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Old 04-26-2012, 07:42 AM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2012
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Difference between sealing and repair

I have never owned an RV , but now I do and I live in it. The roof is leaking in a couple places and has been for a while now....what is the difference between sealing a roof and repairing one ...or roof coating it? I have no idea what any of it means! o.O!

Oh and if anyone is around Woodburn, Or. I would sure like to know !!

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Old 04-26-2012, 02:55 PM   #2
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Forest River Owners Club
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Vaughn, WA
Posts: 1,377
Hi dkelkins and

First it is always helpful to have additional technical info on you particular RV. I see from your Profile that you have a 33' Coachmen but that covers a lot of territory. Motorhome? 5th Wheel? Travel Trailer? What is the roof covering made of? Probably is a rubber roof, but metal and fiberglas have been used. Is there any chance you can post a picture here for us?

Since it is leaking, you need to repair it, which means applying a patch over any damaged areas. This could be a tear or hole on the roof material itself or a separation at a seam or edge along a vent or skylight. Have you inspected the roof and found the source of the leak? Keep in mind that where it leaks inside could be several feet from the leak source outside.

Most folks recommend a patching tape called Eternabond. There is a similar tape under the Dicor brand. Your local RV supply store should have one or both of these. I would also pick up a tube of Dicor sealing caulk (again, for rubber roofs). You can use it wherever the tape might be hard to apply or if you have just a small pinhole to fill.

DO NOT use normal "home improvement" products like BlackJack or mobile home roof sealers. They are not designed for RV roofs and will cause you more problems later when you try to remove them.

I would consider recoating the same as sealing, though you might say that applying sealant caulk along the seams and edges is "sealing" the roof. Normally there is no need to apply a coating over the entire roof unless the whole roof surface is deteriorated.

1995 Coachmen Santara 360MB 36' w/slide.
Ford F53/460 chassis, 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee "toad"
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Old 04-26-2012, 04:57 PM   #3
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Location: Williamsburg, VA
Posts: 650
i consider sealing a roof to be making the outer layer impervious to water. using dicor sealant or eternabond tape to cover holes, cracks, or separations would be examples.

tearing into the roof to replace rotted wood, foam, or fiberglass would be considered a repair.
1999 Winnebago Minnie 29', Ford V10, Close to stock.
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:04 AM   #4
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Your roof has numerous seams and openings where things like the a/c and plumbing vents protrude through the roof. All those edges/seams need to be periodically sealed with caulk or a sealing tape like Eternabond. You can also use caulking sealer or tape if there is a cut or crack in the roof material. Sealant caulk comes in tubes and is squirted on. Fixing a gouge with sealant would be considered a minor repair. The roof should be inspected annually for cracks around the seams and the caulking touched up as needed.

A roof is recoated when the roof material itself is worn away. This is done on roofs made of EPDM or TPO rubber fabric. Metal roofs that have corroded or cracked can also be coated. Basically a thick gooey layer of elastomeric roof coating is rolled, brushed or sprayed onto the entire roof, forming a new waterproof layer.

A major repair would be to strip off some or all of the old roof covering and replacing it. Replacement of some or all of the wood panels under the covering may also be necessary, since a leak often causes rot or mod there.
Gary Brinck
Former owner of 2004 American Tradition
Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
Summers in Black Mountain, NC
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Old 04-27-2012, 08:51 AM   #5
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Location: Snowbird - Waterford Mi and Citrus Springs Fl.
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Not sure it's as important to define the difference as it is to get those leaks stopped? Roof leaks destroy more RV's than about any other cause!
1997 37' HR Endeavor, 275hp Cat, Freightliner
03 CR-V Blue Ox, Ready Brake
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Old 04-27-2012, 02:04 PM   #6
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Nick-B and all......I have a 1991 Coachman 5th wheel. The guy I bought it from said a tree branch had come thru the hallway skylight...not sure I believe that was the ONLY thing that happened. (some people!) We are in the process of fixing the problems and if i HAVE to I will tarp it until I can get it totally repaired! Thanks guys appreciate the helpful answers.

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