How Do You Fix A Rubber RV Roof That Was Damaged By A Falling Tree Branch?
Rubber roofs are common on newer RVs since they're very lightweight and great at repelling water. Unfortunately, they're susceptible to being torn or punctured by tree branches. This can happen when a branch falls on your RV's roof while you're camping or storing it on your driveway, and it can also happen when you're driving and a low-lying branch scrapes against your roof. Thankfully, rubber roofs are typically easy to repair when they've been damaged by a tree branch. To find out how, read on.
1. Find Out Which Material Your Roof Is Made From
Rubber roofs on RVs are made from either EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber or TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin.) The steps for repairing them are the same, but the type you have on your RV determines which products you'll use to repair it. Using the right product will ensure that it adheres tightly to your roof. In order to find out which material your RV uses, check the owner's manual or look at the specifications for your make and model of RV online.
2. Determine if the Plywood Was Damaged
Once you've found out which type of rubber roof you have, you'll need to see how badly the tree branch damaged your roof. A rubber RV roof consists of a thin membrane that's glued to the plywood that makes up your roof's structure. Since the membrane is thin, a large tree branch can tear right through it and damage the plywood underneath.
If you notice that the plywood underneath the damaged area is broken, you'll need to take your camper to a professional RV repair shop — repairing the rubber roofing membrane is easy, but repairing the plywood requires cutting out part of the roof and attaching a new sheet of plywood to the joists. This is a repair that's best handled by professionals since doing it incorrectly can lead to your roof leaking and water causing damage to the interior of your RV.
3. Patch Your Roof Using a Self-Adhering Repair Kit
If the rubber membrane is the only roofing component that was damaged, you'll be able to fully restore your roof by patching the torn or punctured area. You'll need to purchase an RV patch kit designed for either EPDM or TPO roofs depending on the material that's on your RV.
RV patch kits are easy to use since they come with adhesive already applied to them. All you need to do is remove the plastic backing from the patch and carefully cut it into a circular shape that's slightly larger than the hole or tear in your damaged roof. Once you've cut it into the right shape, press the patch onto the damaged area forcefully, and then roll a heavy object over the patch to remove any air bubbles.
If you'd like to make the patch blend in with the rest of your roof, you can purchase an EPDM or TPO roof sealer and roll it over the area. This isn't necessary to prevent leaks — the patch itself is enough. However, it will improve the appearance of your roof by making the patched area less conspicuous.
As you can see, patching a rubber RV roof that's been damaged by a tree branch is an easy process as long as the damage didn't extend to the underlying plywood. The patch is made from the same material that your roof is made of, so it'll stand up to rain just as well as your original roof. If you don't feel comfortable repairing your roof on your own or if the damage from the tree branch was severe, take your camper to an RV repair shop — repairing your damaged roof correctly will prevent more substantial damage to your RV, such as the plywood underneath the rubber roof slowly rotting away from an unnoticed leak.