What kinda roofing is this? (And how do I repair it)

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Pacma

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20220525_211124.jpg20220525_211134.jpg20220525_211154.jpgHello all. New to forum and RVing and was hoping someone could provide me some assistance with a travel trailer I bought this year.

I am fairly handy and capable and while up on the ladder (isnt one attached the back) installing a back up camera I got my forst look at the roof and this is what I saw. Since the picture I had to take the RV to storage (limited parking). I have been researching to determine what fix is likely needed here and it seems dependant on the roof type which is best determined by removing the bathroom fan which i currently dont have access too.

I want to figure out what i need to get/do to make sure the roof doesnt leak (have not noticed any leaking yet) but I am not sure what I am looking at perhaps a rubber roof that someone covered in fiberglass and is peeling up?

I was thinking perhaps just getting the dicore fiberglass roll on stuff but was hoping to get dome input from a knowledgable community on whats going on here and what I need to do.
 

Kirk

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Welcome to the forums! Please do not use bold print as that is usually considered to be shouting. :) As I look at the roof pictures I can't be sure but it looks like it is an EDPM material with some sort of tape over the edges like these shown on Amazon to seal along the edges where the seams are typically caulked. Since the tape seems to be coming loose it probably is one of the cheaper products but that is only my guess. If the roof is not leaking the first thing that I would do is to clean it thoroughly and completely so that you can determine what you have.

One thing that would go a long way toward someone being able to tell you what the material is would be for you to share the year, make and model of the RV that you have.
 

Pacma

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Digging around for the registration still but if I remember right its a 1996 Sierra by cobra travel trailer 27fs something like that. That tape explanation makes sense to me I thought perhaps something like that so I guess at this point I am back to square one and will have to bring it back into town and get on top of it with the pressure washer to know for sure.

If that is tape would i get away with cleaning the roof and replacing the tape and adding another round of caulk around the fixtures and appliances since I am currently not having leaks (at least that I have noticed). Not sure at what point people determine that they need to coat the roof with something or require a strip down and replacement ( Or which type to replace it with).

Thanks for the help
 

whiteva

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Rule # 1. No pressure washer on roof. Too much water pressure will lift the sealant around vents, edge of roofing, skylights and too many other places. Better to simply scrub , dry, then closely inspect every opening for tight seal.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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It's almost surely EPDM rubber and it looks to have been overcoated with liquid rubber at least once and some roof tape (Eternabond or similar) applied on some of the seams (in addition to the usual lap sealant). The primary thing you must do is to inspect it for potential future leak spots, e.g. caulk or tape loosening up, worn or torn spots in the rubber membrane, gaps around the many things that protrude thru the roof, etc. Vigilance is the key - inspect at least annually and maybe more often on an older rig. Touch up any suspicious spots with new lap sealant (Dicor 501 is good and commonly available) or roof tape.
 

Kirk

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if I remember right its a 1996 Sierra by cobra
That would make the roof 26 years old and it probably came with a 12 year warranty. That means that you need to examine everything very closely but if there have been no leaks and if the membrane is still adhering to the underlay then it probably doesn't need complete replacement but it may well be time to put some type of protective coating on it. As you are cleaning the roof be very careful around the vents, air conditioners, and other penetrations as the apparent condition makes me think that there is probably loose caulking which could become a leak, especially if you use a pressure washer on it. Most pressure washers apply far too much pressure for safe use on an RV roof. If it has been previously coated with something that complicates knowing what needs to be done now, since we don't have any way of knowing what the coating material was. I do agree with Gary that the original material almost certainly was EDPM. I would try and remove the tape that is there now but coming loose and be very careful about cleaning in those places as you want to avoid getting water into those areas.

If the roof is not leaking at all and seems to be in reasonably good condition, it would then be possible to remove the old caulking and replace it and then install new tape on the edges. That would be the least costly thing to do but if you have the skills to replace the present roofing membrane there is no question that solution would be the most long term if you expect to use the trailer for a long time but you probably would never be able to get the money back if selling it.
 

Pacma

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Thank you all, especially for the warning about the pressure washer as that was totally what I was thinking about doing now I will scrub with a push brooms and perhaps some detergent (any recommendations?). Also lil worried about walking on it since there was no ladder I suspect from what I read so far that means this trailer was purchased without the "Reinforced walk on roof" option.

There is some bubbling in the ceiling so perhaps there was water damage before and previous leaking but nothing that says to me for sure, no noticeable staining soft spots or anything like that but some places where the paneling is showing some delineation and bubbling cracking or sagging so cant say for sure. They clearly did not winterize it properly I found a leak behind the wall just before the hot water line goes into the shower faucet and fixed that with a shark bite and have noticed leaking at the grey and black water tanks right where the plumbing exits. I had to remove and clear a birds nest from the furnace combustion chamber and repair some of the nearby wiring because they had the one + line on the - battery terminal and it burnt up the yellow wire to the furnace but things seem to be coming together now all the appliances appear to be working no leaking at least before the water enters the drains.

I like the idea of cleaning it removing and replacing that tape and redoing the lap sealant around the fixtures over a full roof replacement. This is my first RV and I very quickly learned how much work the Durango has to put out to pull it (5.7 hemi but cut the mileage right in half and struggles against the wind and on hills), weight distribution hitch with sway bar helps a lot but I think if I am going to drag this around long term I might look to a diesel/5th wheel setup in the near future.
 

Kirk

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The roof should be fine to walk on, as I have never seen one that could not be walked on as long as you use a shoe that won't damage the membrane. Since yours has solar on the roof, I am sure that was added later by a previous owner and that they did walk on the roof to put it there and the same was true for installing the air conditioner at the factory. As long as there are no soft spots from previous leaks the roof should support you. There is something along the length of the roof, just ahead of what looks to be the TV antenna, that I can't figure out what it is?

The ceiling and wall damage do sound like some damage from leaking but it would help to have pictures of both. You have not said what make, model, or year the trailer is and that might help. Also the length of the trailer as well as it's weight contribute to the effect on your truck and at highway speeds the wind drag can be as great an effect as the weight. How long is the trailer and have you weighed it?
 

Pacma

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Sierra by cobra 1996 26fk (It measures around 27-29 ft with the A frame can't remember for sure)I think it is, no slides or anything. I have not weighed it yet but I think its spec'd at around 4700. Its parked out at an acreage at the moment so I can't get any pictures right now but I am looking to paint the interior and try to paint or do something with the ceiling before I throw down some plank flooring just make it look a little more clean, its really not that bad.

I guess I should focus on that roof first though incase there are any leaks happening I am not noticing is there a best brand or suggestion for replacing that tape if there is nothing else wrong with it
 

Lou Schneider

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I would scratch down through the top surface and see what's underneath it. I had a Sierra 5th wheel of similar vintage and it's roof was a thin single sheet of aluminum, not EDPM rubber. The problem was it would expand and balloon going down the road in hot weather as it was only held down at the edges and at the roof penetrations. I wound up adding additional hold down screws and fender washers into the cross-roof beams and then sealing them over similar to what your roof shows. Then I painted the entire roof with a coat of Henry's Mobile Home Roof Coating for aluminum roofs.

Be careful walking around up there, if it's an aluminum roof there's no underlying plywood, just the aluminum sheet itself. Walking directly on the aluminum can stretch it further. Walk only on the crossbraces or put down a piece of plywood to spread the load between a couple of beams.
 

Pacma

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Thanks Lou, from my research that was what I was afraid of specifically because no ladder is or was that I can tell attached to the back which suggests the roof was not designed to be walked on freely.

If this does turn out to be aluminum under it all would I need to remove what ever covering they have on top or would I be able to clean it off and apply a coating as you mentioned and probably replace the tape, or could I go without the tape if I roll the coating right to the edge you think?
 

Kirk

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I have never owned an RV by Cobra so Lou is quite possibly right. I had a 1977 Great Divide and also a 1987 Allegra Class A with aluminum roofs and have walked on the roofs of both. I know that the Allegro had a plywood underlay and thought the GD did also but I would have to suspect that your Sierra would probably be the same as what Lou had. That also would explain some of the waviness of the existing roof. That also introduces an entirely new set of possibilities. You do need to know if you have what Lou had before you do very much.
 

Pacma

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Sounds good, looks like I need to plan to go grab it and bring it back for a bit... have to move someone this weekend so maybe with luck the following.
 

Pacma

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Hello all. I got the RV out again and got up on the roof for a better look. It appears to be two sided white and black EPDM. The Tape job appears to only be at the back and is lifting. I was able to wiggle my fingers under it and get to some soggy OSB so not good I need to do something ASAP.

My guess is when they put up the solar panel they tore it free from the metal brace I see on the other end of the RV. Lap sealant appears to not be the best around fixtures and some of the skylights were not fixed tight I could press down on them and will likely have to go up and tighten down the nuts. I will try to add some more pictures and a video I took if i can figure it out.

So i guess knowing this what would you suggest my options are now? Best path forward?

Thanks for the advice in advance.
 

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Pacma

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Just idea of general condition next i will focus on the tape
 

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Pacma

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Tgis is the metal strip whcih i assume holds down the rubber at the front end without the tape
 

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Pacma

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Here is the tape job at the back end you can feel a metal strip lile what is at the front under it
 

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Pacma

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As you can see this repair job failed. The OSB is a little damp and slimy but still firm although it feels lile it might be starting to swell.
 

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Pacma

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Bonus points for anyone who has a good suggestion for repairing the grey and black water tanks. It appears they bottomed out the Y and broke it off from the tanks. The black was still part on there so i let down the banding and removed the Y so i can get in there and build up around the opening with something, JB Weld?

Thoughts are ig i can build up the tank then i can replace the coupling on the black water end providing i figure out what it is and where to get it then on the grey water side just use adhesive to glue it back on over the repaired hole?

Man sometimes you really do get what you paid for eh.

Black tank with big hole is grey water grey tank with some of the flange on there is black.
 

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