The most common type of roof used for RVs today is rubber – aluminum and fiberglass roofs do exist, but they’re rare and becoming rarer. There are quite a few reasons for this, including rubber’s affordability, durability and weather resistance. However, you will need to reseal your rubber roof over time. There are several different RV roof coatings on the market that can do the job, but they’re not all created equal. Knowing the differences between these products will help you make a more informed decision.
At the bottom of the list in terms of both price and performance, we find acrylic. It’s relatively affordable, and easy to apply. However, it does not hold up the same as the three options we discuss below. It is also susceptible to damage from ponding water. Even a small area where water stands will eventually suffer from cracking and peeling, allowing water to leak under the rest of the coating, and even into the RV. Acrylic should be avoided if at all possible because of these issues.
Silicone offers much better protection than acrylic, and it is UV resistant, as well. It is not susceptible to ponding water, either. However, it is the most expensive option out there. It also collects dirt and debris, and can also suffer from mold and mildew growth. This can make cleaning it very difficult. Finally, you cannot use any other material to coat over silicone – it will only adhere to silicon RV roof coatings.
Urethane is less expensive than silicone, but better performing than acrylic. It offers UV resistance and heat reflectivity to keep your RV cooler during the summer months, and the material is actually pretty durable, to boot. However, it does not last as long as some products, and the strong odor during installation can be an issue, particularly for those with breathing issues. It also requires two coats to seal completely, which adds time and complexity to your project.
Finally, we have EPDM liquid rubber (ethylene propylene diene monomer). This is a synthetic rubber material that offers much better wear resistance than natural rubber. It is also highly UV resistant, and goes on with just a single coat. Unlike other options we’ve discussed in our list of RV roof coatings, EPDM products (like RV Liquid Roof) are waterproof on application, and while they do require time to fully cure, will protect your roof from the second they are applied with no wait time for them to become waterproof.
How to Tell If You Need to Reapply a Roof Coating
Now that we’ve discussed some of the available RV roof coatings and seen that EPDM is the better option, we need to talk about how to determine if you need to reapply that coating in the first place.
There are some obvious signs that you can watch for, such as holes punched through the roof by falling branches. If you notice water leaking within your RV, or discolorations on the ceiling or walls that indicate a water leak, you definitely need to take immediate action. Other signs that your RV’s roof is aging and in need of a bit of care include seams that are pulling apart, caulking around flashing and vents pulling away and the like.
Ultimately, the best option is to take a proactive stance toward roof maintenance. Inspect your roof periodically – once or twice per year – for signs of wear and tear, or damage. Keep an eye out inside for signs of water leaks, too. Then, make sure you use high quality roof coatings to reseal and recondition that roof.