RV, Motorhome, and Camper-Trailer Roof Maintenance and Repair FAQS

Updated on January 5, 2017
Randy Godwin profile image

Randy is a lifelong lover of the outdoors and especially camping. This article is intended to help the RVer save money and time on repairs.

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RV Roof Maintenance and Repair

A leaky roof on your RV, whether it is a large motor home or a small tow-behind model, is the most destructive problem faced by many owners. A small unnoticeable roof leak will gradually spread out to other sections of the unit’s body, walls, and floor structure.

This is why it is so important for an owner to visually inspect the RV's roof several times a year. The reason for this frequent inspection is that many units are only used a few times a year, so a leak may spread quickly with no one to notice the beginnings of a ceiling stain.

If your RV or camper trailer is stored under a shelter of some sort, your RV's roof and rubber coating will last many times longer than a camping unit which sits out in the weather. Direct sunlight and heat may deteriorate the chemical compounds of many sealants over time, allowing moisture to eventually find the cracks in the roofing material.

1959 Serro Scotty

A real classic
A real classic
This roof is in need of a repair job as water is seeping down around the roof-mounted AC.
This roof is in need of a repair job as water is seeping down around the roof-mounted AC.

Accessing RV Roof Damage

The following tips will help you visually inspect your unit's roof for leaks.

A small unit may be inspected without having to get on the roof. In fact, it is recommended you never stand on an older camper’s roof as many weren’t built to support heavy weight.

Any repairs to these types of roofs may be safely accomplished by placing planks across the top of the unit with the walls supporting the weight. Just be sure the walls themselves are not water damaged and can support your weight. Try to stay as close to the side of the unit as you can while inspecting or performing repairs to the roof. If the roof is badly damaged, you may require scaffolding to span the distance across the roof in order to access the repairs.

RV Roofing Types and Materials Used

There are several types of roofing materials used for RV roof coverings with each requiring different techniques for maintenance and repair. We will start with the older types and move on to the newer types.

The “oldie-but-goodie” tow-behind camping trailers of yesteryear are still around with some becoming highly sought after for restoration and investment. Old Airstream, Avion, Serro Scotty, and other less well known but still classic models are frequently spotted being towed by equally classic restored cars and trucks. The Airstream and Avion roofing material require special repairs not usually done by the amateur, so repairs for these units will not be included in this article.

Airstream roof.  Care must be used when accessing the roof area.
Airstream roof. Care must be used when accessing the roof area.

The roof material on most older units consisted of sheet aluminum attached to 2x2’s reaching from one side of the unit to the other. These 2x2’s attach to the side walls and also form a base to attach the ceiling to. On some of these 2x2’s the roof sheeting may meet which requires annual sealant application to ensure watertight sealing.

The sides of the sheeting are usually screwed down the same way and require the same sealant applications. It is not unusual for holes to be punched into this thin roofing material by falling limbs or other debris. Fortunately these can be easily repaired.

The seams in this RV's roof need coating with a good sealant to prevent future leaks.
The seams in this RV's roof need coating with a good sealant to prevent future leaks.
Use a protective padding or scratches and dents may occur.
Use a protective padding or scratches and dents may occur.

Roof Inspection and Repair

If the hole is more than an inch in diameter it may be best to cover it with a small piece of aluminum sheeting. Cut the patch larger than the hole, use putty tape or other non-hardening putty around the edges, and use self-tapping screws to secure the patch to the roof.

Smaller holes can be patched with sticky backed aluminum such as Peel N Seal roof repair tape. The sheet metal screws which hold the sheeting down need to be sealed annually by coating them with a flexible rubber or plastic coating to prevent leaks caused by the flexing of the roof and body while the unit is being moved to or from the next campsite.

The newer camping units may use a rubber sheeting over the aluminum covering to insure waterproofing the roof. Once again, annual inspection and preventive maintenance is important to keep the roof in good shape.

There are products made especially for these types of roof materials and will protect and repair rubber roof coverings. Pay close attention to the area around roof mounted A/C units and any other vents used for gas refrigerators, air ventilation, or plumbing fixtures.There are kits made just for replacing this rubber roof material available from RV dealers and suppliers. Annual application of a good sealant coating will save you possibly thousands of dollars in the long run.

DIY RV Roof Replacement Kits

Dicor RP-RRK-30 RV Roof Renew Kit
Dicor RP-RRK-30 RV Roof Renew Kit

Rubber roof repair kit. Complete with patching and sealants.

 

RV Roof and Ceiling Inspection

Complete inspection of the roof includes checking the inside of the RV along the walls where the roof sheeting is attached to the edges. This interior inspection may include having to look inside cabinets and closets to see if water damage is apparent along the top sides of all walls.

Discoloration of the ceiling or walls indicates a present or past leak. If the discoloration is slight a simple sealing application may solve the problem. Rotting or mildewed wood indicates a serious need for repairs.

Check the top of the unit to ascertain the location of vents, A/C units, or any other item which entails waterproofing. Check these same items on the inside to be sure they are still watertight. Many motor homes use vinyl stripping to cover the screws on the upper exterior of the unit.

These strips do not last forever and tend to crack and will fall out of the retaining groove eventually. Replacement strips can be purchased at many RV and camper trailer repair sites. These leaks are often hard to detect and it is a good idea to replace all of the stripping every five years or so.

Another hard-to detect-leak area is around the running lights. These lights use a rubber gasket to seal between the light fixture itself and the body of the unit. New gaskets or an annual sealing using silicone caulk will usually solve this problem. This type of leak may go undetected and cause deterioration to walls and floors.

Repairs on a camping unit's roof may run into thousands of dollars if the owner does not catch the leaks in time. Preventive maintenance is usually easy and relatively inexpensive to perform by most owners having basic skills. Just like our real homes, these recreational units need love and care to provide you with the best possible use. Happy camping.

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    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      8 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Joel, you'll have to make the decision as I have no experience with either coating as most of my experience it with rubber or metal roofing materials. Sorry! :)

      Randy

    • profile image

      Joel Hayes 

      8 weeks ago

      Randy, it’s an aluminum room with what I can only guess would be an Elastameric coating. I don’t know how I would tell the difference however. It appears to be a thin white coat.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      8 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Joel, what did the original roof material consist of?

      Randy

    • profile image

      Joel Hayes 

      8 weeks ago

      I have a 1975 Nomad I recently purchased and the roof needs to be redone. Do I need to remove all the previous roofing material exposing the aluminum, or can I just clean the surface and apply a new coat? Also, would you recommend EDPM or Elastameric?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      3 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Nick, yes you do need to smooth out the patch by some means, perhaps using a silicone caulk to even the edges of the patch so the new rubber roof will be smooth. Good luck!

      Randy

    • profile image

      Nick 

      3 months ago

      Ok, so I have my whole roof system repaired and ready for a new rubber roof. There was some significant structural damage, so I had to remove parts of the ceiling and wall panelling, as well as the whole rubber roof and pieces of plywood (OSB) and some of the rafters in the back section of the trailer and around the AC unit in the center! WAY bigger job than I was hoping for!

      It was actually necessary for me to build up the plywood around the AC because, even though I replaced the rafter that was damaged there, there was still a sag in the roof, which would pull water from both the front and the back towards the center. So, I put on about a 3' square piece of OSB over 1x2s around the hole for the AC, sloped to the original roof, with 2x strips stepping down 1/4" at a time.

      My question is do I need to float out over the patch where it is stepped down (1/4" steps) with something special before I initialize the rubber roof tomorrow? I do not want my new rubber to be stressed with the edges of the wood, so perhaps a couple extra strips of rubber glued into place over those areas before the main piece of roofing goes down would suffice, or is there a better idea? (most likely there is - I am a builder, but new to RV stuff)

      Any advice would be most appreciated! Thanks!

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      3 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Ian, I don't know precisely how the roof and walls are constructed in your trailer, but the materials during this time tend to be similar in nature.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Ian Miller 

      3 months ago

      I have a 1976 Winnebago trailer, and I've got a location where the aluminum sheathing along the side above the door has cracked, and now the wall is separating from the roof. I'm trying to come up with strategies to deal with it, but am limited in part because I can't figure out how these campers were built. Based on what you write here it sounds like it could be thin wood studs with Styrofoam in between them? And the roof may be the same idea? Or is there a continuous thin sheet of plywood in there? I need to try to figure out what my options are for sold stuff to screw into.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      4 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Kathy, can you explain your problem a bit better and what you want me to advise you about?

    • profile image

      Kathy storm 

      4 months ago

      2004 raptor toy hauler gooseneck roof came loose at nose wind got under it now loose and tore to ac

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Yes you can, Jim. It will cost a pretty penny though!

    • profile image

      Jim Clack 

      7 months ago

      I have a 03 fifth wheel. It has a rubber roof in need of repair. I am old school and have always had metal roofs on my trailers . Can I tear off the rubber roof and replace it with metal?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      9 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Hey Travis, Both are made to stick to aluminum and it's up to you which one you prefer. Good luck on the repair! :)

    • Travis37876 profile image

      Travis Ashley 

      9 months ago from Eastern Tennessee

      Hello, I purchased a 1970 Lil Hobo and I'm looking to recover/reseal the aluminum roof. My question is, what is the best recovering material for aluminum? Between elastomeric and liquid rubber I don't know which will actually stick to the aluminum and seal the roof. They both say they will, but will they really?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      10 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Using the new tape over the old should be fine, Kathy. I cannot be sure of the roof type but the older models used a metal roof. Try using some KoolSeal, a rubber based coating available in Lowe's or Home Depot stores. It comes in both black and white.

      Good luck on your repairs. :)

      Randy

    • profile image

      Kathymarie0901 

      10 months ago

      Hi there.

      I recently purchased and am renovating a 1970'ish tag -a-long camper.

      I stripped it down to bare walls to replace a lot of damaged wood and I don't see any leaks I believe they were repaired with seam tape by the previous owner. My question has a few parts

      1.) I purchased Eternabond seam tape, can I go over the previously installed tape. It has a gritty type surface and I'm sure it won't come off.

      2.) The roof is tin with rubber over it. I don't know if it's Too or edpm. I've done a lot of reading. I read that Edpm is the same color on both sides. Mine is, it's black, then I read that Edpm didn't come out till late 70s. So is it Tpo? :)

      3. What do you recommend to use on the roof in the way of coatings. I can't afford a new roof.

      Thanks so much for any advice

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      15 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Yes Lucas, not all the time but I try to check everyday several times.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Lucas 

      15 months ago

      Randy are you still on the site available for questions

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      2 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hello Diana, if you can find a paint matching the color you desire, and will adhere to the rubber well, then yes, painting it is fine. Thans for the question and good luck on your roof repairs. :)

      Randy

    • profile image

      Diana 

      2 years ago

      Hi I bought myself a 1967 scamper that had very bad water damage. I had to take off the tin roof and replace all the boards from the bottom of the front window up & over to the back window. I have installed new roof panels and just need to add the insulation & small thin boards that run from back to front. My ? is when I place the tin back up what is the best way to ensure it seals as there is not much tin to work with. I have ground off many layers of old products off the tin & need to tsp it then apply roofing tape and rubber seal all over the roof top after it is up. Should I just paint the rubber around to the side a bit or apply something else? Thanks for any info. Cheerios

    • profile image

      Patty Kearns 

      3 years ago

      Thank you :)

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      3 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hi Patty, I will assume there is some type of plywood beneath the rubber roof and this is what's damaged. You may be due for a new rubber roof if this is the original one. They seldom last more than 15 years especially if the camper is stored out in the sunlight. I suppose it would be possible to remove the damaged section of th rubber rood, repair the damaged wood, and put a patch on the roof when finished. More than likely though, other leaks may appear soon if the roof is not replaced.

    • profile image

      Patty Kearns 

      3 years ago

      Hi, I have a 1992 Coachmen Catalina 27', I'm assuming it has a rubber roof as it isn't fiberglass or metal. We've been doing some restoring recently and found about inch wide, 14 inch long rotted section of wood on the roof. How would we repair this. We recently replaced the flooring and other problem areas but was not aware of this hole.

    • Chris Carda profile image

      Chris 

      3 years ago from Sioux Falls, South Dakota

      Thanks, I'll let you know!

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      3 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hi Chris! Since the RV is going to be in one place and movement isn't a factor, I think using foam roofing to allow the water to run off is a fine idea. Let me know how it works out if you don't mind. Perhaps others would benefit from your experience. Check out my other RV repair hubs if you need any more repair advice. Thanks for the question too. :)

      Randy

    • Chris Carda profile image

      Chris 

      3 years ago from Sioux Falls, South Dakota

      Hi, just came across this site as I'm a 1st time camper owner and the site is great!! Just purchased a 2004 Americamp Travel Trailer (28ft). In very good shape overall, however a tree fell on the front section causing a few holes in the roof (main area was about 18-24 inches). Was repaired with something before we purchased and is water tight however we would like to make sure its not an issue going forward. We have access to the aluminum rafters from inside and those are pretty good, however I am going to rebrace 2 of them as they dipped. Which leads to my biggest concern - on the top of the roof above that area there is a noticeable low spot in that area. Watertight currently but I'm worried about sitting water and the repair job they did. I'm hoping that the interior bracing will take care of most of that as I lift it back to original shape, however am wondering if I can cover/ fill in the remaining low area from the outside with foam roofing - building it up so the top is concave again and the water would run off totally. Or do you have other recommendations I could do? I'm trying to not have to tear the whole roof apart. If it matters, the camper will be at a single site over the summer and then stored over the winter so not a ton of actual pulling it - probably just twice a year 120 miles one way. Thanks for any help!!

    • profile image

      Joe 

      3 years ago

      Thanks again and keep up the great work.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      3 years ago from Southern Georgia

      I cannot recommend any particular caulk remover, Joe. Usually the old caulk is so old it simply pulls out of the cracks. Dicor should do well for replacing the old caulked ares. Good luck with the project. :)

    • JoeCephus profile image

      JoeCephus 

      3 years ago

      This is good news that it might not be uncommon. Do you know of any cleaner to get the old caulking off the aluminum? I thought I would use Dicor caulking for windows once I removed the old.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      3 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hello Joe, yes I've heard of this happening when some types of sealing caulks are used to prevent moisture from entering around the windows and doors. Unfortunately, someone used the incorrect type of caulk on yours either when it was made, or by a previous owner.

      If you reseal it yourself, make sure you use a good silicone caulk made especially for windows. Thanks for the question, Joe. :)

      Randy

    • JoeCephus profile image

      JoeCephus 

      3 years ago

      I have a 2008 wildwood 26ft travel trailer. I purchased it used and noticed some of the window caulking had oozed out from around the windows and ran down the outside. The seller said he had it parked at a site near a lake and it apparently got too hot and caused this. I noticed the rubber seal in between the window and aluminum siding is still good. Have you ever hear of this?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      I would opt for the rubberized coating, Nancy. In order to keep the roof waterproof you must recoat the roof every two seasons or so. I don't know much about how the truck liner materials will last over the years.

      Randy

    • profile image

      nancy 

      4 years ago

      i bought a '97 slide in camper that i found to have extensive water damage to the roof around the vent. I removed the roof from the camper and have been working on it all winter. I removed all the old styrofoam insulation and painted the inside of the roof with a spray rubber coating, then i replaced the vent(problem) and noticed that when i had the lights on in the garage i could see pin holes in the metal, I reinforced the vent opening with sheet metal and proceeded. I am now ready to rewire and put in led lights. the question is i would like to paint the outside when i am finished to repair the pin holes..i have had several different ideas given to me, one was to use a rubberized coating which i am afraid will break down with time, one was to take it to a local dealer that paints truck liners on trucks and put that on the roof, would that seal the leaks and have longevity, or would it be prone to cracking? thanks for your help. Nancy

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      5 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hi Danny, I Googled "RV exterior trim" and came up with several places which sold different sizes of exterior trim. You should have no problem finding what you need there. Thanks for the question. :)

      Randy

    • profile image

      Danny 

      5 years ago

      I have a 1969 swinger. The roof is leaking where the trim screws hold the roof and siding together. I tried to seal with roofing tar but it's still leaking. Not as bad but leaking. Is there a places that might sell new trim? I had to tear walls in back wall out and panels out, need help please.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      5 years ago from Southern Georgia

      I've posted a repair kit above in the article as the rubber roof replacement kits are no longer sold at Amazon. It may be possible to simply repair the area around the vents, Trisha. It's difficult to advise you since I cannot see the damage to the ceiling.

      And since the trailer is over 30 years old, now I'm wondering what sort of roof you have on your Scamper? It may not be a rubber roof, and if not, it could be relatively inexpensive to repair or patch.

      A bit more info may assist me in advising you. Does it have a rubber roof, and if not, what sort of material is the roof composed of?

      thanks,

      Randy

    • profile image

      Trisha 

      5 years ago

      Its wet around the vents on the ceiling. I'm assuming I would have to fix the ceiling and the roof? I think it will mold considering its sopping wet.

      I have a 20ft 1978 scamper trailer. Is there anyway I can get around replacing the ceiling?

      Would it cost a couple thousand to fix the ceiling and roof or just the roof?

      Thank you again for the help. I don't know much about trailers.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      5 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hi Trisha. When you say it's wet around the vents, are you referring to vents in the floor or in the ceiling? I'm clear about the roof leaking but are asking about the roof or ceiling repair cost?

      It is possible to replace the roof on your camper with a new rubber roof kit. I believe there are some sold on this page. A repair shop will probably charge a couple of thousand or more depending on the size of your RV. Is there anything else I can help you with?

    • profile image

      Trisha 

      5 years ago

      Hello,

      I just bought a new camper and was deceived. I was told the roof didn't leak and the water damage was old and repaired... Silly of me I know.. There is water damage around both vents. It is sopping wet for a good two inches around the two vents. This seems to be the only place and its slowly dripping.

      Is there any way of fixing this myself?

      How much would it cost to get it fixed approximately at a repair shop?

      Thanks

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      5 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hi Rob, and thanks for the question. I have mixed feelings on using a vapor barrier in an RV ceiling. On the one hand it gives a bit more protection against dampness and leaks, but on the other hand it could cause water to collect if there's a leak and you may not notice it until it's too late to prevent damage to the materials.

      I say it's up to you Rob, whatever you feel is necessary to make the repair job better for your area. Thanks for stopping by and feel free to ask for more info if you need it. :)

    • profile image

      Rob Clem 

      5 years ago

      Hi guys love the questions and answers, I have a new question, I have a 1984 Vanguard 5th wheel which had a leaking roof vent. I have installed a new vent sealed it and after 8" of rain over a week it has not leaked. Most of the ceiling 2 x 2's were rotted or missing due to rot, I have replaced all the 2 x 2's and glued them to the metal roof and using jacks I have taken the dip from the roof and it drains nicel. I live iin Calgary, Allberta (Canada) , when we build rooms in a basement we have cement walland install 2 x 4's and insulation the vapouer barrier (plastic) then sheet rock. in my trailer there was no plastic vapour barrier. So my question is "should I install vapour barrier?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      5 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hello Tom, your pop-up most likely can be repaired but I really don't know where to tell you to go to get it done. I can only tell you to check around for RV repair place in your area. It shouldn't be a very expensive repair job at any rate. Sorry I cannot advise you any better.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Tom 

      5 years ago

      Randy....i belive and animal mixed with a little rot put a whole underneath my viking popup....when i went to open it only one sode goes up because the hole is located right beneath the support poles and has bent and ruined the metal braces commected near the floor on those sides.....not being the most mechanical guy is my

      Pop done for or is there places who may be able to fix it?? Help

    • profile image

      WIllow9238 

      6 years ago

      Wow sorry for the typos. Posted from my phone. But again, thanks

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      One never knows what they will encounter when repairing an RV, Willow! Please do ask if you need any more advice, I'll help as best I can.

      Thanks for reading and for the questions!

      Randy

    • profile image

      WIllow9238 

      6 years ago

      Thanks, they attached the benches from the inside if the walk. How did they do that? I ended up pulling the screws right out if the paneling. Thank goodness I was going to replace it anyway. Thanks for your help. Trust me, I will be nacho to ask more questions. Thanks again.

      Will

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Yes Will, there is no standard way of replacing the floor or ceiling as there are so many different companies using different methods of constructing their RV units. There shouldn't be anything which cannot be repaired or replaced even if you make a mistake, Will. But feel free to ask any questions if you encounter problems you can't handle. I'll do the best I can to help you with them. Thanks again!

      Randy

    • profile image

      Will 

      6 years ago

      It seems to be luan, and I have read your floor hub, which is also awesome. The whole problem is I have to reapair the floor, then tackle the ceiling seeing as both are water damaged. The roof on top seems to be solid but the ceiling on the inside of the camper, where the water pooled around the bottom of the vent whole, in between the ceiling and the roof, has water damaged wood that has since dried. I want to replace the whole ceiling, but scared of damaging something else. Not to mention the benches for the table are not easily removed either. I feel like I am going to break something else while i try to dismantle it also. Seems to be no screw attached. Anyway, sorry for rambling. I don't see any screws attaching the ceiling to the rafter either. Is there some weird way the ceiling and the walls are attached on the inside?

      Thanks for reading,

      Will

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hi Will,

      What kind of materials are used for the ceiling? I'm not familiar with your RV as far as the way it is constructed. Whatever the material it apparently is attached to the rafters by some manner. You may have to remove the damaged area to see how it is attached and therefore how to remove it without damaging the roof material. You didn't say what his consisted of in your post. A little more info may help.

      Thanks for the question and for reading. You might check out my floor repair article for ideas on the soft spots in the floor of your RV.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Will 

      6 years ago

      Hey Randy,

      Awesome Hub. I have a 1985 Raod Ranger Model 182. Has been in my family for its life. I have a soft floor and the wood under the roof is damaged from the vent covers being off for many years. Oddly enough there are no dents in the roof and the rafters seemed to be solid. How do you take off the ceiling without disturbing the roof?

    • profile image

      ruth 

      6 years ago

      Randy, thanks anyway. I will try to google it Ruth

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hi Ruth! I would suggest you look for a similar model on the net to get an idea of your RV's value. Perhaps simply Googling 94 Scotty 26' might get you started on getting a ballpark estimate of what to ask for your camper. Sorry I cannot be of more help!

      Randy

    • profile image

      ruth 

      6 years ago

      Randy, I have a 94 scotty, 26ft. I am interested in selling it, getting too old to haul it around. Any idea what it is worth?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hi Evelyn! Obviously the rafters or whatever is supporting the roof has deteriorated which results in the dip or sag in the roof. The only solution is to remove the ceiling under the sagging area of the roof and replace the supports. I'm not sure what is used for support in your RV.

      Let me know if I can help you further. Thanks for reading and your question.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Evelyn 

      6 years ago

      I have a new used pull behind camper. I noticed that the roof has dips in it and I want to fix this. Towards the back by the bathroom the whole width of the camper is lower about 3 feet in. What can I do before I reseal the roof? It is maybe 5-7 inches lower.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hello Elaine! I have used steel angle iron to reinforce the 2x2's in some instances and have used hardwood, instead of fir or pine in others.

      The simplest thing to do is just use more rafters than was originally used in the construction of your RV. Just be sure you have them correctly spaced to install the ceiling material on the proper lengths.

      Hope this gives you a few ideas you can use.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Elaine 

      6 years ago

      We are restoring a 1969 Forester, about 13' The inside is gutted & we need to put some support in the roof as it is sagging. We are worried just adding additional 1 by 2s won't do it. Any suggestions?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Yes Annie, you can cut and fold back the roof to repair the bad spots in the underlying wood. After the repairs the roof cam be folded back in place and sealed with a special repair tape which comes in may sizes. You can find this tape by checking out the other Amazon sealants on this page under related products.

      Good luck on your repairs!

      Randy

    • profile image

      annie0452 

      6 years ago

      Hi We bought a nash travel trailer not ago only to find out the roof leaks and the place went otut of business wheere we bought it so stuck now trying to fix it. it has a rubber roof I know andhave the rubber coating to redo the coating but we found out where it leaking and it has damaged the wood under neath which feels like luuan My question is can you cut through this rubber stuff and do small repairs the parts that are rotted are only about a foot square or so. I just don't want to cut it and be going some where and the roof go flying by.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hello Cathy, yes, there are conflicting reports concerning whether to recoat a rubber roof or not. But I feel anything you can do to protect the roof from excess sunlight can only increase the longevity of the material.

      When you consider the expense required for replacing a rubber roof, you can see how investing a bit of cash to increase the life of the material would be worth it.

      it isn't a bad job to roll on some coatings and you can do it yourself. How often to apply the coating depends on where you live.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Cathy 

      6 years ago

      We have a 2006 Montana that we do not have storage for. I am seeing conflicting reports about recoating the rubber roof, some sites say just keep clean with mild product, which we do 3-4 time per year. When should we try to recoat or have dealer do?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hello Nick! Your Dutchman may have a rubber roof as many do today. I cannot advise you on the epoxy repair but I suppose it can't hurt anything. There are repair tapes made for just this purpose and perhaps some advertised on this page would work well.

      I'm not sure about the ceiling material but I'm sure it can be repaired by cutting out the rotten spot or either covering the entire ceiling with some other material.

      Feel free to ask for more info if needed.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Nick 

      6 years ago

      I have a 1996 Dutchmen popup camper that I bought used 2 years ago. The roof had a few minor holes in it, so I used a two part epoxy to fix those and then used Kool Seal to seal the entire roof-[I still haven't fiqured out the type of material the roof actually is]

      I recently noticed a few more tears on the roofs edge-is using an epoxy a good idea on repairing this??

      Also, the ceiling inside has an area that is rotten but I am not sure exactly on how to replace that.

      Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hi Beth! I don't know where you might find a layout for your particular camper but would suggest you look at other RVs close to the size of yours to see if you find one you like. Some RV dealers may have layouts of their present models to give you an idea of what could be done.

      And yes, often the off center walls, as well as some of the cross walls, are often used as structural support for the roof. This is especially true in the case of roof mounted A/C units which tend to weigh enough to eventually make the roof sag without this support.

      I hope this info will give you an idea what you can and cannot do to your camper. Have fun designing it like you want it! And thanks for the questions and your time!

      Randy Godwin

    • profile image

      Beth 

      6 years ago

      And another question....do the existing floor to ceiling dividers that enclose the bathroom...are they there to keep the structure of the camper trailer 'true'? My husabnd seems to think so but iI think if it is aluminum and 2x2's the structure should come from that. Can you enlighten me? I would like to reconfigure the wall but he is afraid to....

      Thanks

      Beth

    • profile image

      Beth 

      6 years ago

      My husband I just got a Dutchman Coach travel trailer. The person we bot it from had pretty much gutted the trailer except for the bathroom in an attempt to make a work trailer out of it. Since we wanted one to take to deer camp we thought nothing to expensive! Anyway, we are starting from scratch basically and I was wondering where can I go to get some good layouts for a 15 foot trailer? We are in the process of re-roofing since we have found some leaks that are going to require an new ceiling. The floor is in great shape and water pump works, air conditioning and heater both work so i think we are ahead of the game. We are both pretty handy when it comes to building and sewing so I just need some layouts. Can you steer me in the right direction? Thanks

      Beth

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hello Annette! I assume you are referring to the slide-out on your RV. If so, there is a gasket which allows the slide-out to seal along the top of the roof. Apparently there is something which keeps it from sealing properly, perhaps some debris have been trapped underneath the gasket which allows water to enter and causes the leak.

      If this isn't the problem then check the roof for punctures caused by falling limbs or some such object. If I'm misunderstanding your problem, then feel free to ask for further info.

      Thanks for your question and for visiting my site!

      Randy

    • profile image

      annette 

      6 years ago

      my add aroom is only one year old and it has a leak along the roof where the add a room is attatched to the rv i need advice how to repair it thankyou

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      You're more than welcome, Christie! Thanks for the question and good luck on your repairs!

      Randy

    • profile image

      christie 

      6 years ago

      thanks Randy that is a great idea!!

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hello Christie! Using thin wood paneling is usually the easiest material to work with. Often you can simply go over the old wall covering and increase the strength of the walls in the process. It is also faster because removal of the old materials may be quite a job.

      Feel free to ask further for any info you may need in your repairs. Thanks for checking out my articles!

      Randy Godwin

    • profile image

      christie 

      6 years ago

      hi we have just bought an old millard and she has had quite a few leaks on her day my hubby is a plumber so fingers crossed all is well but we have decided after no leaks to redo the inside walls. it is a bit daunting any suggestions?

      christie

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hello Mod657. I found a few places which stock metal for both RV siding and roof applications by Googling "RV metal siding." Here is one of them :

      www.interstatemetals.com/

      I hope you find the materials you are seeking, but if not, please feel free to ask me for more help if needed. Thanks for your questions and time.

      Randy Godwin

    • profile image

      mod657 

      7 years ago

      Randy, I have a 1985 Jayco pop-up. I need to replace the (aluminum I think) top and siding. Can you tell me how and where to find the material to accomplish this? I'd like to make the top with one piece of metal rather than having two pieces joined at the center. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Any time, Mike! Sorry your "RV adventure" was a little more work than you expected. You are not alone in this as owning an RV is like a home, it's always a work in progress.

      Thanks for your input and I appreciate your time and questions on this article. Good luck!

      Randy

    • profile image

      Mike 

      7 years ago

      Hi Randy. Just dropping in to let you know that I never got around fixing the discolored paint from that caulking on the front window. I sold my trailer and evidently the window didn't look that bad, it sold pretty quick. I just wanted to say thanks for all your help during my RV adventure. It was a little more work/responsibility than I realized getting into it and I appreciated your help.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Sorry Jerry, I'm not familiar with the settings on your A/C unit. But google Duo-therm and you should find an easier explanation for the correct thermostat settings and operation.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Jerry 

      7 years ago

      I just bought a 1997 Allegro Bay and it has a Duo-Therm AC. It's very difficult to follow the book on how to set the unti to run in the front and back. Is there any easy way to set the thermostat?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Dan-I'm not familiar with your model of camper but it probably uses a wood spar type roof. Wooden joists are used for supporting the roof material and the ceiling paneling.

      Without removing a section of the ceiling and reinforcing it with new joists, there is not much else you can do. Not a difficult job, though. We repaired just such a roof in this article:

      https://axleaddict.com/rvs/How-To-Repair-Or-Remode...

      Randy Godwin

    • profile image

      Dan 

      7 years ago

      I bought a 1960s-1970s norris camper it seems to be in decent shape for its age no major problems the roof has got den sealed and does not leak at this time however around ac unit it is starting to sag a bit is there any remedy to this and is there any other pertinent info on this camper? Thank you for your time

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hello David,

      If I remember correctly-my friend bought a similar FEMA model-this RV has a rubber or vinyl covered roof with a plywood or composite supporting panel. If you are planning to replace only the bad spot then one of the patching products on this page should do the job.

      There are other patching kits offered which you will find if you view those offered here. I may only offer a certain number on this page and cannot cover all products for different roof repairs.

      I would suggest you start out by only cutting into the center of the bad spot to see what materials need to be replaced. this will indicate the thickness of wood and the size of patch needed for a good seal.

      If you are fairly handy with tools this project should be a piece of cake. And you are correct about prepping the area to be patched. Use a good cleaner and you should have no problem getting a good seal.

      Thanks for the question and feel free to ask for more info if I didn't answer your concerns.

      Randy

    • profile image

      David 

      7 years ago

      Hi Randy,

      I bought a 2006 29'FEMA camper with a slide out that was never used before.

      I recently notice slight water damage up on the side of the ceiling. I looked on top and noticed the seam on the edge of the roof was weathered and not doing its job.

      The problem is the small leak has damaged the wood in the roof and I need to replace it.It feels hollow in a 1 square foot area

      I'm pretty handy and just wanted to know what kind of job I have ahead of me.

      I understand prepping is the most important part for a good seal.

      Any advice would be great.

      Thank you

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Thanks to you too, Mike! I didn't know if the exterior was painted on or blended into the material. Please do let me know the results of your efforts. Good luck!

      Randy

    • profile image

      Mike 

      7 years ago

      Thanks Randy. It looks like it actually discolored the paint, turned it gray from white. Maybe oxidized? I might try the rubbing compound. Thanks for the link to the cleaner. I'll let you know if I find a cleaner that works. I heard this caulking is great stuff but I'm guessing it's safe to say not to use it unless you are sure there is enough time for it to dry.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 years ago from Southern Georgia

      I wouldn't worry about the propane tanks causing a problem while using a petroleum based solvent to remove the streaking.

      You might try using one of the products on this page :

      http://www.amazon.com/RV-Do-Cleaner-8-ounce/dp/B00...

      You may end up buffing the spots with a wax or rubbing compound to get ba better appearance, but I can't guarantee anything for sure, Mike.

      If you do find a suitable cleaner please let me know so I can recommend it to other owners. Thanks for your great input and questions as usual!

      Randy

    • profile image

      Mike 

      7 years ago

      Hi Randy!

      I have a solvent question. I caulked around the window with silicone a few months ago and went over it with this All-in-One Adhesive/sealand Geogreen stuff used in construction trades, works well around sinks but it rained right and began washing off before it was able to dry (has a milky look). I tried to wipe off the remaining so I wouldn't end up with streaks down the front of the trailer.

      Well guess what? I don't have so many streak marks from that milky caulking but do have huge smudge marks around the window and down the front of the trailer. Now that the sun is coming out from the dark winter, you can really see the discolor in it from dirt. I have ruined my pristine trailer! (in front anyway) Looks like crap.

      Is there a solvent I can use to get this stuff off? And since the window is right above 2 propane tanks, would I need to worry about using combustable solvents?

      We are starting to get some fantastic weather here at west -- what a difference it makes!

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 years ago from Southern Georgia

      I am actually a Jack-of-all-trades, Xactdude! Among other things, I work on RVs and travel trailers when repairs are needed. I try to help owners save money by keeping them away from the RV repair businesses which often charge exorbitant prices for repairs most owners may be able to perform themselves.

      Many owners discover they CAN do many of their own repairs if they can gain a little confidence in their abilities.

      Thanks for your questions and comments, they may help others with similar problems when they visit these RV repair hubs.

      Randy

    • profile image

      xactdude 

      7 years ago

      actually i know better, but this one has splits on the edges giving me some wall leaks and just thought i'd check. the main field is actually in fairly good shape. i just keep being reminded by all those rv roofs i see on the side of interstate, and after looking at them i noticed that none of those have any indication of glue on them.

      randy, are u in the service business? this is my 3rd unit to own and i'm beginning to feel like a journeyman on these things

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 years ago from Southern Georgia

      I wouldn't think so, Xactdude! Usually the old roof is blistered and this makes the new roof not fit down smooth like it should. But if you try it, let me know the results!

      Randy

    • profile image

      xactdude 

      7 years ago

      is it possible to apply a rubber roof directly over the existing rubber roof?

    • badgurl profile image

      badgurl 

      7 years ago

      Thanks Randy ..... so I guess I just scrap and take off as much as I can and just cover it back over? Sounds easire than to totally remove.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 years ago from Southern Georgia

      @badgurl-You've got me there as I've never attempted to remove all of the roof coating on a roof before. Usually the coating will come off easily if it is in bad need of repair, such as cracking or peeling.

      If it seems to be stuck too good then I would recommend simply re coating it until the cracks are filled. I will check to see if there are any solvents mad especially for this purpose, though!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Randy

    • badgurl profile image

      badgurl 

      7 years ago

      What's the quickest way to remove the old gray sealer/covering ? I have a 69 Prowler and the covering is cracking. I started to remove and it's taking forever using a scraper and hammer (of which I punched a small hole in the aluminum) and a wire brush and grinder with a wire wheel. Is there a solvent out there to make this easier?

    • profile image

      Mike 

      7 years ago

      I was just able to get it to roll back up by rolling the roller back and forth while trying the lever--the lever flipped to "roll up" after a few tries. Hopefully it just needs lubricating as you mention and not repair work.

      Thanks much again for your advice, I really appreciate all the help you've provided and look forward to reading your awning article!

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hey Mike! I plan on doing an article about awnings soon, but am too busy right now to get right on it. Awnings can be a bit tricky sometimes and I have witnessed a guy cutting his hand pretty badly attempting to set his up.

      The ratchet assembly can become sticky if it hasn't been used for a while and needs to be lubricated on an annual basis. There is a spring loaded pin which keeps the awning locked when pulled out, as you probably have already figured out.

      When the awning is pulled out a bit, it is supposed to release and allow the spring to retract the awning back into the cover. This locking pin assembly probably only needs lubricating to make it function smoothly again.

      I will check further and try to complete the new article fairly soon. Good to hear from you!

      Randy

    • profile image

      Mike 

      7 years ago

      Randy, would you happen to know about sticky awnings? I pulled my down for the first time (it's great! wish I would have done this sooner). Now I can't get it to retract. It's manual. I pull on the awning to release tension but the lever won't move at all. I have it fully extended and now I'm worried about wind.

      I took the hook pole and just pulled down on the lever to open the awning, it didn't appear adjustable and the awning slide open so I assumed I did it right... I should have researched this before opening it!

    • profile image

      Mike 

      7 years ago

      Thanks, Randy. I'm glad to hear I have a rubber roof, it's a great idea to have a protective lining up there. It might have a fews blisters but otherwise looks pretty good. Thanks for the link to the repair kits above.

      Yeah, I'm not sure about the window; please don't feel like you have to do any Dutchamn research, I was just curious. I tried re-caulking the window but it rained and washed off. Hopefully will get the chance to try again tomorrow.

      Your Florida camping and fishing spot sounds great compared to this rain in the west, but summer will be here soon.

      Thanks again!

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hello Mike, good to hear from you again! You have a rubberized roof on your Dutchman. A roof of this type will last quite a few years if stored under some type of shelter when not in use. But if exposed to the elements, it will eventually need replacing.

      Constant exposure to direct sunshine, especially in southern climes, will eventually cause the rubber to blister and finally break open or crack.

      If you scroll to the top of this page, you will see RV roof repair kits for sale. There are both motorhome roof replacement and travel trailer roof replacement kits available through the link. They are sold by size and include DIY info.

      Puzzling about the window leak as the walls are fairly solid, aren't they? Sandwiched Styrofoam and aluminum sheeting, if I recall correctly? I'll look at a similar model and see if I can get some ideas why you're having the problem.

      The dips in the roof are probably normal, Mike. These type RV roofs are not very sturdy as a rule.

      Later on!

      Randy

    • profile image

      Mike 

      7 years ago

      Hi Randy. Can I bug you again? I know I've been asking lots of questions but I'm learning as I go along. I haven't actually done much work yet--missed a nice day today but hopefully it will be nice tomorrow, too.

      I was just up on a ladder looking at the roof (2005 Dutchman trailer) and the roof appears to have a rubberized type fabric over the top, sealed along the edges. Someone caulked around the vents, ect. I can't see where any water would be getting in. However, the roof is not level--it dips down slightly as at quarter sections. Is this normal or damage?

      Not sure how I would proceed in maintaining this roof--does this fabric peel off, does it need to be replaces every so many years? How would I scape off old caulking around the vents without tearing the fabric. What the heck is it?

      Still don't see where water is coming in through the window... just don't see many cracks in the caulking...

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 years ago from Southern Georgia

      I know what you mean, Mike! I'm in the process of rebuilding an old 86 Nissan, with a built on camper, for a friend of mine.

      I'm ready to go camping at Ft. Clinch State Park on Amelia Island Florida. This is my favorite camping and fishing spot.

      Stop by again and let me know how your RV repairs are coming along.

      Thanks,

      Randy

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