How do you extend the life of your RV roof?
RV owners have been looking for ways to extend their RV roofs for years. There are lots of opinions, products and options to dig through and try to determine what is the best product. In all honesty, most RV roof rolled on protectant or products are probably very close with small pros and cons differences.
An example is liquid rubber roof. It is sold under many names, some the name brand, others more generic. This particular roof product doesn’t seem to cure properly in humid climates. It is very sensitive to the air and temperatures. We have seen some roofs come into our location that are sticky and mushy a year later but another one come in that is completely dry. The most common denominator with these roofs are the ones done in the south seem to stay sticky and ones that show up from out west are dry. We know there are lots of steps and requirements when you apply these roofs that can make them cure wrong or right, that just seems to be the most common situation.
On the other hand, there are some silicone based rolled on rv roofs that cure and aren’t sensitive to moisture. Like any product, it is minor differences and you have to find the one that works for you.
Is the product compatible?
What many people forget when looking at products to put on their RV roof is to make sure the product is compatible with their current RV roof. The most common rv roof due to price, weight and cost of installing the product is an EPDM rubber roof membrane. It is important to read your owner’s manual or research EPDM roofs. This roof type is very touchy and cannot handle petroleum based cleaners. This blog has a good overview of the different roof types and pros and cons on maintenance and construction.
As you can see it mentions the petroleum base cleaner warning and you will find this same sentence on just about any website, blog or forum discussion about EPDM roofs. What most owners forget, when they are looking for a roof coating is, you have to avoid petroleum based products in this situation also. If you are looking for a rolled on option for your RV roof repair or as a protective measure, most RV technicians or service centers will encourage you to buy an RV specific product. This isn’t from a desire to sell you something expensive because it is a specialty item or they are making a commission on it. They encourage you to do this because of compatibility with your current membrane.
Make sure you get the right product!
If you decide to be one of the many who are distrustful of RV products or don’t have a local RV supply store and you are going to head to the local hardware store to buy a house elastomeric or roof coating, determine if it is petroleum based. It will save you from having to replace your whole roof. A $200 do it yourself rv roof job with the wrong product can destroy your membrane and now you need a $4000 or more rv roof replacement instead. How do we know? We see rv roofs a few times a year in our shop getting a new roof because of this exact situation.
To do a correct rv roof replacement, we had to strip the roof down to bare wood, prepare the wood and apply FlexArmor. We like a work just like everyone else but these types of jobs aren’t our favorite. This was a new RV with a good roof that didn’t have any issues, the owner inadvertently destroyed his membrane. So remember, if you are going to the hardware store for an alternative rolled on roof option, check the compatibility or you could be causing you your own nightmare.