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Old 02-10-2012, 06:48 PM   #1
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Leaky aluminium roof

I posted in the general forum about this but didn't get any replies, probably because I should have posted here first. Here it goes.
I found the roof of my 1978 Sunline camper is leaking. I was pulling off some sticky plastic off the ceiling inside the camper which revealed wet veneer on a corner. I cannot tell where it comes from looking at the roof. The roof just looks old and grayish and seems like it was coated with something years ago. it appears to be an aluminum roof, I attached a photo of it as well. Any recommendation on what to use to first clean and prime it, then seal it? Since I can't tell where the leak is coming from I assume I should just reseal the whole thing. Anything else I should do and what product would you guys recommend for this?
Thanks!
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Old 02-10-2012, 07:04 PM   #2
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Looking at the pictures and the fact you said the wet spot was at a corner, I can't help thinking the water leak could be coming through one of the many screws along the edge of the roof. I would definitely try to locate where the water leak is coming in first and try to fix it before cleaning, priming and sealing the entire roof.

Since you have opened up the inside of the trailer where the wet spot was, have you try having someone on the outside of the trailer running a water house in different areas while you try looking on the inside to see if you can see where the water might be coming in.

It would also be interesting to see a picture of the inside of the trailer where the wet spot was.

One thing I am a big fan of is Eternabond for sealing up all seams on a roof. JohnB has a great post of sealing the roof of his trailer with Eternabond.
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Old 02-10-2012, 07:25 PM   #3
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Thanks for that! Is Eternabond for aluminum roofs as well? I was thinking of resealing and cleaning the whole because it looks in a bad shape. Any product recommendations for that?
Thanks!
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Old 02-10-2012, 07:40 PM   #4
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Here is a link to Eternabond for Aluminum Roofs

Yes, I still would clean and reseal the entire roof, but I would first find out where it is leaking and fix it as well as seal all of the seams with Eternabond. Sorry, i haven't used anything for cleaning and sealing an aluminum roof so I can't recommend any products for that.
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:23 AM   #5
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The best stuff I have found to clean fiberglass/aluminum/stainless is Bar Keepers Friend. Most box box stores have it it will take black streaks off the sides and clean some of the nasty stuff you have ever seen off. Boat stores also have the same stuff usually called teak cleaner. It has oxallic acid in it so ware gloves.
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:55 AM   #6
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Thanks all for that! When I go and look for roof sealant I only seem to find rubber roof sealant. My roof just looks like white painted aluminum , similar to the body, but I could be wrong, I feel like there Eternabond might do it for the screws. But any advice to seal the actual roof? It is white but doesn't seem to be rubber coated.
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Old 02-12-2012, 12:10 PM   #7
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Hi Eyebot,

I agree with Trailblazer, try and find the leak source if you can before sealing it up. Looking at the screws along the sides, that can and has been a source of leak intrusions. Take a real good look in that area. On any suspect ones take the screw out. If it is rusted heavy or worse goo'ey, water had entered that screw location. How much moisture, do not know. Maybe a little or a lot.

The putty tape behind it may have broke down over the years and water can wick in around the screw, rust the screw and rot the wood and just keep going with the water entry.

See this ugly pic of my buddies new 2 year old camper due to wicking screws as the manufacture did not put Dicro caulk in the right place along the gutter rail. Good for my bud the manufacture paid to replace the entire roof, back and one side of the camper.


I also just caught one of my screws that had started wicking. On the newer campers they hid the screws behind a vinyl cover. Water gets in behind the vinyl over time, festers and molds up.

Like this






Here is the one screw I caught just in time.


The screw on the left has a little goo on it from wet wood.

You can see here the difference. While this screw has a rusted head the threads are clean with no water intrusion.


On the Eternabond tape, yes it does adhere to aluminum as I have it applied there and the manufactures sites talks of it as well. See this post of mine it may be of some help. Heads up, the surface has to be cleaned and prepped correctly before applying.
Eternabond Roof Seal Tape on a Sunline (Lots of pics)

Now to what to coat the roof with once you seal up the leak and after you are going to do any Eternabonding. I myself have not done a metal camper roof but have mobile home roof and I have heard and read the process can be the same. From the lumber yard they sell a silver fiber filled roof coating for metal roofs. It is like spreadable tar with fibers in it. You use a pole brush and handle to apply with.

This has been talked about here on the forum before. Member Steve Collins (also screen name) I believe has done this before. Try searching on roof or coating may turn up those posts.

A heads up, odds are very high your roof in not a walk on roof. They where special order to get them. You either hang over from each side or get pieces of 1/2" or thicker plywood wide enough to span the 16" on center rafters. While I have a rubber roof the same problem exists. I use 24" wide 5/8" pieced of plywood placed over the rafter to kneel on. And a tarp under the wood, in my cast to protect the rubber but it could help aluminum as well from dirt impressions.

Get a good ladder, solid on good footing


And place plywood sheets as needed to spread the load. I can fell the rafters under the roofing so I know where to place them. This is when I was working on my AC unit.


Hope this helps and good luck. And please post back and with pics if possible on what you find and how you worked through it. It will help folks in the future big time.

John
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Old 02-12-2012, 01:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mainah View Post
The best stuff I have found to clean fiberglass/aluminum/stainless is Bar Keepers Friend. Most box box stores have it it will take black streaks off the sides and clean some of the nasty stuff you have ever seen off. Boat stores also have the same stuff usually called teak cleaner. It has oxallic acid in it so ware gloves.
The roof was pained white though and has grey gunk now, some sort of faded coating. Did you use the Bar Keepers Friend on painted aluminum? I noticed they say it's good for shining chrome or stainless steel. Just want to make sure I won't remove the paint!
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:14 PM   #9
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OK, I think I found 2 culprits for the roof leak! I posted the pictures. One seemed to be these 2 DYI vents which seemed to be for the toilet/water? Metal lid were attached atop of them with silicon and pop right off. When I looked in I can see a black pipe and around it WET wood. It look as just a bit or rain with wind would blow water through there. I guess I need to find a better system there.
The second culprit is the skylight! From the roof it too just popped off. The rubber around is dry and hard. I included pictures of that as well.
Finally, I would need to replace some of the wood on the ceiling. The leak seem to have affected most the left side to middle of the camper ceiling.
I would love input on how to address all three. I'm handy around a house but novice on campers!
Thank all!





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Old 02-12-2012, 08:03 PM   #10
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Hi Eyebot

I thought you said you posted pics but I did not see the roof vent or the black and gray tank vent caps. Did see the ceiling issues.

There should be 2 tank vents. One for the gray tank and one for the black tank. I know hey sell they vent caps that go over the pipes for rubber roofs. I do not know if the metal ones are any different or not.

See here, they have a few types. One that is claimed to push in the pipe. They are sold in many places on line or possible your local RV dealer.

Camco RV - Replace-All Plumbing Vent Only - Polar White - 40032 - Fan and Vent Accessories - Camping World


The roof vents, do not know which one you have or the part you need. The size is pretty standard but the hinge is different. They do sell the entire vent, flange cover and all. If it is just the gasket, someone here posted a while back they where able to buy just the gasket too. Here is a DYI on replacing the entire vent.

Replacing Roof Vents 101 (with Pic's)

Hope this helps and good luck

John
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Old 02-17-2012, 06:48 PM   #11
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Thanks John!
I actually ended up using Eternabond on all the seams and resealed the entire roof. I changed the black and great water vents as well. This camper is turning out to be a piece of work! It's leaking from all the seams on the roof and about half of the window seams! It had never been properly re-sealed since it was made!
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Old 02-19-2012, 09:28 PM   #12
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Hi Eyebot

Maybe call these guys. I found this for my rubber roof if the day ever comes I need to use it.

They list it can be used on metal RV roofs as well. It seals up everything

Liquid Roof, Epdm Liquid Roof for Roof Leaks Repair and roof coatings

Here is a post of a buddy I know using it on his Sunnybrook from another forum.

Painting the roof
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