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How To Prevent An RV Roof Leak

top half of RV - feature image for RV roof leak prevention

Keep Your RV Roof From Leaking This Winter

Water damage can be a death sentence for RVs, so owners need to be extremely vigilant about leaks. RV roofs are fairly sturdy, but they can deteriorate over time, which leads to cracks and holes. If you want to learn how to prevent an RV roof leak, you’ve come to the right place.

Once a leak starts, it can be hard to patch it up. Water damage inside the walls and ceiling of your RV can lead to rot, mold, rust, and other dangerous forms of decay. In some cases, the damage is bad enough that you can no longer continue to use the vehicle.

Fortunately, there are a variety of things you can do to prevent leaks from forming. A proper RV maintenance schedule will help you check various parts of your RV, including the roof. Follow the tips below if you want to cover all your bases and avoid an RV roof leak.

Cover the RV

Your first line of defense is a good RV cover. Covers protect your RV from a variety of damage, and some of them are specially designed with several layers of protection. It’s a good practice to cover up the vehicle any time you’re not using it because RV roof leaks can sneak up on you if you’re not careful.

RV covers can also protect against wind, UV damage, dirt, bird poop, sap, pollen, insects, pests, ice, and other things that could damage or dirty your vehicle. If you use covers, you also won’t need to clean your RV as regularly because it just doesn’t get as dirty.

One of the best covers on the market is the KING BIRD Upgraded Travel Trailer RV Cover. It provides five layers of protection and can fit 30-33 foot travel trailers. It even comes with tire covers as well!

Fabric RV covers are good for day-to-day protection, but you can take things a step further if you really want to prevent leaks. 

Keeping your RV outside can be dangerous for a variety of reasons, but water damage is one of the most common ones. Therefore, it’s a good idea to invest in a good carport or other protective structure. Some people have entire garages dedicated to their RVs, but this obviously isn’t realistic for everyone. 

A sturdy carport will work wonders when it comes to keeping water off your roof. They’re also pretty cheap and easy to set up, so you won’t need to invest a ton of money in this solution. If you can protect your RV from rain and snow, you’ll hardly have to worry about leaks at all.

Regularly clean the roof

Another good way to prevent RV roof leaks is to regularly examine and clean your roof. Sometimes the problems start small, so it’s easy to miss them unless you’re paying close attention. If you establish a consistent time to clean your RV and check it for leaks, you can save yourself a lot of trouble down the road. 

Begin by climbing onto the roof or using a ladder. You need to be able to physically see the top in order for this process to be helpful. From your vantage point, examine the roof. Pay extra close attention to the seams because this is often where water will seep through.

Next, gently rinse off the roof to expose the base. You want to clean it thoroughly, but don’t be too harsh because you could worsen any weak areas. Carefully apply soap and scrub any debris off the roof. Then you just need to rinse the soap off again and let the vehicle thoroughly dry. 

Re-check the surface once you’re done cleaning, just in case you created any holes or scratches.

Patch up any cracks, rips, and holes

During your inspections, there’s a good chance you’ll spot some problem areas. That’s the purpose of doing them, after all! Depending on the material they’re made of, RV roofs are prone to different types of damage. For instance, aluminum roofs are more likely to scratch, while rubber roofs tend to split along the seams. 

Usually, the damage is minimal if you catch it early. In some cases, a leak might not have even formed yet! All you need to do now is work on patching up any cracks, rips, or holes that you find. Caulk is an all-purpose solution that you can use on pretty much any RV roof.

When you want to apply caulk, follow the cleaning steps mentioned above. Just be careful to avoid putting too much pressure on the weakened areas. You need a clean, dry surface to work with. Next, pipe or spread caulk over the affected area and let it set. Once it has filled in the gaps, you can apply a protective layer of wax or sealant. We’ll discuss more details below.

Apply a protective sealant

One of the best ways to prevent RV roof leaks is to keep your roof sealed and protected at all times. Although there are several products that will get the job done, one of the best overall options is RV Roof Magic

This substance works on almost every type of RV roof, including those made of EPDM, Alpha rubber, fiberglass, butyl rubber, Hypalon rubber, metal, and TPO. You can even spread it on top of existing products like Dicor and Kool Seal without any issue.

RV Roof Magic dries within a single day and is fully waterproof within two hours. It also protects your roof against UV radiation, reflects heat, and has built-in fungicides to prevent mold growth. Because this sealant can be applied in one smooth sheet, it doesn’t have any exposed seams or cracks that can cause leaks. 

This is one of the best all-around products for those who want to prevent RV roof leaks, but you can also use any specialized sealant or RV wax that works for your specific roof type. As long as you have some kind of protection, it will go a long way.

Don’t store your RV outside

Finally, you can prevent the vast majority of RV roof leaks if you store your vehicle indoors during the off-season. The top culprits of leaks are rain, snow, and shifting temperatures. We already mentioned using an RV cover and a carport when you park for short durations, but these can only do so much.

Harsh storms can eventually work their way through covers, and carports are open on most sides. This exposes your RV to a variety of climate risks, and it would eventually develop a leak. 

In order to avoid this, it’s best to store your RV indoors if you can. As mentioned above, some people have garages that can accommodate these vehicles. If this isn’t plausible for you, look into climate-controlled storage options in your area. They might be a bit pricey, but you’ll save yourself the hassle of dealing with water damage.

Overall, it’s possible to prevent RV roof leaks as long as you take the right precautions and keep a close eye on your roof. Fix minor flaws as soon as they form, and be consistent with your maintenance routines. 

Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.

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