Friday, June 2, 2023


My RV’s rubber roof has a few bubbles. Should I be concerned?

Dear Dave,
Our RV’s roof is by Alpha TPO. We clean it as recommended 4 times a year with Dawn mixed in a bucket of water and a medium brush. Before I get to the issue, I will say the roof is discolored from leaves. We have a bubble bigger than a nickel but slightly smaller than a quarter on the driver’s side (kitchen) and three barely noticeable ones on the passenger side (dining table and theater seats). I brush off any dirt or debris on the inside (part still inside) where the bubble is at. I pull the sides in partially to clean the part under the chain and motor. Should we be worried about these? We live full time in the RV, moving every 2-4 months doing volunteer work. —Liz, 2022 Dutchmen Astoria 3173RLP

Dear Liz,
I would suggest using about 1/4 cup of bleach in warm water with your Dawn (blue). Try scrubbing the mold and see if it will come off. I would also recommend contacting Dutchmen and your dealer to get it inspected as it could still be under warranty. Most have a one-year warranty with a 2-year on structural integrity and 10-year on roof material.

RV roof bubbling

The bubbles concern me as it could be a screw from the inside that was too long and is pushing up. If this is the case, eventually it will pop open and you will have a moisture leak. Bubbles do occur and your dealership may tell you this is normal. However, I would also get it documented with Dutchmen, as eventually those bubbles will need to be addressed.

Typically what causes a bubble is either the adhesive has weakened in the small area, or there is a pinhole that has allowed moisture in already. The repair would be to cut a small line in the bubble and peel the Alpha material back slightly to see what is happening. It could also be a defect in the thin panel underneath called lauan, such as a blister or knot that popped out. Then, once they determine the issue underneath, the recommended sealant would be inserted into the space between the Alpha and underlayment and either more sealant on the top or EternaBond.

A man checking for RV roof bubbles

If the dealership and Dutchmen don’t want to participate, I would keep an eye on the areas to make sure it is not getting bigger and doesn’t feel like there is moisture in the bubble. If there is, this is a fairly easy repair. You might also consider an awning over the slide room as it will keep the leaves and other debris off the top.

 You might also enjoy this

RVers find roof bubbles on new RV. ‘Normal,‘ says RV dealer. RVtravel to the rescue

We often hear from readers who are having issues with RV dealers and manufacturers—consumer issues where we can sometimes help. This may be an instance where just a little “nudge” helped out Gregg and Cathy P. Their brand-new travel trailer came equipped with an “option” they’d never ordered: strange bubbles in the roof. When the dealer was called on it, he tried to excuse it by saying that “Some roof bubbles are normal.” That didn’t set well with Gregg and Cathy, and they reached out to us. Continue reading.

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Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. He has been in the RV Industry since 1983 and conducts over 15 seminars at RV shows throughout the country.


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