How to Patch an RV Roof

by Lynda Altman
Walking on an RV roof can damage it.

Walking on an RV roof can damage it.

How to patch the roof of your recreational vehicle depends on the type of roof it has. Three types of RV roofs exist: rubber, metal and fiberglass. Rubber roofs consist of a membrane placed over a wooden sub-roof. They are extremely durable. Metal and fiberglass roofs are made from a single piece of material and are resistant to leaks. It is important to patch the RV roof as soon as the damage is noticed. If left unattended, water will enter the rig and wreak havoc on its structure.

Patching a Large Area on a Rubber RV Roof

Clean the damaged area with soapy water and allow to dry. Determine if you have a rubber roof. Repair of metal and fiberglass roofing is handled in the next section.

Apply splice cleaning solution to the damaged area and allow to dry.

Measure the damaged area and cut a piece of rubber roof membrane large enough to extend 3 inches past the area in all directions.

Apply a base coating of rubber roof adhesive to the damaged area, extending 3 inches past the damage in all directions. Allow to dry.

Apply a second coat of roof adhesive to the damaged area, covering the first coat completely. Apply a coat of adhesive to the membrane patch.

Place a patch over the damaged area. Go slow and smooth out the membrane as you apply the patch. Once contact is made between the membrane and roof, the membrane cannot be moved.

Repeat Steps 1 through 6 for very large repairs, overlapping the membrane material by 3 inches. Seal all seams and edges with lap sealant to complete the repair. Allow to sit for at least two hours before driving the RV.

Patching a Small Area on an RV Roof

Clean the damaged area with borax and a stiff brush. Rinse well and let dry.

Use a patch kit for rubber roofs to make small repairs. Cut a circular piece of the patch material large enough to completely cover the damaged area. Peel off the protective backing. For metal and fiberglass roofs, go to Step 5.

Apply a 5/8 inch bead of lap sealant around the perimeter of the patch material. Use the feathering tool to spread the sealant over the entire patch.

Place the patch onto the damaged roof area; smooth over the patch with the feathering tool to ensure a complete seal.

Use elastomeric sealant to repair metal or fiberglass roofs. Remove all old sealant with solvent and a plastic scraper. Apply the sealant to the damaged area with a feathering tool or plastic scraper.

Items you will need

  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • Rubber roof membrane
  • Splice cleaner
  • Rubber roof adhesive
  • Rubber roof patch kit
  • Feathering tool
  • Rags
  • Lap sealant
  • Elastomeric sealer
  • Solvent


  • Thin elastomeric roofing sealant is preferred for the repair of fiberglass and metal roofing. Use thicker sealant for large repairs.


  • A patch kit cannot be used over a previous repair or over other sealant.


  • "Trailer Life's RV Repair & Maintenance Manual"; Bob Livingston; 2002

About the Author

Lynda Altman started writing professionally in 2001, specializing in genealogy, home-schooling, gardening, animals and crafts. Her work has appeared in "Family Chronicle Magazine" and "Chihuahua Magazine." Altman holds a B.A. in marketing from Mercy College, a black belt in taekwondo, master gardener certification, a certificate in graphic arts and a certificate in genealogy.

Photo Credits

  • Martin Barraud/Digital Vision/Getty Images