Ever wonder what it would look like when you tear off the roof of an RV? Hopefully, you never have to know. If you do, it means you probably had water damage, possible damage from falling tree limbs or other maintenance concerns.
RV roof replacement can be one of the most daunting projects to undertake, especially considering the level of labor and cost. It is more common than we would like to admit, given that most RV roofs are not designed with longevity in mind — water will find its way in eventually. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter how diligent you are with your maintenance schedule.
Most RV owners choose to seal or partially repair their RV roof and avoid replacing it at all costs. A RVer who goes by “onearmyrider” at the RV.net forums decided to go all in and tear off the roof of his 2006, 37-foot Weekend Warrior 5th wheel and a do a full RV roof replacement after discovering significant water and rot damage.
After the grueling process of tearing off the roof, he moved on to removing all the low-quality insulation. Not surprisingly, only around 50 percent of the roof was insulated. We assume the factory never expected an owner to tear off the roof to see the poor insulation.
Then the RV roof replacement got interesting. Once down to the bare minimum, both spray and traditional insulation were installed where needed. Then plywood was installed over top of the roof structure, which added most of the additional weight (the repair increased the RV weight by 380 pounds).
Lastly, in an interesting twist, Line-X (yes, the truck bed liner) was used to coat the roof, as opposed to the typical rubber roof material. Though unconventional, the premise is a good one. Line-X is a rugged, weather-resistant material that seals and permanently locks out dust, dirt and, most importantly, water.
The cost for a more traditional rubber roof does vary, but in this case it would have run more than $5,000. The Line-X coating, which ran from the back of the fifth wheel all the way to front end and over the front cap, cost $4,000. Perhaps you could save even more if you used a DIY bed-liner kit. When you consider the cost of the typical 2006 fifth wheel, you can see why most folks decide not to do RV roof replacement as it is cost-prohibitive. But, in this case, the roof should last for many years without any problems as long as the vents and A/C unit are properly sealed and maintained.
Here’s an important side note: Another RVer commented about their experience with the Line-X product. They used the stuff on two outdoor roof decks 14 years ago. One of the decks that was completely exposed to the elements cracked and leaked. However, a house painter told the user that a good porch paint over the top of the Line-X might have prevented the problem. They took the painter’s advice, painted their second deck, and it’s in perfect condition.
Editor’s note: If you decide to try this method, use good judgment. You’re traveling into an area where you’ll be using a product in a way that it was neither designed for nor tested.