Thanks for the electrical heads up.
A Few Roof Inspection and Maintenance Tips
I mentioned in my New (bee) post above that a trailer roof should be inspected at least 2 times per year. My schedule is Fall and Spring. I figure the Fall inspection catches things before they have a chance to do damage over winter storage. The Spring inspection should reveal any problems caused by the harsher winter temperatures and conditions. Many manufacturers recommend more inspections during the year.
It occurred to me that maybe a few hints as to what to look for would be appropriate. I have little experience with RV roofs proper, but I have over 40 years of roof maintenance related experience including various membrane roof types. I'm certain that there are more detailed roof inspection overviews on the World Wide Web, but this should at least provide some basic information.
An undamaged, properly installed good quality roof membrane material should be good for many decades of service. 50 years is commonly bantered about for EPDM service life in my area of the northeast. Problems and leaks are usually related to seams, joints, improper coatings, and phyical damage. Transistion areas to other materials such as metal or plastic sheeting sets up differences in expansion and contraction. It doesn't help us that as an RV is rambling down the highway the entire frame and structure is shifting about with most every bump.
In the past I have mentioned that I lay down planks and padding for roof work, and I still do at times. I have since become more confident about my 2001 23b roof. Now I first step gingerly around to test that the roof is solid before applying my potentially 225# foot solidly to the roof surface. I have learned that there is a small area in the right front that I will not walk upon. So, I can't say that I recommend walking willy nilly over your roof surface, but after some careful checks if you find the roof solid you should be fine.
Some membrane roof basics.
On the RV's that I've seen, the membrane material itself is glued onto the roof substrate. That prevents the roof membrane from lifting due to wind forces.
Transitions to other materials (metal, plastic, plumbing, HVAC, etc.) need to be sealed to the membrane system. That is accomplished by clamping a pliable sealant material to the membrane (typically along the sides, gutter), or by pouring a self leveling sealant (generally two part type) onto the areas of transition (transition to curved walls, pipe vent stacks), or by using a compression gasket such as where the HVAC unit rests upon a support frame to seal to the membrane.
The pourable sealant areas are easily identified by the pools of sealant which are found wherever it is applied. The clamp areas often will have a bit of sealant oozed out between the clamp device and the membrane. The HVAC gasket can often be seen by getting down to eye level at the roof.
My suggestions for general inspection in no particular order includes:
Check all poured sealant seals to assure adhesion to the membrane or sheet material and to look for alligatoring or stress lines.
A visual inspection is effective. Any areas which may appear doubtful can be checked by trying to lift or push the sealant with a fingernail. It should not lift from the membrane. Alligatoring or stress lines can indicate that the sealant is being pulled. Random spider cracks are not generally a concern, but any continuous long cracks should not be ignored because that may indicate future failure areas.
Check for anything protruding up against the membrane.
Any little bumps or humps should be investigated. Along the edges of my 2001 roof I have noticed what feel to be staples which have worked their way up out of position. I considered using a padded or cushioned hammer to try to bump them down, but I concluded that the potential damage wasn't worth it. My repair for those areas has been to use a mesh with lap sealant, or Eternabond Tape patches over the bumps.
Check for any cuts or abrasion on the membrane surfaces. It is better to add sealant which isn't needed than to suffer the consequences of a leak.
I really like working with the the Dicor Lap Sealant Self-Leveling product. It is very sticky and will flow into any low areas. Be very aware that it will not stay in place on vertical surfaces because it will sag and drip. I was successful using it on the upper gutter edge on my roof by using a very small amount as I moved the tube tip along. The Dicor flowed in and improved the seal to metal transition.
Adding roof repair mesh to the sealant repairs will add strength and help improve the sealant effectiveness where the previous sealant has been stressed at material transitions. The roof repair mesh also gives the self-leveling sealant something to help keep it in place. I found that by using the roof repair mesh I was able to seal over staple bumps close to the edge and continue over the edge angle when necessary. I used sealant with mesh as a quick repair where my plastic A/C cover showed some cracking.
Here is some text for Alpha roof systems. The basics apply to all roof systems just be certain to use compatible sealants.
RECOMMENDED REPAIR METHOD FOR ALPHA SYSTEMS
During routine cleaning (3-4 times a year), all caulk and sealants should be inspected for voids or cracking. If the caulk is cracking, pull up any loose caulk. Do not use any tools, such as a putty knife, that could puncture the rubber roof membrane. If you cannot pull the caulk off by hand, it is still adhered to the roof and should be left alone.
Clean the areas to be re-sealed using regular soap and water. The area must be dry before continuing.
Apply a generous amount of Alpha Systems 1010 Sealant over the top of any existing caulk in the area being re-sealed.
To order products now, call 800-462-4698. Please allow 3-5 business days before product ships from our facility. Shipping charges will be added to your order.
Solvents should not be used during cleaning. Solvents can damage existing caulk and may weaken plastic parts that are present on the roof.
In the back of your owners manual under maintenance is a section showing all areas that are to be sealed and information on the type of sealant used. Your Jayco dealer is your best source for purchasing aftermarket product.
Some related links.