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What to treat EDPM roof with?


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Hi everyone, the weather is finally getting warm enough and dry enough for us to clean and treat the EDPM rubber roof on our "new" 1993 24' Tioga Class C.

 

I am coming across a LOT of different treatment/coating options! Our roof does not leak, but certainly needs a cleaning and coating. What does everyone recommend? Currently I have bookmarked:

I'm leaning towards the Liquid Roof as it doesn't require an activator, just a good cleaning (obviously).

 

We will prep with a good cleaning, repair any cracks with Eternabond and re-seal everything with lap sealant before coating the roof.

 

Thanks!

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I think you are confusing treatment with a liquid membrane product. 303 Protectant is a good treatment to keep a good roof in good condition. But an EPDM roof that is 23 years old isnt likely in its usable stage of life. The coatings you list are acceptable, but Liquid Roof IS a catalyzed product. I've used it many times and it works well for the job its designed for. Of course, as you stated, cleaning is VERY important and necessary. I have found that putting (Eternabond on BEFORE the coating is a bad idea. The shiny surface tends to not adhere so well to any liquid membrane. Best to caulk with Dicor, install the liquid membrane after cleaning and drying is complete. Then coat then Eternabond. I recommend Eternabond as a repair product. If you have access to some polyester fabric, use that to lay over the front and rear cap joints-embedded into the coating, and also use at joints at vents, skylights, etc., any roof penetration. Then coat the entire roof with one complete layer of liquid membrane, as thick as you can can without it sagging or running(harder to do on radius to sidewalls), then let it dry, cure in the sun. Most of these products are UV cured, so be prepared to leave it alone for a few days after coating. When you go back up to put things back together, wear NO SHOES, socks only. It takes quite some time for these products to fully cure and they cure from the top or outside, in. If done right, you can get 10+ years out of it. Any tears, rips etc, should also be repaired with the fabric and coating before the total coating.

Remember that liquid membranes have a pot life, so dont mix up the whole kit to do the fabric embed. Use the mixing ratios to mix what you can to do those repairs. Try a 3"-4" chip brush or dollar store brush that can be thrown away for those radius sides and joints. Do the repairs one day and th total coating the next day. It will work out better that way.

As for cleaning, I found that while using a pressure washer or a hose with a solution and a scrub brush seems like the best way to clean it well, I have only used that to get the heavy dirt off. Too much water will leave standing water in areas that you will work on FIRST. So, if really dirty, clean it on day 1. Then get on your hands and knees with a bucket and a bunch of rags and a scrub brush. You will see the really dirty or special attention areas this way. And you can towel dry those areas better while removing the dirt as well. Let it dry completely. Day 2 do the patching and joints. If you need to mask along your side moldings, now's the time. Day 3 do the whole finish coat. It wont hurt to do 2 thin coats as long as you do them close together, timewise. These products will work better if allowed to cure together, coat 1 with coat 2. Then leave it alone.

You will end up with a monolithic liquid membrane that wont need any caulking of joints for a while. Just a cleaning now and then.

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Rpsinc, you are a saint for taking the time to write all that up for me!! THANK YOU. All my research was saying to repair with tape before sealing, makes sense the slick surface would be an issue. Thank you for detailing how to patch what is necessary before coating.

 

I liked what I read about Liquid Roof the best, glad to hear you suggest it. What do you recommend we use to spread it?

 

I can get my hands on some polyester for sure. You say to use that on the caps, vents, etc. Should I use Eternabond along those edges after the coating as cured? What about the other seams? Should I remove any of the old caulk when prepping and cleaning, or just caulk over it?

 

I have access to a power washer but I'm concerned it will do more harm than good to a rather old roof. Would rather just clean by hand. Am I thinking correctly?

 

We will certainly take the time and effort to do this right. I'll ensure we pick a time with a clear 7 day forecast ahead. Atleast 4 days for sure (beyond that can often be a shot in the dark here in Denver anyway).

 

THANK YOU!!

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Rpsinc, you are a saint for taking the time to write all that up for me!! THANK YOU. All my research was saying to repair with tape before sealing, makes sense the slick surface would be an issue. Thank you for detailing how to patch what is necessary before coating.

 

I liked what I read about Liquid Roof the best, glad to hear you suggest it. What do you recommend we use to spread it? A large nap roller, 3/4" minimum, and dont buy a cheap one, because they will shed into your product. I use Purdy brand but any good quality one will work. I use a 9" roller frame, dip it into the 5 gallon bucket, and if you cant get that bucket up to the roof, use an elongated bucket that the roller willl fit into, Walmart has some that work good in their auto department. Their blue and cost less than $2. Throw everything away after it dries. Not worth cleaning and saving.

I can get my hands on some polyester for sure. You say to use that on the caps, vents, etc. Use it on the JOINTS around those items, not ON them. You are trying to make a monolythic coating on your roof. Should I use Eternabond along those edges after the coating as cured?I wouldnt. I dont like that stuff as part of the permanent roof, only for emergency repairs. What about the other seams? Anywhere there is a joint caused by some item on the roof that has been attached, typically with screws and caulked over, should be fabric covered and coated. Should I remove any of the old caulk when prepping and cleaning, or just caulk over it? I dont like seeing a potential mountain of caulk, so I will "knock it down" some, then cover with fabric and coating.

 

I have access to a power washer but I'm concerned it will do more harm than good to a rather old roof. Would rather just clean by hand. Am I thinking correctly? Yes, on your older roof, ditch the power washer for line pressure in a water hose to clean the heavy stuff(if there is some) then cleaning by hand is better and for me, does a better job, as I can see exactly what I am leaving behind. A good clean work area or one that needs more attention. Mineral spirits works really well in those areas that are stubborn and wont come clean enough with soap and water. Scrub MS with brush and wipe with a clean towel.

 

We will certainly take the time and effort to do this right. I'll ensure we pick a time with a clear 7 day forecast ahead. Atleast 4 days for sure (beyond that can often be a shot in the dark here in Denver anyway).

 

THANK YOU!!

 

You seem to be on the right track. I would do a coating of product on the radius from roof to side when you do the fabric, then another coat after the roof is done. It takes more coats to build up the amount of product you want because the product doesnt like to lay flat on the radius. So a thinner coat is necessary, and then you'll need multiple layers.

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Thank you for answering my questions in such detail, feeling confident we can complete the project correctly once we get a weather window.

 

So instead of the original recommendation of just doing the fabric embed and ONE full coating, you think the fabric embed then TWO full coatings would be better? If so, how long do I have to let cure between full coats? I don't have this stored in a garage, so don't want the first coat to get dirty before the second application.

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You have great advice already from rpsinc...we did the same thing about two or three months ago and pretty much did exactly what he is telling you to do and it turned out great. The only difference was we went ahead and used the eternabond after we were through. Probably overkill but we did it anyway. Good luck and be careful on the roof, that worried me more than anything. A misstep by my DW or myself would have definitely not been good!!!

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Great to hear! Where did you eternabond, out of curiosity? Also, did you do just one thick coat of liquid roof or two?

 

We've had the distinct pleasure of two major and one minor snow storm since we brought it home from Denver. So we're quite practiced at brooming snow off the roof!

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When I called Liquid Roof about Eterna-Bond tape they said to spray the tape with contact cement and then apply the liquid roof product after it drys. I also ask about doing the job one gallon at a time due to my physical disabilities and they said it was no problem and that I could do it at what ever pace I could manage. I will be ordering my first gallon this summer after my spring vacation in May.

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We'll be pealing back the EPDM do replace some wet roof wood, find a small tear in the EPDM yesterday while chasing a leak that was supposedly fix... Ah well, nothing insurmountable, just ads a few steps!

 

I need to put a call into fleetwood to see if ours is an Alpha Roof. That will change the process up a bit.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well spring here in Denver has been wet, wet, wet and cold. Currently 38 degrees with a light rain. We've had enough clear days to get the EPDM peeled back, but the roof has had to stay tarped. Hoping tomorrow will start a warming and drying trend that will allow us to remove the tarp and get everything dry. I'm currently ordering poly fabric, pro-flex primer (we have the alpha roof), pro-flex sealant and dicor. I'm very eager to tackle this project! We've been working hard on the interior, but man am I ready to get the RV drivable again.

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