Tuesday, February 3, 2015


The recent episode of the disappearing roof vent cover raises the general question of what RV repairs I can expect to do myself and what I need to hand off to the pro's.

The easy case: repairs to the rear axle differential.  Not me.  I lack tools, experience, knowledge, and workspace.

But things like the vent cover and roof maintenance?  I'll clamber up on the roof some time today and look at the situation, and I'll know more.  Couple thoughts here: The industry seems to have standardized on dimensions of some components.  RV roof vents, for example, seem to mostly be 14 X 14 inches.  There are three materials used for RV roofs: metal (think Airstream,) fiberglass, and rubber.  (Mine is rubber.)  Parts seem readily available through Amazon.  Manufacturers and owners post how-to videos for LOTS of projects, including vent and vent cover replacements.  The scariest part has to do with maintaining the integrity of the roof: not making unwanted holes and sealing the ones you want.

For holes, there seems to be a generalized process: drill pilot holes (gulp!),  put butyl tape around the perimeter of the object, put screws through the holes and the tape and tighten just enough to see the butyl "ooze" out between the vent and the roof, then use Dicor self-leveling caulk on the screws and all around the edge of the vent.  Perhaps famous last words, but that seems do-able.   If I'm replacing an existing vent, removing the old vent without damaging the roof seems like the trickiest part.

As long as specialized and expenses tools aren't required, I don't see why I can't tackle this kind of project.

But:  I've had back problems for years, and recently I've been dealing with old knee injuries which have gone acute.  Getting up and down off the roof and moving around up there will be, well, challenging.  I'm OK with doing things which hurt, as long as the pain doesn't mean I'm causing further injury. I have to be. More important is whether this (or similar projects) would raise safety issues.

With care, I think not.  We'll see.   If it's a long time before the next post, you'll know why.

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