Even aluminum doesn’t last forever. This is a good metal hat that does last a long time. However, even its light frame will get pin holes and other issues after some time in the sun. If you can’t afford to buy a new trailer then patching is the only way to go. Unless you spring for a new roof and that may not be worth the money.
The first thing to do is to scrape off or use a steel bristle brush to remove old paint, sealants, and so on. This goes for the silicone sealant if there is any. Nothing sticks to silicone and you need to get it off before applying new products.
To learn more about this task, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can do a great job sealing your roof and keep the rainwater out for another season or two.
There is a lot of work involved in this project and the first step is to try and locate all the holes that need to be repaired. Or the area that is a potential hole that should be reinforced.
Once you have identified those places, you can then decide which of the many roof products you should use to fix the holes. If your trouble spots have silicone in them, your second step would be to remove the silicone. Very little, if anything, will stick to this sealant.
While you are doing this work, make sure to pick a day or two that won’t have rain. Patching in the rain is never any fun. That would require a large tarp to cover the roof if it does rain.
Now that you have identified the areas that need patching, and you have your products, etc., the third step is to clean off the old sealant and other materials. This isn’t bad if you have been the only owner of the trailer.
However, if you are the second and third owners, then it is more difficult to know what was previously placed in those patched areas. You may have to take the plunge and remove everything that was previously used and start fresh.
If you discover that the previous owner used silicone, you will need to remove it and wash it down with a cleaner. You have to get rid of that silicone before applying your new sealants.
When those areas are prepped and clean, just follow the instructions on the labels to apply your new sealant. Every owner has their own sealant they like to use and you will get lots of good suggestions. Make your own choice here.
The types of products they will recommend will be Dicor self-leveling joint compound, Eternabond tape, Elastomeric roof sealer, regular roof lap sealant, and 3M 5200 to just name a few products.
No, it does not. Even though it fills in the gaps and cracks it is not a product that completely stops leaks. There are reasons why this is so:
1. Aluminum-based coatings do not adhere to water-based primers. A solvent-based primer only produces mixed results
2. There is no real protection against water. Unless the cracks are hairline in size.
3. No expansion or contraction capability. This coating does not move with the temperature as it moves throughout the day.
4. It is not great at reflecting the sun’s rays. The coating can only reflect about 80% of what acrylic roof coatings can reflect.
5. Hard to clean. This is because the aluminum can flake off with each cleaning, leaving gaps that water can get into. Plus, it puts aluminum into the environment
6. Emits hazardous odors. Or at least foul odors that are not nice to your nose.
7. Needs to be used more than once. In other words, it does not last as long as other roof coatings and you have to re-apply this product more often.
8. Warranties are not that good. You won’t get the protection you get that other owners to get when they use competing products.
There are only about 5 to 6 steps in this process and it may take all day to do, depending on the size of your RV’s roof.
1. The first step is to make sure you get the right products. They have to be designed to work with this metal.
2. Clean your roof thoroughly- this is done by using a soft bristle brush and sweeping away all the loose debris, dirt, and so on. You can use a hard bristle brush for the tough areas that just won’t come off.
Then use a mild soap and some water to clean the roof. Rinse well and either let it air dry or use a cloth to wipe it dry.
3. Apply your Primer- it has to be compatible with aluminum or you just wasted your time and money. Follow the directions on the label to make sure you get the application right. If there is a drying time, follow it to the letter.
4. Once the primer is ready apply the sealant- depending on which sealant you bought, you can apply by roller, brush, or spray. Take your time and apply the sealant evenly.
One tip: For both the sealant and the primer make sure to start at the furthest corner from where your ladder is. You may not have help around to move the ladder to where you are.
5. Let the sealant dry- again follow the manufacturer’s instructions strictly. After the sealant is dry, your roof should be sealed and your interior nice and dry.
Aluminum roofs may need to be re-sealed once a year but there are other factors involved. For example, where you live, the type of weather conditions it has to endure, and how often you use your RV.
There are different products for you to use. The key is to find the best one for your situation. Sometimes all you need to do is patch a small area and buying a liquid roof sealant may be overkill for those small spots.
Here are some of the many options you have at your disposal:
1. Quick Roof Pro Aluminum Tape- this is a 6-inch by 25-foot roll that works well if you have small areas or seams to re-seal. It is supposed to be waterproof and puncture-resistant.
Plus, it helps reflect the sunlight and heat making sure your energy costs go down a little bit. It is not hard to apply and you should be done before you know it.
This product comes with a 10-year warranty and it should work around vents, AC units, and anything else you have on your roof.
2. Dicor 501LSW-1 Self-Leveling Lap Sealant- for those small jobs around vents, AC units, and more. It works well along roof edges and it comes in a tube that fits your caulking gun.
This product is UV formulated to stop deterioration and discoloration and remains flexible. It is also good when you need to seal up those screw heads that are placed in your roof for other repairs or installations.
This product should work for just about any rooftop project you do that requires sealing around its edges.
3. Liquid Rubber RV Roof Coating- This is the product you should use when you need to seal your entire RV roof. It comes in 5-gallon containers and rolls on nicely and easily.
You should put it on in heavy coats so you thick protection against the rain. 1 gallon should cover 50 square feet. This is a water-based product that contains no solvents or foul odors.
Make sure to use up the entire pail as its shelf life may not be that long or it will harden on you. Plus, it is safe to use and apply. No safety breathing devices are needed for the application.
4. Dicor RP-RRK-30 RV Roof Renew Kit- This is an all-in-one kit that should have you covered when it is time to patch your roof. Inside the kit is four Gallons of Dicor White Acrylic Roof Coating, two quarts of Dicor Cleaner/ Activator, one 4-inch x 50 feet Roll Coating Ready Cover Tape, one Metal Pan, one 9 inch Paint Roller, two 9 inch Roller Covers, one roll 1-inch Masking Tape.
You can get the seams and the roof re-sealed with this one kit. It can be quite expensive.
5. Ziollo RV Flex Repair- This product is a silicone-based EPDM Rubber Coating that works on metal as well as other roofing materials. Its 5-gallon contents produce a watertight seal that is hard to beat.
The non-hazardous formula makes it easy and safe to apply. Besides water, it should keep out dirt and dust and any excess moisture due to humidity, etc. However, it may take two coats over the broad expanse of your roof to seal it completely.
In those areas you can’t roll, you need to brush on a heavy coat.
Again there are a lot of top sealing caulk products you can buy. The following are just a few suggestions to get you on the right track and you should be able to find more in your local hardware big box store:
1. Camco Self-Leveling RV Roof Sealant- This caulk is great for those little seams you need to seal along your roof’s edge, around vents, and so on. This product is designed for sealing EPDM rubber, TPO, fiberglass, wood, aluminum, steel, or masonry
However, it is best used on horizontal applications. It does not take a lot of effort to apply this product and the instructions are right on the label.
Make sure to read those before you get started. This sealant is specifically made for RV roofs.
2. Eazy2hD 2 Pack RV Self Leveling Lap Sealant- This is another caulk that is perfect for aluminum roofs and other roofing materials. Its working temperature ranges between -40 degrees F and 200 degrees F.
This professional-grade caulk is made from a non-toxic, non-hazardous formula that works inside and outside. Safe for the family and pets to be around.
Plus, you can apply it in wet or dry conditions and it should hold, while staying where you put it. The caulk is watertight and has a breathable nature to it that helps it last a long time.
3. WELLUCK RV Roof Tape Sealant Roofing Tape- While not a caulk it works like a caulk. Its 4-inch wide tape size goes across cracks, splits, and similar abrasions on your roof. Then seals them up tight.
Also, it is water and air tight and will stay flexible in temperatures getting down to -40 degrees F. Plus, it does a great job sealing seams and roof edges. All you need to do is clean the area needing sealing, cut the length of tape you need, peel off the backing, and press it in place.
That is all there is to it and it should contract and expand as the temperatures go up and down.
4. E-SDS RV Roof Sealant Tape- another tape that mimics caulking. This product will protect your RV from UV, moisture, vapor, corrosive chemicals, and other leakages.
Also, it comes with a rubber roller to assist you in your application. It goes over cracks, etc., and is a permanent fix, not a temporary one. Plus, you get a money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with your results.
This is a very labor-intensive task and it is not done by using sandpaper and hours of sanding. The first step is to take a good wire brush and start brushing off any loose or peeling aluminum coating.
You have to complete this step before moving on to the next one. That means getting the roof edge, around the vents, etc., and brushing as hard as it takes to remove the loose stuff.
Once you are done, sweep up the debris and place it in a bag that you have with you on the roof. The next step is going to be the hardest. You will need a good grinder to get rid of the coating that is still stuck in place.
The grinder should be 7 to 9 inches in size and it will take some time to get the old coating off. The brush on the grinder should be a 6” braided wire cup brush.
The first step would be to clean your roof and make sure all dirt, dust, and debris are completely off the surface. Then the second step will be to buy Dicor Elastomeric RV Roof Coating or a similar product.
This particular one is self-leveling and moves with your RV so cracks do not return. Just make sure those similar products will coat aluminum. Then, follow the instructions on the container. That is the simplest and easiest way o coat your aluminum roof.
Make sure to patch all holes and seams first before starting the roof coating part of the project. When you are done, let the coating cure. Do not start your AC unit until it is fully cured.
That drying time should be listed on the label as well.
Patching your aluminum roof will be similar to coating the whole roof. Just on a smaller scale. You will need to clean the area you are patching first. Sweep away any debris, dust, or dirt, and make sure it won’t blow back over the area you just cleaned.
Then follow the instructions on the label of the product you bought to seal those seams or holes. Each product has its own method of application so it is impossible to give specific instructions here.
Some roof coating products require more than one coat, but some instructions say to simply put one heavy coat around vents, AC units, and so on. Then double coat the rest of the roof.
Usually, these products come in 1-gallon cans so you do not have to buy more than you actually need. Make sure to use the whole can or two cans if you have that many seams to cover. The shelf life does not seem to be that great with these products.
No matter what type of roof you have, there will be a top sealant or coating that will work on it. Getting rid of those water leaks is important as water damage brings mold. That is expensive to clean up as is other water damage.
The key is to just follow the instructions on the can or container. That way you know you are applying the sealant right. Take your time doing this and make sure you do not seal yourself into a corner.