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ctfortner 01-02-2008 12:33 PM

Rubber Roof Leak Repair
I wanted to share this with those who may be in a similar situation as I was.

We bought our camper used from a dealer, but in new condition. There was said to be no leaks at all in the unit. Well, after 2 or 3 good rains, we had a leak, and it was coming in pretty good. I had never worked on a rv camper rubber roof before, so I had no idea what I needed to do, other than dive in and find it, and go from there.

I went on the roof and found a large area where a ton of silicone had been applied. So, I immediately thought, add more silicone. Wrong answer it seems, still leaked after the next rain. After some research, I learned this is NOT a leak fix for rubber roofs. So I put a tarp on it while I did some research.

I had to determine exactly where the leak was, so I used a garden hose and put it in different spots on the roof for a few minutes at a time, until I could find the source. Once I found it, I realized it was leaking in the corner, where the rubber roof meets the aluminum frame of the camper.

I spent a day on top of the camper, and removed all the old silicone. Then I removed the threshold that joins the roof to the aluminum frame. Once i did that, I was able to lift up the roof about 6 inches and see the wood underneath. The corner that was suspect to being the problem, definitely was due to the wood discoloration, and it was still damp. So I placed a couple of towels underneath the roof to hold it open to the outside air to allow the wood to dry out before repairing. Do this when there is no rain in the forecast :thumbup1:

Now, how to fix it so it wouldn't leak.

I read about some stuff called eternabond, a microsealant tape that has lifetime and worked really well on rubber roofs. I think it was pretty new to the RV market at the time, but it has become quite popular since. I believe it was originally designed for underwater repairs/leaks, and has a lifetime guarantee against leaking. So I guess if you ever sink your camper and need to patch it, it should work underwater :)

So once the wood had completely dried, I placed the roof back down in place, and used the eternabond tape (4" wide), which was wide enough to have half on the rubber roof and half on the aluminum frame, therefore completely sealing the wood from water. I debated whether to put the threshhold back in place, since I had basically created a threshold with the eternabond. After some further investigation, I found that putting the threshold back on with the screws I removed, would be just fine. The tape is very sticky and if you screw something through it, it completely adheres to the screws and still provides a 100% seal. So I did put it back on.

After using the eternabond tape over a year ago, not a drop of water has found the camper. knock on wood :thumbup2:

I bought a huge role of this stuff, 40 feet I think, and only used about 10 feet of it, but I plan to do my other roof seams in the near future to prevent anymore leaks. But heck, you can use it for about any leaks. My neighbor had a leak in there above ground pool last summer and i put a patch of it on there, worked like a champ. It is not cheap stuff, but it is well worth it.

I actually believe now that the people that had the camper sold it because of this. While trying to find the leak I found silicone on the roof, around the ac unit, and completely around one side window of the camper (another story). It was still leaking and I think they gave up on it and sold it. It was practically brand new and didnt have a spec of dirt in it.

You can see the video below for a general idea of the product.

antigua 01-02-2008 03:54 PM

Awesome! Almost sounds to good to be true. I could have used ths stuff around my old popup tent traile roof.

mailfire99 01-03-2008 06:06 AM

Great writeup and a good read. I have not heard of eternabond before, but I will be looking into getting some to have around, that is great! :shocked:

happiestcamper 03-10-2008 01:50 PM

I discovered a leak in the same place you did. I cleaned the roof with acetate, put down the eternabond, then covered with rubber roof primer and sealer. Works great.

ctfortner 03-10-2008 02:06 PM

Without a doubt, eternabond is a life saver for campers. I have a huge roll of it, hopefully wont have to use it, but if I do, I know it will do the trick.

bigjr 03-23-2009 07:55 AM

hey where do you get this stuff?

happiestcamper 03-23-2009 07:57 AM

Just add dot com to the name.

ctfortner 03-23-2009 08:25 AM

Yeah, I forget where I got mine, I just searched the net for the best price and ordered it. Its available at many places, but not sure if you could find locally easily or not.

crawford 12-01-2009 08:55 PM

Leaky roof
Eternabond tape come in 2,3,4 inches X50 long also 2,3,4 feet by 50 long I just about sealed the whole roof with it

jjohn69 01-04-2010 04:25 PM

I've used stuff similar to what you're talking about, but I don't remember what it's called. I've used it for some years now for sealing around windows and the tops of doors before the siding or brick goes on. It comes in 4" x 20' rolls. I buy it at Home Depot or Lowes in the window and door section. Sometimes they'll have it in the HVAC section because the HVAC mechanics love to use it on the metal supply and return lines. It might be the same stuff. All I know is once you stick it don't peel it off.

trixy 01-05-2010 10:14 AM

I'm sorry to hear that you got a "bad deal" from the dealership. The roof leaking. Tough break! Glad you got it fixed and like mailfire99 said, great writeup and good read!

While it is horrible to find a leak, what so many campers don't understand is the importance of roof maintenance. It should be checked at least twice a year, 4 times if you can. This will (hopefully) prevent ever having a leak in the first place.

If you can't get on the roof yourself, bring your rig to a dealership or have a mobile tech take a look. The cost isn't too bad and it is certainly worth it compared to the cost of a new roof.

I have climbed on the roof of our motorhome on several occations. This fall we had a mobile tech re-seal anything that looked "questionable." To date we have never had any leaks.

Thanks again ctfortner for a great write-up and read!!

happiestcamper 01-05-2010 11:51 AM

If nothing else, everybody should cover their camper. Think about it - if there is a leak, and you keep it covered when not in use, it will probably not be exposed about 90% of the time.

If you know there is a leak, fix it.

livefreeordie 01-19-2010 12:33 PM

My wife and I just invested in a coachman class "c" and are going to be full-timers. the guy we bought it from said the roof was damaged by a hanging tree limb and he sealed it up and guareented no leaks, but it rained yesterday and well it leaked. the bed above the main bed is soaked and all the sheets and blankets as well. i was searching on how to fix it and found this site and joined asap. financially we are tight and wanted to know if there are any least expensive ways to fix the roof.

jenroof 03-31-2010 05:44 AM

You better take some repair on your roofing sides. The leak was just possible because the rubber might be worn. You have to buy a heavy duty rubber for your sidings. Roof Repair

hoosiershooter 05-01-2010 08:48 AM

I just bought a 50 foot roll of Eternabond for about $60 shipped from Roofing Supply USA. Now if the rain will stop I can get the trailer uncovered and start sealing all of my seams and vents and then on to re-coating the rubber roof.

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