How to Find the Best RV Sealant and Coating
Let’s be honest, a recreational vehicle isn’t exactly a small purchase. Chances are you spent a sizeable amount to get the RV of your dreams. So it perhaps goes without saying that you’re now looking forward to really getting your money’s worth and enjoying many years of good times out on the open road.
Of course, to do that means keeping that RV in optimum condition, ensuring that you continue to enjoy a maximum return on your big investment long after you first pick up the keys. It’s for this reason that when it comes to taking care of your vehicle, only the very best RV sealant and coating will do.
An essential part of your RV maintenance kit, top sealant and coating solutions not only add an extra layer of protection to your prized recreational vehicle, but also ensure it’s a perfectly comfortable place to spend time in, and even improve its energy efficiency.
In fact, it’s such a versatile and beneficial product that few serious RV owners would ever consider going without it.
With sealant and coating in such high demand then, it’s little wonder that scores of leading brands have launched their own varieties, each one offering something slightly different in order to appeal to the discerning RV enthusiast and capture their own share of their market.
On the one hand, this is great news.
It means that when it comes to giving your RV the care and attention it truly deserves, you’ve got literally scores of options to choose from.
On the other hand, having such a vast array of products to choose from can leave you feeling confused and even frustrated. After all, with so many top brands promising to work miracles on your vehicle, how do you know which ones you can trust, or even which ones actually work?
That’s a question we’ll set out to answer today as we explain exactly how to find the absolute best sealant and coating solutions for your RV.
We’ll also talk through many of your other big questions you’ve been dying to ask about choosing and using one of the many different products currently available.
That’s not all.
Below, we’ll also offer our expert pick of the top five products currently on the market and discuss the pros and cons of each one to help you make the most fully informed purchase decision possible.
Before we dive into that top five guides, however, let’s get to the one sealant and coating question we get asked the most by new RV owners.
What is RV sealant and coating?
RV roof coating or sealant is weather and waterproof product applied to the roof of your RV in order to protect it from the elements and other forms of damage
The longer you own your RV, the more it becomes susceptible to all kinds of minor wear and tear.
A lashing rainfall here, a baking hot sun there, even a strong wind that blows dirt and debris onto the roof when you’re out on the road, it all takes its toll, causing your roof to weaken and potentially even crack in places.
That’s to say nothing of the problems that can come in the winter months when your RV is stationary at home. Temperature changes and other wintery conditions can cause a build-up of moisture which only causes further damage.
Eventually, all of this starts to severely limit the enjoyment and comfort you get from your RV.
A weakened roof is likely to leak if it gets wet and ruins the interior of your vehicle. Meanwhile, moisture can seep through any cracks in the roof, resulting in a serious damp problem.
RV sealant and coating solutions prevent all of this by sealing up any cracks or leaks, preventing future cracks, and providing a durable layer of added protection against water, moisture, sunlight and other potential damage.
Other benefits to coating your RV roof
Is protecting your roof really that big of a deal?
In a word, yes.
Let’s set aside the fact that if all that damage to your roof goes untreated it could cost you a small fortune to repair and look at some of the other major benefits to coating and sealing your RV roof.
Make no mistake about it, it takes an awful lot of energy to power RV, and all that energy costs money.
Adding a coating to your roof reduces those costs by providing added insulation from outside temperatures and keeping heat or air conditioning from escaping. As such, you use less energy to keep your vehicle at an appropriate temperature, making it not only more eco-friendly but also more fuel-efficient.
Protect your RV accessories
You’ve likely spent a tidy sum kitting yourself out with the latest RV accessories, so doesn’t it make sense that you’d want to keep them in pristine condition?
Moisture that leaks into your RV could cause damage to your most expensive pieces of equipment, so it pays to add a sealant or coating to protect them.
Few things are more likely to ruin your big trip than miserable living conditions.
Whether it’s a leaky roof that leads to soggy floors and furnishings when it rains, rising moisture causing a damp problem or simply cold air bustling through the cracks, the weather can cause you some serious discomfort if it seeps through into the living space of your RV.
The coating protects from all of that so that you and your loved ones can relax in the peace and comfort you deserve.
Protect the structure of your vehicle
Damage to your roof rarely stays in isolation. The added wear and tear can start to spread to other areas of your vehicle, eventually causing structural damage that can be very expensive to repair and wreak havoc on your insurance costs.
What are the different types of RV roof coating?
Before you go diving into your purchasing decision, it’s imperative that you know at least a little something about the different types of coating and sealants available.
The most common solutions are made from either acrylic, urethane, rubber, and silicone, but choosing which one to use isn’t just a matter of personal preference.
Each particular type has its own advantages and disadvantages, and you’ll likely find that some types are better suited to your individual needs than others.
Below, we’ll offer a brief overview of the four most popular types of RV sealant and coating.
By far the most affordable option, acrylic coating works especially well as a cheap and simple solution for minor damage, or to provide a quick-fix until you have the time and money to invest in more intensive RV roof repair work.
Offering a good level of UV and water resistance, acrylic can reflect a decent amount of sunlight and protect against the majority of water damage and leaking. However, they tend not to do so well against ponding water, nor are they as long-lasting and durable as other types.
What’s more, whereas some types of coating can provide effective protection with just one coat, acrylic usually requires at least a primer and fabric reinforcer before it can do any good.
Overall, a good option to quickly patch things up while you’re out on the road, but for better, longer-lasting protection, you might want to try something else.
Typically, acrylic forms the base of rubber coating solutions, so if you see a rubber-based product on our list, take it as read that the information we’ve just given you applies to those products.
Though usually more expensive than acrylic, urethane is also much more durable and is even tougher than silicone and rubber coating when the required two coats are applied.
Highly resistant to wind, rain, and sunlight, urethane also provides strong protection against the impact of falling objects such as loose tree branches.
What’s more, unlike acrylic coating, it also offers a strong defense against ponding water.
Other than the price, the only major drawback with urethane is the smell. When you apply it, you’ll be confronted with a powerful, pungent odor that is off-putting, to say the least.
So, if your stomach is easily turned by strong smells, this may be one to avoid.
Silicone is perhaps the best option to use if your RV is usually kept in an area with high temperatures and lots of sunlight, or if you’re planning a road trip to parts of the US known for their scorching heat.
Though it does provide decent protection against rain, wind, and ponding water, it’s reflectivity and ability to counter excessive temperatures which really set silicone apart as a popular roof coating.
It’s the most expensive type of coating to buy, however, the initial cost is offset by the fact that you only need a single coating for it to be effective. Ultimately, this does prove to offer value for money and works out at about the same cost as those which require two coats simply because you can get away with buying less of it.
On the plus side, the silicone coating is usually very easy to apply, making the whole process much less arduous than other types.
On the downside, however, silicone does tend to cling on to dirt, so if you opt for this kind of coating, be prepared to spend a fair amount of time cleaning your RV.
Finally, it’s important to note that if you use silicone once, you’re effectively making a long-term commitment to using it for good. Silicone coating can only be re-coated with more silicone, so that’s something worth keeping in mind.
Best RV sealant and coating overview
Now that you’ve had the opportunity to decide which type of coating may be best for your RV, it’s time to unveil which products our RV maintenance experts determined to be the five very best sealant and coating solutions currently on the market.
Don’t have time to dive into the in-depth reviews right now?
Don’t worry, here’s our brief overview of 2019’s leading products.
$50 – $80
$30 – $50
$85 – $105
$30 – $50
The go-to roof coating for millions of RV owners, Heng’s Rubber Roof Coating earns rave reviews for its versatility, durability and overall effectiveness in protecting against the elements.
Having used it ourselves, we’re inclined to agree that Heng’s really do make the best RV roof coating on the market today.
Sold in one-gallon tubs capable of coating an area of up to 125 feet, the sheer volume alone you get makes it perfect for coating the entire roof surface of even larger vehicles like Class A motorhomes, providing intense protection against wind, rain and UV rays.
That’s just for starters.
Heng’s is equally as adept at fixing minor tears and cracks as it as a whole-roof coating solution, and it’s especially useful when used to seal up vents and AC system.
Once applied to your EPDM rubber roof, this tough, fast-acting product works well at not only providing solid protection against the elements but also in keeping your roof free from dirt and debris.
If there’s one thing we like most about this particular product, it’s how very easy it is to use. The smooth texture isn’t too unlike regular house paint, which makes the application a breeze.
However, that very same texture is also one of the biggest drawbacks to Heng’s. It’s relatively thin which makes applying a second a necessity. Even then, a few years down the line, you’ll likely find that you need to repeat the whole coating process.
Still, we think that’s a small price to pay for the absolute unparalleled levels of protection you get when you apply Heng’s Rubber Roof Coating, especially as it can be used for a whole variety of situations.
Heng’s Rubber Roof Coating specifications:
- Type: Acrylic rubber
- Size: 1-gallon
- Price range: $50 – $80
- Amazon rating: 4.2 out of five stars
Heng’s Rubber Roof Coating pros
- Provides up to 125ft of coating
- Effective at sealing cracks and tears
- Expands and contracts in the heat for more effective protection
Heng’s Rubber Roof Coating cons
- Not as durable as other types of coating, making re-coating every few years essential.
Since it only comes in relatively small 10.3-ounce applicator tubes, you’ll need an awful lot of Dicor’s 501LSW-1 – Self-leveling Sealant, not to mention a whole lot of time and patience, to coat your entire roof with it.
Yet while using it for that purpose may not exactly practical, Dicor 501LSW-1 is absolutely ideal for keeping in your RV in case of roof-related emergencies while you’re out on the road.
Its small size means it fits comfortably in a draw or your toolbox while the applicator means it can be used without using any additional equipment.
Should you experience a crack, tear, or other minor roof damage while out on the road, you simply pull this one out and fix it in no time flat.
Still, don’t let this self-leveling sealant’s size fool you. Though there isn’t much of it, Dicor 501LSW-1 is an incredibly powerful sealant.
Whether it’s used as an emergency solution or as a preventative measure to seal up vents, air conditioners and around screw heads, this sealant offers an exceptional level of protection against the elements.
What’s more, it works just as well on aluminum, vinyl and mortar wood as it does on EPDM sheeting, making it one of the more well-rounded products on our list.
On a similar note, we also like the fact that it comes in a variety of color options to create a smooth, professional finish.
If this was a practical option for coating your entire roof, we’d be tempted to rank this above Heng’s in the top spot, though for now, we’re happy to list Dicor’s powerful self-leveling sealant as a very strong second.
Dicor 501LSW-1 specifications:
- Type: Rubber
- Size: 10.3 oz
- Price range: $30 – $50
- Amazon rating: 4.7 out of five stars
Dicor 501LSW-1 pros
- Works great on all kinds of materials from EPDM to aluminum and more
- The small size makes it perfect to keep in your RV for emergencies
- Available in a variety of colors to match your RV roof
Dicor 501LSW-1 cons
- Small sizes make it impractical to seal an entire roof
Though acrylic rubber options make up the majority of our list thanks to their durability and reasonable pricing, we’d be remiss if we didn’t give the nod to GacoRoof for their fantastic silicone-based roof coating.
With even the cheapest price options starting around $85, GacoRoof GR1600-1 is unquestionably the most expensive product on our list, but in this case, you really do get what you pay for in the best possible sense.
While all of the products we’ve featured do a good job of protecting against rainwater, this one is undoubtedly the best option for preventing the horrible effects of ponding water, ensuring your roof -and therefore your RV as a whole- is almost entirely immune from water damage.
We’re also big fans of the level of protection it offers against UV rays, ensuring your RV is kept as cool as possible on those long, hot summer road trips.
Beyond the excess expense, the only major drawback to this silicone roof coating is that it does require recoating every couple of years, though again we say that’s more than worth it for the outstanding protection you get in the meantime.
GacoRoof GR1600-1 specifications:
- Type: silicone
- Size: 1 gallon
- Price range: $85 – $105
- Amazon rating: 4.6 out of five stars
GacoRoof GR1600-1 pros
- Very resistant against ponding water
- Covers up to 100 square feet of roofing
- Highly durable and weather-resistant.
GacoRoof GR1600-1 cons
- Very expensive
- Likely requires recoating after a couple of years
If you live in a particularly warm climate, or if you’ll be spending a lot of time traveling around parts of the country known for their extremely high temperatures, then investing in a few tins of Kool Seal KST063600-16 Elastomeric Roof Coating is practically essential.
Specially formulated to provide long-lasting protection in harsh weather environments, this highly durable elastomeric coating famously protects against 90% of harmful UV rays ensuring that sun damage is something you never have to worry about.
Sold in a 115 fl oz container, you may need to stock up on quite a few tins to really coat the entire roof, but in our estimation, this is more than worth it.
Along with protecting against sunlight, Kool Seal is incredibly water-resistant, meaning it does just a good a job protecting you from leaks and moisture build-up as it does from the sunlight.
Perhaps our favorite aspect is just how easy it to use and to clean up afterward.
Requiring nothing more than a brush and a roller to apply effectively, Kool Seal cleans up impeccably well even if you just use water, thus avoiding the kind of a mess and arduous clean-up process that comes with most other brands.
Kool Seal Elastomeric Roof Coating specifications:
- Type: Elastomeric
- Size: 115 oz.
- Price range: $30- $50
- Amazon rating: 4out of five stars
Kool Seal Elastomeric Roof Coating pros
- Incredible protection against UV rays
- Very easy to clean up
- Highly durable
Kool Seal Elastomeric Roof Coating cons
- Thin texture requires multiple coats for maximum effectiveness.
As one of the most popular brands in the RV maintenance industry, it’s no surprise to see Dicor once again feature in our list.
This time, it’s their RPCRPQ EPDM Rubber Roofing Coating which makes the grade thanks to its low cost and high levels of protection.
Retailing between $25 and $40 is an excellent option for those who want to enjoy the kind of premium quality that the Dicor brand built its reputation on without paying over the odds.
One of the most durable liquid roof coatings currently on the market, a typical quart of Dicor RPCRPQ covers a large surface area making it very effective for whole-roof protection against wind, rain, snow, and other extreme conditions.
That said, Dicor always seems to come into their own when acting as a sealant for vents and air conditioning systems, and this one certainly doesn’t disappoint in that arena.
Well-renowned for its sticking capabilities, RPCRPQ applies incredibly well, taking minimal effort to ensure maximum protection for years to come.
Dicor Roof Coating specifications:
- Type: Rubber
- Size: 33 ounces
- Price range: $25- $40
- Amazon rating: 4.4 out of five stars
Dicor Roof Coating pros
- Low cost
- Excellent for sealing vents and AC systems
- Great sticking capabilities
Dicor Roof Coating Cons
- Thin texture means multiple coats are required
As you’ll see from our guide above, acrylic rubber-based solutions typically provide the best value for money, offering the strongest levels of protection per dollar than other types.
We say that even though our number-one ranked product, Heng’s Rubber Roof Coating is at the higher end of the price scale.
Retailing for between $50 – $80, Heng’s might not be the cheapest product on the market, but it truly is worth every penny when you consider what an impressive job it does of protecting your roof against the elements.
Of course, we understand that keeping a gallon of Heng’s to hand when you’re out on the road may not be the most practical option, which is why we also strongly recommend keeping a tube of Dicor’s 501LSW-1 Self-leveling Sealant in your kit just in case of emergencies.
Other than that, you really can’t go wrong with any of the brands on our list, meaning the one you choose is likely going to come down to price and personal preference.
Frequently asked questions about RV sealant and coating
So far, we’ve given you a wealth of information to help you find the best sealant and coating for your RV, but if you still have questions, you may find the answers you’re looking for below.
What should I look for when choosing a sealant or coating?
You take the care and maintenance of your recreational vehicle seriously, which is why choosing the right sealant and coating isn’t a decision you should take lightly.
While we’ve given you our take on what we believe to be the best brands currently available, here are a few things you might want to consider when choosing one for yourself.
The majority of RV roofs are made from rubber, which is precisely why rubber roof coatings are so popular. However, yours might be made from metal or fiberglass, which is likely to mean you need a different type of coating.
Fortunately, any reputable product will always tell you on the label exactly what kind of roof, so be sure to check first before you buy.
Environmental impact and toxicity
In this day and age, it should be a given that all sealant and coating products are environmentally safe, non-toxic and non-polluting.
Unfortunately, this isn’t universally the case as products made in other countries may not need to pass the same kind of environmental and health & safety impact tests as those produced here in the United States.
For peace of mind, stick to those brands you know you can trust not to cause any harm to you, your vehicle, and the environment as a whole.
If there’s one factor that’s more important than any other, it’s this one.
The durability of your chosen coating will determine how good it is at providing quality protection against the elements, and for how long.
The best brands around are those that are fully water and weather resistant, that doesn’t crack under extreme heat, and that can continue protecting your vehicle for at least two years without the need for a re-coat.
Ease of application
Coating your roof may be an important job, but that doesn’t mean it has to be hard work.
When selecting the best product for your RV, look for one that can be easily applied using a brush or a roller to make the whole thing as quick and simple as possible.
While you’re at it, consider the cleanup process too. You should be able to clear away any excess or spillages with a rag and some water. Anything beyond that and the whole process becomes much more difficult than it needs to be.
How do you apply roof coating?
To start with, you’ll benefit immensely by giving your roof a thorough clean before you start work on the coating.
A good old fashioned bucket of soap and water may suffice if your roof is in relatively good condition, though for anything else you may want to consider specialist vehicle cleaning solutions.
Next, remove any loose or flaking coating to ensure you’ve got a completely smooth surface to work on.
Remember that many sealants and coatings are flammable, so make sure the ignition is off and that the area is completely safe before you start work.
If you’re coating the whole roof, then measuring it’s size first will help you determine just how much you’re going to need, as will checking whether the particular brand you’ve purchased requires one or two coats to be effective.
Finally, you can use a brush or roller to apply the coating, leaving it for several hours to fully dry before applying an additional coat.
If you found this guide helpful, you may also enjoy our review of the best truck campers, or, if you’re new to the RV lifestyle, why not take the time to explore our ultimate guide to RV living?