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Old 07-19-2016, 02:29 PM   #1
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Question What does an EPDM rubber roof need?

Just bought a 1999 Class A with an EPDM roof that appears to be in decent shape but overdue for some sealing. I'm not an expert on this, and would rather pay an expert than go the DIY route (lots of other demands on my time right now).

First shop I called sounded pretty confident that typically a roof needs to be cleaned and conditioned, and spot-sealed, on an annual basis. But when I asked about a complete re-coating with liquid EPDM, he said that was more of a band-aid hack than a preferred treatment. The important thing is to keep the roof membrane clean and conditioned, and spot seal the seams and edges.

He did say that after years of spot sealing, a roof typically requires a "peel & seal" where they spend 7-8 hours on their knees carefully peeling all the old stuff off before applying new sealant.

Any thoughts on this? Recommendations for a reputable shop in west Tennessee that I could trust to do a quality job and not rip me off?


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Old 07-19-2016, 04:01 PM   #2
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That sounds about right. When we owned a travel trailer and 5th wheel I checked the sealant every year and spot resealed. I didn't put it over the old stuff, but spent the time to scrape the old off and replace. You can put new over old though, I just don't like doing it. I washed it six or so times a year and conditioned it after washing.

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Old 07-19-2016, 05:06 PM   #3
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You don't need to coat over an EPDM roof unless the woven backing material is showing through. That will happen eventually, but its not a routine thing. Until then keeping it clean is goodness, though probably mostly cosmetic. And it is not really necessary to use "rubber roof treatment", though it helps a bit with chalking (white or black streaks down the sides of the RV).

"Conditioning" is basically a wax job. EPDM rubber has a white powder in it to make it pretty, and it chalks off and runs down the sides of the RV with moisture runoff. A conditioner helps to prevent the chalking. Well, it binds the chalk in place to avoid the streaks. But its gonna loosen up and come off after awhile, which is why an annual (or better) cleaning is wise. If you remove the chalky accumulation and put on a conditioner, you might get a summer season without much streaking. You can use a liquid floor wax like Mop n Glo for a "conditioner", but the stuff the RV stores sell isn't real expensive either.

The "spot sealing", though, is critical. Somebody needs to check out the roof seams and protrusions (vents and such) and touch up the sealant around them as needed. May not need anything, but somebody needs to check. Sometimes the old caulk needs to be peeled back and replaced in places. The caulk can be repalced with Eternabond tape if you prefer, but it's just another way to accomplish the same thing.
Gary Brinck
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Old 07-19-2016, 08:20 PM   #4
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Video will give a general idea of what needs to be done. Most RV dealers should be able to do this maintenance. Cleaning the sealant and recoating is usually all that is needed. Trying to remove old sealant can easily damage the roof membrane. I'm also much more liberal with the sealant than the gentleman in the video.
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