What Do You Use to Seal the Top of a Camper?

by Lisabeth Hughes
Some roof sealants may need to be replaced on your camper roof.

Some roof sealants may need to be replaced on your camper roof.

Campers are exposed to the elements year-round and are often subjected to the rigors of road travel which cause the camper to shake and rattle as it rolls while being subjected to high wind speeds. As normal wear and tear reduces the integrity of original seams and sealants on your camper, you may need to reapply sealants to the camper roof to protect the camper from leaks that can cause rot and mold.

Rubber

Rubber roofs consist of a membrane made of ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM). The membrane is applied as one solid sheet to provide maximum protection against leaks and water damage. The rubber membrane is coated with a primer followed by a top coat to increase durability and effectiveness. The membrane and coatings can become thin and patchy over time. Before applying any new sealants to a rubber roof, remove all debris from the roof and clean it with acetone to remove any oxidation on the rubber membrane. Patch any holes, then reapply primer and top coat, using a product specifically intended for EPDM or rubber roofs.

Aluminum

Use aluminum on camper roofs for its light weight and durability. Screw long aluminum strips into the roof frame and apply sealant at the joints and screws. It is common for manufacturers to use silicone as a sealant for the joints and screws. However, silicone may shrink and crack on horizontal surfaces, resulting in small gaps and potential leaks or loosened screws. Remove worn-out silicone and reseal with a self-leveling C-10 caulk. It contains a flexible rubber additive specifically intended for recreational vehicles to repair leaks in aluminum roofs. Apply a coating of waterproof flashing membrane, like Fortiflash, to provide added protection.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass roofing is applied as a liquid which hardens into a solid surface. Fiberglass is attractive and durable, but can deteriorate over time. Wash the entire roof, clearing away dirt and debris. Use a fiberglass filler to repair small cracks. Allow the filler to harden, then sand lightly until it is even with the roof surface. Apply a gelcoat to the entire surface. Wash and wax your fiberglass roof annually, using a standard auto wax.

Seams

Skylights, vents, awning hardware and other roof irregularities are prone to developing leaks that can lead to extensive water damage if left unchecked. Remove old, rotting tape and apply a highly adhesive tape like Tape-Kote, good for all types of camper roofs, around the edges of irregular roof features to prevent or repair leaks before applying a waterproof coating to the entire roof surface.

About the Author

Lisabeth Hughes holds an Associate of Fine Arts from Minnesota State Community and Technical College with a Bachelor of Arts in progress at Prescott College. Hughes began writing professionally as an assistant at First Rate Freelance in 1995. In 2009 she began to submit her own work and has now published numerous articles on various websites and in "Kush" magazine and two poetry anthologies.

Photo Credits

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