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Old 02-25-2011, 08:14 AM   #1
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Arrow Roof maintainence

Wondering what people are doing to maintain or repair their older style aluminum roofs? Ours does not leak, we just added maxair vents, and my husband noticed the roof is really wavey..

We're thinking about rubber coating it just the way it is, but would like some of your valued opinions! Thanks!
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:33 AM   #2
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To my knowledge all you need to do to an aluminum roof is maintain any/all caulking on any of the roof openings, edges, seams. Unlike rubber/vinyl roofs, aluminum roofs do not require washing or sealing. You can wash it "if" you wish.

Our 5th wheel has a rubber roof, that in all probably WILL become a one piece aluminum roof when it needs to be replaced.


I miss my aluminum roofs that were on all my previous Sunlines.
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:19 AM   #3
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I wash the roof everytime I was the camper. It helps keep the black streaks at a minimum of nothing else and I must atleast look at the condition while washing so I find potential problems earlier, if there is a problem.

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Old 02-28-2011, 08:55 PM   #4
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Kitty, I agree with you on the metal roof. However, I imagine it will be a very expensive replacement.
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Old 03-01-2011, 05:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrsrogers View Post
Wondering what people are doing to maintain or repair their older style aluminum roofs? Ours does not leak, we just added maxair vents, and my husband noticed the roof is really wavey..

We're thinking about rubber coating it just the way it is, but would like some of your valued opinions! Thanks!
A wavy metal roof is nothing to be concerned about unless there is suspicision that a collapse of some kiind has occurred or other apparent damage. It is how they age.

There are two primary concerns: An actual puncture of the metal and the condition of the seams.

Punctures are rare but they do happen, usually caused by a falling tree branch or other object. Inspect the roof reguarly.

I am not a fan of rubber coatings over metal roofs. With an older trailer, it is almost impossible to get the surface clean enough for the compound to permanently adhere. And it is pricey.

The seams on metal roofs are the big concern. Where the individual sheets are joined, they may have used a double fold-over. Around the edges and around anything that protrudes from the roof, they likely used the putty tape to seal the seam, and maybe a coat a caulking over that.

The heat/cold cycle of the seasons and the movement of the trailer when it is being towed will eventually cause these seams to move a tiny, tiny bit. Direct sunlight breaks down even the best of caulking materials. So the seams are critical because it is pretty much a flat roof.

On our rubber roofs, for maintenance and repairs we use a combination of self-leveling Dicor caulk, and occasionally, some of the special rubber coating material.

Your metal roof has a much simpler and way less expensive solution. Most any hardware store or home improvement store sells "mobile home roof paint" which is an oil-based paint that contains a lot of fibers and aluminum particles. It is about the consistency of driveway sealer. I always suggest that you buy a "throw-away" brush for applying this. Last I knew, the paint ran under $30 a gallon.

Wash the roof real well, and make sure any loose stuff is removed. If you find any obvious places where there is missing sealant, mostly the putty tape, you may have to do a repair before coating the roof. Then give all the seams a coat of the paint, let it dry, and then do the whole roof.

I used to do my old 19' Prowler with less than one gallon of paint. A larger trailer would likely require more. The nice thing about this is that prep is not as critical as for a rubber coating, and if you find a spot that has lifted, you can just scrape,clean it, and recoat it with left over paint.

I live in a region where most homes have metal roofs due to heavy snowfall and long periods of really cold weather. The house I live in has a metal roof that is at least 75 years old. We maintain it exactly as I have explained here.
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:27 PM   #6
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On our motorhome there was a rubber roof. The pretty white reflective coating had turned to black and looked like a black innertube. I inspected the roof and where the sun had not beat the roof, around teh A/C, the rubber was still in very good condition. I looked all over and local dealerships said they put Cool-Seal on the camper roofs that they bought from Home Depot. I asked about the difference between Cool-Seal for metal, mobile home type, roofs and rubber roofs on campers. I got assorted answers from no difference to it would not last and might destroy the rubber roof.

I called Cool-Seal and they said they make a coating for rubber roofs and I should not use the one for metal roofs. I followed the manufacturers suggestions. I had to wash the rubber roof with a stiff bristle brush to remove as much dead rubber as possible, buy the Cool-Seal special primer for rubber roofs and the final topcoat for rubber roofs. After following all the directions I had a good looking highly reflective white roof that was tough to walk on. I felt confident that the rubber underneath would las many more years.

The camper Cool-Seal is sold in camper supply stores and you should also see the primer. No primer do not buy there. Please do not use Cool-Seal available at Home Depot or other stores unless it specifically says 'rubber roof'. The dealerships do not care what is put on and count on your return business.

Good luck with whichever roof fix you do.
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Old 03-05-2011, 11:01 AM   #7
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Collins View Post
Wash the roof real well, and make sure any loose stuff is removed. If you find any obvious places where there is missing sealant, mostly the putty tape, you may have to do a repair before coating the roof. Then give all the seams a coat of the paint, let it dry, and then do the whole roof.
We just bought a '94 T-1850 and are trying to prepare for the coming season. We have inspected the roof, and it is aluminum. We have one spot inside where there is some slight rippling of the liner, along the front roof seam. There are obvious cracks in the sealant along the seams, and we are trying to get our project list together for the store. You mention above about obvious places missing sealant needing a repair. Are you implying there is a sealant other than the paint that we should be using in those spots? If so, what is it called?
Furthermore, you mention doing the whole roof. This is the first place I have seen that suggestion for aluminum. The roof as it sits right now has never been painted over as far as I can tell. Is there an advantage to doing the whole roof as opposed to just the seams and around the vents?
I have read much of your conversations about rubber roofs, and feel confident I could easily work on one of those, but the aluminum roofs don't seem to be as thoroughly addressed.
Thanks for the help!!
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Old 03-05-2011, 12:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
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You mention above about obvious places missing sealant needing a repair. Are you implying there is a sealant other than the paint that we should be using in those spots? If so, what is it called?
That is going to depend on how much damage there is. If just some caulk is missing or pulling away, any paintable caulk that remains flexible should be fine. You are going to paint over it anyway. The roof paint is fibrous and about the consistency of driveway sealer so whether you caulk or not is going to be a judgment call based on the size of the gaps. An extra coat of roof paint on a suspected seam that may have a problem is usually enough, but if it is a larger gap, go with the flexible caulk.

Quote:
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Furthermore, you mention doing the whole roof. This is the first place I have seen that suggestion for aluminum. The roof as it sits right now has never been painted over as far as I can tell. Is there an advantage to doing the whole roof as opposed to just the seams and around the vents?
1. Uniform appearance.
2. Fills any pinholes or other cracks you might have missed.
3. Reflects heat better in the summer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leech View Post
I have read much of your conversations about rubber roofs, and feel confident I could easily work on one of those, but the aluminum roofs don't seem to be as thoroughly addressed.
Thanks for the help!!
The alumninum roofs are much less demanding when it comes to which sealant to use and how to clean it. A puncture can be fixed with flashing material, caulk, and pop rivets or screws followed by a coat or two of roof paint. You can usually do a decent repair with stuff you already have at home or carry in the trailer.

The rubber roofs need eternabond, self-leveling dicor caulk, etc. They are more expensive and there aren't any substitutes.

I have always thought that aluminum roofs were a lot easier to care for and repair than a rubber roof.
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