What Do You Mean My RV Roof is Leaking?

“What do you mean my roof is leaking? The salesman where I bought it told me the roof had a 12 year warranty!” This is a conversation I really don't like having with customers, and the worst part is it can be easily avoided.

When the sales person tells a customer the roof has a 12 year warranty, they are not wrong because the rubber roof material does come with a 10 to 12 year warranty, BUT! (There is always a BUT.) We as RV owners must maintain the Sealant on the roof. When I mention “sealant”  this is a specialized caulking or (Lap Sealant) that is applied around every penetration in the rubber roof. We use Lap Sealant around our crank up roof vents, plumbing vents, antenna, shower dome and where the rubber meets the front of the camper and the rear of the camper and all other penetrations through the rubber roof.

The Lap Sealant the RV industry uses on a rubber roof  is formulated to bond to the rubber roofing material. All other caulking is not, and will not adhere properly. Using the wrong caulking usually will not stop the leak and give a false sense of security that we have stopped the leak allowing further damage to occur.

Roof leaks in the RV world usually don't show up until significant damage has already occurred above the ceiling where we can not see. The water seeps in slowly through unmaintained sealant and dampens an area of the camper that than does not see any air movement. With no air to evaporate the water rot starts to set in.

By visually inspecting your seals Spring and Fall and adding Lap Sealant or “spot sealing” as we call it, you will more than greatly reduce your chances of water damage to the roof area of your camper. Water damage can cost thousands of dollars in damage repair and a loss of use during our short camping season here in the North East. Water damage will also greatly reduce the value of your camper when it is time to trade, nobody wants a water damaged camper.

This maintenance can be done by the end user with a medium skill level with no fear of heights.

With the risk of falling and the necessary prep to the surface before applying the sealant it is recommended that you have your dealer preform this service for you especially on light weight campers that do not have walkable roof systems.

In short, if you only do one thing to maintain your camper, do the roof seal inspection twice a year and seal where and when needed. If you do nothing to your roof it's not a question of if, it is when, your roof will leak.

Randy Murray

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