How to Fix or Replace Leaky RV Roof Vents, Hatches, Skylights, and More

Keeping your RV’s roof in good condition is going to provide you with years of enjoyment. Over time, no matter the climate that you live in, the roof of your RV is going to start to show signs of age and wear. The first sign, in many cases, is a water leak caused by a deteriorated or damaged seal. This usually happens around roof vents, skylights, air conditioning units, and other fixtures on the RV, but can be problematic no matter where it occurs. If you are dealing with a leak from these areas, you can probably take care of the repair yourself.

Whether your RV roof is made of EPDM, TPO, or fiberglass, the repair and/or replacement process for vents, hatches, and other fixtures is going to be the same. To begin, you have to prepare the area by scraping away old caulk, sealant, and RV rubber roof adhesive that is in the way. This includes the removal of all silicone materials that are near or on the fixture that is being repaired or replaced. You aren’t going to get a new water-tight seal with old adhesive or caulk in the way.

For cleaning, you can use a scrub pad or sandpaper to create a smooth, clean surface after you have scraped off most of the sealants and damaged caulking or adhesive. If you need to access the screws for your hatch or skylight, make sure that those are accessible and scrape away the caulk around them so that you can remove the screws as needed. Whatever you are working on, you need to make sure that there is no more caulk, RV rubber roof adhesive, or other debris on the area where you will be working.

Choose Your New Sealant

As stated above, the exact product that you use for your roof repairs depends on the type of roof that you have and the type of seal that you are trying to create. Typically, however, there are two main categories that RV owners will choose from: fabric sealants like WebSeal and liquid caulks or sealing products. In some cases, you may employ the use of both.

Fabric-backed products are great for sealing around irregular surfaces like bolts, pipes, curbs, and angles. They are also a good choice for areas where you might notice water pooling, or you might need a wider seal than most caulking products can provide. This tape-style sealant can be molded to fit without springing back to shape, and remains flexible even in extreme temperatures. Keep in mind that most of these tapes are designed to also have a top protective coating on them for the best protection.

Another consideration that comes up when you are repairing or replacing the sealant on your roof is whether you need a temporary or permanent seal. RV rubber roof adhesive products come in both styles, and for obvious reasons. Some items, like the air conditioner, might require service regularly. In this instance, you would want to use a temporary sealant or adhesive product on the areas that will need to be accessed for service. When installing a fixture or sealing the edges of your RV roof, a permanent seal will be preferred.

Last-Minute Reminders

When replacing a vent or skylight, make sure that you use a knife or flat edge to loosen the metal flange from the roof. Be careful not to cut into the rubber roofing material when doing this, however. Also, make sure that you fill and seal all cracks, gaps, and joints when you have finished your repairs or replacements so that you get the long-lasting performance that you deserve. Finally, remember to look carefully at adhesives and sealants because they are designed for specific applications and uses, so you need to make sure that you have the right materials for the job.