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Can You Paint A Rubber RV Roof? [And How To]

A well-designed rubber RV roof can help improve the overall aesthetics of the vehicle. But can you paint the rubber roof of your RV? If so, how can you do it? We researched for your convenience, and here’s the process that we found.

First, ensure that the rubber RV roof is clean and devoid of issues like cracks and holes. Then, continue the process by following these steps:

  1. Mask the areas that you don't want to paint.
  2. Use a paint roller dipped into your preferred paint to cover large sections of the roof.
  3. Use a paintbrush for smaller sections.
  4. Let the paint dry and cure before adding a second coat.
  5. Remove the covers masking the areas.

The entire operation might seem like a fairly straightforward endeavor at first glance. But you might make mistakes if you miss a few vital details. Keep reading as we talk about this process in greater detail. We’ll also discuss other important matters like the correct paint to use on an RV rubber roof.

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A parked camper van with three solar panels on top of the roof, Can You Paint A Rubber RV Roof? [And How To]

What Paint Can You Use On Rubber?

The paint to use on an RV roof depends on the type of rubber used as its main material. EPDM rubber usually works best with acrylic paint. You can also use latex paint on EPDM RV roofing, but only if the manufacturer can suggest this option.

As for TPO roofs, you should use elastomeric paint. Additionally, using good-quality elastomeric paint can remove the need to use a surface primer before adding the first coat. You may also use acrylic paint to coat a TPO RV roof. However, this type of paint will require a primer for it to adhere properly to the surface.

Can Liquid Rubber Be Painted Over?

You can paint over liquid rubber coating on an RV roof. However, some paints may not adhere to the rubber material. Oil-based paints, along with certain varnishes, are some examples that won’t stick to rubber properly.

How Do I Paint My RV Roof?

Motor home with solar panel

Before starting a paint job for your RV’s roof, ensure that you repair any issues that may linger on the surface. Some of the additional tasks that you may need to perform are removing erosions, sealing cracks, and replacing gaskets.

Next, you need to ensure that the roof is clean. A pressure washer can help you in this regard, particularly when removing tough stains.

Once you finish the preparations, you can proceed with painting the RV roof by following this guide:

What You’ll Need

  • Preferred paint
  • Plastic cover(s)
  • Adhesive
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Cover or mask large areas with plastic drapes to protect them from paint drips. Secure the cover with a fairly strong yet easily removable adhesive like painter’s tape.
  2. Use a roller to apply your choice of paint onto large areas of the rubber roof. A paintbrush can be ideal for painting small and tight areas.
  3. Apply a second coat of paint after the first coat dries and cures.
  4. Remove the plastic cover while the roof’s paint is still reasonably wet. Releasing the plastic cover can be difficult if you let the second coat dry and cure completely.

You can also watch the video below for additional tips on how to paint an RV rubber roof:

 

You can also read our guide on how to clean your RV roof effectively for a detailed process for that job. We also have a guide on how to fix certain RV roof problems if you need help in that regard. 

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What Colors Does EPDM Come In?

Variety of colored extruded rubber profile

EPDM can come in different colors, including black, white, and gray. It may also come in pastel shades, such as light blue or green. However, black is perhaps the most common choice out of the different EPDM colors.

A black-colored EPDM membrane generally has carbon black added to its formula, allowing better insulation than other color choices, particularly during the cold season. On the other hand, light-colored EPDM like white may use titanium oxide to help reflect UV rays and increase the lifespan of adjacent polymer.

Does A Dark RV Roof Get Hot In The Summer?

RV camper satellite TV dish

Dark-colored objects, including RV rooftops, often get hot during the summer. The reason is that dark colors, such as black, absorb a significant amount of light that hits them. In turn, the roof or other dark-colored material will heat up reasonably faster than when it’s in a shady place.

Since summer usually equates to additional exposure from the sun's UV rays, dark RV roofs may get hotter quicker during this season.

Additionally, you can take a look at a paint’s Solar Reflective Index (SRI), which is a coefficient that measures the substance’s ability to release residual heat. A higher SRI rating usually indicates that the paint used on a surface will get hotter slower than when you apply a lower SRI paint.

Spray Vs. Rolling Paint On RV Roof

You can either spray or roll paint on an RV roof. It’s a matter of preference, albeit you should understand that both methods are often ideal for painting fairly large surface areas.

Also, if you choose to use a spray gun, make sure that you know how to use the tool. Some beginners might make paint spray gun mistakes like bubbles or runs.

Why Doesn’t Spray Paint Dry On Rubber?

Spray paint on rubber can dry, but it might take a long time before the paint dries and cures. However, direct applications of spray paint to rubber materials aren’t ideal. It’s because the paint won’t adhere to the surface unless you practice proper preparatory measures, such as applying primer before putting the base coat.

Also, you may need to consult the paint manufacturer for the appropriate drying and curing time of the product when applied to rubber. For example, applying Krylon Fusion spray paint on rubber may dry the product in about 10 minutes.

Take note that drying is different from curing; if the first coat is dry, you can add an extra layer to it. However, the paint might not be cured, yet. In other words, the paint hasn’t adhered to the rubber material completely. In the case of Krylon Fusion, it should take about a week for the paint to cure on rubber properly.

Check out this spray paint on Amazon.

How To Dry Spray Paint Faster?

It’s possible to make spray paint dry faster than usual by incorporating certain techniques. Some of these methods are:

Apply Thin Layers

Spraying thin coats of paint may take longer than usual because of the multiple applications. But this method allows the paint to dry faster than applying thick coats.

Use a Heater

A space heater may help dry the spray paint faster than average. Take note that this fairly compact heating unit may not be enough to help dry painted surfaces that possess relatively large surface areas like RV rooftops.

You may still use more than one heater. However, it also means using more power to run the appliances than usual.

Check out this space heater on Amazon.

Paint on a Warm, Dry Day

Painting during the wet season might make the spray paint dry longer than intended. Instead, schedule your spray painting sessions during fairly warm days, particularly in the summer.

Final Words

Make sure to prepare the rubber RV roof before painting it. Clean the surface and seal cracks are a couple of ways to ready the rooftop for a new coat. Then, use a paintbrush, roller, and/or spray gun to give the RV roof fresh coats.