Prolong Your Camper's Lifespan with these Expert Tips on How to Seal a Rubber Roof on a Camper for Long-lasting Protection

Prolong Your Camper's Lifespan with these Expert Tips on How to Seal a Rubber Roof on a Camper for Long-lasting Protection

Owning a camper is a fantastic way to enjoy the great outdoors and travel with ease. However, to ensure your camper remains in excellent condition and serves you well for years to come, it's essential to perform regular maintenance, especially on the rubber roof. In today's blog, we'll discuss the importance of sealing a rubber roof on a camper, the different types of camper rubber roof materials, and, most importantly: How to seal a rubber roof on a camper for long-lasting protection.

Regular maintenance of your camper's rubber roof can help prevent leaks and water damage, prolong the life of your camper, and maintain its value. It's also essential to know the signs that your camper's roof needs sealing and how often you should seal it. Additionally, we'll provide some helpful tips for prolonging your camper's lifespan and discuss the benefits of hiring professional services for sealing camper rubber roofs.

Importance of sealing a rubber roof on a camper

Sealing a rubber roof on a camper is vital for several reasons. For starters, it helps protect your camper from water damage. Water can seep through even the smallest cracks or gaps, causing mold, mildew, and other issues that can affect your camper's structural integrity and overall health. By properly sealing your camper's rubber roof, you'll create a watertight barrier that prevents water infiltration, ensuring your camper remains in excellent condition.

Another viable reason for sealing a rubber roof on a camper is that it can help maintain its value. A well-maintained camper is more likely to retain its value over time, making it a better investment for potential buyers. Regularly sealing your camper's rubber roof demonstrates that you've taken care of your camper and can help you get a higher resale price when it's time to sell.

Types of camper rubber roof materials

There are two primary types of rubber roof materials used on campers: EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) and TPO (thermoplastic olefin). Both materials are durable, lightweight, and flexible, making them suitable for camper roofs. However, they have different characteristics and may require different sealing methods.

EPDM is a synthetic rubber material that is highly resistant to UV rays, ozone, and extreme weather conditions. It is known for its long-lasting durability and low maintenance requirements. EPDM rubber roofs typically require a special EPDM sealant, which is specifically designed for use with this type of rubber material.

TPO, on the other hand, is a blend of polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber. It is also UV resistant and durable but has a slightly different appearance than EPDM, often featuring a smoother, more uniform surface. TPO roofs typically require a different type of sealant, such as a urethane-based product, to ensure proper adhesion and protection.

It's essential to know which type of rubber roof material your camper has before attempting to seal it, as using the incorrect sealant can lead to issues down the road.

Signs your camper roof needs sealing

Camper roofs are sturdy, without a doubt. But there are a few signs that may indicate it's time to seal your camper's rubber roof. Here’s what you need to look for. 

  • Visible cracks, tears, or holes in the rubber membrane
  • Water stains or damage inside your camper, which may indicate a leak
  • Mold or mildew growth on the roof or inside the camper
  • Loose or damaged seams, which can allow water to seep in
  • A chalky or powdery residue on the rubber roof, indicating the material is breaking down due to UV exposure

Tools & materials you'll need

Make sure that you have all the tools that you’ll need on-hand from the get-go. To give you head start, here’s a helpful checklist that you can reference. 

  • A ladder for accessing the roof safely
  • Protective gloves and eyewear
  • Liquid Rubber RV Smart Cleaner or mild detergent for cleaning the rubber membrane
  • A soft-bristle brush or sponge for scrubbing the roof
  • A garden hose or pressure washer for rinsing the roof
  • Liquid Rubber Seam Tape and a seam roller (if you're repairing a seam)
  • The appropriate primer for your camper's roof material (EPDM Primer or Multi-purpose Primer)
  • A caulk gun for applying the sealant
  • Liquid Rubber RV Roof Coating
  • A utility knife for trimming excess sealant or rubber material
  • Clean rags or towels for wiping up any spills or excess sealant

Step-by-step guide: How to seal a rubber roof on a camper

If you’re looking to seal the rubber roof on your camper right the first time around, then just follow these steps, and learn how to dare to DIY differently!

Step 1: Clean the rubber roof

Before applying any sealant, it's essential to clean the rubber roof thoroughly. This will ensure proper adhesion of the sealant and a longer-lasting seal. Use Liquid Rubber RV Smart Cleaner or mild detergent and a soft-bristle brush or sponge to scrub the roof, removing any dirt, debris, and chalky residue. Rinse the roof thoroughly with a garden hose or pressure washer, ensuring all soap and debris are removed. Allow the roof to dry completely before proceeding.

Step 2: Inspect the rubber roof for damage

Once the roof is clean and dry, inspect it for any signs of damage, such as cracks, tears, or holes. If you find any issues, you'll need to repair them before applying the sealant. This may involve using a seam roller to re-adhere loose seams or applying a patch to cover any holes or tears.

Step 3: Apply the Seam Tape

Apply Liquid Rubber Seam Tape to all seams and skylights and press in well to activate the adhesive. Use Liquid Rubber RV Lap Sealant for smaller areas like bathroom vents or ladders.

Step 4: Apply Primer

Apply the correct primer for your roof type. Use Liquid Rubber Multi-purpose Primer for fiberglass, metal, wood or PVC type roofs. Use Liquid Rubber EPDM Primer for EPDM or aged/sanded TPO. Note that the EPDM Primer will remain very sticky after it cures, so be sure to apply it in manageable sections.

Step 5: Apply the coating

Apply Liquid Rubber RV Roof Coating to your camper's roof material. Apply generous coats until the final coverage rate is reached. Use 1 gallon for every 50 square feet final coverage. A 5-gallon pail will cover a 30 foot RV with all the coats you will need.

Step 6: Allow the coating to cure

Once you've applied the coating, allow it to cure. This typically takes about 4-8 hours in between coats and about 3-5 days for full cure before driving. Do not expose the roof to water or moisture during the curing process, as this can compromise the seal.

Step 7: Inspect the roof and touch up any areas as needed

After the coating has cured, inspect the roof again to ensure a proper seal has been achieved. If you notice any gaps or areas where the sealant has not adhered correctly, apply additional sealant as needed.

How often should you seal your camper's rubber roof?

The frequency with which you should seal your camper's rubber roof depends on several factors, including the type of rubber material, the climate in which you live, and the amount of exposure to UV rays and other elements. As a general rule, it's a good idea to inspect your camper's rubber roof at least once a year and reseal it as needed.

It's important to note that in harsher climates, or if your camper is exposed to constant sunlight, you may need to check and seal the roof more frequently. It's also essential to inspect the roof after any significant storms or incidents that could cause damage to ensure optimal integrity. 

Additional tips for prolonging your camper's lifespan

In addition to regularly sealing your camper's rubber roof, there are a few other tips to help prolong its lifespan so you can enjoy those desirable road trips and adventures year round. 

  • Regularly inspect and maintain all systems within your camper, such as the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems.
  • Keep your camper clean, both inside and out, to prevent damage from dirt, debris, and pests.
  • Store your camper in a covered or sheltered area when not in use to protect it from the elements.
  • Keep your camper's tires inflated to the proper pressure and check them regularly for wear.
  • Perform regular checks on your camper's brakes, suspension, and other mechanical components to ensure they're in good working order.

Ensuring long-lasting protection for your camper

Learning how to seal a rubber roof on a camper is an essential skill for any camper owner. Regularly sealing your camper's rubber roof will help protect it from water damage, maintain its value, and prolong its lifespan. By following the steps outlined in this article and staying vigilant with maintenance, you can enjoy your camper for many years to come.

Liquid Rubber should be part of your RV Roof Sealing plans. 

Liquid Rubber is the preferred solution for many homeowners and DIY enthusiasts, with easy-to-apply products and video tutorials that help you get the best results. Browse our online catalog to see our products, and easily order all the supplies we've featured here.