Published Date: December 29, 2020
Last Updated on April 18, 2023 by Camper Front
Rubber roofs are very durable but they can be damaged by certain chemicals like abrasive cleaners, citric cleansers, and any product that contains petroleum distillate can cause damage to your roof material.
This may leave you wondering how long a rubber roof lasts on a camper. Well, most rubber roofs have up to a 10-12 year guarantee but most of them can easily last for 20 years when given adequate care.
But there are things to note about the average lifespan of camper rubber roofs, which we’ll look at below.
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How Long Does A Rubber Roof Last On A Camper?
As I said before, most RV rubber roofs come with a 10-12 years guarantee, depending on the manufacturer. But when given adequate care and attention, the roofs can last for up to 20 years. However, accidents like a snagged tree branch can tear the roofing membrane.
That said, let’s quickly take a look at the different materials that are used to make RV roofs, as well as their average lifespans, and ways to prolong the lifespan of each.
Types of Camper Roofs and Their Average Lifespan
There are different types of materials that are commonly used to make RV roofs. Here are the most common types of RV roofs:
1. Rubber Roofs
Rubber roofs are very durable which is why it is the most common type of roof found on RVs and travel trailers. They are made with a rubber membrane that is placed on top of the vehicle which protects it from the harsh elements of the weather.
Rubber roofs come with a 10+ year guaranteed lifespan, but you can extend their lifespan to reach 20 years with proper care and maintenance.
There are different factors that can cause damage to your rubber roof, some types of chemicals can also damage the rubber membrane of these types of roofs.
When cleaning your rubber roof, Avoid using overly abrasive or acidic cleaning products. You also need to avoid any type of impact on your roof, low-hanging tree limbs striking the roof membrane can tear it and damage your roof.
Following these simple precautions will help to increase the lifespan of your rubber RV roof.
2. TPO Roof
thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) roofs, are made with a type of synthetic material and are usually laminated, which makes them resistant to harsh weather elements. TPO roofs are actually a type of rubber roof making it a popular choice of roof among RV owners.
TPO roofs have an average lifespan of 10-20 years. But how long the roof truly lasts depends on the elements it is exposed to, as well as the type of care and maintenance it receives, with the right care and maintenance you can push your TPO roof to reach the 20-year mark before needing a replacement.
Although it is very durable TPO roofs can also be damaged when certain chemicals are used to clean them, a heavy impact on the roof can also cause a tear in the lamination. To learn the right way to avoid damage to your TPO roof, you should ensure to consult your user’s manual.
3. Fiberglass Roofs
Fiberglass roofs are made with a molded piece of fiberglass. Applying a layer of protective wax to your fiberglass roof will help to ensure that elements and debris slide off easily of the material without causing damage to the roof.
Fiberglass roofs also have an average lifespan of 10-20 years as well. There are lots of ways a fiberglass roof can become damaged. So, you need to consult your user’s manual on ways to maintain your roof and try to carry out regular maintenance so that your fiberglass roof can stay in good shape.
Fiberglass roofs are likely to develop small hairline cracks that can add up over time. When not properly maintained, fiberglass roofs tend to also oxidize.
This oxidation causes the roof to lose its shine and also causes the release of a chalky, white powder, that leaves the roof vulnerable to the harsh weather elements.
To prevent this from happening, you need to thoroughly remove the oxidation residue, clean the roof, and also apply a layer of protectant wax, you can prevent oxidation and also extend the lifespan of the roof.
4. Metal Roofs
metal roofs are no longer in fashion and have become the least common type of roof placed on RVs and travel trailers. Metal roofs are made of aluminum and they are relatively low-maintenance compared to other types of roofs.
The average lifespan of An aluminum RV roof is about ten years after which it may require some repairs. After the ten years warranty period, your roof may require routine leak repairs in order for it to last a couple more years.
Metal roofs Like any other type of roof will experience cracks that cause leaks but it is how you respond to such damage that will determine if your roof lasts as long as possible. Repairing any small leaks that you find, will help to increase the lifespan of your RV’s roof by several years.
How To Increase Your Camper Roof Lifespan
Regardless of your type of roof and the material it is made from, there are some measures you can undertake to help you extend its life significantly. Here are a few tips to help maintain and extend your roof’s lifespan.
1. Regular Cleaning
You should create a regular cleaning routine for your RVs roof, and remove any dust, debris, and any other elements that might have become embedded on top of your roof. Allowing dirt to sit on your roof can cause it to age quicker and may also damage your roof.
When cleaning your roof it is recommended to make use of a secure ladder and clean your roof from the side, instead of standing on top of your vehicle.
The type of cleaning products you should make use of depends on your roof material so ensure to read your user manual before you begin to clean.
2. Make Use Of A Protective Cover
When your RV is not in use, it is a good idea to make use of a fitted protective cover that securely covers your RV. This way your RV’s roof is free from harsh weather elements as well as accumulation of dirt and debris. It also helps to save you the stress of regular cleanings.
Make sure you choose a cover that thoroughly protects your RV roof from UV rays, moisture, and other elements that can cause it damage.
3. Attend To Leaks As Soon As They Are Noticed
With any type of RV roof, the most common issue that you will face is leaking. To prevent leaks, ensure to regularly clean your roof and secure it with a protective cover when it is not in use.
You can also try caulking certain areas to make sure they are thoroughly sealed but before doing that, ensure to read your user’s manual to learn the types of caulking that will be suitable with your roof material.
How long does a rubber roof last on a camper? Regardless of the type of material your roof is made from, it is likely to last between 10-20 years.
Although the roof of your vehicle may be always out of sight, you should always remember to clean it regularly and keep it free of debris and dust at least once a year especially if you travel to areas with tall trees or dust.