Do-It-Yourself RV Roof Repair Tips & Yearly RV Roof Maintenance Tasks You Can’t Ignore



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Getting on the roof of your RV is tricky business.

Yes, routine RV maintenance needs to be taken care of, but usually the roof structure is barely strong enough to support your weight — so be careful!

My tips for getting up on the RV roof and taking care of your camper's roof for the long haul.

The best way to do it is to step lightly from one roof rafter to another. Or, better yet, lay down a piece of plywood to distribute the weight.

 

Repairing The RV Roof, Vents & Breathers

Here’s how to clean and repair your RV’s rubber roof.

Be careful not to make matters worse by causing more damage while you’re up there.  Do as much of the work as you can from the side of your RV on a ladder without actually putting weight on the roof.

Make special note of the types of cleaning agents and patching products recommended.  With the right products, RV roof repair is a simple do-it-yourself project.

A closeup of the RV roof vent window

You should also inspect all vents and breathers while you’re up there, because you don’t want to have to go up there any more often than need be.

Ideally, you should inspect the roof of your RV every year and replace any damaged roof vents or breathers.

 

RV Water Leaks

At the first sign of water stains on the ceiling of your RV or wall paneling, you’d better get busy.  The time has come to repair your roof, and if you put it off the damage will be costly!

Don’t confuse roof sealers and repair products for your home with what’s needed for RV roof repair.  Techniques that are designed for the asphalt shingle roof on your house will only make a huge mess on your RV’s roof.  Worse yet, they probably won’t fix the leak either.

If you’ve got a leaky RV roof, it’s usually fairly easy to reseal the roof seam yourself.  This video shows you how to do it with Eternabond RV roof repair tape:

 

Removing Heavy Snow From Your RV’s Roof

The quickest way to drive the value of your RV into the ditch is to ignore it from the day you park it in the Fall until that first warm day next Spring.

Must read: The Ultimate Fall RV Maintenance Checklist + The Ultimate Spring RV Maintenance Checklist

Winter snow load can seriously damage your RV. The weight of deep snow can distort, and possibly collapse, the roof.

Excessive snow load on an RV roof can lead to leaks and structural problems.

It can also open up seams and let water migrate throughout the RV, causing serious structural and cosmetic damage.

Removing excessive snow from your RV’s roof should be done from a ladder. It’s best to use a portable ladder that you can move around the RV.  Since RV roof structures are rather light-duty, and you already have the weight of the snow on the roof, by adding your body weight to the problem you could cause damage by stepping in the wrong place.

Many rear mounted RV ladders are light-duty and barely strong enough to handle the weight of a small person. Think safety first.  Make sure that your ladder has solid footing, and take your time.  Reaching too far off to the side can cause the ladder to slip, and down you will go.

Curtis

I’ve been involved in RVing for over 50 years — including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs and motorhomes. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. I do all of my own repair work. My other interests include cooking, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller... you’ve got a good idea of who I am. To date, I've shared my RV knowledge in over 300 articles here at The Fun Times Guide! Many of them have over 25K shares.

11 thoughts on “Do-It-Yourself RV Roof Repair Tips & Yearly RV Roof Maintenance Tasks You Can’t Ignore

  1. Hello Curtis
    I’am redoing my glass roofed  # 90 Elite New to Me
    you make it sound so–routeen
    but you guy,s—forget —
    about the always problem OF—-
    getting AT AND REMOVING OLD RUSTED SCREWS
    look forward to your great thoughts
    [email protected]

    1. James, in most instances where I’ve dealt with rusted screws the heads rusted clean off and I never bothered with the rest of the screw.  Admittedly life is never perfect so my thoughts would be to try using a good pair of Vice Grips of if all else fails a sharp cold chisel or Dremel  tool with a grinder tip might take the head off for you.

  2. Hi Curtis,
    We need to replace our escape hatch on our camper but am not sure where to take the measurements in order to purchase one. We need to save money so we would purchase the hatch and then have it professionally installed. If we knew how to measure whether it is measured from the inside or from the outer side of the hatch, would be great. Thank you

    1. Stina. Generally the measurement is the size of the hole in the roof once the hatch is removed. If you measure the frame work, not the cover, you should be pretty close.

  3. hi curtis i have a water leak coming through the seem on the inside window on my dinette slide out.i have resealed the window and sealed the seam on top the slide an sealed every where i could .the leak only accurrs when it rains from east to west.i dont know where else to look.

    1. Mark, If it’s a horizontal slide by window it’s possible the water is coming where the two pieces of glass overlap each other. Especially if it’s a driving rain. It’s also possible for water to get in some distance from where it eventually comes out. It might be traveling along some structure until it gets to the window. The best I can say is keep looking. On my motorhome I have a similar small water leak that causes water to end up on the kitchen counter, but only on rare occasions. Still can’t nail it down after 4 years but I keep looking.

  4. I bought @ used 5th wheel , unfortunately had water leaks.I had the leaks sealed I thought. The front wall has damage and the seal around the slide out needs repaired. How do I fix these at little cost.

    1. You broke my cardinal rule for buying a used RV… If you find evidence of water leaks, just walk away. Curing leaks is often a futile effort. Repairing damage in a cost effective way depends on your abilities. If you want it to look exactly as it did when built, that level of repair is unlikely. If making it look presentable is your aim, just dig into it and do the best you can. That you are asking me for guidance concerns be about your abilities. You could easily get in over your head. Good Luck.

  5. The time has come to repair your roof, and if you put it off the damage will be costly! Don’t confuse roof sealers and repair products for your home with what’s needed for RV roof repair. Travel trailer roof coating is perfect and without any doubt recommendation of experts.

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