How to Repair Camper Tops

How to Repair Camper Tops
RVs bring the comforts of home to the great outdoors, but a leaky roof can spoil the fun. Your camper's top is its most important structural part, and nothing destroys an RV's value faster than water damage. To keep everything watertight, you must pay attention to anything that strikes or rubs against your roof. Always inspect it whenever a possibility of damage exists. Once water gets inside, it can dry-rot wood, breed mold and mildew, and damage electrical circuits. Don't let this happen to you.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Sealing the Roof to Keep Weather Out

Things You’ll Need:
  • Ladder Pencil and pad of paper Putty knife Wire brush Stiff broom or air compressor with extension cord Scrubbing brush Bleach/water or TSP mixture in bucket Water hose EternaClean spray Cordless drill with screw driving bits M-1 polyether sealant Stainless steel screws EternaBond OneStep Miracle 4-inch tape Sharp scissors EternaBond steel roller
  • Ladder
  • Pencil and pad of paper
  • Putty knife
  • Wire brush
  • Stiff broom or air compressor with extension cord
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Bleach/water or TSP mixture in bucket
  • Water hose
  • EternaClean spray
  • Cordless drill with screw driving bits
  • M-1 polyether sealant
  • Stainless steel screws
  • EternaBond OneStep Miracle 4-inch tape
  • Sharp scissors
  • EternaBond steel roller
Step 1
With your pencil and paper, crawl around the roof looking and feeling for soft spots and places where dirt has accumulated. Work your way around the outer edge and then across the middle. A dirty spot in the middle of the roof, or bordering a roof opening, is an area where water is pooling. Check for cracks that appear as fine dark lines, in the sealant around the roof's perimeter, and the border of all roof mounted structures. Write down what you observe, for future reference.
Step 2
Use a putty knife and wire brush to scrape off encrusted dirt, bird droppings, bugs, oxidation, old patches, loose caulking and sealants. With a broom or air nozzle, sweep or blow off the debris. Scrub the roof with a brush and one part bleach to three parts water mixture, or a TSP solution prepared according to the instructions on the package. Rinse everything off with the hose and allow it to dry. To remove waxes, silicone residues and greasy stains, use EternaClean spray.
Step 3
Replace rusty mounting screws in the vents, access hatches and other roof structures with stainless steel ones. Squirt M-1 sealant into the screw holes before installing new screws with your cordless drill.
Step 4
Rub M-1 sealant into roof cracks, voids, holes and gaps, by working it into the defect with a circular finger motion. Apply a second coat to cover the general area. Allow the sealant to cure for 24 hours before continuing with step five.
Step 5
Apply EternaBond OneStep Miracle tape over seam lines, roof defects, and around vent and hatch openings (to cover the mounting screws). Pull out a strip of tape that's slightly longer than the repair location and cut it off with your scissors. Snap the edge, to loosen the backing, then pull the tape tight and slowly remove the backing as you press the tape down with a strong circular motion. When you've patched an area, go back over it with your metal roller to knead the adhesive and create a permanent bond.

Tips & Warnings

 
A plastic kitchen scrubber works well for cleaning tight areas.
 
Never use silicone on RV roofs. It won't keep the water out.

Article Written By Dan Eash

Dan Eash began writing professionally in 1989, with articles in LaHabra's "Daily Star Progress" and the "Fullerton College Magazine." Since then, he's created scripts for doctor and dentist offices and published manuals, help files and a training video. His freelance efforts also include a book. Eash has a Fullerton College Associate of Arts in music/recording production and a Nova Institute multimedia production certificate.

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