How to Prepare Your RV Roof Before Applying New Sealant

RV on the road near a lake

Spring, summer, fall or winter your RV can take you anywhere you desire, whether it's a family road trip or a quick weekend getaway. If you're gearing up for a trip, you should make sure that your RV is both road-worthy and comfortable for your family to travel in. When you're checking the RV, don't forget to check the roof! Cracks in the roof sealant can cause leaks and drafts and turn your comfy home-on-wheels into a mold-ridden nightmare.

No RV trip preparation is complete without a fresh seal coat using premium products from Liquid Rubber. We've put together a guide to DIY RV roof coating and an easy-to-follow tutorial that includes recommendations for the best top coat for RV and the tools you'll need for the job.

The Different Types of RV Roof Sealants

There are a few different types of RV roof sealants, and which one you pick depends on what kind of material your RV roof is made out of and the kind of weather you'll be traveling in. The Liquid Rubber Roof Coating works best on newer RVs that may not need to be primed. However, when paired with the EPDM Primer, it provides a sealant that lasts for many years. To preserve the sealant and the condition of your roof, we recommend the Liquid Rubber RV Smart Cleaner, which will remove dirt, mud, mold, and mildew without taking off part of the roof coating or weakening the seal.

You may have an RV with a sealant, often silicone caulk or tar, on it already. These products may not keep a tight seal around the edges of the roof. If you don't know what the sealant on your roof is, you can ask an RV sales and repair shop to take a look and let you know what's on top of your vehicle. Silicone and tar sealants are more complicated to remove, while factory seals can be much easier.

Once you've removed the old sealant, then thoroughly clean the roof and check for cracks. Repair the cracks, and apply Liquid Rubber RV sealant tape, which is seam tape, to create a tight seal. Then, you simply apply the new coating according to the directions on the container. You can also follow along with our online tutorial videos.

How To Remove Silicone Sealant From Your RV Roof

Before you begin, make sure that you have the right tools and personal safety equipment to remove the silicone coating from your RV roof.

  • Sturdy gloves
  • Goggles
  • Metal brush
  • Scraping tool save for vehicle use
  • Degreasing agents (depending on the type of RV roof)
  • Dishwashing liquid (for cleaning)
  • Acetone (to remove any residue left from the cleaning process

You may also wish to have a construction-grade mask to avoid breathing in the fumes of the cleaning agents or any small silicone particles.

Silicone Sealant Removal Process

Check the weather and make sure that you have ideal conditions to remove the old sealant and apply the new one. Spring and fall are the best time, and you should wait for clear skies and low humidity to get the best result. Avoid applying sealant during the middle of the day, under direct sunlight.

To remove the silicone sealant, scrape off as much as you can by hand, using a scraper and a stiff brush. If the coating is especially tough, you can soften it up by using a silicone sealant remover, or if you don't have that, use WD-40, vinegar, or rubbing alcohol, then resume scraping and brushing.

Once you've removed as much as you can, pressure wash the RV roof and check for any remaining chunks of the silicone coating. You may need to repeat this process if the coating has been in place for a few years.

Removing Non-Silicone Roof Coating

If your roof sealant isn't silicone, the process is often much faster. You'll need goggles and a mask plus:

  • RV Smart Cleaner
  • Brush, roller, or larger vented garden hose
  • Stiff bristle brush
  • Pressure washer (optional)

As with the silicone removal process, make sure that you have ideal weather conditions before starting. First, wet the surface of the roof lightly with your pressure washer or garden hose. Then, you can use the Liquid Rubber RV Smart Cleaner to remove the old coating. Apply it generously, using a brush, roller, or even a larger vented garden sprayer. Allow the Smart Cleaner to stand on the surface for 5 to 10 minutes without drying. Then, work the cleaner into the surface using your stiff bristle brush. Test in a small section first to see if the area is cleaned. If not, wait a few more minutes for the solution to penetrate.

Using small, circular motions, scrub the surface of your RV roof, and then rinse thoroughly with a pressure washer. For stubborn stains or thicker coatings, repeat the process. Then, you're ready to apply your new topcoat for RV.

How To Apply Your New RV Roof Sealant

Once you've removed the old coating and allowed the roof of your RV to thoroughly dry, it's time to apply the new coating. We prefer the Liquid Rubber RV Roof Coating, as it's an ideal option to add an extra layer of protection to your hardworking RV roof.

Before you apply the coating, however, check for leaks and drafts. Repair those first using RV sealant tape. You'll need about one gallon of sealant per 50 square feet, reaching a final thickness of about 2-3 heavy coats for the ideal membrane thickness. For a frame of reference, one 5 gallon pail of Liquid Rubber RV Roof Coating will coat RVs up to 30 feet in length.

Work in manageable sections so that you can spread the sealant smoothly without parts of it drying too early. Make sure that you leave yourself enough space on the roof to walk and work on it. Carefully apply the coating over the primer, using long, smooth strokes with a brush or roller. Make sure that you have about 4-6 inches of the primer exposed so that you can overlap it when you begin work on the other side. Allow the coating to dry enough to walk on, and then repeat the process for the second side.

You'll need multiple coats for the ideal seal, so make sure that each coat is fully cured before applying the next. We also recommend re-sealing your RV roof every year, prolonging the vehicle's life and your enjoyment of it.


You'll enjoy your vacation more when you know that your RV is in great condition, and that includes the condition of the roof! Prevent water leaks and drafts with the exceptional products from Liquid Rubber. And, when you use Liquid Rubber Sealcoat products, you know that you're using the best products with the strongest reputation. Browse our catalog or chat with us online to learn more!