How to Reseal a Travel Trailer Roof | My Guideline

Fixing up the roof of your travel trailer is about more than just doing maintenance. It’s about getting your trailer ready for all kinds of weather while you’re on the road. Resealing the roof puts a protective coat back on so water can’t get in and damage your trailer. It helps stop leaks and keeps you safe and comfortable inside.

Resealing means putting a fresh layer of sealant on your trailer roof every few years. Old sealant cracks over time and lets water and dampness in. By scraping the old sealant off and adding new coating, you plug up those cracks. Adding new sealant keeps rain out and protects your trailer from sun damage too.

Following the right steps to clean and reseal the roof isn’t hard to do yourself. Taking good care of your trailer means you’ll get many more years of enjoyment out of it. Resealing the roof gets your trailer ready for new adventures on the road while keeping you nice and dry inside when bad weather hits.

How to Reseal a Travel Trailer Roof

What Types of Roof Materials of Your RV Have?

There are three main types of roofing materials used on RVs and camper trailers:

TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin): TPO is a single-ply roof membrane typically bright white in color. It is durable, flexible, and reflective.

EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer): EPDM is a popular rubber roofing material known for its flexibility and weather resistance. It comes in both white and black colors.

Fiberglass: Fiberglass roofing involves a fiberglass base reinforced with additional coatings and sealants. This option is lightweight but more easily damaged.

A small comparison between TPO vs EPDM

TPO and EPDM roof materials are two common options with key differences:

CostMore expensive upfrontLower upfront cost
WeightLightweightHeavier than TPO
DurabilityLasts 12-15 years typicallyUsually lasts 15-20 years
MaintenanceRequires less routine maintenanceNeeds resealing every 5-8 years
Heat ResistanceReflective to resist heat wellCan get hotter than TPO
AppearanceBright white finishAvailable in black or white

When choosing which roofing material is right for your RV, consider factors like budget, climate, desired lifespan, and required maintenance. Both TPO and EPDM have relative pros and cons to weigh.

What Type of Roof Sealer You Should Use

When it comes to protecting your travel trailer roof, selecting the appropriate roof sealer is crucial. Different sealants serve specific purposes, each with its unique application method. Here’s a breakdown of the types you should consider:

1. Self-Leveling RV Roof Sealant: This type is liquid-based and designed to level itself out, ensuring a smooth and uniform application. To use it, clean the roof thoroughly, apply the sealant, and let it spread and settle evenly.

2. Non-Sag RV Sealant: Unlike self-leveling sealants, non-sag sealants maintain their form, making them ideal for vertical surfaces. The application involves cleaning the area, applying the sealant in a steady bead, and smoothing it for an even finish.

3. RV Sealant Tape: Easy to apply, this tape is suitable for quick fixes. Clean the area, measure and cut the tape to the desired length, then press it onto the surface, ensuring a secure and watertight seal.

4. RV Roof Patch Kit: Patch kits typically include a combination of sealant and patches. Clean the damaged area, apply the sealant, and affix the patch over the imperfection. This provides a durable and long-lasting solution.

Caution: Avoid These Products

  • Silicone Sealants: While silicone is durable, it creates challenges when reapplying or recoating. The new sealant may not adhere properly to silicone residue, causing potential leaks.
  • Flex Seal: Despite its popularity, Flex Seal is not recommended for RV roof sealing. Its rubberized nature can make future repairs difficult and may not provide a lasting solution.
  • Incompatible Product: Always check compatibility with your RV roof material. Using a product not suited for your specific roof type can lead to ineffective sealing and potential damage.

Choosing the right roof sealer and avoiding incompatible products are essential steps in ensuring a successful and lasting seal, safeguarding your travel trailer from the elements.

Why Use Roof Sealer?

Before starting the application process, it’s important to understand why using a roof sealer is an essential step in maintaining your RV. A quality roof sealer provides a protective barrier, ensuring longevity and resilience against various elements. Here’s a brief discussion of using a roof sealer:

1. Durability: Enhances the lifespan of your RV roof. A proper roof sealer forms a durable layer that withstands the test of time, preventing premature deterioration and ensuring a longer life for your RV roof.

2. Weatherproofing: Provides robust protection against the elements. A quality roof sealer acts as a shield, safeguarding your RV roof from rain, UV rays, and temperature extremes. This weather resistance prevents damage and maintains the structural integrity of the roof.

3. Simple Application: Simplifies the maintenance process. Roof sealers are designed for easy application, making the resealing process manageable for RV owners. Whether using a brush, roller, or caulk gun, applying the sealer is a straightforward task.

4. Product Guarantees: Often comes with a warranty. Many roof sealers come with a manufacturer’s warranty, providing assurance of their effectiveness. This warranty adds an extra layer of confidence, knowing that you’re investing in a product backed by the manufacturer.

5. Convenience: Convenient and cost-effective. Some suppliers offer free shipping for roof sealers, making it a convenient and economical choice for RV owners. This not only saves money but also ensures a hassle-free acquisition of the necessary sealing materials.

Using a roof sealer is not just a maintenance task; it’s a strategic investment in the longevity and resilience of your RV roof. The combination of durability, weather resistance, ease of application, warranty, and potential cost savings with free shipping makes it a practical and valuable choice for any RV owner.

Essential Tools for Resealing Your RV Roof

Before going to start the process of resealing your RV roof, it’s essential to gather the right tools. Each tool plays a specific role in ensuring a thorough and effective sealing process. Here’s a discussion of the tools you’ll need:

1. Gasket Scraper: A gasket scraper is a flat tool with a sharp edge, designed to remove old sealant and debris from the roof surface. It’s essential to prepare the roof before applying new sealant. The flat edge allows for efficient scraping without causing damage to the roof material.

2. Proper Sealant: Choosing the right sealant is paramount. Lap Sealant 501 LSW is a widely recommended option. It is specially formulated for RV roofs, providing a durable and flexible seal. Ensure the sealant is compatible with your roof material for optimal effectiveness.

3. Caulk Gun: A caulk gun is used to apply sealant evenly and with precision. It simplifies the process, allowing for controlled application without the mess. The trigger mechanism ensures a steady flow of sealant, making it easier to create a uniform seal along seams and edges.

4. Roof Patch: In cases where a more robust solution is needed, a roof patch like Eternabond is an excellent choice. It’s a tape-like material that adheres tightly to the roof surface, providing a strong and lasting seal. Eternabond is particularly useful for quick fixes and on-the-go repairs.

How to Prepare Your RV Roof for Resealing

Proper preparation is the key to a successful RV roof resealing project. Taking the time to meticulously ready the surface ensures that the new sealant adheres effectively, providing a robust defense against the elements. Here’s a step-by-step guide to preparing your RV roof:

1. Choose Cooler Weather: Select a dry and mild day for resealing. Working in favorable weather conditions ensures the sealant has ample time to cure and adhere properly.

2. Thoroughly Clean The RV Roof Area: Remove dirt, debris, and loose material. Use a soft brush or broom to sweep away loose particles. A clean surface allows the sealant to bond more effectively.

3. Wiping The RV Roof and Allow Drying Time: Wipe the roof with a suitable cleaner. Use a mild detergent or RV roof cleaner to remove any remaining grime. This step promotes better adhesion and ensures a clean surface for the new sealant.

4. Checking The Roof: Inspect the roof for large joints or gaps. Pay close attention to seams and edges where the roof meets other surfaces. Identify any areas that might need extra attention or patching.

5. Load Caulking Gun: Load the caulk gun with the chosen sealant. Ensure the caulk gun is in good working condition, and load it with the appropriate sealant for your RV roof type.

6. Cover Well: Cover areas you don’t want to seal. Use painter’s tape or plastic sheeting to protect adjacent surfaces from accidental sealant application.

7. Patch Holes and Rips: Address any existing holes or rips. If there are visible damages, patch them using suitable materials before applying the sealant. This ensures a complete and uniform seal.

With these steps, you set the stage for a seamless resealing process, allowing your RV roof to withstand the rigors of travel and weather with enhanced durability.

How to Apply Roof Sealer on Your Travel Trailer Roof

Properly applying fresh sealant is key for restoring your RV roof’s protective barrier. Follow some fundamental techniques for smooth, effective application results. Here’s a step-by-step guide along with some pro tips for a successful application:

1. Applying Tape: Begin by using sealant tape on seams and joints. This proactive step adds an extra layer of protection to areas prone to leaks. Press the tape firmly to create a solid and watertight seal.

2. Using Caulking Gun: Load your caulking gun with the selected sealant. Apply the sealant along seams, edges, and any areas identified during the inspection. Maintain a steady hand for precise and uniform application.

3. Sealer Applications: For larger surface areas, consider using brushes or rollers. A brush allows for detailed work and reaching tight spots, while a roller is ideal for covering broader areas. Ensure an even application for consistent protection.

Additional Tips

Elevate your resealing process with these professional tips:

Use Disposable Gloves: Safeguard your hands by wearing disposable gloves during the application. This not only protects your skin but also makes cleanup more manageable.

Brushes: Employ brushes for intricate work and reaching corners. Choose a brush that complements the type of sealant you’re using.

Rollers for Easy Clean-Up: Opt for rollers when covering larger areas. They not only provide even application but also facilitate easier cleanup after the sealing is complete.

Taking a systematic approach to sealing critical seams first with tape, then outlining edges and hardware with a caulk gun bead, and finally coating the full roof surface delivers reliable, uniform sealant coverage.

What to Do After You’ve Applied the Roof Sealer

Once the sealant is applied, there are still some key steps to perform in order to finalize the roof resealing process correctly. Here’s a guide on what to do after you’ve applied the roof sealer:

1. Allow Thorough Drying: Allow ample time for the roof to dry. The drying period is vital to ensure the sealant sets properly. Depending on the type of sealant and weather conditions, be patient and allow sufficient time for the roof to dry completely.

2. Inspect for Gaps: Conduct a thorough check for any missed spots. Scrutinize every area, paying close attention to seams and edges. If your initial application missed any spots, consider a touch-up to guarantee a comprehensive and watertight seal.

3. Clean Supplies: Clean your tools and dispose of used materials. Proper cleanup is essential for maintaining your tools and keeping your workspace organized. Dispose of any used brushes, rollers, or gloves responsibly to wrap up the project neatly.

4. Remove Protective Coverings: If you use plastic sheeting or tarps to protect trailer sides during resealing, don’t forget to remove them once the roof surface is dry.

Staying mindful after the application process plays a big role in achieving successful, long-lasting resealing results. Drying time and inspection for thin spots are keys before resuming RV adventures.

Why it’s Important to Reseal Your Travel Trailer Roof

Resealing your travel trailer roof is Important for long-term protection against the elements. The roof serves as a crucial barrier, shielding your trailer from rain, sun, and wind. Over time, exposure to these elements can cause wear and tear, potentially leading to leaks and internal damage.

Leaving the roof unprotected may result in water infiltration, compromising the structural integrity and leading to costly repairs. A properly sealed roof not only prevents leaks but also safeguards your investment. It significantly extends the lifespan of your travel trailer, ensuring you can enjoy numerous adventures without the worry of unexpected damage.

Finally, resealing your travel trailer roof is a proactive measure, preserving the longevity of your trailer and providing peace of mind during your journeys. It’s a simple yet powerful way to protect your investment and ensure a comfortable and worry-free travel experience.

How Often Do You Need to Reseal Your Travel Trailer Roof

Here are some key points that will provide you with a suitable solution for how often you need to reseal your travel trailer roof:

1. Annual Inspection: Just like the annual checkup for your health, your travel trailer roof deserves the same attention. Performing a yearly inspection and resealing is a proactive measure to prevent potential leaks and damages.

2. Ten-Year Milestone: Similar to the idea presented, there’s a general recommendation to reseal your travel trailer roof every ten years. Beyond this timeframe, the structural integrity of the roof may start to degrade, making it susceptible to leaks.

3. Preventing Costly Repairs: Emphasize the financial aspect of regular resealing. The cost of resealing is far less than dealing with extensive water damage. Routine maintenance can prevent the need for major repairs and extend the overall lifespan of your travel trailer.

4. Even for New RVs: Contrary to the misconception that new RVs are exempt, it’s crucial to highlight that even brand-new trailers benefit from yearly inspections. This ensures that any manufacturing defects or vulnerabilities are identified and addressed promptly.

Resealing your travel trailer roof is a small investment in time and resources that pay off in preventing significant headaches down the road. Whether your trailer is a seasoned traveler or a fresh addition to your adventures, regular roof maintenance is the key to a dry and worry-free journey.

Your Questions Answered

  • 1. How often should I inspect my travel trailer roof for resealing?

Answer: It is recommended to inspect your travel trailer roof at least twice a year. Regular inspections allow you to catch any potential issues early, preventing extensive damage and ensuring the effectiveness of the resealing process.

  • 2. Can I reseal my travel trailer roof in cold weather?

Answer: Ideally, resealing is best done in mild and dry conditions. Cold weather may affect the curing process of the sealant. However, if necessary precautions are taken, such as using a sealant designed for colder temperatures, resealing can be performed in cooler weather.

  • 3. Is it possible to reseal a roof with existing leaks?

Answer: It is not recommended to reseal a roof with existing leaks without addressing the leaks first. Fix any leaks before applying the sealant to ensure a durable and watertight seal. Resealing on top of existing leaks can trap moisture and lead to further damage.

  • 4. Can I walk on the roof immediately after resealing?

Answer: It’s advisable to wait for the sealant to cure before walking on the roof. The curing time varies depending on the type of sealant used and weather conditions. Check the product instructions, but generally, waiting at least 24 hours is recommended.

  • 5. What should I do if I encounter stubborn stains on my travel trailer roof during resealing?

Answer: Stubborn stains can be addressed with a specialized RV roof cleaner. Avoid using harsh chemicals that may damage the roof material. Follow the cleaner’s instructions, and ensure the roof is thoroughly cleaned before applying the sealant.

Final Thoughts

Resealing your trailer roof every few years is critical to protect investment and prevent leaks before major damage occurs. Following key preparation, application, and drying steps allows DIY resealing success. Investing a weekend to thoroughly clean, seal edges, coat the entire surface, and then inspection dries will maintain your roof for years of carefree, memorable travels ahead.

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