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RV Roof Repair

Repairing rv roof damage can be quite a project if there is extensive dry rot. It is mostly labor intensive and the materials are not too expensive. If you are handy with hand tools and have a friend or two to help with lifting, then it can be done. I will eventually post a step by step pictorial on my website when I do my next roof replacement job.

Meanwhile, how extensive is the damaged area? If the water damage is apparent on the interior ceiling panels of the rv, with soft spots, wrinkled panel covering, etc., then it is well on it's way. Here's a step by step description of the procedure:

1. Remove all roof top fixtures, roof vents, plumbing vents, A/C etc. A heat gun is a great help to soften the roof coat around the fixtures so that it can be scraped off.

2. Remove all edge moldings around the rim of the roof, then remove the staples holding the metal roof to the sidewall edge. The overhanging lip is straightened out to allow the roof metal to be rolled up without tearing it. If you will be reusing the roof metal, take it down carefully while rolled up. A rubber covered roof will need to be stripped off and usually the rubber is discarded and new rubber installed on the new roof sheathing.

3. Remove and discard the insulation if it is wet. You'll now see all the exposed wiring that runs through the roof. Make a careful diagram of where all the wires run, and the colors, so that they can be replaced exactly where they were. A Polaroid or digital camera is useful for this. Remove all interior light fixtures and anything else that is attached to the ceiling.

4. If the damage is confined to one area, it is sometimes possible to cut the roof to replace only the damaged portion. The roof assembly is usually screwed or nailed down from the top, and attached to the top of the side walls and interior cabinets. Once these screws or fasteners are removed, the roof is lifted off. (The roof wooden rafters and the interior ceiling panels are assembled on the floor and then lifted onto the side walls when the trailer is built at the factory.)

5. Remove any dry rot weakened wood members and copy them exactly or build a complete new framework that copies the original to exact same measurements. Attach new ceiling panels to the framework with glue and staples, using slide in battens to cover the joints between the panels. Mark where the light fixtures are to go and drill access holes for the light wiring. Also cut out the roof vent holes and other through the roof fixture holes.

6. Lift the completed roof and attach it to the sidewalls and interior cabinets. Re-install the wiring and check to make sure all the lights work at this time. Re-install the insulation and then the roof metal. If you have constructed the roof frame correctly, all the holes will line up with the appropriate holes in the frame.

7. Reinstall the moldings and roof top fixtures using new putty tape and then roof coat the fixture edges.

8. Re-install all the interior accessories.

As I said, this is a major job. Since the trailer is built this way, it must be disassembled in the same way. It is very difficult to replace ceiling panels and/or dry rotted roof frame working from the inside. I don't want to scare you off doing this repair yourself, I just want you to know what is all involved.

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