The roof is arguably one of the most important components of your camper because it protects you and your belongings from the elements.
It’s also subject to a lot of wear and tear because it’s constantly exposed to the sun, wind, rain, and snow. That’s why it’s important to keep it in good shape by regularly inspecting and cleaning it, as well as by installing a new one when necessary.
If you’re in the market for a new roof, you may be considering a rubber roof. Rubber roofs are durable and easy to install, making them a popular choice for campers.
In this article, we’ll show you how to install a rubber roof on a camper step-by-step.
What You Will Need To Install A Rubber Roof
Installing a rubber roof is a relatively easy process that anyone can do. All you need is a few simple tools and materials, which can be found at most hardware stores. Here’s what you’ll need:
- A measuring tape: This will be used to measure the length and width of your camper’s roof so you can purchase the correct size rubber roof.
- A utility knife: This will be used to cut the rubber roof to size.
- A straight edge: This will be used to help you cut the rubber roof evenly.
- A caulk gun: This will be used to apply the adhesive to the roof.
- Roofing adhesive: This will be used to attach the rubber roof to the top of your camper.
- Rubber roofing material: This will be the actual roof that you’ll be installing. You can purchase this at most hardware stores or online.
- A roll of EPDM tape: This tape is used to seal the seams of the rubber roof.
- A rubber roller (optional): This can be used to help smooth out the roofing material and ensure a tight seal.
Once you’ve gathered your materials, you’re ready to start, but make sure you read the instructions thoroughly all the way through before you begin.
You’ll know what to expect and be better prepared for a stress-free application if you familiarize yourself with the process first.
How To Install A Rubber Roof On A Camper: Guide
Let’s get started! Now that you have all of your materials ready, and maybe another person or two to help, you’re ready to apply the rubber roof to your RV.
1. Measure The Roof
Before you even start, measure the roof and purchase the correct size roofing for the job. This way you’ll already have the roofing on hand when you’re ready to start and you won’t have to pause the job to do some shopping.
When you purchase your roofing and supplies, make sure you purchase a piece of rubber that’s slightly too big for the roof. You can always trim it down to size, but it’s better to have too much than too little.
2. Remove Old Roofing Material
Begin by removing any old roofing material from your RV. If you have an existing rubber roof, you can simply peel or scrape it off with a putty knife.
If you have a different type of roofing material, you may need to use a blade to cut it off and then a power washer to remove any residual adhesive.
3. Clean The Roof Surface
Once the old roofing material has been removed, clean the roof surface with a power washer to remove any dirt, debris, or residue that might be present. It’s important to have a clean surface so the new roof will adhere properly.
However, it’s important at this stage to make sure you don’t damage the roof surface. Be careful not to use too much pressure when power washing and avoid holding the wand too close to the surface.
You should also avoid using any harsh chemicals or solvents, as these could damage the roof.
4. Measure The Roof
You know how they say “measure twice, cut once?” Once the roof is clean and dry, it’s time to measure it again so you can cut the rubber roof to the correct size.
To do this, simply measure the length and width of the roof with a measuring tape. Be sure to measure in multiple places to get an accurate measurement.
5. Cut The Rubber Roof To Size
Once you have your measurements, it’s time to cut the rubber roof to size. If you have a utility knife and a straight edge, you can cut the roof yourself.
However, if you’re not confident in your ability to do this, you can always ask the staff at the hardware store to make the cuts for you.
Make sure you cut the roofing a few inches too big on each side. This makes it more manageable to work with when laying it on than a piece that’s way too big, but it ensures you have some extra wiggle room in case you need to make any adjustments. You can do a final trim later.
6. Apply Adhesive To The Roof Surface
Now it’s time to apply the adhesive to the roof surface. You can do this with a caulk gun or a similar applicator. Be sure to read the instructions on your adhesive so you know how much to use and how long it will take to set.
Start at one end of the roof and apply a continuous bead of adhesive about 6 inches from the edge.
Work your way across the roof, making sure you keep a consistent bead of adhesive. Once you’ve reached the other side, go back and fill in any gaps so the entire surface is covered.
Keep in mind that if your adhesive sits for too long, it will dry and harden. If you have a smaller roof, you may be able to apply all the adhesive at once.
On large RVs, it’s best to apply your adhesive and attach your rubber roof in sections.
7. Apply The Rubber Roof
Now it’s time to apply the rubber roof. Starting at one end of the roof, carefully lay the rubber down on the adhesive. Work your way across the roof, using a utility knife or scissors to trim the excess rubber as you go.
Be sure to work quickly and efficiently so the adhesive doesn’t have a chance to dry before you lay the rubber down. If it does start to dry, you can always apply more adhesive to the area and continue working.
8. Smooth Out Any Wrinkles
Once you’ve laid the entire piece of rubber down, go back and smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles that might have formed. Use a roller or your hands to gently press down on the surface until the wrinkles are gone.
9. Apply Another Layer of Adhesive (Optional)
If you want to be extra sure your rubber roof will stay in place, you can always apply another layer of adhesive over top of it.
Simply repeat steps 6-8, being careful not to get any adhesive on the rubber itself.
10. Let The Adhesive Dry
Once you’ve applied your adhesive, it’s important to let it dry completely before moving on to the next step.
This usually takes about 24 hours, but it’s always best to check the instructions on your specific adhesive to be sure.
11. Trim The Rubber Roof (optional)
If you want a clean, finished look, you can always trim the rubber roof to size once the adhesive has dried.
Simply use a utility knife or scissors to cut away any excess material.
12. Seal With EPDM Tape
If you want an even more finished look, you can always seal the edges of your rubber roof with EPDM tape. This tape is specially made for sealing RV roofs and is available at most hardware stores.
To apply the tape, simply start at one end of the roof and lay the tape down on the surface. Work your way around the edge of the roof, using a utility knife or scissors to trim the tape as you go.
13. Apply Sealant (optional)
If you want to further protect your rubber roof, you can always apply a layer of sealant over the top of it. This will help to seal any cracks or openings, and it will also add an extra layer of protection from the elements.
To apply sealant, simply follow the instructions on your specific product. In most cases, you can simply apply a continuous bead around the perimeter of the roof and then use a roller or brush to spread it out evenly.
14. Let The Sealant Dry
Once you’ve applied your sealant, it’s important to let it dry completely before moving on. This usually takes about 24 hours, but it’s always best to check the instructions on your specific product to be sure.
EPDM OR TPO: Which RV Roof Is Better For My Camper?
When it comes to choosing the best roof for your RV, there are two main types to choose from: EPDM and TPO.
Both of these materials have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to weigh your options carefully before making a decision.
EPDM roofs are made from ethylene propylene dizomer, which is a synthetic rubber compound.
These roofs are typically black in color, but they can also be white or gray. EPDM roofs are very durable and can last for up to 20 years with proper care and maintenance.
TPO roofs are made from thermoplastic polyolefin, which is a type of plastic. These roofs are typically white in color, but they can also be black or gray.
TPO roofs are less durable than EPDM roofs and typically only last for about 10 years with proper care and maintenance.
Verdict: Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference. If you want a roof that is more durable and longer lasting, then EPDM is the way to go.
However, if you’re looking for a roof that is less expensive and easier to install, then TPO might be a better option.
How Long Does A Rubber Roof Last On A Camper?
When properly installed and maintained, a rubber roof can last for up to 20 years. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this is only an estimate, and your roof may not last quite as long (or it could potentially last even longer).
The factors that go into determining how long your roof will last include the type of material used, the quality of the installation, and the amount of exposure to the elements.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Rubber Roof On A Camper?
The cost of replacing a rubber roof on a camper can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the size of the roof, the type of material used, and the quality of the installation.
In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 for a new rubber roof.
How Do I Clean My Rubber Roof On A Camper?
Cleaning your rubber roof is important in order to keep it in good condition and extend its lifespan. The best way to clean your roof is to use a cleaner specifically designed for EPDM or TPO roofs.
These cleaners are available at most hardware stores, and they can be applied with a garden hose or pressure washer. Once you’ve applied the cleaner, let it sit for 10-15 minutes and then rinse it off with clean water.
Can I Paint My Rubber Roof On A Camper?
Yes, you can paint your rubber roof if you want to change the color or simply refresh the look. However, it’s important to use a paint specifically designed for EPDM or TPO roofs.
These paints are available at most hardware stores, and they can be applied with a roller or brush. Once you’ve applied the paint, let it dry for 24 hours before walking on it or exposing it to the elements.
A rubber roof is a great option for an RV camper because it’s durable, long-lasting, and easy to maintain. You can install one yourself using the steps outlined above and it will cost a lot less than having it done professionally.