Rotten roof

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by minky, Aug 15, 2007.

  1. minky

    minky New Member

    I just bought a 1992 Prowler 19E for only $1,000 but the roof is in bad shape -- even rotten in the front. Frankly, I'd rather not mess around with the rubber roof anymore and I'm thinking about replacing it with aluminum. I have a buddy who's an auto body guy, and he once put such a roof on his own camper about 10 years ago.

    My biggest problem is the rotten wood. I want to rip off the rubber where the roof appears to be soft to see how much needs to be replaced. I then plan to replace any rotten beams with 2x3's and then patch in plywood around the vents and AC. To make the job easier, I'll take some crap off the top that I don't need like a TV antenna and range vent. Once I do that, I hope to have my auto body guy lay a sheet of aluminum over the plywood.

    Is this a good plan, or am I nuts? Should I try to fix the rotten wood from the inside? The interior of the camper is in great shape, and I don't want to mess it up. Should I use something different than aluminum. Vinyl maybe?

    Please offer advice.
     
  2. ARCHER

    ARCHER Senior Member

    Re: Rotten roof

    If your gonna use the range and refrigerator you better make sure you have a vent on the top of the roof. Don't forget, sewer line vents to roof.
     
  3. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: Rotten roof

    Well, what else WOULD you do with it? You bought it to fix it up didn't you? Well, get after it! :laugh:

    If you take the roof off, you better replace everything that even LOOKS like it has been wet.

    I don't see how you can replace the wooden structure without affecting the ceiling inside and everything else that might be attached to that structure from the inside.

    My roof is fiberglass. Want to know why? NO SEAMS! If you put aluminum up there you are going to have seams. If your man welds the seams, then you better have those welds inspected for leaks. You'll still need to paint it with something to be sure it is sealed.

    Sounds like you've got you a great RV and welcome to the forum!
     
  4. minky

    minky New Member

    Re: Rotten roof

    Thanks for the tips, folks. Fiberglass? Tell me more. Was it built with fiberglass or did you put it on? My father has a food business trailer, and it's made of nearly indestructible fiberglass. I wish my camper was. Who does such work? Boat people, maybe? :)
     
  5. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Re: Rotten roof

    Be prepared to find a lot more rotten wood than first thinking. Might have to take some siding off also. You can get a sealer tape to seal the seems on the aluminum that will do a good job but, you will also have rivits or screws to hold it down that will be a problem area. Having said that mine is a HR with aluminum roof and has a seem down the middle that is sealed with the tape and I have never had a problem at all with roof leaking. You could lay a solid layer of fiberglass but would probably cost more than a rubber roof. Sounds like you have got a good project job. Take your time and you can fix it as good or probably better than new. Keep us posted
     
  6. minky

    minky New Member

    Re: Rotten roof

    Thanks for the advice and encouraging words, Chelse. I'm up for the project, but I can tell that my wife is not thrilled with the idea. Something about all the projects around the house that still need to be done.

    I'm curious to know how big your camper is. How big are aluminum sheets? I'd love to keep it to one piece.

    Also, do you suggest putting the air conditioner back? It's 15 years old and probably neglected. Since I only plan on using the unit for about 6 or 7 nights per year, I'm more inclined to skip the roof AC and devise some portal on the side for an $89 window model. Doing so will certainly make my roof job easier.
     
  7. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Re: Rotten roof

    minky, My roof is 33ft and looks to be two sheets with the seam down the middle longways. i guess you might be able to get it in any most any size but aluminum is pretty expensive now. I would go with the rubber or the latest material on the market. It is easy to apply just be sure the surface you are going on is clean and evenly glued. I would go back with the roof ac if the one you have is working but use new seals. Anytime a hole is cut in the roof it could leak but if it's done properly and looked at it will be ok. Can be a fun project if you take your time. Just tell the wife of all the family fun thats waiting and she will be there helping. Hope it's not just for you and the hunting buddies :eek: ;) if so it or the marirage is doomed :laugh:
     
  8. minky

    minky New Member

    Re: Rotten roof

    Not for hunting buddies. Mostly for me and my youngest son. The older 3 kids are too cool to camp and my wife said she paid her camping dues when the kids were little and we had a pop-up with a dinette slide-out.

    There's still a lot for me to learn about the roof thing. When you say that I might be better off with another rubber roof, I'm curious to know how to do that. Does it come in a rolled mat or is it a gooey compound that is spread over the plywood?
     
  9. minky

    minky New Member

  10. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Re: Rotten roof

    Very good article minky. That is the type roof I was speaking of and I think that would be the way for you but JMO
     
  11. s.harrington

    s.harrington Senior Member

    Re: Rotten roof

    You always remove the roof on those from the outside in. Are the rafters rotten? You can replace the rubber with aluminum or fiberglass. if the cieling panels are OK then it might be just the underlay thats rotten. On some of those little rigs the only thing under the rubber is 1/8 inch panelling. It wouldn't take much to rot that.
     
  12. minky

    minky New Member

  13. minerz

    minerz Member

    RE: Rotten roof

    I did a 20 ft Nomad about 7 years ago. I did mine from the inside and outside because that is what I ran into. Some things could be done from the inside and some from the outside. I replaced all the wood including the paneling as I couldn't match up the paneling to my likeing. The work wasn't bad, but it took me a lot longer than I expected it to. I spent almost three months on it. I could have done it faster, but one thing seemed to lead me to another. Only piece of advice I can give you is unless you are planning on keeping the trailer forever all the stuff you are taking off may be a turn off to a buyer in later years. I kept the Nomad for about two years and sold it to some folks just getting started in RVing. I actually made money on the materials, but basicly donated my time. All in all it gave me the basics of a working RV. The Nomad was a nice trailer, but the folks that owned it never checked the roof at all. If they had they could have sealed a spot or two and saved a lot of damage in it. It was a fun project, but I didn't get much camping done in the first year. I don't think however I would do another one. Have fun with your project. Happy Camping.
     
  14. minky

    minky New Member

    RE: Rotten roof

    Thank you for the encouraging words, Minerz. Sounds like you had a successful project and learning adventure. In my travels, I recently met a good soul who runs a large junkyard, was a fabricator, and worked at a truck trailer repair shop. Basically, he's a crafty tinkerer and he wants to take the project on -- has the large garage space and all. He hasn't given me a price yet, but he promises that it won't be expensive. (He's a friend of a friend.) He said that he plans on fixing it like a truck trailer roof. I'll let you know how it comes out. My only reservation might be the weight of the materials and I will discuss that with him. I'll let you know how it works out.
     
  15. minerz

    minerz Member

    RE: Rotten roof

    Good for you. Go for the gusto. I will tell you that being I took so much off of the inside everywhere I possiblycould I changed the flimsy would frame to a good sturdy 4x4 frame. Through the inside dimensions off, and then went with fat bat (as I call it) house insulation. Stayed warmer in cold hunting weather and cool in warmer summer weather. And I really was proud of my work and enjoyed it. But all good things come to an end. I sold it and stepped up to a new 5er. Now I am on my fourth 5er and one thing I don't panic when I see a problem. Have a good one. Happy camping.
     

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