Most RV dealers will tell you it’s normal for RV rubber roofs to form bubbles under the rubber. But during my research I found that if the rubber roof is installed correctly, bubbles will not form. I guess that means, according to RV dealers, it is normal for rubber roofs to be installed improperly?  

You have a couple options to get bubbles out of your rubber RV roof. If your RV is under warranty take it to your dealer and ask them to repair it. If they won’t repair it, then you’ll have to take matters into your own hands. You can get repair kits that help you suck the air out of the bubbles with a syringe then fill the tiny syringe hole with rubber roof glue. Or you can cut out the bubbling pieces of the roof and replace them with a patch of EPDM or TPO.

EPDM and TPO are what RV rubber roofs (and rubber house roofs) are made of. To help your rubber roof last as long as possible it’s important to clean it properly.

EPDM stands for Ethylene, Propylene, Diene Monomer. 

TPO stands for Thermoplastic Polyolefin.

What is bubbling and why does it happen?

RV roof bubbling is just want it sounds like, bubbles form under your RV roof. You see them as bumps.

They start small and if they stay small then you can leave them.  But if they get bigger then you’ll want to fix them as fast as you can.

If you want to track their size you can take pictures and record the day/year the pictures were taken. Over time take more pictures to see if the size changes. 

You can also use a sharpie to draw an outline around the bubble today. Then look again in a few months to see if the bubbles have grown.

Bubbles under your rubber RV roof are most commonly caused by improper installation

When the rubber roof was installed the roof surface either wasn’t completely clean or it wasn’t completely dry, which means the adhesive wasn’t able to bond properly with the rubber.  Or the adhesive wasn’t applied evenly during installation.

You may also have a roof that was installed properly, but over time some loosening has occured at the seams which lets water sneak under the rubber.

The bottom line is if the bubbles are getting larger or if they are large when you first spot them, you need to fix them.

How to fix the bubbling?

You have a number of options to fix the bubbling.

First, if your RV is under warranty take it to your dealer and ask them to fix it.

Even if your RV isn’t under warranty you can take it to your dealer, but they may charge you an arm and a leg to fix it.

The much cheaper option is to get a roof repair kit.

These come in the form of patches, glues and tape.

One method is to use a syringe to poke into the air bubble and suck out all the air. This should pull the rubber down to the RV surface.  Then try to squeeze some adhesive into the syringe hole to keep it sealed, this can be a bit of challenge because syringe holes are exceedingly small.

You can also cut a small slit into the bubble using a sharp utility knife. Then squirt construction adhesive into the bubble through the slit. Then use a rolling pin or a piece of PVC pipe to roll and press down hard on the repaired bubble.

Then you can cover the slit with roof repair tape. Roll over the tape a few times as well to make sure it’s stuck on there.

You can use this method for small bubbles and large bubbles alike.  

If the bubble is a few feet across then you’ll probably want to make a slit every 12 inches or so with your utility knife. Squirt glue in all directions in each slit, roll over the entire bubble using a piece of long PVC pipe and the tape the slits.

You can also get patch kits. These work on EPDM rubber, TPO, metal, fiberglass, vinyl, and aged or rigid PVC. 

First, you have to cut a hole into the bubbling piece of your RV rubber roof so the air can be released. If the bubble doesn’t flatten, push it down to push out all the air. Then clean the surface thoroughly using denatured alcohol. Then apply the patch and you’re off to the races.

If you have an EPDM rubber roof, then after you’ve completed your roof repairs, it’s a good idea to reseal your entire roof using a EPDM roof coating.

What happens if I don’t fix roof bubbling?

When the roof bubbles are small and if they stay small then nothing happens. You just have some small bubbles.

But if you have small bubbles that you don’t fix, they may become bigger and bigger.  Your rubber roof is exposed to a lot of windsheer when you’re doing high speeds for extended periods of time. Those little bubbles will catch the wind zipping over the top of your roof.

Over time that windsheer can cause the bubbles to expand or even shred. Once the shredding starts you need to act quickly to repair your roof. If the shredding is too severe then you’ll probably need to get your roof replaced.

Sometimes, if you have large bubbles on your roof, they become larger when you’re driving fast because of pressure differences between the air in the bubble and the air rushing over the roof.  It is the same principle that allows airplanes to fly. In this case, it makes the roof bubbles expand. Since rubber is elastic, the bubble can become a LOT larger when you’re driving fast.

When you slow down the bubble will go back to the size it was before, so you, the driver or passenger in the RV, don’t know it happened.  But the people driving beside you on the freeway will be able to see it.

Products you’ll find helpful in your roof repairs

Cofair UBE88 Quick Roof Extreme Patch with Applicator – 8″ x 8″

The biggest complaint about this patch is that it is only 8 by 8 inches.  You can cut it to size or use the whole patch or use multiple patches at the same time. Just make sure you slightly overlap them.

You can also cut it into strips and use the patch strips to seal loose or damaged seams.

According to the customer questions, you can use this patch for the sides of RVs and for the awning. It’s flexible enough to roll up in your awning without peeling.

It can be used to patch these types of surfaces: EPDM rubber, TPO, metal, fiberglass, vinyl and aged or rigid PVC.

Just make sure you thoroughly clean the surface with alcohol before you apply it.

Check products specs, pricing and custom reviews here.

RV Roof Sealant Tape, Super Waterproof Tape

This roof sealant tape is 4 inches wide and 50 feet long. 

It works similarly to the patch, but there’s a lot more of it and it’s not quite as wide.

You can cut it into thinner strips to seal seams as well.  This tape is great for sealing the small repair slits I talked about earlier in the article.

Check products specs, pricing and custom reviews here.

Dicor RPCRC1 White EPDM Rubber Roof Coating – 1 Gallon

If you have just finished a repair on an EPDM roof then it’s a good idea to seal the entire roof with a coating like this one.

Check products specs, pricing and custom reviews here