more about personal preference, what you can afford matters. The costs involved in TPO roofing are higher because the materials are more difficult to manufacture. Additionally, TPO may require additional products like sealants and the fiber reinforcements mentioned above, so you have more to consider than just the cost of the roofing material itself.

EPDM is an economical solution, and in its liquid form it is even more affordable and easy to install. Why does ease of installation matter to cost? If the process is simple, you can replace your own RV roof and save hundreds, if not thousands, on shop or dealership labor costs.

Another factor to consider when it comes down to cost is the thickness. A thicker membrane is going to perform better and provide longer protection, so you should always choose that option if it is within your budget. After all, spending a little more on a better quality roof now, regardless of whether it is TPO or EPDM, is going to save you from more frequent repairs and replacements in the future.

Installation and Maintenance

TPO roofing typically requires hot air welding for the seams, which is a more complex process. Plus, it is going to be more expensive to install because of the need for specialty tools or a skilled welder to complete the work. On the other hand, EPDM can usually be installed even by the most average handy person. Liquid rubber EPDM products are even easier to install, making them a popular choice among DIYers for their ease of installation and lack of maintenance required.

Speaking of maintenance, this is another area where EPDM rubber roofing does the job better. Rubber roofs, when properly installed, will not require much maintenance in the early years. In fact, with regular cleaning and care, a rubber roof can last a long time with minimal or no need for repairs.

A TPO roof, on the other hand, requires regular resealing for the best protection. Like fiberglass, the seams have no other protectant or adhesive like they do on a rubber roof, and therefore rely solely on the protection of a sealant. Applying and reapplying certain products over the years may also cause unnecessary deterioration and damage.

This entry was posted in EPDM and tagged EPDM, EPDM Rubber by Greg Kaz.. Bookmark the permalink. Sours: https://www.epdmcoatings.com/blogs/2019/10/tpo-vs-epdm-roofing-for-rvs-which-is-the-best-rv-roof-material/
The Jayco-exclusive Magnum Truss Roof System

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Water is the #1 cause of RV damage. It can ruin your RV, reduce its resale value and promote mold growth. This type of damage is generally not covered under extended warranties, so it is imperative to take steps to prevent it.

Fortunately, routine roof maintenance can go a long way protecting your rig from leaks and rot. In the latest installation of our “RV Owner’s Course” series, we will review some simple preventative maintenance steps you can follow to keep your RV’s roof in tip-top shape.

Set a roof maintenance schedule

  1. Manufacturers suggest preventative maintenance once every three months. 
  2. Check your RV's condition after storms, winter storage and camping trips.

Determining your roof type:  

RV roofs are made of a variety of materials including rubber, fiberglass and aluminum. RV roof cleaning products are frequently made for a specific material. Therefore, before you buy anything, make sure you know what your roof is made of.

Most RVs have rubber roofs, and they come in two different types: ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) and thermal poly olefin (TPO). Review your owner’s manual to learn what you have.

For rubber roofs, you can also determine the material by removing the vent trim ring from an interior vent. Check the material you find underneath. If all sides front and back are one color, you have TPO. If the front side is white or off-white and the back side is black, you have EPDM.

Shopping list

Once you have determined your RV’s roof material, head to your nearest dealership to stock up on compatible cleaning and repair tools, including:

Inspecting and repairing sealant

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  • Inspect all seams and seals for cracks or damage.
  • If you find cracks, clean the area with a recommended cleaning product and let it dry.
  • Load a caulking gun with a tube of roof sealant, and apply sealant over the cracked area.
    • Note: You do not have to remove old sealant if it is not separating.

Washing and Treating Your Roof  

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*Safety first! You will be working on top of your roof, and your cleaning materials can make it slippery. Remember to be careful and safety-focused to avoid injuries.*

  • Bring cleaning materials to you roof, including water, roof cleaner and bristle brush. Don't use products with petroleum distillates, citric ingredients or harsh abrasives.
  • Rinse the roof first (be careful, it will be slippery).
  • Apply roof cleaner liberally.
  • Using a bristled brush, scrub in a circular pattern cleaning one 3x3 area at a time.
  • Rinse the area and repeat the cleaning process until roof is fully covered.

Repairing rips and tears in your roof

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If you noticed a tear or rip in your roof, it is important to repair it immediately to keep water out. Fortunately, you can find strong patches and tapes that can reseal your RV.

Small repairs  

  • Purchase a patch kit for your roof material. Kits are available for aluminum, steel, rubber, plastic, fiberglass and wood.
  • Clean the area of the roof that is damaged.
  • Place the patch firmly on the punctured area.
  • Use a roller to remove bubbles and make patch flat.

Larger repairs  

  • Purchase roof repair tape, like Eternabond or Dicor Roof Repair Tape.
  • Clean the area and measure the puncture.
  • Cut a piece that is 2 inches larger on either side than the damaged area.
  • Apply the tape to the area. Use a roller to smooth out the patch. Do not pull the tape up as it may cause further damage.
  • Seal the corners of the tape with sealant.

For extensive damage, visit your local RV repair shop and have the issue examined by a qualified RV technician.

Want to learn more Check out our other RV Owner's Courses: 

Are you excited for camping season? Download our free De-Winterization Guide to get your rig ready!

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CAMPERS INN RV DOES NOT REPRESENT OR WARRANT THAT THE MATERIALS IN THIS BLOG ARE ACCURATE, COMPLETE, RELIABLE, CURRENT OR ERROR-FREE. CAMPERS INN IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE OR HARM CAUSED BY USE OF MATERIALS OR INFORMATION PROVIDED HEREIN

Sours: https://blog.campersinn.com/blog/rv-owners-course-roof-maintenance

Material jayco roof

In this article, we are going to look at the 5 most common roof problems on Jayco trailer or campers.

When your RV roof begins not functioning as it should, there are a number of things that can go wrong.

It’s important to spot and correct the issue as soon as possible to help you rest easy and prevent the RV from getting damaged further.

If your RV is still under warranty, you can take it to the manufacturer to fix it. However, this may not be an option if you have had your RV for some time.

Instead of waiting for the issue to get worse, you can start fixing the roof yourself.

Let’s take a look at the 5 common Jayco Roof problems and learn how to fix them:

–           Leaky Roof

–           Stress Cracks

–           Dry Rot

–           Soft And Crackling Rubber

–           Bubbles

1.      Leaky Roof

The most common roof damage to a Jayco roof is a leaky roof. It is easy to spot this issue. If you notice that the roof leaks every time it rains, your roof has some sort of crack that needs repair.

If you let the roof continue to leak, it can lead to serious damage to the roof and interior of the camper.

What Causes It

Leaky roofs are pretty much always caused by one thing: a crack somewhere. The crack can be really small, or a can practically be a gaping hole.

Either way, there has to be some sort of gap in the roof in order for water to get through it.

Gaps and cracks can be caused by pressure, old age, weather, and a number of other factors.

It is a good idea to estimate what caused the crack so that you can best come up with a game plan for fixing the roof and preventing it from getting cracked again.

Read also:Does RV Insurance Cover Water Damage? What You Need To Know

How To Fix It

In order to fix a leaky roof, you need to begin by removing any dirt. You want the roof to be as dry as possible. Then, add a rubberized leak stopper.

This will seep into the crack so that it can bond with the material of the roof and create a permanent seal. Be careful not to spill any because it does not wash off and will ruin your clothes. 

If you don’t want to use a rubberized leak stopper, you can talk to your RV manufacturer to find out which sealant is compatible with your roof.

Once you know what sealants are appropriate, you can buy the products at the store and fix the crack according to the sealant instructions.

Our New Jayco sprung a Leak! >> Check out the video below:

2.      Stress Cracks

Stress cracks are basically what they sound like.

They are little cracks that you find on your roof. Stress cracks may not be big enough for leakage, which can make it difficult to detect the cracks in the first place.

Stress cracks are almost exclusively found on Jayco campers with fiberglass roofs.

What Causes It

Stress cracks are caused by a number of things. Whenever you hit a large pothole, for instance, a stress crack can come about. It also can come about if you do not seal the RV roof properly.

How To Fix It

To fix a stress crack, you will follow the instructions that we mentioned above for leakage. Once again, stress cracks may not cause leakage, but they will eventually lead to it.

Selecting a sealant that binds with the fiberglass material will correct the cracks so that it doesn’t get worse.

3.      Dry Rot

If you have a camper roof that includes rubber and wood, dry rot can be an issue. Dry rot is primarily identifiable by looking at it.

It can lead to odd odors and leakage since it means the roof is compromised. To determine that dry rot is the cause for the smell or leak, you will have to find where it is located.

What Causes It

Dry rot is caused whenever airborne spores meet damp timber. The timber needs to have a moisture content that is over 20%.

This moisture content allows the airborne spores to attach to the timber and lead to dry rot. If dry rot is eating away at your camper, it means that the roof is not properly sealed as it should be.

How To Fix It

Fixing dry rot can be a bit more difficult. You have to remove all parts that have been affected by the dry rot and replace them with new pieces.

This will be expensive and require a lot of work, but it is the only way to ensure the roof is structurally sound.

You may notice dry rot eating away at rubber and other sealants. In that case, you need to remove everything that has been affected by the dry rot and replace it.

From there, you need to reseal the roof to protect the new structure from the elements.

Because fixing dry rot can be so difficult, especially if it was caught late in the game, you may need to go to a professional for this job.

Unless you are knowledgeable about recreating structure, professionals may be your best choice of action.

4.      Soft And Crackling Rubber

If you have a rubber roof, it can become soft and crackling. This is especially true around the seams, above the gutters, and around the perimeter of the roof.

Detecting a soft and crackling rubber roof is pretty easy because it is obviously damaged. Simply look at the roof and you should see it not covering the entire perimeter as it should.

What Causes It

A number of things can cause a rubber roof to become soft and crackle. For example, regular wear and tear can cause this to happen.

If you have had your RV for a long time, this is likely to cause. Dry rot and other damaging agents can also be the cause of this issue.

How To Fix It

Fixing soft and crackling rubber roofs is relatively easy. You can either use a dicor sealant or some sort of tape, such as Eterna bond tape. Depending on where the issue is located, you may want to use both types.

For example, you would probably want to use the dicor sealant for pretty serious damage, especially if it covers large areas of the camper roof.

In contrast, the Eternabond tape is suitable if there is only one small area that needs to be fixed.

How to Seal RV Roof Seams with Dicor Lap Sealant >> Check out the video below:

5.      Bubbles

Something that is a bit more unique to Jayco campers specifically is finding bubbles on your roof. Most of these bubbles will disappear on their own, meaning you may see them one day and not be able to find them the next.

This may cause you to feel like you are going crazy, but don’t think that way.

It is really common for bubbles to appear and go away on their own.

Even though the bubbles do go away and they aren’t as severe as any of the other issues we have looked at so far, you still need to check out the issue.

What Causes It

Bubbles forming on a roof happens whenever the roof membrane comes loose. This happens whenever the air above the camper suctions the flat surface upwards.

“As the surface goes upwards, the roof membrane can become loose, creating bubbles and leading to more issues down the line.”

The bubbles will then go away whenever the air is not pulling the membrane up. This is why the bubbles seem to appear and go away.

You are more likely to see bubbles on a hot day because the heat softens the membrane even more, making it easier for the suction to pull the membrane up.

Read also: RV Sidewall Delamination – How To Fix Delamination In Motorhomes

How To Fix It

Fixing air bubbles in your Jayco trailer roof can be a bit difficult because it isn’t as intuitive to fix. It is best to go to the manufacturer to have them look at it to ensure that everything is correct.

They may want to reapply the membrane to assure that everything is tight and safe.

If you do not have the money to get it looked at just yet, that is OK. Bubbles do not mean that there is a serious issue that is leading to actual damage.

It is only when these bubbles are constant that you should definitely get them fixed.

Final Thoughts

Even though Jayco is a great trailer brand, they can break, just like any other manufacturer. Because roofs see some of the most wear and tear, they may be one of the first place that you see damage.

Leaks, cracks, and bubbles are just three examples of roof damage you may find on a Jayco trailer.

Luckily, most of the issues are fixable if you catch them early enough. Some of the issues are even able to be fixed in a DIY manner, but others may require a visit to a professional instead.

Trust your gut to decide whether you should fix the roof or take it to a professional.

References

https://www.jaycoowners.com/forums/f7/roof-problems-4148.html

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Sours: https://www.rvandplaya.com/jayco-roof-problems/
What Makes The Jayco Frame \u0026 Roof Tough

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