The Dreaded Roof

It was a hot, muggy spring day when we surveyed Luna for the first time.  Damp and stuffy inside, we did our homework and checked everything out. Borrowing a ladder I climbed the side of the coach to see what we were dealing with on top.  We already knew a big limb had fallen on the coach, but when I reached the top of the ladder my heart sank. The roof was a mess. It was coated in a white “lifetime” coating, messy and several layers thick.  The rear skylight was completely gone with a piece of plastic screwed in place. There were 5 holes in the roof where the limb had fallen. I dreaded the work ahead, but knew it was part of the job.

Once the coach was home, we thought the bathroom would be our first job, but the rainy weather let us know, that wasn’t the case!  I went to work on the roof straight away. Using 15 minute paint stripper I started at the back, curb side on a ladder. Working in sections about 2 feet square I stripped the plastic coating. It took two or three applications of the stripper for each section.  Using plastic scrapers, razor blades, a stainless steel wire brush, idle threats, paint thinner and scrubby pads, I work on the roof day and night. Buried in the coating were TV coax cables, unused hardware and lots of loose or broken rivets. I worked up the curb side, it tooks several weekends and evenings, then down the driver’s side from the ladder too.  Every rivet got a drop or two of sealer, then a 1” round Eternabond dot on top. All the long seams were scraped clean and re-sealed. The gutter line got a good cleaning and seal too. Then the center section. The worst. Heavily coated and beat to smithereens by years of weather, foot traffic and of course the limb crash.

Temporary indoor stud wall to crown the roof

Before I climbed on the roof and started, I built a temporary stud wall inside the coach.  Driving in studs, all cut to the exact same length, the ceiling was “crowned” and lifted. Toward the front and rear ends, the ceiling barely felt the push of the stud wall, but in the middle, especially around the AC, the studs had to be driven in pretty hard, and the ceiling got up to a half inch of lift.  What this meant was that the whole time I worked on the center of the roof, not only was my weight not taking a toll on the roof, but the roof was being rebuilt with a nice crown. I stripped all the coating in the center section. Under the coating were water pockets and air bubbles. The center seam had lots of broken or rivets, probably from trapped moisture and freezing.  I pulled the old 17” vents, the AC the bathroom vent, plumbing vents, a satellite dish, TV antenna and an assortment of screws and odd hardware. Every square inch had to prepped and cleaned for new rivets and sealers.

Dirty work… let’s get going!

We installed almost 500 rivets working on the roof.  Both vents were grommeted and replaced with 14” vents.  A new AC was installed, so was a new bathroom vent. The fridge vent cover and kitchen exhaust cover were reinstalled. I put 5 small patches on the holes where the limb fell.   The roof was finished just in time for winter and we had a lot of snow. Everything stayed dry and clean. I’m looking forward to being able to manage the roof long into the future now that it is not coated.  Annual inspections should keep us current on seams and joints. I also bought an 18 volt leaf blower that has worked great to keep leaves and needles off the roof and awning covers. It was the most dreaded job I faced.  I’m glad to have it behind me.

Rivets, rivets, rivets… repeat.
Grommet to retrofit 14″ vent into a 17″ hole.
New Maxxair Vent… we love these!
Patches where roof was punctured by limb falling.
Finished product! She looks beautiful!

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