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RV Roof Maintenance - Water is Not Your Friend









Annual RV roof maintenance is an absolute must to protect your investment and keep the RV habitable and functioning at its best. There are many holes and seams in your RV roof that must be sealed to keep water out. The tiniest pin hole or crack can allow water penetration which can cause significant damage. Water is simply not your friend and if it has an opportunity to penetrate into the RV it will take it.

The image to the left is a typical Class C RV roof overview. Penetrations that you will have through the roof are for plumbing vent pipes, skylights, powered exhaust vents, air conditioners, refrigerator vents, antennas, solar panels and other electronic and communication devices. In addition, there are trim rail seams where the sidewalls and roof meet as well as seams across the front and rear caps where they meet the roof exterior membrane or fiberglass sheet.


Sealants

There are two general types of sealant used on the roof seams: self-leveling lap sealants for the flat areas and silicone sealants for the trim rails and radius curves at the front and rear caps. There are many brands to choose from and they are not all created equal. Some are silicone, some rubber, and others polyurethane based.

  1. Choose a sealant that is compatible with your roof type.

  2. Choose a neutral cure or low VOC self leveling sealant for the flat portion of the roof. Products with high VOC content continue to evaporate over time causing shrinkage and cracks in the sealant that allow water to penetrate.

  3. It is almost always advisable to remove the old sealant before applying the new to avoid adhesion issues

  4. Always apply to a clean, dry surface.

  5. Always follow the manufacturer's recommended application method for best results.




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Sikaflex®-715 is a low VOC product suitable for sealing a wide variety of RV roofing components including fiberglass and EPDM as well as metals.










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Geocel GC28100 Pro Flex RV Flexible Sealant - Clear


This is a non-sag clear sealant suitable for use on the roof radius edges at the front and rear caps as well as the sidewall vertical and horizontal seams.








Failed Sealant Examples


This is an example of failed sealant on a trim rail where the roof radius edge joins the sidewall. Note that it has dried out and cracks have opened up which will allow water penetration. This could result in delamination of the sidewall and other significant damage.



This is an example of sealant separation around a skylight flange. Water will eventually find its way in causing damage to the roof underlayment and ceiling below.



This is an example of the sealant crack along the joint where the rear cap meets the roof surface.


Summary:

Every time you take your RV on the road you are subjecting your home on wheels to earthquake forces. The body of the RV flexes putting a strain on the sealant seams and cracks will eventually open up. Don't wait till you have a leak to address the problem. It is best to conduct periodic inspection of the roof sealant seams to catch an issue before it becomes a serious problem. If you are uncomfortable accessing your roof safely, the good news is that there are NRVTA Certified Technicians that can provide an annual inspection and maintenance of your RV roof. They also offer air conditioning cleaning services that need to be performed on the roof each year. You can find an NRVTA Certified Technician near you at : http://www.RVTAA.org


I hope you have found this blog informative and useful to you.


If you are selling your RV and want to facilitate a quick sale it is good to have a recent Independent NRVIA Certified Inspection report on hand to share with prospective buyers.


If you are buying a new or preowned RV, be sure to hire an independent NRVIA Certified Inspector to give you the knowledge of the true condition of the RV before you buy. You can find an NRVIA Certified Inspector near you through the NRVIA web site locator.

http://www.NRVIA.org


Our primary objective at Sherlock RV Inspection Service, LLC is to serve you by making sure your RV is safe to occupy and all major systems and appliances are functioning as intended.


We are a mobile RV Inspection Service and will travel throughout the Southeast and beyond as needed. (subject to travel and per diem costs) Check out our web site to get to know us better and to preview inspection details and sample reports.

www.rvinspectpro.com


Safe Travels!

Ron Francoeur

Sherlock RV Inspection Service, LLC

Office: 352 – 224 – 9477

Cell/Text: 678 – 360 - 6883




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