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Old 05-01-2018, 08:31 PM   #1
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Roof Coatings

I have a camper with an EPDM roof that needs repaired or replaced. I have been looking into the Liquid roof product but tink this is a tad bit expensive. My question is have anyone here used Kool Coat to refurbish an RV EPDM roof? Or any other similar product that will not break the bank on this project.
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Old 05-08-2018, 11:04 PM   #2
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Dicro makes a roof coating product for EPDM roofs. I have seen it applied on a fellow Sunline owners roof.

Dicor is who made the Sunline roof EDPM materials. You cannot go really wrong using their products.

Theirs is a 2 part system

https://dicorproducts.com/product/ep.../#installation

And the 2nd part
https://dicorproducts.com/product/ep.../#installation


And a video on appling it
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Old 04-28-2019, 07:55 AM   #3
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I have a 2001 2470. Roof is still "tight", but I'm getting more bubbles or air pockets in the surface. What are people's experiences with the Dicro roof system? Does it really help? Is it any better than paint? Sorry, I'm a bit cynical about cleaning products. If I know this will really extend my roof's life, I will definitely do it.
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Old 04-28-2019, 10:20 PM   #4
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Hi Tkch88,

I have a fellow Sunline owner who used the Dicor coating system. I will see if he can chime in to help. I did see it a year or so ago and it looked like a thick coating. As far as coatings go.

However, you said bubbles or air pockets in the surface. Do you have any pictures you can share and trying to understand the approx size of these air pockets.

You may have something not normal, but is all "depends" on the feel of the bubble and how big it is. Please try and describe the bubble. Do they feel like a tire inner tube rubber band effect if you press them down, and how far down will they go? and bounce back. Small bubbles in a brand new roof are from the glue not bonding, but larger ones may be something else.

I will say this about the coatings, they are intended to replenish the white layer on the rubber membrane of a sound roof. The membrane is made up of a thin bottom layer of black rubber (0.015"). That is the actual sealing surface. Bonded on top of the black rubber is a thin white layer (0.0.025" to 030"). The Dirco white layer reflects sun and heat and protects the black layer under it. The white layer does shed over time, very slowly but it does shed, especially if the camper have been outside a long time year round. When you see the black layer, it indicates it is time for a coating to restore it.

See these pics of worn white layer on the Dicor roof membrane. You can see the black spots showing. This is not to be confused with mold specs, these are not specs they are inches in size.




If you are seeing the black spots show up like these pics above, then the Dicor coatings will help rebuild the white layer. I have heard it needs to be reapplied every 5 years. Again if the camper lives outside all the time.

If the air pockets or bubbles are the result of a compromised heavy corrugate board (bud board) under the rubber, then a coating may not be the ideal solution for a long term fix. Need to know more about the bubbles to help better.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 04-29-2019, 09:18 AM   #5
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Hi
My roof was looking like yours without air bubbles John told me about. First off I did like JohnB. I cleaned all my seams and Etenabond them and around all roof vents plus the entire length of the trailer both sides. I even added pads of Etenabond under rub points of the antenna. One thing I found is you don't want to put Etenabond over fresh Dicor caulk. I gasses for a while causing air bubbles under the Etenabond but the Etenabond is still holding.
The Dicor roof coating is a 2 part system. First part is is an etcher/actavater after which you since and let dry. Apply first coat of coating. I brushed around all vents, ac and antenna mount I then used a roller to do the rest. After the allotted dry time applied second coat.
It's on it's 3rd season and holding up well.
It needs washed now but so does the whole trailer. It lives under an oak tree.
The air bubbles you refer to sounds like the rubber is delaminating from the budboard for some reason.
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Old 04-29-2019, 07:15 PM   #6
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I took a good look at my roof this afternoon, and was happy to see the "bubbles" were only on the left rear area, above the bunks. The whole roof is very grazed, though. The biggest bumps are no more than 3/16" high. They pop back up when pressed down. I've always found my roof to "feel" loose from any board below, since I bought it in 2001.
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Old 04-29-2019, 11:19 PM   #7
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Hi Tkch88,

The pics really help. Your white layer has what I would call, crystalline cracks. That is more of a word to call it then what caused it. I have seen this before, some a finer pattern and some a larger pattern. It comes with age from sun UV damage.

This back area with the bubbles, still has some unanswered things about it. This pics helps for sure show what you are against.


I can also see that your caulking is all deteriorated that can be seen in the pictures. Those cracks in the caulking also come from age and sun UV damage.

To your comment about the rubber roof feeling loose from much support under it from when you got the camper, is accurate. The Sunline rubber roof structure is unique to them. I am not sure they are the only ones in the RV industry who made them that way, but if there are others, the list is not many.

This older post of mine tells some on how the Sunline roof structure is made.Sunline Rubber Roof Structure

The 0.040" rubber membrane is bonded to a thick dense corrugate board. It was call "budboard" by the folks at Sunline. I believe that is more of a nick name then the actual brand name or material. Some call it cardboard, but in the technical world, cardboard is made different like a cardboard box with flutes between the layers. This budboard is solid dense structure. Think of the backing of a 8 1/2" x 11" note paper pad. The back sheet is dense. Just in the case of budoard, it is a lot thicker. By hand, you cannot rip bubboard very easy if at all. It is very strong in rip resistance.

Once they bonded the roof structure, it was pulled over the roof rafters spaced every approx 16" centers as one piece. The budboard was rigidly supported at the rafters and just spanned between them with no added support in many places. So, it feels loose between the rafters. There is no way it can support high point loads like a person's foot standing on it. But it can take a snow load as the weight is not concentrated in one spot.

Here is a picture of a 2004 Sunline roof being rolled up and off the roof during a camper restoration. This will give you a better look as to why the loose lack of support feeling is normal on a Sunline rubber roof. This camper has a lot of water damage at the back wall.








The whole roof structure off on the ground




Some of the rafters with the insulation lifted up





Here are my thoughts on your roof.

First I would want to better understand the bubbles. There are "normally" a few ways bubbles come.

1. There was a defect in the glue when the roof was made. Bubbles may not show up until maybe 2 to 3 years later. In this case, no water was involved.

2. When a water infection occurs, and the most common way a water infection occurs is through leaking sealants in the roof system. This can range from a rusted out screw in a gutter rail wicking in water, to caulking failures anywhere on the roof. Yes, a mechanical hole from a tree limb etc is possible, but you can see that easier.

The water can seep in the sealant leak and then wick and spread across the budboard. Over time, the budboard deteriorates from the bottom up. Water and rotting corrugate then can attack the glue to the rubber. In most cases, the budboard just totally deteroites and falls away from the rubber leaving no support.

3. Some other way yet to be learned on how roof bubbles form.

Try this with the bubbles, it may help shed some light on if you have a water infection. The bubble seems to bounce back up as you stated. But can you press the bubble down below the normal roof surface? And does it feel as stiff as the rest of the roof or does it feel rubbery and very little support under the bubble? Like a tire tube rubber feel. I am assuming these bubbles were not on your roof back in 2001? Yes/no? Any idea when they showed up and did they ever grow in size?

To help confirm a water infection, a moisture meter for $40 can help a lot. See here Moisture Meters For Inspecting a Camper

You can scan the inside ceiling and walls. And in some cases, you can scan down from the top of the rubber. The roof will give false readings if a fungus is present all over the entire roof. The meter will read the fungus. But if there is no fungus and other areas of the roof scan 0% moisture, then if you get higher readings over the bubble areas etc. it helps confirm a water infection. A water infection in a ceiling or wall, will not always show up inside the living space. It it very common to have 0 signs of water infection in the living space, but have a very wet behind the wall board.

If you find out you have a water infection, then you need to decide if you want to fix it and how long you want to keep the camper.

If by chance you have no water infection, and you want to keep the camper, then a roof repair is possible. I would suggest this,

1. Clean and then demold the roof. This is a bleaching process after the laundry detergent cleaning.

2. Replace all caulking. Take up all the old and put new fresh caulk down. This will seal up the sealant bad areas.

3. Do an Eternabond treatment on all roof seams. Must wait 1 month from fresh caulking to gas off and you can do this in segments over time.

4. Once the E bond is completed, pending the time span, another demolding treatment may be needed. Then apply a roof coating to rebuild the white layer.

5. Once all is done, start a 303 aerospace UV treatment over everything rubber or vinyl on the roof on a periodic basis.

I am recommending to fix the actual sealant issues first, then do a roof coating. Using a roof coating to fix bad sealants is not a long term fix. The coatings are too thin to fix the sealant foundation issues.

I can explain more into the "how to" do all this. And if you really want to keep the camper, as an alternative is to put a new rubber roof on. It will cost more, but it will last longer and you can repair any water damage.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 04-30-2019, 06:05 AM   #8
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As an added note. The cost of coating roof with Dicor 2 part system was about $100 for my 26ft. trailer.
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:36 PM   #9
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John,

When pressing the bubbles down, they seem to bottom out at the original roof line, as if they are hitting the budboard. The bubbles do feel rubbery, as if there is air beneath them. The bubbles only appeared in the last year or two. The camper has always been stored in southern New England, usually under a cover from November-April. I do think I did not cover it 2 years ago.

What about the cracked caulking on the seams? Can you just go over them? Its seems like trying to pry the old caulk off would be looking for trouble!

I think I will use the roof treatment. Thanks for the tips!

Dave
Rhode Island
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Old 05-07-2019, 09:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tkch88 View Post
John,

When pressing the bubbles down, they seem to bottom out at the original roof line, as if they are hitting the budboard. The bubbles do feel rubbery, as if there is air beneath them. The bubbles only appeared in the last year or two. The camper has always been stored in southern New England, usually under a cover from November-April. I do think I did not cover it 2 years ago.

What about the cracked caulking on the seams? Can you just go over them? Its seems like trying to pry the old caulk off would be looking for trouble!

I think I will use the roof treatment. Thanks for the tips!

Dave
Rhode Island
Hi Dave,

On the bubbles, if when you press them down and it feels like the rest of the roof in stiffness, then it is possible you just have glue separation. The bud board if it feels stiff, could still be intact. A moisture meter could help confirm this.

For a fix, see this link to the Best Materials website. I linked into 4" wide by 20 ft roll of Eternabond roof seal. https://www.bestmaterials.com/detail.aspx?ID=20902 I have bought from them in the past and had positive experiences. Amazon may also have it.

Clean the surface and de-mold it and apply the eternabond tape. Eternabond which is used to repair rubber roofs. You can slit the long bubbles and look and feel inside. In the case of the bubbles being that large, it would be good to air bleed the pocket with a hole poke and then tape over them anyway before coating the roof. It will help protect that area and you can know if there is water issues inside or not. Some my rty and glue them down, but I do not know if a good glue on the budboard and rubber once the glue separated. The normal water based roof glues I use by Dicro is made for porous substrates like virgin rubber and bare wood or budboard. The dried up old glue will not allow the new water based glue to bond. So bleeding the bubble and E bonding over the top is a way to fix this.

On the caulk, your caulk has advanced deterioration. When the caulk is not that deteriorated, yes you can clean it well and then go over the top as the lower base is still sound. But your base caulk is so far gone that you do not have a good base for the new Dicro to bond to it, the roof and the moldings.

Getting the old caulk up is not that bad with some help on how to do it. I have taken up a lot of old bad caulk and the method on how to do it is key. Even if you do not get 100% of it off, any you can will help create a better base for the new Dicro to bond to the actual roof and the moldings is a good thing. Using fresh Dicro of over a bad base is not a good long term solution.

Here is how I get old Dicro up. Start with a metal stiff blade putty knife. I use a 1" wide blade. Dull every edge on the end of the blade. With a file or grinder, round and dull up the edges of the end of the blade. Feel with your fingers and buff/sand etc until it is smooth and will not dig in hard into your skin.

Then get a heat gun. Even the $10 one from Harbor Freight will work.

Warm the caulk (keep the heat gun moving, do not stop long in one spot) and lay the scraper somewhat flat to the roof and push. Add heat ahead of the scraper as needed and the caulk will come right up. In time you will get to know what is just hot enough to scrape and what is way to hot and you have a mess. You just need to warm it to soften it up.

Get a junk bucket to scrape the old caulk into. Use gloves as it can get hot. Do not overheat the rubber. You can do multi passes as needed to get it down as clean as you can to the rubber and aluminum. The gutter rail areas go quick as there is not much caulk there. See these pics of the front roof to wall seam. Here there is a lot of ups and downs to dig in, but it still comes up.



You can see the failed caulking here






Once you get all you can scraped off, use mineral spirits on a rag and rub the little traces left off. Do not let is soak in into the rubber, you are spot cleaning with the rag. Wipe it dry. Then go over it with a high flash cleaner to get any left over mineral spirits residue off the roof. A high flash cleaner can be Naphtha, even rubbing alcohol, that works fast and evaporates off. Do not use acetone as it will take all the paint off. I know the Naphtha works and does not affect the paint.

Your local lumber or hardware store may have it. Here is where I get mine for about $13 a gallon. https://www.menards.com/main/paint/s...5269123&ipos=2

"MAKE" sure you allow it to air dry for at least 1 day before putting new caulk on. Any left over traces of the cleaner will dissolve fresh Dicor.

You can do this in stages. You do not have to strip the entire roof at once. Do a large enough area for the time you have, clean and put down new Dicor on that area. Then the next time window, move to the next area.

The front seam I showed you above took about 20 to 30 minutes to get it. A gutter rail length may be about the same. You may be able to get up all the caulk on both gutter rails, front and rear end seam, get then cleaned and new Dicro back on in one weekend. Then start in on the roof vents, fridge vent etc in another time period.

You should clean and demold the roof, ideally from the start of your work. It should be done before the coating or your will trap mold under the coating. It will help with the caulking work too if done before hand.

Laundry detergent and a long pole soft brush reaching from the side of the camper will cut the dirt but it will not touch the mold. After cleaning the roof, then use a bleach and water solution and apply to the roof with car brush by itself. It will take about 10 to 15 minutes to see the bleaching
action clean off the mold and you will see white roof coming back. If the bleached area dries before the time out, rewet it with bleach solution. Rinse it very well and the sides of the camper. You may have to repeat it on heavy mold spots. Use fresh bleach. Do not do it on hot sunny days as the bleach evaporates off too fast and cannot do its job. Cloudy days or early evening with lower sun can work.

Do not just mix the bleach with the soap as a wash. The bleach needs the soak time to work. Do wash and bleach separate.

Hope this helps and ask away on any questions.

John
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