If you haven’t had the opportunity to work on your coach roof to perform periodic maintenance or to have it repaired, you are in for a real treat. Well, not really!
MotorHome roofs are probably the most neglected component of the entire coach. If for instance your refrigerator quits working, you immediately notice the lack of cooling, and have it repaired quickly because you don’t want to be without the ability to cool food (or beer). Certainly, if your furnace or stove goes on the fritz that will be another hastily repaired item as would be any other component of your coach that you need and use that is ‘in your face’ every day.
So why not take care of the roof? More than likely you never go up there so you can’t easily see it. Most of the time to the best of your knowledge the roof works and you probably don’t even think of it until your need it to keep the elements out. If the elements start to be too friendly, then it’s too late. If your roof is leaking to the extent that you can see signs of water inside, you more than likely have already suffered some sort of interior damage. Water intrusion indicators are outside fiberglass wall delamination, water stains inside on the ceiling, and inside wall buckling.
At the time of this writing and to the best of my knowledge there are only a very few coaches made that have a one-piece roof. They are: (a) the Monaco pusher line except for the entry level model, (b) the Country Coach, and (c) the Fleetwood American models. If I am wrong, I’m sure someone will let me know and I will make the proper corrections. If your coach is not one of these, you have front and end caps that seal via roof seams to the main part of your roof. The seams along with all roof penetrations, even on the above-mentioned coaches, are the source of potential problems. From the day the coaches are rolled off the assembly lines the roof seal sealant starts to deteriorate. And to help the natural process along add sunlight, road crud, oils, moisture and temperature variations. All of these elements, and who knows what else, are out to get you and your roof. It is just a matter of time. Before long you will find sealant cracks, sealant deteriorations to the extent that holes in some brands of sealant, and in some cases, you might even find that the sealant has completely disappeared. Take a look at your roof and its seams. If you can’t do it safely, have someone do it for you. You owe it to yourself and your coach.
So, what do you do to protect your roof? I’ve tried about everything known to mankind. There are some very good sealers out there, but I have found firsthand they are relatively short lived. After about two years, or less in most cases, the sealing process has to be redone. The trick is to reseal before any damage occurs. I had a problem on a Monaco once that had a minor water leak above the shower on the skylight. I didn’t even know it was leaking until I took the coach in to have a periodic check of the roof seals. After inspection of the skylight the technician found considerable water intrusion damage to the main roof structure. I was lucky to have found the problem and have the proper repairs made before a more extensive problem occurred. This was a Monaco with a solid roof, no fault of the coach maker, just too long between periodic inspections. So, no roof is totally maintenance free regardless of the cost of the coach.
You may have heard me talk of a new product on my Weekly Tip called Rv Roof Magic. I have used Rv Roof Magic and found it to be as good as the company advertised it to be. It was very easy to use. Rv Roof Magic is the only Liquid Butyl Rubber in the world made in the U.S.A. with a 25-year history of success. It is the only RV roof coating with a 10-year warranty particularly warrantied against leaks in standing water. It is a coating designed to extend life another 15-18 years with a single coat application and it never needs a primer unlike the other coatings we have written about. There are many products on the market ranging from asphalt-based products, rubber solution (Hypalon, Neoprene, Silicon), water-based Acrylic and your standard elastomerics which we have found out time and time again just don’t hold up.
What makes this product so special is the proprietary solvent they developed. As the product is drying the solvent will chemically cross-link thereby fusing itself to the substrate it is being applied over. Choosing the right product requires some knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of each type. The most widely used liquid coatings for example in the RV industry are acrylic elastomeric products. These are easy to use, have good weatherability and cure quickly in warm weather. But they have too many weaknesses like they vulnerable to sudden showers or freezing temperatures soon after application, and they have inherently poor resistance to ponding water. Another drawback for the acrylic products is that they do not work over single ply membranes, and many require primers and multiple coats. Some do not work on certain type of roofs particularly TPO. Rv Roof Magic is a true do-it-yourself product that will work on any roof type except silicone, making installations easy and the choice obvious.
The chemistry of the product has two unique features not possessed by any other rv coatings; it is unaffected by ultra-violet and ozone, and can tolerate continuous exposure at temperatures over 300 degrees F. The latter feature is also what gives the best aging properties (retain flexibility longer). Some of the unique benefits of the product are: Can be applied over all roofing materials; UV and ozone resistant; Excellent against ponding water; Waterproofs within 3 hours of application.
I recommend you try this product. Even if you use this product, be sure to check your roof periodically. If you don’t bother to periodically inspect your roof or worse find an issue and don’t fix it now; you could be in for huge problems and costly repairs. Remember, your entire coach lies beneath your roof.