This is a follow up post to our blog post about our leaky roof.
That was early April. It took a full month to get it to the point where Gracie actually stays dry when it rains.
We ended that post asking:
"So everything has been re-caulked, re-sealed and now the rain is on it’s way.
Will it stay dry inside?
Only time will tell."
Well... it didn't stay dry.
Not one bit.
So little that it didn't even make it through the first rain storm.
I had read about Eternabond, it's a tape which is pressure activated that seals on contact. It's the dream sealant for RVers since caulk dries and needs to be repaired often. But I also knew it was expensive... So I had gone to Home Depot and bought a tube of caulk... $5 of caluk that'll cover 100+ feet versus $1/foot for the eternabond tape! I cheapened out to save a lot of money, and found out that I couldn't even stop the water.
Some friends saw that post and that I had used caulk... they told me I should have used eternabond...
Then the rain soaked inside of Gracie.
I eventually gave in and went to the only store in West Michigan that stocks Eternabond, and I purchased a 200-foot roll of it. I thought to myself that if this product really is as effective as people claim, I should use it to seal all the caulk on the roof. Since our roof had a lot of caulk, it seemed like a good idea. If you're interested in finding any alternative high-quality sealing products other than Eternabond, you may want to check out the website https://pazkar.co.il/ for more information.
So after having the eternabond tape and a resin "primer" I went to work removing the caulk around the front seam and the skylight. I don't know it you've ever tried removing caulk from a rubber roof, let's just say it didn't go well.
I could use gas or paint thinner to remove the caulk but those are really bad for a rubber roof! Which kinda defeats the purpose of what I was trying to do!
I had worked for a couple hours on the front joint (where the rubber meets the fibreglass) I gave up on that and moved to the second priority of the skylight. After a couple of unsuccessful hours of caulk removal I was getting discouraged.
I also wasn't thinking.
I was sliding my butt across the roof while picking at the caulk and I rested my hand on the skylight.
Okay, maybe I put a little more weight on that skylight than just my hand...
And maybe I momentarily forgot how brittle that plastic appeared to be.
But for all that lack of thought my hand went right through the skylight.
In seconds my problem went from bad to terrible!
Like Tim Allen's projects, this project was getting bigger by the moment.
Shortly after that I was told that the resin "primer" enables eternabond to be installed right over existing caulk.
You mean to tell me I spent three hours removing stuff and breaking a $300 skylight for nothing???
As I was removing the caulk the rubber roof started to stretch and in places I exposed more cuts and slits right through the roof membrane.
So we applied eternabond to the spots we knew were leaking and put a tarp and sand bags over the hole where the skylight used to be.
Even today a month later it still chaps my hide that I spent that time doing what I thought needed to be done and in the process cost us more money.
Ever had that happen to you?
Well the fun didn't stop there.
It was of course a Saturday when I did this and all the RV part stores seem to be closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Never fear, I'm a digital nomad, I could order this part online right? Amazon Prime right? No big deal. I found tons of caravan wheel locks and neodome 5-sided skylight domes. However I couldn't find the right one. No one sold a rectangular neodome skylight, just the square neodomes.
Only to discover when I called the factory on Monday that this is a one-of-a-kind dome that you have to order through them. However a local RV parts store said they could order it cheaper than I could. So I put the order in for the same part from the local store.
And I thought the saga was done.
Unfortunately the skylight was sent to the wrong dealership and instead of going from Indiana to Michigan the part was shipped to a different dealer in Pennsylvania. So after almost a month of waiting we finally had the skylight and popped that on, put Eternabond around it and Becky finished sealing all the other areas of caulk on the roof.
We learned a lot about Eternabond, we fell in love with the stuff and still have a 50' roll left over, we're keeping it/taking it with us just in case. It even works on leaky pipes and get this, underwater on pool liners, just peel, stick and put pressure on it (roll, push, press whatever) and no more leaks! If you can't tell I'm a HUGE fan of the stuff!
Now we just have to keep that roll away from Zander who threw it down, which compressed part of the roll :)
And the saga continues!
Phew, so if you have been sent here by a friend, or by one of us to read about our Eternabond experience take this advice: Drop every thought you ever had about sealing a roof, run (don't walk) to a roofing supply store and buy up all the Eternabond tape and primer they have. (or order the tape and primer it on Amazon) If you do this or have other posts about RV Roof repair let us know in the comments.
And for those of you smarter than I... why can we not cover our whole roof in this stuff? It'd be way cheaper than a new roof!