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Owning an RV means maintenance to everything from the roof to the tires. You want to take care of the roof on your RV so it will have a long lifespan. You will still want to know how long do RV roofs last.

As a general rule, an RV rubber roof’s lifespan is about 20 years. The roof manufacturers guarantee the first 10-12 years. By doing regular maintenance and using the right equipment, you can even add years of life to it.

If you want your recreational vehicle’s rubber roof to last longer, having routine maintenance on it is the best thing to do.

However, if you’re new to RVing, you might be having a fear that maintaining it is not an easy job. Well, it’s not that it isn’t easy but, there are a lot of things that you need to know before you start touching it.

RV rubber roofs come in two types: the Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) and the Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO). You can see in your RV manual which type of rubber roof you have. 

Another way to know what type of RV roof you have is by removing the vent ring from an interior vent. It is TPO if all sides are one color. It is EPDM if the front is White or Off-White and the back is Black.

Knowing what type of roof you have is very important. This is to make sure that you will use the right product and equipment for effective maintenance.

In case you are interested in metal roofs for your RV, I have another post that may help you.

Do All RVs Have a Rubber Roof?

A roof over looking a river and campground
sshepard via

Not all RVs have rubber roofs. Two other types of roofs are made of either aluminum and fiberglass. 

Aluminum roofing is made of metal that is best for insulating and reflecting sunlight. This type of roofing lessens the chance of cracks and creases on the roof that can be caused by tree branches during trips.

Fiberglass roofing on the other hand is an auxiliary roof made using a mix of synthetic materials and glass fibers that are established in large panels or individual sheets. The good thing about this type of roofing is it is rot-rust and fire-resistant.

How to Keep Your RV Rubber Roofs Clean?

Man using a power hose to wash an RV roof
welcomia via

You can keep your RV clean by washing it regularly. You can use a brush with a medium bristle or a sponge mop. Don’t use anything that contains Petroleum Distillates or Citric ingredients as it may cause damages. 

There are a lot of rubber roof cleaners that you can buy in the market but you can also use a mild detergent or dishwashing liquid for a light cleaning.

However, before you do anything with your rubber roof, make sure to confirm what type of chemicals can and can’t be used with your RV dealer. 

Before you start cleaning with water, make sure to check the gutter for any gaps or other parts of the roof for possible leaks. This avoids any unwanted damages to the interior. 

It is best to clean the rubber roofs at least three to four times a year, depending on the parking location. The more you park or store it in an open area, the more often it should be cleaned. 

(If you need help on how to look for great RV parks and campsites, you can check out this blog: 11 Questions You Must Ask Reserve the Perfect RV Campsite)

Ways to Inspect Any Water Leaks or Damage

To inspect any water leaks or damage on your rubber roof, you need to do a physical check on the entire roof; the roof seams, and around the openings.

Make sure to search for any cracks or gaps, especially with the sealed parts. Once it’s done, check the interior’s ceiling, wall, and floor and look for any water damage or leak stains. 

This is especially important after weather events like hail. You can read more about if hail will damage your roof here.

After that, use a seal-tech machine that produces pressure on the inside of the RV unit. Then, go back to the roof and spray soap and water solution on the gaps or cracks you found. If bubbles show up, that confirms the area has holes and would cause leaks. 

Make sure to thoroughly clean the area that you would seal and dry up using a sponge or clean cotton. This helps the seal product adhere to the surface. 

If a seal-tech machine is unavailable, you can use other equipment that blows air pressure within the interior such as a furnace blower.

7 Maintenance Tips for RV Rubber Roof

 Since you already know the importance of having routine maintenance on your RV rubber roof, here are a few tips that you can take with you to make your roof last longer.

Perform regular maintenance every 3 months

In general, RV Manufacturing companies encourage users to have preventive maintenance once every three months. This can not only add years of life to your RV roof but can also save you from being surprised by sudden damage and leaks.

Check for Leaks

Make sure to check the rubber roof, as well as the entire RV, after every camping trip, storm, and winter storage. A lot can happen on your rig after a trip that you probably haven’t noticed. 

Re-coat and Seal the Roof Every Year

At least once a year, coating and sealant of the rubber roof should be done. This helps your rubber roof to be more durable. 

Use only compatible sealants for the Roof

Always check the best and compatible sealants with your RV dealer. You cannot just use anything available since certain chemicals can affect its durability. 

Repair Damages Immediately

Immediately repair any damages, like gaps or tears, regardless of how small it is to avoid bigger ones that may lead to expensive repairs. 

Be Careful Not to Damage the Roof

Be mindful when parking your RV. Parking or storage areas should be free from any tree branches or any external elements that may fall and cause damages. 

Keep Supplies for Roof Repairs on Hand

It is encouraged to bring RV rubber roof patch tapes during camping trips. This will be helpful to any unexpected damages due to tree branches or things like that can be easily repaired.

Important Related Questions

How much does it cost to replace my RV rubber roof?

In general, it costs around $300 to $350 per linear foot to replace an RV rubber roof. For example, a 30 foot RV will cost you around $9,000 to $10,000 to replace the entire rubber roof.

If you don’t have a plan of doing it yourself, you have to consider the labor cost of the auto-shop who will do the job. 

What kind of coat do I need to use for my rubber roof?

You can use a liquid coat or a silicon coat for your RV rubber roof.

However, before deciding on what to use, make sure to check with your RV dealer what is the most compatible kind. This is to avoid mismatch and unexpected damage to your roof. 

How often should I reseal my rubber roof?

Generally, it is always recommended to reseal your RV rubber roof at least every 5 years. Although this will still vary on how often you use your rig and how often you clean and maintain it.

Can you use Flex Seal on a rubber roof? 

You can use a Flex Seal on your RV rubber roof however, it can’t be used as a long-term seal. It is a good choice for sealing small holes or gaps only.

Nonetheless, the Flex Seal can adhere to rubbers and it is best to use it after drying up the surface. 

What is the best type of RV rubber roof?

While both EPDM and TPO are great rubber roofs for RVs, there are some factors to consider when choosing what’s best for you.

If you are to go with DIY, it is best to use TPO since it is much lighter. It won’t be difficult for you to carry and move as you attach it to your RV. If you’ll get help from an expert or professional, you can go with EPDM since it is heavier. It can be arranged appropriately. Regardless of which material you choose, make sure to have the thicker one available for the best quality and protection. 

Final Thoughts on RV Rubber Roofs

To sum things up, many RVers tend to forget and overlook their RV roof since it is not something you see during travels. However, if you forget to check if the roof is not in the best condition, the interior of your rig can be severely damaged, too. Remember that damaged roofs can lead to water damage and leaks which may cost you expensive repairs. 

Furthermore, even RV Rubber roofs can last up to 12 years or more, it will still depend on how often you clean it and do regular maintenance checks. Just like anything else in your rigs, roofs also need proper care, inspection, and maintenance. And by doing so, you can keep its quality and durability for a long time. 

Lastly, it is important that you know, as confirmed with your RV dealer, the types of chemicals that you can and can’t use considering the type of rubber roof you have. This applies when cleaning and sealing the roof. Any use of inappropriate cleaning or sealing materials can cause serious damage to the rubber roof and affect its quality. 

If you are still new to RVing, take note of the cleaning and maintenance tips so you can enjoy your camping trips with your RV for a long period. 

Here are other blogs with tips on your RV maintenance that would help you with your RVing:

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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!  I take the kids by myself because I don’t mind flying or driving solo with my crew to discover the coolest places.

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