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Worried about the hail in the forecast?  This leads to more important questions. Is the damage that hail can cause to an RV, the same for all types of RV roofs? For example, will hail damage a rubber RV roof?

Experts generally agree that small hail will not damage a rubber RV roof but medium to large size hail could leave dimples and small cracks. However, the skylights, plastic vent covers, lights, ladders, antennas, awning, and aluminum siding can be cracked and broken.

Things like hail are really stressful because the weather is something you cannot control.  Hail is solid ice that can damage homes and cars and RVs.

Of course, the larger the hailstones (golf ball to baseball size) and the longer the storm the more damage.

Do you have other questions about your RV? Check this page out, and these posts.

Sizes of Hail and the Threat to RV Roofs

Size of hailstones with a ruler to show the inches
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  • Pea-sized Hail – These are produced by milder hail storms around 1/4 inch in size. The storm inludes moderate winds and typically last only for a couple of minutes before it shifts to a steadier rainfall. If your RV roof is in a good condition, this will not be a threat.  But it is a good idea to check it after. If your RV roof is old and already has existing damages before the hailstorm it may have more problems.
  • Marble-sized Hail – These are around 1/2 inch in size and still considered safe for rubber roofs. But if there’s extreme wind along with the outpour of hail your roof and other things could sustain damage. Like in pea-sized hail, if your RV roof is already old and has existing wear and tear before the storm, more harm is possible. Inspection is recommended after.
  • Dime to Quarter-sized Hail – Hailstones around 3/4 to 1 inch in size are considered dime to quarter size.  You should be more cautious for this storm or any hail bigger than 1/2 inch in size. Higher winds and more rainfall are likely and contribute to the intesisty of the storm. This size storm can cause damage to the different accessories on your RV’s roof. The skylights and vent caps could be dented and cracked or even worse. (This size hail hurts too, so stay inside and safe till the storm is over)
  • Golf ball-sized Hail – These are around 1-3/4 to 2 1/2 inches in size. For hail this big, it can really cause substantial damage to your RV.  Aluminum siding, glass, and plastic covers can be broken. Generally, a rubber roof might withstand the storm but the other items on the roof could be damaged. If there’s a forecast for hail like this, shelter your RV if you can.
  • Baseball-sized Hail – Major storms can produce large hailstones that vary 2 3/4 – 4 inches in size. (Record size hail is 4 1/2 inches.) This size storm can cause substantial damage to everything in its path including your RV.  Aluminum siding, awnings, glass windows and plastic covers can be broken. Any roof will likely have some damage and the other items on the roof could be destroyed. If there’s a forecast for hail like this, shelter your RV if you can. After the storm inspect your RV very closely and take it to an RV repair shop for an expert opinion. You will also want to contact your insurance company right away to inform them of the storm.
Sizes of HailThreats to RV Roof
Pea-sized Hail (0.25′)
  • If your RV roof is in a good condition, this will not be a threat. Check after Storm
  • Marble-sized Hail (0.50′)
  • No significant damage if your roof is in good condition. Inspect roof after hail-storm.
  • Dime to Quarter-sized Hail (0.75′-1′)
  • Can dent skylights and vent caps. The size hurts too, shelter your RV and stay indoor.
  • Golf Ball-sized Hail (1.75′-2.5′)
  • Rubber roof may be safe but other roof accessories may be significantly damaged.
  • Baseball-sized Hail (2.75′-4′)
  • Can cause tremendous damage even to rubber roofs. Keep away and shelter your RV.
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    Common Types of RV Roofs

    RV Roof Vent and the Air Circulation Inside Camper Van
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    Before panicking about a hailstorm coming, you may want to check on the type of roof that your RV has.  The impact of hail may also vary for each type.

    Here’s a comparison for you to compare all the four types of RV roofs in order for you to see if your roof would be fine, or if you want to change it up to something that you think may be better:

    EPDM RV Roof

    EPDM is considered the best roofing material for an RV. These roofs are made of an extremely durable synthetic rubber roofing membrane called ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM). These can typically last for 20-25 years.

    Advantages

    • inexpensive, easy to install and lightweight
    • does not dent, scuff or scratch easily
    • small repairs are easy as applying liquid roof membranes such as rubber shingles, latex tape or adhesives

    Disadvantages

    • not visually appealing since it may look like a stretched-out inner-tube
    • absorbs heat quickly and retains sunlight
    • can be punctured easily

    Can EPDM RV roofs withstand hail?

    Since EPDM RV roofs are made of synthetic rubber, they can be very hail resistant.  Hail might not be able to puncture it but may dimple or damage the insulation board under the membrane. Water could pool and over time cause wear on the roof.

    Rubber TPO RV Roof

    TPO roofs are made of single-ply thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO). This is not technically a true rubber roof but has many of the same properties. The coating is placed over a fabric backing. TPO RV roofs can typically last for 15-25 years.

    Advantage

    • the material is white, which can reflect heat you can choose the way of installation fastened
    • directly , glued or welded.

    Disadvantage

    •  thicker may not mean more durable requires an outer laminate cover for it not to develop
    •  weakness and cracks easily
    • relatively small in width creating more seams that may contract and expand which cause
    • cracking and leaking in the roof

    Can Rubber TPO Roof withstand hail?

    The TPO roof is hail-resistant but not as much as the EPDM. However, hail can cause cracks to this type of roof, especially if it is older. If your roof is relatively new, little cracks will not cause leaks in your RV immediately. But as your roof ages, and as the crack develops, leakage may happen.

    Fiberglass RV Roof

    A fiberglass RV roof is made by using a mix of synthetic materials and glass fibers made in large panels or individual sheets. The roof will be rigid and feel hard to the touch. Fiberglass is very durable but not flexible as you drive, so most newer rigs do not have this type.

    Advantage

    • durable
    • rot- and rust-resistant
    • fire-resistant
    • lightweight

    Disadvantage

    • inflexible and can crack under the stress of costant movement of RVs
    • when it gets damaged, repair is expensive making it more practical to replace the damaged section
    • not heat resistant and when exposed to extensive heat, thermal splits may form, which would  require immediate repair.

    Can a fiberglass RV roof withstand hail?

    Since these are durable, it is less likely to be damaged by small hail. However, the fiberglass can be dented and cracked from larger-sized hail. It also becomes more brittle over time.

    Aluminum RV Roofing

    In the past, RV roofs made of aluminum were commonly used due to their longevity. Aluminum is now mainly material for siding. Newer RVs are not made with aluminum roofs.

    Advantage

    • resist tree limb piercing
    • less susceptible to holes caused by RV’s motion friction
    • fire-resistant

    Disadvantage

    • can quickly lose its visual appeal
    • susceptible to seam failure
    • not heat resistant
    • must be fastened with galvanized nails to prevent rust and subsequent hidden leaks
    • can get rusty

    Can aluminum RV roofing withstand hail?

    Aluminum roofing is very susceptible to hail because it’s thin. Typical damages are dents and scratches. The materials under the aluminum will likely be damages as well.

    Signs That Your RV Roof is Damaged

    Photograph on roof of recreational vehicle looking into large field.
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    In order to avoid even bigger problems, you should make it a habit to inspect your RV.  Having the damages detected early on can help you lessen the repairs that you may possibly need.

    You never want a roof leak to go unchecked and end up with water damage inside your RV.

    You can start by checking all the seams, flashings, skylights, roof air-conditioners, solar panels, antennas. Also, check any other accessories on your roof.

    While you are inspecting, you may want to check for the following signs to see if your RV has potential roof damage:

    • Warped areas or sagging in your ceiling or fixtures, especially non-metal ones.  Warping and sagging are usually caused by water damage.
    • Look if there is dripping water or water stains anywhere for these are signs of leakage that will allow water damage.
    • If you have laminated items on your RV, delamination may also be a sign that your RV roof is damaged and water is coming in.
    • You may also look for small spots or bubbles for these are an indication that your RV’s roof membrane is no longer glued or fastened.
    • Most especially if your RV roof is made of Aluminum, you may want to check for rusting.
    • Cracks or holes can also be a sign that your roof is damaged.  This is the usual damage that a hailstorm can cause.
    • Dents and scratches are also some of the usual damages from hailstorms.

    How to Handle RV Roof Damage

    Immediate after a storm, visually inspect your RV roof and accessories on the roof. If your RV roof shows signs of damage, contact your insurance company and take your RV to a reputable repair shop for inspection.

    It’s better to have your RV repaired immediately to prevent further problems.

    If the damages are minor and you have the knowledge, you can repair it yourself.

    But if the damage is extensive, it is better to consult professionals and let them do the repairs.  The roof on your RV has multiple layers and even small dimples in the top rubber layer could indicate damage to the underlayers or the wood base.

    How to Avoid Getting your RV Roof Hail Damaged

    Hails lined in different sizes on a wooden table
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    As they say, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.  If you can avoid having your RV roof damaged, the better.  These are the things you can do to avoid getting your RV roof hail-damaged:

    • Be updated about the weather forecast – Knowing the upcoming weather can save you from possible damages.  You already know that something is coming, may it be a hail storm, thunderstorm or the like. Prepare for it and take necessary precautions to prevent your RV from getting damaged.
    • Shelter your RV if possible – Parking your RV in a covered parking or a garage is recommended. Especially if you are expecting heavy hail storms.  Since it is sheltered, it is less likely to be damaged.
    • If sheltering is not possible, use an RV cover – Although an RV cover will not really protect your RV 100%, placing a little bit of protection to it may minimize the damage.  Having an RV cover in a light hailstorm can help your RV get little to no damage at all, but when the hailstorm is extreme, this will only lessen the impact.
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    Hopefully, if there’s a hailstorm coming, this article will help you be more prepared.  Even if your RV roof can withstand hail, it’s better to take precautions.  Shelter it if possible, cover it if sheltering is not possible, and check it after the hailstorm for any damages.

    Are you renting an RV? If so, it is best to get in contact with the owner right away. The RV platform insurance will probably pay for damage if it’s from natural causes, but it’s always better to be prepared and be more careful.

    If you’re new to renting, I always suggest starting with Outdoorsy and RVezy

    For more RV resources start here:

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      Shauna Kocman founder of Family Travel Fever

      Hi, I’m Shauna – Welcome to Family Travel Fever.  We are a large family, that was bitten by the travel bug!  We travel with kids and extended family.  I take the kids by myself sometimes because I don’t mind flying or driving solo with my crew to discover the coolest places.

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