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Roof Inspection and Maintenance

Metal and Rubber Roof Inspection and Maintenance Tips

Spring is the time of year when most RV’ers are taking out their Recreational Vehicle after the cold winter season, and it is the time of year when bi-annual inspections and maintenance should be performed. One important and commonly overlooked inspection to be performed is the roof. Most RV’s are using a EDPM Rubber Roof Membrane. This is a very tough and durable material, but it is relatively thin and can be punctured by a sharp object. You can carefully walk on most roofs, but always stay on the solid cross member supports and make sure your feet are clean. Verify that there are not any rocks or other types of hard or sharp objects on the roof, as walking on these objects can cause damage. Most rubber roofs have a 3/16” to 1/2” plywood type substrate underlay. Thin roofs and some metal roofs may require a length of plywood strip, or long wide boards laid lengthwise front to rear across the supports to properly support you, because the boards span the rafters to evenly distribute your weight evenly across several supports.

Closely inspect the roof membrane condition, all the seams, and every protruding fixture. Minor cracks or thin spots can be cleaned and caulked with the proper material. Silicone sealants are not to be used and EDPM Roofs prohibits use of any products containing petroleum distillates. If the sealant is peeling or flaking, it must be cut and scraped out, properly cleaned with a roof cleaner product. Be careful scraping a rubber roof. A plastic scraper is recommended. Heating the old sealant with a heat gun will aid in removal. Rubber roofs should be caulked with Dicor Self Leveling Sealant around seams and Dicor Lap Sealant around the fixtures and side seams. A recommended product to reduce roof maintenance requirement is Ertrna-bond Tape. It is available in 4” and 6” widths on 50′ rolls. This product is very durable, easy to use, permanently seals seams and great around skylights. Rubber roof tears can be repaired with Eterna-bond Tape or a Rubber Roof Patch kit. Rubber roofs should be cleaned twice a year with a EDPM Roof Cleaner and a EDPM Conditioner to protect the roof membrane. A rubber roof that has been neglected and poorly maintained may require a Rubber Roof Primer and a Rubber Roof Coating applied, or a new EDPM Membrane installed.

Metal roofs are inspected in a similar manner as above, but require slightly different materials for maintenance and repair. Cracked and peeling seams can be scraped clean with a metal blade. Use the Surebond Everseal Sealant or Geocel ProFlex RV Sealant. The Eterna-bond Tape can also be used for all the seams and skylights. Metal roofs, at some time, may require an Kool Seal Aluminum Roof Coating or Hengs Fibered Aluminum Roof Coating. Thoroughly clean the roof before applying any coating. Rinse the outside exterior walls often to avoid staining and streaking.

Both metal and rubber roofs use the same fixtures, such as Plumbing Vents, Antenna Mounts, Skylights and Vent Lids that must be inspected or replaced if damaged. Slide outs have a roof membrane, seams and Seals that must also be inspected. Slide out seals can benefit from using a Slide Out Rubber Conditioner.

It is recommended to inspect and treat a roof at least twice a year to avoid costly repairs and structural water damage. A little roof maintenance will save you money and provide your RV roof with many years of a trouble free life. .

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