How to Water Seal a Travel Trailer Roof

by John Kibilko

Like any other roof, the roofs of travel trailers or RVs take a beating. They're exposed to rain, snow, heat, cold and debris. Although manufacturers take care to properly coat, caulk and seal trailer roofs, wear and tear occurs. Whether your trailer is damaged, has leaks or is generally in good shape, waterproofing it can save you money down the line--and could save your vacation. A lot of older trailer roofs are metal or aluminum; most newer models are either fiberglass or covered with a rubber membrane. Whatever the material, there are many water-proofing sealers available to do the job.

Inspect your roof for cracks, tears or other damage. Pay particular attention to vents and other areas where caulking may be damaged or worn. On metal roofs, check the seams for any lifting or missing screws or rivets.

Repair damage if you have any. Recaulk areas that need it. On rubber roofs, fill any large tears (more than 1/4 inch) with a caulk. Metal roof seams can be sealed with a specially designed RV seam tape.

Clean the roof with soap and water and rinse with a hose. Make sure to remove any grease or oil spots and tree sap. Let the roof dry.

Check the weather. Most products call for application in direct sunshine, and you'll need to allow the sealer to cure and dry for 24 hours, so make sure that it's not going to rain anytime soon after you apply the product. The temperature shouldn't be below 40 degrees F when applying the sealer. Also check for trees. Falling leaves or other debris will stick to the sealer.

Prepare the area around your trailer if you're working on a driveway or other pavement. Place plastic or a tarp around the perimeter of your trailer to catch any sealer that may fall.

Apply the sealer, using a paint brush, around vents, air conditioner units and seams. Brush out and away from the vent and other obstructions about 3 or 4 inches so that the main application--with a roller--will be easier. Allow this application to dry (usually about an hour, depending on the temperature) before continuing.

Pour the sealer into a rolling pan. Using a roller (and an extension handle, if needed), apply the sealer in a thin, even coat over the entire roof. The sealer is thick--about the consistency of pudding--so you'll have to work with it a bit. You can save a little time by pouring a larger amount of the sealer directly onto the roof and rolling it out. Apply the sealer in a thin coat and allow it to dry before applying a second or even third coat, according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Tips

  • check Most sealers are white and provide a reflective surface that also offers significant cooling characteristics to your trailer.
  • check Check your trailer roof at least twice a year, especially around vents, to ensure no problems are arising.

Warning

  • close Wear clothing that you don't plan on wearing again. The product, once dry, is permanent and will not wash out.

Items you will need

About the Author

John Kibilko has been writing professionally since 1979. He landed his first professional job with "The Dearborn Press" while still in college. He has since worked as a journalist for several Wayne County newspapers and in corporate communications. He has covered politics, health care, automotive news and police and sports beats. Kibilko earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Wayne State University.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera rv,rving image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com