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Old 09-29-2014, 06:28 PM   #1
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Roll-on bed-liner roof project

I have seen several people express interest in various forums about putting bed-liner on their roof. I have only seen one person with a rubber roof do it, and never saw anything about the long term success.

I did a lot, and I mean a lot of research on different roofing options ranging from completely replacing the EPDM (way too extensive and expensive), EPDM roof coatings (yes, for campers), and bed-liner. I did a lot of pro's and con's and so on but my curiosity and cheapness got the best of me.

I chose to attempt a roll-on bed-liner on top of my EPDM roof.

Sadly, I did not take any photos of my roof prior to the project's start so I'll describe it as best as I can. It was horrible. It was covered in dirt, mold, algae, and God knows what else. After two long and hard scrubbings with Gain dish soap and bleach, I saw my roof. Underneath the filth was a wonderful, barely left rubber membrane. I'd guess that about 25% of the roof was worn through to the black and the rest was almost there.

I had purchased Iron Armor Truck Bed Coating from Harbor Freight for $44.99 a gallon (minus 20% off of course), some regular foam rollers from Home Depot, and everything else I had on hand from previous (and ongoing) projects.

All in all, the first coat took me about 4-5 hours to put down. I used about a gallon and a half of the liner, two 9" rollers, one 3" roller (and handle), one brush, a lot of sweat, and what's left of my pulled forearm (let's just say swinging a 6Lb sledge like a baseball bat isn't always a good idea.)

Obviously the project is not finished, nor do I have any ideas as to how it will last long term but I felt like I would share some do's and don'ts and update the thread as the project progresses.

Tips:
- Don't use rollers for regular paint. I love the light texture it gives, but they DO NOT stand up to the sticky liner. Little parts of the roller are now permanently part of my roof.
- Cover your vents and covers. I didn't and I now have one vent with slung liner on it and a few spots on my AC cover. Good thing those will be replaced anyway.
- Get some knee pads. I already have bad knees, kneeling for that long getting around the vents, edge, etc. just killed them.
- Definitely wear gloves. Fortunately I did because it does not come off skin very easily.

That is all for now. Stay tuned for some pictures, updates on the progress, and maybe some more tips if I learn anything else the hard way.
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:20 PM   #2
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They're not the greatest pictures of the roof, but it's still drying so I had to take them from the ladder.

I wrapped the liner down a few inches on the front and rear, mainly for protection since it won't be black when it's all finished.

Front Cap:


Rear Cap:


Top of the roof, from the front:

Those blobs in the middle are parts of the roller that broke off. Like I said, those didn't last.

Texture of the roof. There's texture, but it's not over the top:




There will be more pictures after the second coat (may be a few days. Forecast has changed and they're calling for rain tomorrow now.) The paint coats will be a whole lot easier than this liner is.
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:35 PM   #3
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We have been restoring classic cars. Even though we never tried it these teenagers swear by rustoleum paint. They put it on with foam brushes or thin it down and use in a paint sprayer. I've seen some photos and they look pretty good and they say the paint holds up well. And for kids it's way cheaper than auto paint. So who knows what products can be used for other than they were intended for. If they stay in a truck bed why not a roof? Good luck
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:38 PM   #4
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Great lookin job! but.......if in the sun.......A/C unit will be on overtime......
Are you parked in the shade under tree's? I hope.......
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Old 09-29-2014, 08:05 PM   #5
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Great lookin job! but.......if in the sun.......A/C unit will be on overtime......
Are you parked in the shade under tree's? I hope.......
Yes, I am mostly under trees but it won't be staying black.

I looked into the UV resistant tinted (white) bed-liners but for their price I may as well have went with the actually roof coating. Instead, I contacted the makers of Iron Armor and asked them if it could be painted over after it's applied with an oil based paint like Rustoleum. They said that once it's dried it can be painted. Once the second (may go with three coats, but I think two should be enough) is down and dried I'll be putting a couple coats of Rustoleum gloss white over it. Black would be great for the upcoming winter but a metal box gets hot enough in the summer when it's white.

PS: A/C doesn't work right now. :( It took a dump late this summer. Got us through most of the heat though. Next spring/summer I'll be putting in a new one with a heat pump or strip.
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Old 09-29-2014, 08:09 PM   #6
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We have been restoring classic cars. Even though we never tried it these teenagers swear by rustoleum paint. They put it on with foam brushes or thin it down and use in a paint sprayer. I've seen some photos and they look pretty good and they say the paint holds up well. And for kids it's way cheaper than auto paint. So who knows what products can be used for other than they were intended for. If they stay in a truck bed why not a roof? Good luck
Might actually be painting the tow vehicle with Rustoleum soon enough. It'll be thinned with a hardener added and sprayed on with an automotive HVLP gun but still Rustoleum. Haven't decided for sure on that one, $25 or less for Rustoleum or less than $100 for actually auto paint. :-\

My main worry was the bed-liner not adhering properly or eating through the roofing material. The thinners they put in that stuff are brutal and plentiful. So far seems good though, makes me happy for now but we'll see how it holds up long term.
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Old 09-30-2014, 09:57 AM   #7
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Apparently I don't write an interesting post, a lot of views but not a lot of comments. Anyway.

Not a huge noticeable difference from the ground but the second (and most likely final) coat is on the roof. I've got to wait a few days to let some rain in the forecast to go through but I guess it'll give me a chance to see if the small leaks I had are fixed or not.

Once the rain passes it will be time for the Gloss White paint to go on and, hopefully, this project is complete.

Front Cap:


Rear Cap:


Top of the roof, from the front:


Texture of the roof. There's texture, but it's not over the top:

I stuck with the regular, low dollar rollers just because I really like the light texture they were putting down. I also found with the heavier second coat it rolled a little easier and didn't rip them up. Also picked up a few more and used one per ten foot section.


There's still a few spots on the siding that I'll have to touch up with the aerosol can but they're pretty minor.

I haven't noticed any bubbling or other damage to the actual rubber roof so it looks like the thin first coat worked out well.

Another thing I had been worried about was the smell getting inside. The one person I found online that posted his bed-liner roof project said it smelled horrible for a month. We have yet to smell anything thank goodness since we full time.
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Old 09-30-2014, 10:13 AM   #8
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Would be interested in the before and after weight difference once you finish....

I too would color it !
have you researched plasti-dip Amazon.com: plasti-dip

Many have had great results on their cars - even the wheels - after many, many washings and it comes in all kinds of colors...
www.dipyourcar.com

https://www.google.com/search?q=plas...x-a&channel=sb
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Old 09-30-2014, 10:43 AM   #9
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I haven't looked into plastidip for this project but have looked into it for other things. It would probably work extremely well though now that I think about it... Oh well, paint is already purchased and should be easier to apply.

I thought about trying to weigh it, but that would have meant packing up and moving and, by the time I finished it wouldn't be accurate anyway. Different food in the fridge, etc. However, with the can each gallon weights approximately 8 Lbs. Less weight minus container and carriers in the paint. Even at 8 Lbs a gallon, we're still only looking at a maximum of 32 Lbs of added weight (3 gallon containers of bed-liner, 1 gallon container of paint.) Maybe more, just depends on what I decide to do to the slide-out roof.
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Old 09-30-2014, 03:10 PM   #10
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I'll be following your post for I am interested in doing the same thing to my old fiver. I know that Excel (Peterson Industries) offers bed liner as an upgrade on their fivers at the factory. It appears that it must be a popular upgrade because they can't keep up with the demand for this roof option.
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Old 10-01-2014, 07:34 AM   #11
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I think it is a great idea. I also am interested in seeing the final pictures. I am also a big fan of Rustoleum paint. It seems to stick to most anything. Good luck with your project and keep the pictures coming.
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Old 10-01-2014, 09:01 AM   #12
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I still am debating what to do with the roof of the slide-out. I don't know if I want to play it safe and order the actual roof coating or continue with the experimenting with the bed-liner.

The Iron Armor (and a few other bed coatings) don't have any rubber, kevlar, etc. granules in them. Thinking back to when I was cutting in from vents, etc. on the main roof it laid down pretty smooth. I still have a couple cheap 3/8" nap rollers laying around from the bathroom remodel and I have some wood scraps/concrete blocks to play on. I may take the little bit that's left in the gallon and see if I can get it to apply smoothly since I don't know how the texture, however light, will affect the capability of the seal to, well, seal.

We'll see though, annual wellness check at the doctor in a few, sleep, then work. Fun, fun.
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Old 10-02-2014, 12:52 AM   #13
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I enjoyed reading about your work, if you have to buy a new A/C anyways, why not check out a heat/pump. It may save on your gas bill this winter.
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Old 10-02-2014, 07:59 AM   #14
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I enjoyed reading about your work, if you have to buy a new A/C anyways, why not check out a heat/pump. It may save on your gas bill this winter.
Doug
I've got way too much money going out right now and not nearly enough coming in. That's how we wound up in an RV (I pay $190 a month right now and that includes all utilities but internet is separate), why I sacrificed cable TV and now can't watch my Royals in the playoffs for the first time in almost 30 years, and more. That's also why I chose a cheap trailer that I knew would need some work. I didn't think it'd be this much but oh well, it's been a learning experience to say the least.

Anyway, going to save up money this winter and try to get one next spring. Until then I'll have a heater in the bedroom and one in the main area to help keep it warm. Definitely going to get a unit with heat though.
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