RV Roof Maintenance: How Often Should You Reseal Your Roof?
The roof of your camper deserves special care. After all, it protects your whole RV from its number one enemy: moisture.
The caulking on the RV roof seals protects the edges and seams so that moisture from rain and snow will stay outside, where it’s supposed to be.
A leaking roof seal allows moisture to penetrate through the roof membrane to the inside of the RV. This can seriously damage an RV’s structural components and make an inviting environment for mold and mildew.
Don’t wait until your seals are leaking to reseal your roof. Replacing the seals on your camper roof every year is recommended to help keep your camper in good shape.
It’s a labor-intensive job, but you can do it yourself with a few simple tools. Hiring a certified RV technician to reseal your roof will save you work and help to ensure that a professional-looking job is done.
How often should you seal a camper roof?
To prevent moisture seepage, you need to inspect your camper roof every six months. It might be easier to remember to do it at the beginning and at the end of every camping season.
Careful inspection of the roof twice a year will give you the heads-up on potential problems before any real damage to your RV occurs.
How to inspect your camper roof seals
You will need to get up on a ladder to check your roof seals. Some RV roofs are built strong enough to walk or crawl around on. Not all RV roofs are strong enough to support a human on them. Be sure to check with your RV’s manufacturer before you set foot on the roof of your rig.
Be aware that working either from a ladder or on your RV’s roof exposes you to a danger of falling from a significant height. Learn about ladder safety before you set up your ladder, and practice safe ladder mechanics. The American Ladder Institute offers ladder safety tips on its website.
What to check for
While you are up on the ladder or on your RV’s roof, checking the seals, we recommend that you check the general condition of the roof. To check the camper roof seals for elasticity, you will need a tool like a plastic scraper or a screwdriver.
Here are a few things to look for when you are inspecting the roof seals and roof of your RV.
- Dry, hard, or cracked sealant
- Missing sealant
- Sealant that looks like it’s pulling away from the seams of the roof
- Loosened screws on the RV, ladder, air conditioner, etc.
- Significant bubbles in the roof material
- Mold, mildew, and/or algae
- Pooling water
How do you know if your camper roof needs to be resealed?
Your RV’s roof is sealed around the seams and roof obtrusions (air conditioners, vents, etc.) with caulking that is specially developed to not dry up in the sun. This specialized caulking is elastic, so it resists separation from the roof membrane. This is especially important when the RV is traveling and going over all the little bumps in the road.
During your inspection, you should carefully check all the caulking on your RV’s roof for elasticity, cracks, dryness, and separation from the roof membrane. Poke the plastic scraper gently against the caulking every foot or so for just a moment. If it reforms to its original state, the caulking is still good. If it doesn’t, you will need to replace it ASAP.
How you can protect your camper roof from damage
- Use UV protectants to protect against sun damage
- Keep your roof clean: Clean your roof three or four times per year to make sure dirt from road trips, sap, pine needles, or other detritus doesn’t build up on top of your roof.
- Keep your RV covered: Protect your RV with a trailer cover, tarp, or inside a shelter like a carport to help keep the roof clean and minimize damage to seals from UV rays.
Track your RV maintenance
Now you know how to seal a camper roof. 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.