A Simple Guide to RV Leak Repairs

With summer coming, you will soon see more recreational vehicles on the roadways. Many people feel the call of the open road and decide to purchase an RV. These vehicles are a great way to see the world, experience new things and spend time with the family.

Of course, RVs are not perfect, and whether they have roofs made of rubber or fiberglass, they are susceptible to breaks and leaks. Water damage is a major issue for RVs, so it is very important to be on the lookout for things that can damage your roof and take necessary steps to avoid them. But sometimes, damage is unavoidable. Therefore, here is a simple guide to RV leak repairs.

Properly Maintain Your RV

Before we approach the step-by-step system of repairing a leak, it is important to understand there are things one can do to avoid issues. The best RV leak repairs are the ones you don’t have to make.

When you are not using your RV, it is a good idea to store it out of harm’s way. It is very easy for an RV to be damaged by falling branches burdened by heavy snow or in a spring thunderstorm. Also, sitting outside in direct sunlight can weaken roof materials, and create added wear and tear to the RV. If possible, consider storing your RV in a garage or storage facility to reduce the risks it faces off the road.

Furthermore, before you hit the road each season, it is vital to check the RV for potential problems. You should also perform at least one more thorough check each year. Inspect the roof and walls carefully, and re-seal the seams. The easiest place for a leak or break to occur is where two pieces of material meet or where there may be any penetrations.

Step-By-Step RV Leak Repair

Everyone hates having leaks in their RV, but chances are everyone will have to deal with them at some point. Luckily, RV leak repair is a simple process. Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Locate the leak. If you discover a leak because water drips inside the RV – you are lucky. That may sound strange, but in reality, leaks are often much more difficult to spot. Leaks can cause major damage, such as mold and rotting materials, so locating a leak quickly is vital.

  • Step 2: Find the best available RV leak repair materials. There are many products on the market available to provide RV leak repair, including sealing tape, liquid roofing and more. Liquid roofing is cost-effective and durable, and makes a great option for simple leaks.
  • Step 3: Read and follow the directions – it’s as simple as that. Most rubber roof repairs will be similar to painting a wall.
  • Step 4: Allow the material to dry and test it by using a water hose on the affected area.

Once you have taken care of the leak, you can enjoy your RV and all the experiences it will bring you. With proper RV maintenance and the right tools to conduct simple RV leak repairs, you will enjoy your trips for years to come.

The Basics of EPDM Roof Repair

EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer. That’s a really long way of saying it’s a synthetic rubber. It became extremely popular due to its application in repairing roofs. EPDM roof repair provides many advantages over conventional methods. Keep reading to learn the basics of EPDM roof repair.

How Does It Work?

EPDM roof repair works by applying the rubber to any problem areas, providing a nearly impenetrable seal. Oftentimes, however, it’s simply used as a precaution—covering roofs before any damage can be done.

Once applied, EPDM forms an extremely durable layer of protection that is waterproof, amongst other things.

Applying EPDM to a Flat Roof

If you’re using an EPDM roof repair application for a flat-topped roof, you’ll first want to begin by cleaning the surface off. Many people use EPDM for the entire roof to work as a kind of sealant. In this scenario, the entire thing will need to be cleaned first.

While the climate is probably temperate if you’re working on a roof, it’s worth pointing out that it should be between 40 F and 70 F outside, otherwise you’ll have issues with applying the synthetic rubber.

Once the roof is cleaned, apply a primer. A paint brush is best for this job, but if you’re doing the entire roof, you’ll want to use a roller and an extension to make things easier.

With the primer applied, start in an area that won’t present any odd angles. You’ll want to handle all these areas first, as it’s simply easier to do. Odd corners can be addressed when you finish by cutting the sheets and applying them where need be.

Applying EPDM to a Conventional Home Roof

You can also utilize EPDM roof repair on a residential home, as well. However, you wouldn’t want to cover the whole thing as in the above example. You’d have to remove all the shingles first, if you truly wanted to. EPDM is just a good way to take care of a stubborn leak, especially if you’re worried it will begin to cause sloping issues for your roof.

Start off by finding exactly where the leak is coming from. Just as in the above example, you’ll want to clean off the area affected. Do this by removing all the shingles on and around the affected area. Depending on the size of the sheet you’re using, this may mean more shingles than are actually compromised.

Instead of using a primer, like above, you’ll apply a fiberglass enforced felt skin that works well with the adhesive qualities of EPDM. Then, use one fastener per 2 square feet on the installation. When using EPDM on a residential job, seams aren’t an issue, so you need not bother.

One of the best parts about fixing a roof with EPDM is how fast it sets. If you finish your job by the afternoon, it will be ready for a storm later that night. Due to its durability, you also shouldn’t have to address the problem again for about 20 years.

A Semi Annual RV Roof Inspection Helps Prevent Leaks

A semi-annual RV roof inspection should become a regular part of your maintenance routine. Here you can learn about the things to look for and repair.

There are some differences depending on the type of roofing material. Older roofs were constructed of sheet metal or fiberglass. If you have one of the older vehicles, you should inspect the seams around anything that protrudes from the roof. Examples include vents, antennas and pipes.

The seams should be sealed using a sealant created specifically for this purpose and for this type of roof. Sealing and resealing on a regular basis reduces the risk of leaking.

You should not seal the area around a rooftop air conditioning unit because the condensation drains are located beneath the unit. If you seal around this area, the condensation will leak into the interior of the vehicle.

Newer RVs will have either TPO or EPDM rubber roofing. TPO is said to require no semi-annual cleaning or treatment but the roof should still be inspected for signs of wear. The seams of the material and the entire roof can be sealed using products specially formulated for use on TPO. The sealants may extend the life of the material.

Liquid EPDM rubber roofing manufacturers recommend a semi-annual inspection at a minimum. Some manufacturers recommend quarterly inspections, when the seasons change. Special cleansers, sealants and liquid rubber coatings are available for EPDM roofs. No silicone or petroleum-based products should be used on EPDM.

Liquid roof and EPDM rubber roofs for RV repair should also be treated with a UV blocker to prevent chalking. Liquid Rubber is the best solution for this purpose. It will resist chalking for years once it has been applied.

Regardless of the type of roof, the main purpose of the inspection is to check areas that are prone to leak and make any necessary repairs before leaking occurs. You should inspect all seams and any previously caulked or sealed areas on your RV roof.

The vent covers should be inspected on all RV Roof. Any cover with a dull finish or a brittle appearance should be replaced before you head out on the road. They may seem stable while the vehicle is parked. But at highway speeds they can break apart.

Remember to check the rubber roofing on your RV roof of any slide-outs while you are at it to look for cracking, holes or other signs of wear. Slide-outs are common leak locations. Some of the seals can be caulked using silicone. Check your owner’s manual to be sure. EPDM rubber is one of the best solution for your RV roof repair.