Maintaining an RV roof can seem daunting. But I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to be afraid! You don’t need to go out and spend thousands of dollars for someone else to reseal your roof. It takes one day and little bit of elbow grease and you can save yourself some major $$$.
I do have to warn you that this is a time and weather sensitive process. The cleaning, sealing and painting must all be done in one day. The weather should be warm (not too humid) and dry for the seal to properly cure. I did run into rain about 4 hours after applying my 2nd coat but I’ll go into more detail below. Just follow these easy steps and you can save yourself a lot of time and money!
Do your research. Find out what type of material your roof is made out of. From what I’ve read there are generally 4 materials used; Rubber (EPDM or TPO), Fiberglass and Aluminum.
There are many videos and articles out there that can help you figure out what type a material you have. The most commonly used material is rubber. We have an EPDM roof and you can usually tell if it’s EPDM if the rubber is white on top and black on the bottom. You can remove an inside vent frame to look at the material that is used. But I didn’t have to do this! You know why? Because our roof was so far gone that the white layer of rubber on top had completely faded and was black. That is not good. That means the majority of our rubber layer was gone.
Now that you’ve figured out what material you have, you can continue on to the purchasing of materials. If you don’t have an EPDM rubber roof that you should probably stop reading because I don’t have any pointers for you :(
2. Purchase Materials
Next you want to research the process and materials used to reseal your roof. Which is probably why you’re here, reading this article!
I went on trusty ole’ google and started reading about different products used to reseal EPDM roofs. Which eventually lead me to reading Amazon reviews. I found that Dicor had the best reviews for the paint on rubber sealant and Eternabond had great reviews for sealing vents and edges. Dicor self-leveling lap sealant also had great reviews so I bought a tube just in case I didn’t like the Eternabond tape. You will also need to purchase a cleaner to remove the old gunk prior to applying the new sealant. Again, I trusted Dicor’s cleaner for this job as well.
3. Clean and Prep Surface
Now the fun begins! I applied the Dicor cleaner with a large car washing brush that allows you to hook a hose up to it. You’re supposed to pressure wash the cleaner off but our roof was in fragile condition so I didn’t want to risk using high pressure on it. I lightly brushed the roof with the hose/cleaner mixture, refilling the brush every eight of the way. After brushing the entire roof (which took about 30 minutes) I rinsed the entire roof again just to be sure I got all of the residue off.
We also had a leaky fan vent that caused some moisture damage. The area around the vent was soft and I could tell that the rubber liner had lifted away from the roof structure. I wanted to completely replace the vent but because of time, cost and stripped screws I decided to reseal the vent instead. In this step of preparing the surface I removed the layers of sealant around the vent. It appeared that instead of fixing the faulty sealant, the prior owners just kept putting sealant on top of the old layers. They even used silicon which you should not use on RV roofs.
4. Seal Vents and Edges
In this step you will use the Eternabond tape or lap sealant of your choice. My recommendation is the Eternabond tape because it was so simple to use and there is no curing time. But it’s completely up to you, if you prefer a lap sealant then go for it. I used the Eternabond around the vent that had moisture issues, creating a square and overlapping the corners. You can also use this on edges or around any other fixtures installed on the roof.
The existing sealant around the AC unit and other vents seemed to be in fair condition so I did not see the need to use Eternabond or lap sealant.
5. Paint 1st Coat
After your lap sealant has dried you can begin to apply your first coat of the rubber roof coating. I bought two gallons but only ended up using 1 gallon on our 32 ft motorhome. So you can make the call if you think you’d need two or not. I figured I would probably by reapplying another coat in a few years so it didn’t hurt to have another gallon in case I needed it.
Mix your gallon very thoroughly and then pour some into a paint tray. I began by painting all of the edges, vents, etc with a brush; anything I couldn’t easily paint with a roller I did by hand first. Next I used the roller with an extender and painted front to back. I didn’t go too heavy with the first coat because I wanted it to have enough time to dry.
*You are supposed to clean and paint all coats in the same day. I think you would be ok to spread it over a two day period as long as it is not susceptible to moisture or dirt.
6. Paint 2nd Coat
I waited about 2 hours between coats which was not enough time to let the first coat fully dry. I was up against the rain (and it was the only weekend I had to do it before leaving) so I had no other choice but to jump the gun.
When I began the 2nd coat my boats stuck to the back half of the RV that did not have as much time to dry. You can see in the photos that there are black boot marks or spots that are slightly darker because the painted pulled up when I walked on it. You can do a simple test to figure out if its ready for you to begin the 2nd coat. Just climb up the ladder and stick your hand on it. If it’s still sticking to your fingers then I would suggest letting it dry a bit longer.
7. Touch Up/End Results
After finishing my 2nd coat it was only a few hours before it began raining. I was worried that all of my hard work had been for nothing. But when I checked it the next day the integrity seemed to be in tact. I thought about applying a 3rd coat the next day but decided against it. I wasn’t sure if the rain would impact the adhesion of another coat.
I painted the roof mid July so its been about a month and its held up very well. I will update as more time goes by on the durability of this brand and this process.
Good luck on all your RV adventures!