As with all normal roofs, RV trailer and mobile home roofs will from time to time need to be repaired and maintained. Your RV Trailerís roof is just as vital as the roof on any regular brick and mortar house. The roof offers protection to you and your family home from the most destructive forces that the elements will throw at you. Therefore, whether you use your mobile home only occasionally, for outings and such, or if you are living in a trailer home full time, it is important that regular maintenance for your RV top is planned. Regular roof maintenance will guarantee the longest possible life for your mobile home, keeping it safe from the elements and forces of nature.
Many newer mobile homes have roofs that are made from rubber. This is because rubber is cheaper and often lasts much longer than the traditional metal roofing materials that are used with older trailers and mobile homes. Manufacturers of mobile homes use a special kind of material named Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, or EPDM, a substance that has been especially developed for roofing purposes. EPDM is designed to last for a long time, up to 20 years or even longer, and will usually come with a 10 year guarantee.
EPDM roofs are actually ideal, and very easy to protect. Use of treatments that protect roofs is really not required, as the EPDM is already self protecting. In fact, all you need to do to make it last as long as possible is to clean it regularly. Itís recommended that you clean an EPDM roof four or five times each year.
If your rubber trailer roof is more than a few years old, you may well notice a chalky build up on the surface of it. Donít worry about this; itís just normal deterioration due to aging that is unavoidable. If you clean your roof often, you will minimize this chalky build up anyway, and it will visibly reduce the white streaks that can be seen on the sides and roof of your RV.
The one thing that is very important when it comes to cleaning your EPDM roof is using the right products to do the job. Cleaning products that contain harsh abrasives, petroleum solvents or acidic based agents should never be used, as these will cause irreparable damage to the roof and cut its lifespan by many years. The best thing that you can use is some form of very mild, soap-based cleaner or a laundry detergent, and make sure itís mixed with plenty of water.
Once the roof has been cleaned, before you climb down off of it, carry out a few inspections to make sure of its condition. Check there are no cracks anywhere and that the seals and caulking are still good. Also check any other areas that could see leakages, such as vent covers etc. It pays and will safe you an awful lot of money if you can spot any signs of deterioration early on.
Most of the older mobile homes and RVís around usually have metal roofs, most often aluminum. In order to keep this type of roof in good condition, again it is usually only required that you inspect it regularly and keep it clean. For most metal roofs, itís okay to clean it twice a year using an automotive wash and wax cleaner.
You may notice that many older RVís with metal roofs have unsightly black marks or streaks running down the sides. This is caused by dirt that runs off the roof when it gets wet. If you clean your roof often, and especially if for whatever reason it gets particularly dirty, youíll be doing yourself a huge favor with regard to getting rid of these dirty black streaks.
It might be advisable to clean your RV roof more than twice a year if you are often parked underneath trees or other places where a lot of debris falls onto your roof. Debris such as this can cause unsightly and permanent stains if it is left too long.
Most metal roofs are made from sheets, held into place by sheet metal screws. These screws should be sealed annually in order to help prevent leakages from these points. The roof of your mobile home and sometimes the body will flex and move while the unit is being transported, and this can cause cracks and distortions, leading to leaks. Seal the sheet metal screws with a plastic or flexible rubber coating and be sure to repeat this job every year.
Newer RV trailers and mobile home roofs may have a rubber sheet that covers the aluminum roof sheets to help with waterproofing the metal roof. For this, a yearly inspection and good preventative maintenance is vital if you want to keep the roof in perfect condition. There are many kinds of products available that are designed especially for this kind of roof, products that can prevent damage and repair the rubber covering material. When using these products, be sure to pay attention to the areas near your roof mounted air conditioning unit, as well as other vents on the roof, for example air vents, gas refrigerator vents and plumbing fixtures. Itís also possible to buy kits for replacing the rubber roof material at most mobile home dealers and suppliers. However, preventative measures are always the most practical idea. Applying a decent sealant to your roof once a year can save you possibly thousands of dollars.
Roof and Ceiling Inspection
One of the most destructive problems that are faced by mobile home owners is that of leaky roofs. If it goes unnoticed, then the leak and damage will slowly spread through to other parts of your mobile home, including possibly its walls and floor structure, causing severe damage.
Therefore, it is vitally important that owners carry out regular inspections of their mobile home roofs. A regular inspection means 4 or 5 times a year, or even more if you can. One of the reasons you need to inspect it so often is that, especially in the case of someone who doesnít live permanently in their RV Trailer, there might not be anyone around to notice the roof leaking for quite some time, by which time the ceiling may already be stained and irreparable damage caused.
A thorough inspection of an RV trailer roof is not a five minute job. Be prepared to invest some time carefully checking your roof so that you donít miss anything. Any roof inspection should include such necessities as checking inside the mobile home as well. Be sure to inspect the walls on the inside where the roof sheets are connected to the edges of these walls. This might mean you have to open closets and cabinets in order to properly check every part. The thing you are looking for during these checks is any sign of dampness or water damage to the walls and/or fittings in the home.
Ceiling discoloration or staining might well be an indication that there is a leakage somewhere on the roof. Check the discoloration carefully. If it is only slight, then the leak is unlikely to be a major one and can probably be fixed with by simply applying a sealant. If the discoloration is particularly bad though, or if you can see any rotten or mildewed wood, then this is a sure sign of a serious leak, and the need for major repairs is likely.
During your inspections, make sure that you check the top of your mobile home to learn the locations of all the air vents, air conditioning vents and anything else that will require waterproofing. All of these points are common sources of leaks in a mobile home roof. All of these items should be checked both inside and outside for any signs of leakages.
Most mobile home roofs make use of vinyl strips, to waterproof the screws in the roof. Be warned that these vinyl strips do not last forever and will need replacing after a few years. Eventually, they will come unstuck and fall from their retaining grooves. You can buy replacement vinyl strips at most mobile home camp sites, as well as many garages and dealerships. Leaks from these screws can be almost undetectable and so itís advisable to replace all of the strips on a roof completely after 5 years, even if they look fine.
Another common leakage that is difficult to find is leaks that are close to the running lights. The lights are sealed with a rubber gasket that fixes it to the body of the mobile home. These areas have to be checked very carefully, as the rubber gasket can wear out after some time. If you notice a leak here, you can either buy a replacement gasket, or perhaps more conveniently, seal the leakage with a silicone caulk. If undetected, a leak here could cause some serious deterioration to the walls and floor of your mobile home.
Repairing Holes and Leaks
Once you have found the source of the leak, youíll need to patch it up as soon as possible to prevent any more damage. For holes that are bigger than one inch in diameter, it is usually best to use a piece of aluminum sheeting to cover it with. To do this, you need to cut out a piece of the sheeting that is larger than the hole in the roof. Make sure you have plenty of bearing so that you can cover the hole completely. Secure the aluminum sheet to the roof, over the hole, with self taping screws that can be driven straight into the roof. Then, to seal the sheet so itís watertight, use a putty tape around the edges or some kind of non-hardening putty, making sure there are no gaps left at the edges of the sheet at all.
Smaller sized holes can be fixed more easily, using a sticky aluminum tape, for example Peel N Seal repairing tape. Simply clear all debris away from the hole, clean the surface where you are going to stick the tape, and finally seal the hole, making sure the tape is stuck down very firmly and there are no gaps visible.
If you do not carry out regular maintenance on your mobile home roof, you are running a huge risk. If left too late, then repairing the roof of your mobile home or RV trailer can cost upwards of several thousand dollars and all because you failed to spot a small leak in time. Preventative maintenance can save you an awful lot of money in the long run, itís easy to perform, and very inexpensive. You donít even need to have any real skills to do it. Mobile homes need care and attention just as much as our real homes do. If you love your mobile home and take care of it, then your mobile home will take good care of you.