How and When to Walk on Your RV Roof

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People ask all the time if it’s safe for them to walk on their RV roof to do maintenance or otherwise, and the truth is there is no clearcut answer. Whether or not you can walk on your RV roof depends on the make and model of your vehicle, and the type of support the roof offers for one or more persons.

Oftentimes there may be something wrong with your roof vent or AC unit, and it’s necessary to get up on the RV roof to diagnose the problem, so it’s important to know whether you can walk safely on the RV roof or if you’ll need a ladder. In this lesson, we teach you when it’s okay to walk on your roof and talk about some of the ways you can do so safely and without doing any damage to the components on your RV roof or the roof itself.

Tips for walking on an RV roof

So we know that being able to walk on an RV roof depends upon the kind of structural support the roof offers, but what separates a strong roof from a weak one. Dave Solberg discusses some of the differences, from the framework to the placement of components such as roof vents and AC units. You’ll discover why it’s generally unadvised to walk on the RV roof of most cheaper models, and learn where to look for info on your specific model.

Once you’ve learned whether you can walk on your RV roof, Dave shows you how to go about navigating the weak points on a roof, especially spots around the edges of vents and other components. You don’t want to risk cracking supporting materials or splitting a seam in the roof, so pay attention to the way Dave avoids trouble areas as he walks from front to back of the RV. Utilize these expert tips the next time you walk on your RV roof, and you should have no trouble doing any maintenance work on your vehicle!

Discussion
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19 Responses to “How and When to Walk on Your RV Roof”
  1. william

    I have camper made by glendale fifth wheel easy rider. I would like to know if it is safe to walk on the roof? I don’t see anything on rv that says not to

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, William. We would be happy to assist you; we just need some more information. What is the make/model/year of your RV?

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi William. Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with your roof question. Usually manufacturers will put a label on the roof if it does not have the structure to walk on. I would stay a foot or more away from any edges of the vents and AC unit as these could be weak as well. If you get on the roof and it seems to be soft, use a 2’x6’ board spanned along the roof to displace the weight.

      Reply
    • Nathan

      I have a 2000 Coleman Bayside. It has a ABS roof made by Coleman. I was wondering if I could possibly walk on it to do maintenance on AC?

      Reply
      • Customer Service

        Hi Nathan. I would not recommend actually walking on those roofs. If you have to get on the roof for maintenance I would lay some wood planks across the roof to kneel on but I would not actually walk on or across the roof. There are cross members for support of the AC system but it is not made to support any more weight than that. The planks will distribute the weight across which will help. You also can only do this when the roof is down, never get on top when it is raised up. I recommend disconnecting everything from the AC from the inside when the roof is up and remove the AC bolts. Lower the roof and then pull the AC off to do any repair or maintenance to it off of the unit.
        Thanks
        Dan-RV Repair Club

        Reply
  2. Lee

    I have a 1988 35′ River Supreme park model I need to clean roof & seal coat but unsure how safe to walk on it, I’ve been before but crawled but now need to walk go front to rear

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Lee,

      I would suggest staying close to the edge as there is more support and
      framework at the roof to sidewall joint. Also, stay away from
      openings such as roof vents, air conditioner and such, at least 2′.
      To be safe, use a 2’x6′ board to distribute the weight, typically a 6′
      piece is easy to maneuver.

      Thanks,

      David
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

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      https://go.rvrepairclub.com/C11605

      Reply
  3. Gerard Kersten

    It would be nice to address whether or not you can walk on the roof of the slide-outs. I never thought you could but when I brought my trailer (2016 Sundance 288RLS – NOT the Ultra-lite models they make now) in for an inspection, the technician walked right out onto the roof of the slides.

    Reply
  4. Kenneth

    If your rv has a built-in ladder, and the wall it is attached to seems solid (no evidence of delamination) then go for it. I’d recommend going on hands and knees (with a set of nonrigid foam or cloth based knee pads) because that spreads the load out over 3 or 4 points of contact, rather than 1 or 2 with just your feet. You will need to get down on hands and knees anyway to inspect the condition of the caulk around all openings. Bases of skylights are particularly prone to issues. Recaulk anything that looks cracked, worn, has holes or gaps in it, or is aged to the point that it is no longer pliable. Look at the condition of the roof membrane itself too – EPDM or TPO rubber material should be firmly adhered to the plywood underneath, and not easily dislodged or scraped off. Any area of the roof that does not feel firm, or gives way when pressed is very likely a sign of rotted wood underneath and needs to be examined by an RV technician specializing in roof repair ASAP. Once water finds an opening, it will very quickly begin traveling through the interior ceiling and walls until it reaches the floor, progressively rotting through whatever wood it encounters along the way, often with no visible signs on the interior of the RV. In well constructed RVs, by the time damage is visible on the interior, the repair bill might cost more than the rv is worth. Inspect your roof 4 times a year or more, depending on rainfall, if necessary take it to an RV service center and have them perform a roof inspection. I wish I knew you could walk on the roof of your RV before I bought mine: would have saved me over a thousand dollars in materials alone and countless hours researching things on the internet and more than 2 weeks on the roof repairing it. And I was lucky – my roof repair was confined to a 2×2 square foot section that did not involve any structural members – these fortunately were made out of aluminum tubing.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Karen,

      Rockwood had the option of adding a factory installed ladder for that year and model so I would assume it is safe to walk on. Always make sure to use caution and check for soft spots.

      Hope this helps,

      Dan
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      We’d love to have you be a part of our community. We are convinced you will enjoy the benefits of becoming a member and having access to the best instructional how to videos and professional tips. We would like to offer you a special promotion for your first year membership.
      https://go.rvrepairclub.com/C13535

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Jay,

      If you have a rubber roof by KZ, then yes it is safe to walk on. Their metal roofs are not safe to walk on. On the rubber roofs, you just want to be careful getting too close around the vents but the rest of the roof is fine to walk across.

      I hope this helps!

      Dan
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      We’d love to have you be a part of our community. We are convinced you will enjoy the benefits of becoming a member and having access to the best instructional how to videos and professional tips. We would like to offer you a special promotion for your first-year membership.
      https://go.rvrepairclub.com/C14542

      Reply
  5. Keith

    I have a 2005 Keystone Outback 27RSDS camper. I would like to know if it is safe to walk on the roof? It does have a rubber roof and I have never been on top. I have only use a ladder and brush extension to clean the roof. However, I am having AC problems and need to get on top to check on. Thanks for your help!

    Reply
  6. Rob

    Is it safe to walk on the roof of a 2014 crossroads sunset trail super lite 300hb? I have a seal that needs repair but am unsure if walking on the roof will cause more damage.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Rob,

      I am not sure exactly what they used for structure on that roof but the best thing to do is climb a ladder and check the roof. Before walking on it, press down with your hands and see how it feels. If it bows easily just by your hands, I would not walk on it. If it is hard to press down then you should be fine walking on it. Most likely you should be safe to walk on that model but if you want to know for sure you could always contact the manufacture and ask them, they would know for sure.

      Sincerely,

      Dan
      RV Repair Club Technical Expert

      Reply
  7. MICHAEL VNAR

    I have 2017 Breckenridge lakeview 340fk. I want to install roof went in my living room. How i can find right place to do it and can i walk on my roof I’m 240lb? Thx.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Michael,

      The best way is to contact the manufacture and see if they have a schematic for the ceiling. There could be duct work or electrical wires going through the area you want the vent. You would have to make sure the area is clear from anything and also in between the trusses. Sometimes you can remove a light and use an endoscope to inspect the ceiling area for clearance. Once you find a location you can make the cut out opening, usually 14″x14″, and make a support frame. You have to box in the opening to secure the vent to. You want to build it the depth between the roof boards and the ceiling panel. If you want a powered vent, you will have to tie into power nearby. Again, if there is a ceiling light you can tie into that but if the light is operated off of a switch, the fan will only work when the switch is on as well. You typically want to install a vent in the center of the ceiling panels from side to side but it is possible to have them off center. Again, you either have to inspect behind the ceiling panel or contact the manufacture to find out what could be in that area. As for the roof to walk on, you would have to climb a ladder and find out. Typically you can on rubber roofs but there are many manufactures that using thinner plywood to cut back on cost and weight and it is not always safe to walk on. If you climb a ladder, press on the ceiling. If it can move down by hand easily I would not walk on it. If it feels sturdy you can then try to apply more weight to get on it. If it is weak, you can make plywood planks to cover a larger area to distribute the weight and help walk across the roof. I hope this was helpful!

      Sincerely,

      Dan
      RV Repair Club Technical Expert

      Reply

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