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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Coating our Fiberglass Roof on the Motorhome

On our 1996 Safari Serengeti, our filon fiberglass roof can be known to get tiny microscopic cracks and fissures after 10 years of age.... resulting in potential leaks! Although we don’t have any leaks yet, we decided it was a good idea to Git Er Dun! 

roof coating Aug 20092
3 years ago, we had already replaced the sealant tape at the front and rear caps with new layers of Eternabond, removing the OEM sealing tape that was on there.  We also used Eternabond around the sky light, and roof vents.  

These are common places for leaks to start, so we did the preventative thing and had sealed those too the first year owned the rig. 

So, keeping in mind that we want this rig to last a looonggg time, we decided to take the advice of the guys on the Safari list with rigs the same vintage of ours.  They are all coating their roofs with a special elastomeric coating made for fiberglass roofs.... (similar to Kool-Seal, but we had to get the formula made for fiberglass roofs like on our rig)

roof coating Aug 20093
The roof surface on our rig is like a textured sheet of fiberglass that is laid on top of the substructure and sealed around the edges, but left loose in the middle to allow for expansion and contraction in temperature changes. 

But not being sealed down allows for any little leak around vents, AC units, or skylights to let in water and create horrible damages.  
Thus the preventative care is very important.
We checked the weather forecast and found three days in a row of nice 70-80 degree days and warm nights, without any rain in sight.  We hoped.

roof coating Aug 20091
First,  Stevio scrubbed the roof really good with TSP, a heavy duty cleanser.  He then rinsed with a lot of hot water, and let it dry...

The next day after work at 3pm, we both got up there and got busy!
roof coating Aug 200910

Whew, I sure don't like heights, but with adrenaline rushing and heart pounding, I joined him up there to work fast as a team effort to get it done!

I sure was clutching that ladder!!!! I HATE heights.. but Steveio needed my help, so I bit the bullet and squeezed my eyes shut and did it. The worst part is when you reach the top of the ladder and have to swing your leg around to get ON the roof.

finished roof coating 6

Even with 
Steveio holding the ladder firmly down on the ground, I was still a scared silly mouse. Tee heeeee

Using blue painter’s tape, we taped off the sides where the white roof meets the blue colored sidewalls. 

I crawled around on my hands and knees, hand brushing liberal amounts around all the vents, air conditioners, skylight and antennas.

finished roof coating 4

Steveio rolled the remaining parts with a thick napped roller on a long handle.
He got to stand, I was too scared to stand!


finished roof coating 5

 There are a lot of different brands of elastomeric coatings out there.
You have to find one that works for your type of roof. (ours was fiberglass in this case)
Read the cans and find something with a long warranty life.
Ours said 7 years if you do two coats.
roof coating sealant1
(DON'T use that fibered roof coating stuff that is used for mobile homes, it's very thick black tarry stuff that dries silver-- I did that on my old motorhome in the 90's ... not good, and not the right product for a flexing moving structure)

roof coating Aug 20098

Here is the brand we bought, called SealBest at Menards, a mid-west home improvement chain. 

We used almost a full gallon with the first coat.
This is a wide body motorhome almost 40 feet long.
We used the second gallon and rolled it on as thick as we could.

roof coating Aug 20099The warranty reads that you must put on 2 coats to comply with the 7 year warranty. There was still some left, so Steve got almost a full third coat done before we ran out.


roof coating Aug 200911

finished roof coating 1

It was a job well done.

Wonder what the next project is going to be???


  1. I find it's 'shaky ladders' that bother me more than the height & I know what you mean about either transferring from the rigs ladder to the roof or back again. Back again seems a little more stressful. Really have to be careful of heights though because we sure don't bounce as good as we used to!!

  2. WOW!!! What a big job but I must add you did a very professional job better than most dealers would do. I have a fiberglass roof do you want to do mine...... hahha

  3. Weldon and Sandy... umm we start at $100 bucks an hour, ok? LOL

    Al, yup, these Bumbles don't Bounce!

    When we were grinding and restaining the log house, once I got above the 2nd story windows, my legs would shake uncontrollably.

    No matter how hard I tried to convince myself that I was only one step higher than before, my legs did NOT believe me.

  4. You guys are amazing! I don't know if I could get on the roof. I'm definitely not very steady!

  5. Great job, Karen, the roof sure looks nice!

  6. Those are a couple of really ambitious projects. Must feel like a brand new unit now though... Great work.

  7. Thanks for the well detailed presentation. Should be hosted at the SafariFriends site, too. Great to remind us all. We used KoolSeal back in 2008 and don't think it stated "fiberglass" It may be time to recoat this summer. Happy trails and thanks again.

  8. Thanks so much! Once again, you have inspired and educated us. We need to do this, too!


  9. How is your roof looking now? It's been almost 5 years now.

    I want to do our 1999 Itasca Suncruiser with a fiberglass roof that has lived it's life in Florida.


  10. Great Blog :) My husband and I are wondering how your roof is doing now? (10/2015). We want to coat our fiberglass roof and are looking for a good product to use.


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