Reseal roof

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Mini391

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Mar 19, 2019
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Hello all,
New member to the forums just found this with a lot of useful info already! I bought my first camper with my girlfriend middle of last season and it is amazing! We have a 2002 Coachman Catalina Lite with a metal roof with the self leveling adhesive cracking (dry rot) and I bought some of the self leveling caulk for it. I have look it up a couple places and people say about rolling a sealer on the whole top of the camper and I see places where it says either replace the caulk or put new over it. I don?t have any leaks but and lost with all the information out there. I searched the forum and found only about replacing but what through me for a loop was rolling a sealant on the roof. Thank you I?m advance! -Bryan
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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If the metal  roof material is in decent shape, just caulk the seams and around the openings. You only need to caulk where the old sealant has broken away or cracked open, and you can caulk over top of the existing sealant until it gets too deep or too ugly.

Inspect the metal skin for pinholes or other potential problems. If you find suspicious areas, you could coat the metal with an elastomeric (rubber), but otherwise leave it alone.
 

Mini391

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Mar 19, 2019
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Gary RV_Wizard,
Thank you I couldn?t find the justification of putting a sealer on the metal roof now I understand. Thank you for the info!
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Back in the day a "metal roof" was galvanized tin and highly subject to corrosion after several years. Especially for RVs stored or used near cities or in areas subject to acid rain.  The metal develops multiple pinholes, so coating is a good method of covering the holes and protecting the rest of the roof.  However, newer metal roof RVs like yours typically use aluminum and that metal seems to have few pinhole corrosion issues.

Many RV owners re-coat a roof simply because they don't understand where the leaks usually come from (the seams and openings) or they are simply too lazy to find the source of a leak and do spot repairs. They just "cover everything" and hope it stops the leak. 
 

cerd

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May 29, 2018
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I, personally, avoid layering sealant like it was a plague. Last year, I had to replace my entire ceiling because the previous owner did just that. The old sealant rotted through the new sealant from the inside out. It developed numerous pinhole leaks, but over time, my ceiling accumulated enough water that it poured a bit of water onto my floor when I removed the ceiling panels.

I ended up removing every fixture and fastener on the roof, scraping all old sealant off and applying fresh sealant to the base materials. Using an oscillating multitool with the serrated knife blade and a flexible scraper blade from Harbor Freight made quick work of removing all of the old sealant without damaging the roof. A buddy and myself were able to finish the job in about 8 hours, but my RV is only 20 feet long. I also replaced the weathered plumbing vents while I was at it.

I do have an aluminum roof as well.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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It's not layering that caused your problem - it was coating over caulk that was already bad.  However, if you don't feel confident about your assessment of the old caulk, by all means strip it off rather than overcoating.  Actually, there is no need to overcoat an area that is in good condition. If i ain't broke, don't fix it.
 

cerd

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They overlapped onto fresh metal and even that just cracked apart. Theoretically, wouldn't it have been able to flex a bit, even if it bubbled over? I am not positive what happened, but I just don't trust exposed roof sealants.

He did also use some to hold down the cables for the solar panels. That stuff looked like it held, but I was able to peel it right off like a bandage or tape.
 

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