Bad Caulking. Bad, bad Caulking.
One of the most common questions I get almost every day, is “how often do I need to re-caulk my roof?” My answer is almost always the same: If you need to ask, it’s probably time.
Most manufacturers recommend at least checking your roof every three months. It helps to use a good Rubber Roof Cleaner before doing any good inspection, preferably using a cleaner designed for use on a rubber roof that will add some extra UV protection. As an added benefit, regular washing of your roof will cut down on black streaks on the sides of the unit saving you time and energy.
When you look at your caulk, you are looking for small cracks, edges that are lifting up a little or areas that have gotten very thin over time.
If you see any of this, then it’s time to peel up the old stuff and run a new bead. People ask at this point, “Can I just go over the top with new caulk?”, and to that I say, I don’t suggest it. Old caulk doesn’t adhere to the roof as well as it used to, and if you apply new caulk over it, then the bottom layer is still not sticking well. Besides, you will use much less caulk if you aren’t trying to cover all the old stuff as well as the seam. So clean it up the best you can, and start fresh.
Next is choosing the right caulk for the right job. On the flat surface of your roof, use a self leveling caulk or “Lap Sealant” for this job. It is liquid enough to actually fill in air gaps and seams in your bead. It settles to create a uniform thickness. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO USE A LARGE BEAD! The trick is to cover the seam, and any screws, and the edge of whatever you are caulking around (TV antenna, refrigerator vent, etc…). The point is to cover any place water can get in.
No other single maintenance job is quite as important for long-term health of your trailer. One bad caulk job can cost thousands of dollars to repair, and is many times not covered under insurance. If you are worried or aren’t sure what you are looking for, call us and we can inspect it for you and give you some suggestions.