How to know if you can walk on your travel trailer roof?

As you travel in your RV, fifth wheel or trailer there will come a time that you may need to inspect or perform repairs on your roof. Oftentimes many people recommend inspecting your trailer roof throughout the year to get ahead of any issues that will cause damage in the future. There are certain circumstances such as bad weather where you will need to check the roof at different times throughout the year.

Can you walk on a travel trailer roof?

The easiest way to determine if you can walk on your travel trailers’ roof is to see if you have a ladder attached. If your camper has a ladder, the roof was meant to be walked on. If not, you can contact your manufacturer to determine if it is safe and how to best walk on your trailer’s roof.

No matter the reason for needing to walk on your trailer roof, knowing if you can safely do so is incredibly important to keep you and your family safe. Many travel trailers have ladders attached and are built so people can walk lightly on them to fix any damages or issues safely. If your RV has a ladder attached, then you can be confident you can walk on your roof safely. Knowing what type of roof your trailer has, as well as if there is any damage will allow you to know if you can walk on your roof safely. You can also consult your RV manufacturer to be completely confident you can walk on your specific roof safely.

What types of travel trailer roof material can you safely walk on?

Trailer roofs are made out of various amounts of materials and some are typically stronger than others. When you buy a trailer, most times your roof will be made out of aluminum, fiberglass, or rubber and each has its pros and cons. Knowing what your trailer roof is made out of will determine how easily or safely you can walk on your roof.

Rubber Roofs

Rubber roofs are created from a strong base that is covered with plywood that is then covered with the rubber roof coating.

• Very common
• Easily replaced
• Can be walked on lightly
• Inexpensive to replace
• Lightweight
• May bow when walked on
• Tears easily
• More Maintenance required
• Not as durable as Fiberglass  

Fiberglass Roofs

Fiberglass roofs are the strongest material and are typically seen as the safest to walk on because of their durability. 

• Strong and Reliable
• Won’t bend when walked on
• Firm enough to walk on
• Requires less maintenance
• Rot and Rust Resistant
• Slippery when wet
• Expensive to fix
• Not Heat Resistant    

Aluminum Roofs

Aluminum roofs are typically found in older rigs or Airstreams and are usually incredibly heavy and add extra weight to your trailer.

Aluminum roofs were common for a long time because of how long they will last and can resist punctures caused by branches.

• Less likely to get damage from branches  
• Not very common
Adds Extra weight
• Not suitable to walk on safely
• Not incredibly strong

Overall, fiberglass and rubber roofs are types of roofs that can be easily walked on with first inspecting if there is any major damage that would cause it to be unsafe.

How much weight can a travel trailer roof safely hold?

There are varying opinions on how much a trailer roof can hold because there are so many different types of roofs and how they are made.

Overall, the max weight many companies say that their RV roof can hold is 250-300 lbs.

Oftentimes there will be a sticker either near your RV ladder or on the back side of your trailer that will tell you just how much weight your travel trailer roof can hold safely. If you cannot find the sticker, take the few extra minutes to consult your manufacturer for accurate information.

Being intentional about distributing your weight while on your trailer, fifth wheel, or RV roof will keep you safe as well as your roof secure.  Also, always having someone nearby will help ensure you are safe and in the case of emergency you will have someone that can react quickly and efficiently.

If you will be working on your roof for some time, use a piece of plywood to stand on to help distribute the weight and protect the roofing surface.

What are the reasons I may need to walk on my travel trailer roof?

Throughout the year climbing on your trailer roof will allow you to inspect your roof for any issues that will compromise the quality of your trailer. Issues such as small punctures from tree branches can cause huge problems in the future so checking regularly will help you maintain your RV, fifth wheel, or trailer.

Here are some reasons you may need to walk on your trailer roof:

  • Inspecting Storm Damage
  • Resealing Roof Seals
  • Checking Previous Damage that was fixed
  • Cleaning your Roof
  • Fixing Air Conditioner leaking Issues
  • Washing your RV Roof (Never use a pressure washer, here’s why)

When it comes to cleaning and inspecting your trailer roof, many professionals do so at least 2-3 times a year.

What signs should I look for to see if my travel trailer roof can be walked on?

More often than not if your RV has a ladder attached to the back, that means that you can easily access the roof and it was made to be walked on. Many RVs, fifth wheels, or trailers have a ladder attached to the back of your rig to allow easy access to your roof for cleaning and inspections.

 If your rig doesn’t have a ladder, you will have to take a few more steps to check the top of your roof. We suggest this portable ladder to add to your tool kit. Make sure to have something in between your ladder and rig so your ladder will not cut holes in your roof membrane. Also, make sure you have someone holding the ladder for added security.

Besides a ladder, knowing the age and quality of your roof can also be a sign of whether or not you can successfully walk on your roof safely. If your roof has had extensive damage in the past, it may be wise to stay away from walking on your roof, or simply hire a professional to do so safely.

Can I damage my trailer roof by walking on it?

If you try to walk on a roof that is already damaged or not created to be walked on you can cause damage to your trailer as well as risk potential injury for you and your family.

Taking the time to research and uncover if your specific model can be walked on will allow you to reduce the chance of running into bigger issues by choosing to simply walk on it without research.

What can I do to safely walk on my trailer roof?

Many trailer roofs can withstand your weight with no problem as long as you’re lightly walking. Being cautious and walking lightly will allow your trailer roof to stay strong and secure over the years. Always try and walk on the beams that provide the structure to your roof and not in between.

There are a few steps you can take to protect yourself from injury while walking on your trailer roof.

  • Wear good footwear that has traction
  • Make sure your footwear doesn’t have any rocks wedged in the tread as this can cause rips
  • Don’t try and walk on a trailer roof while it is wet from rain or cleaning
  • Walk lightly
  • Stay away from the edges
  • Always double check your position on the roof
  • Be cautious
  • Crawling will help distribute your weight better
  • Stay away from cutouts for lights and AC units

Another important aspect to consider is the strongest areas of your roof. Taking the time to consider where the roof is sturdiest will help you know the best areas for you to walk safely. The area of your trailer roof that is typically not as strong is the very center, where there is less support. The edges, safely away from the ledge, will be the strongest parts because there are multiple points of support for your trailer roof.

Focusing more on the tips above, crawling will help you stay more balanced and focus on your center of gravity. Try and stay away from anywhere where the roof was cut to add skylights or other appliances, these areas are usually a lot weaker than other parts of the roof. You should never try and fix an issue when your roof is wet, walking on a wet trailer roof is a recipe for disaster and incredibly unsafe.

How to keep up with roof maintenance so you can continue to walk on your trailer roof?

Throughout the life of your trailer, you will need to do periodic checks throughout the year to ensure your trailer is in good condition. Taking the time to keep up with maintenance over the years will allow your roof to stay in good condition so you can safely climb on your roof to do yearly checks.

There are a few things you want to check on every time you do your roof checks to make sure your roof will hold up for years to come. When you climb on the RV to do your checks and to check for any issues that need to be addressed there are a few items to check every time you are on your trailer roof. 

  • Check the Seals around your skylights and vents, oftentimes being in the heat too long can cause these to chip and break. If they are not addressed, it can lead to a leak over time.
  • Clean your Roof: Dirt and grime can wear down the quality of your roof over time, taking a bristle brush and cleaning it every so often can be a game-changer.
  • Cleaning Drainage “Gutters”: Most RVs have places for the condensation of your RV Air conditioner to drain off your RV. Sometimes these drainage “gutters” can be clogged so cleaning them out will help water keep from pooling on your roof.
  • Check for holes | Even a small puncture hole from a tree in your roof can be a disaster over time. Thoroughly inspecting your roof is a great way to make sure you do not have to deal with water damage later.

Taking care of your RV roof over time will ensure that you are able to walk on your roof for years to come and keep your trailer in tip-top shape.

When it comes to weather, thunderstorms and snowstorms can cause issues with your trailer roof. To ensure your roof holds up for years to come so you can walk on it every year to perform maintenance, make sure to thoroughly inspect your roof after a storm.

If you are in an area where it is colder, it is wise to push off any snow that may accumulate on your roof because if it is left up there it will add extra weight and allow water to seep into different places and freeze. When water freezes it will expand, so you don’t want expanding water anywhere in your RV as it will cause huge issues later.

Can I walk or get on top of my telescoping or pop up camper roof?

Pop up campers are smaller campers that many people use to take on weekend trips and when they are finished the camper folds down into a small rectangle. There is really no reason to need to climb on a Pop Up Camper roof, especially because once they are folded down you should be able to reach every part of the rough from the ground.

You can even grab a ladder or a brush with an extension to reach every part of your pop up camper instead of risking standing on it. Pop Up camper roofs are definitely not created to be walked or sat on top of and in doing so you can severely damage your camper.

Another type of camper that people often ask about is telescoping campers which slide underneath themselves to become smaller to travel with. The same goes with telescoping campers, it is not recommended to walk on the roof of telescoping campers because they are typically not created for this purpose.

Anytime you have a trailer or camper that is smaller and has a roof that can be moved or is not static, you should never walk on your roof and it’s safer to use a ladder to clean or inspect your trailer roof instead of getting on top of it.

No matter why you need to get on the roof of your camper, taking the time to inspect the age, and quality of your roof as well as take precautions when getting on your roof will help you to inspect and clean your roof effectively.

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