Your new RV is your ticket to many grand open-road adventures. Therefore, it is essential to take good care of your RV. Proper maintenance will ensure you get many years of trouble-free travel from your investment. However, even the best RVs are susceptible to problems caused by normal wear and tear or even accidental damage.
One particularly damaging and costly repair issue for RV owners is a leaking roof. A leaky roof will quickly lead to other water damage problems and significantly decrease the resale value of your RV should you ever decide to sell it or trade it in. Therefore, the faster you can effectively stop leak in your RV roof, the better off you are, period.
Types of RV Roof Repairs
It is important to remember that there are different kinds of repairs you may need to consider depending on the situation in which you find yourself. Are you home from a recent trip and have discovered a possible problem with a roof seam. Or, are you miles from anywhere with a severe leak during a monsoon season. The situation you find yourself in my also determine what RV roof repair or sealer products are best, or even appropriate.
First, there is the permanent repair. Often this repair will be performed by an RV repair service or a dealer. It will take a reasonably long time to complete and will be quite expensive. However, if you are a do-it-yourself kind of person, there are products available to completely and permanently repair your RV’s leaking roof. Second, you have the roadside repair emergency. For example, you are staying in a remote campground in the wilds of Nevada, and a tree limb falls on your RV roof, creating a leak. A leak like this is something you need to repair right away. And, often this kind of repair will be temporary.
It is important to note that this second type of repair should not be considered permanent. It is a repair designed to fix the leak and buy you time to plan and schedule a permanent roof repair.
Emergency RV Roof Repairs
A leaking RV roof is something that you need to fix immediately. The longer a leak continues, the more water damage will occur, and the higher the cost of any future repairs will be. When you discover a leak in your RV roof, you will need a way to quickly and effectively stop the leak. And you will probably need to do this with something you can carry with you in one of your RV’s storage compartments. In a situation like this, one way to stop the leak in your RV’s roof is to apply a durable and waterproof sealant over the leaky area. There are many new rubber coating products on the market today. The question is, which might be the best suited to fix the leak in your RV. Flex Seal is an excellent option to consider. However, as with any product, Flex Seal has its limitations. And, there are some advantages and disadvantages to using this product.
Advantages of Flex Seal
Flex Seal provides a low-cost option to an otherwise costly repair. Repairing a roof is going to cost much more than using Flex Seal. It dries fast and seals leaks within minutes of being applied. Flex Seal is readily available at a range of retailers and is perfect for quick fixes while on the road until a more permanent repair can be arranged.
Disadvantages of Flex Seal
Flex Seal is a temporary fix and not a permanent solution to a leak. Flex Seal should not be used to repair a whole roof. When there’s a lot of roof area to cover, you will want to consider other options.
Four Types of Flex Seal and How to Use Them On an RV Roof
Flex Seal comes in three forms: Flex Seal Liquid, Flex Seal Spray, and Flex Seal Shot. Flex Seal Liquid and Spray both come in black, white and clear. Flex Shot comes in white and clear. The great thing is that you can use Flex Seal with many all RV roof materials.
Flex Seal Liquid
Flex Seal Liquid is liquid rubber in a can and, it will stop leaks fast. Flex Seal will protect your RV’s roof surface from corrosion. It also will not melt, peel, or crack because of harsh weather conditions. Being a thick liquid, Flex Seal is incredibly versatile and can be rolled, dipped, brushed, or poured on surfaces. When it cures, you will have a waterproof layer of sturdy, flexible rubber.
Flex Seal Spray
Flex Seal Spray is the most commonly used spray-on liquid rubber sealer available. The convenient aerosol spray allows for the easy application of Flex Seal with no brushes or rollers required. However, be careful with the overspray. It can be a bit messy.
Flex Shot is a perfect solution for those tight, hard-to-reach places. It is ideal for caulking around your windows or air conditioner, etc. It’s straightforward to use and will stop flowing the minute you release downward pressure on the bottle.
Flex Seal Tape
Flex Seal Tape can be applied to the leaking area of a roof before using one of the other flex seal products above. For example, the tape is perfect for a tear in your roof that could be caused by hitting a tree branch.
What Kind of RV Roofs Can Be Repaired with Flex Seal?
There are two primary materials designed and used specifically for RV rubber roofs. They are EPDM and TPO. Both TPO and EPDM are classified as rubber roofs, but they are a bit different in form and appearance.
TPO RV roofing is the most popular option for RV roofs in use today. It is a popular choice because it is inexpensive to buy and it’s white. The TPO membrane has a shiny, laminate appearance with the outer layer having a plastic look and feel to it. It can either be fitted with screws or otherwise mechanically attached. It can also be glued down. When it comes to detailed work and seams, both glue and heat can be used to create a seal.
EPDM Rubber Roofs
EPDM is a second popular option for RV roofing. It differs from TPO in several ways. EPDM is a synthetic rubber material which can be vulcanized. This means it can be dried and cured to form sheets. Alternatively, you can also use EPDM in its un-vulcanized form. In this form, it’ll never completely solidify. It’s relatively common to use both EDPM types together for an RV roof. Vulcanized EPDM would be used for the roof membrane, while non-vulcanized EPDM can be used for any flashing or detail work. EPDM rubber roofs are usually maintenance-free for about ten years, but they will oxidize over time.
Fiberglass is becoming a common RV roof material as well. Fiberglass RV roofs, like EPDM roofs, will oxidize over time. Newer RVs with fiberglass roofs have a clear coat finish on them which does slow down the oxidation of your RV’s roof.
Metal RV Roofs
Metal was the preferred RV roofing material until TPO and EPDM showed up on the scene. Flex Seal will adhere to almost any surface including wood, metal, aluminum, plastic, fiberglass, rubber, or vinyl or just about any dry (or even wet) surface. It does work best on dry surfaces, but if you are dealing with a leak during rainy weather, you can still stop the leak.
How to Use Flex Seal
A leak in any of these RV roof materials can be repaired using Flex Seal. Again, the important thing while on the road is to stop the leak and prevent further water damage. Flex Seal is an excellent product for that purpose. Once you have completed your trip and you are in a position to schedule and complete a more permanent repair, you should go ahead and do so. Flex Seal is an excellent temporary fix for your water leak, but it is not a permanent repair.
Does Flex Seal Work as Well as Dicor Lap Sealant?
Dicor Lap Sealant is another often recommended option to repair RV roof leaks. Dicor Lap Sealant is a self-leveling compound which is applied in a bead that will then spread and seal the leak. By most accounts, Dicor Lap Sealant works well and is an excellent product. The drawbacks are that Dicor Lap Sealant requires careful prep work and the proper temperature conditions to level and seal properly. This prep work and ideal temperature condition may not always be possible or available during an emergency repair while touring the Alaskan wilderness or a desert in the Southwest.
You can find various opinions on both Flex Seal and Dicor Lap Sealant as to these products performance and reliability. When you have the time and right tools to properly prepare the leaking area for repair and the right temperature to allow Dicor Lap Sealant to level and seal the leak, it is indeed the better product. However, when you are pulled off on the shoulder of the Trans-Canada Highway with a leaky RV roof, and the storm clouds are brewing, having a few cans of Flex Seal Spray in one of your storage compartments might be just the thing you need.
What Have We Decided About Flex Seal RV Roof Repairs?
Many RVer’s have used Flex Seal for repairing leaks in their RVs. From reading RV forums, it is clear that some were very happy with the results while others had nothing good to say. Relying on Flex Seal as a permanent solution to a leaky RV roof may not be a good idea. It could be argued that Flex Seal is not designed for RV roof repairs. However, many of the negative reviews seem to stem from those expecting Flex Seal to be a permanent repair.
The ready availability of Flex Seal at major retailers, as-seen-onTV stores, and online, makes it very easy to keep a few cans of Flex Seal Liquid, Spray, or Shot on hand for emergencies. It might not hurt to have a roll of the tape as well. Flex Seal is also relatively inexpensive. You can apply it on almost any surface, in cold weather, hot weather, on dry surfaces, and wet surfaces. It does stop leaks and will certainly get you to a point where you have the time to shop for a more permanent roof repair for your RV.
Personally, I keep a roll of Eterna Bond Tape, Dicor Self Leveling Lap Sealant Caulk and another tube of Dicor Non Sag Lap Sealant Caulk on board my RV for any emergency repairs I have to make. I’ve used flex seal and although I think it worked, it was really hard to work with. Have you used Flex Seal to make a repair on your RV Roof? Please share your comments about it below. You never know but your comment could help a fellow RVer! Check out some of our other articles about RV roofs and repairs below:
- Can I Walk On My RV Roof?
- Should I Pressure Test My RV for Roof Leaks?
- 7 Best Materials to Replace RV Ceiling Panels
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