falling through my RV roof - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 11-04-2018, 04:11 AM   #1
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falling through my RV roof

We have a new 2018 Dutchmen Kodiak Ultralite 255BHSL. The manufacturer brochure specifically states that my particular trailer has a "fully walkable" TPO roof with 5-inch thick high strength aluminum trusses.

But then, the manufacturer owner's manual has a general statement that RVs that do not come with a factory-installed ladder do NOT have walkable roofs (mine did not come with a ladder).

Huh? What gives? I have two official documents from the manufacturer for my specific rig that state opposite things.

Any thoughts? It seems so much easier to get a cover on the darn thing if I can get on the roof to assist.
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Old 11-04-2018, 04:51 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Hart_family View Post
We have a new 2018 Dutchmen Kodiak Ultralite 255BHSL. The manufacturer brochure specifically states that my particular trailer has a "fully walkable" TPO roof with 5-inch thick high strength aluminum trusses.

But then, the manufacturer owner's manual has a general statement that RVs that do not come with a factory-installed ladder do NOT have walkable roofs (mine did not come with a ladder).

Huh? What gives? I have two official documents from the manufacturer for my specific rig that state opposite things.

Any thoughts? It seems so much easier to get a cover on the darn thing if I can get on the roof to assist.



We bought a 2018 UltraLite 243 BHSL last November. Here is the reply I got from a supervisor in Dutchman Customer Service, when I asked about walking on roof.


"Certain units are built with 3/8” decking that does allow for walking on the roof for maintenance, cleaning, etc…They are not designed to have a roof party but they can support a person for the afore mentioned reasons.

Your unit has a laminated roof, and is not designed for walking.

Most care and maintenance of the roof can be done by using a ladder along side of unit to check seals, clean membrane, etc…

Many folks take their units in a couple times a year to have their dealerships check for the seals around the roof vents, AC’s, etc..

I have talked with folks that do this themselves. Most will be sure they either walk gingerly on the roof truss and some will use a plywood half-sheet as additional support."




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Old 11-05-2018, 11:10 PM   #3
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3 options...
1- Pay the dealer to walk around up there and caulk it (which is mandatory maintenance)
2- Carefully go up there yourself and stay close to the trusses, I'm on my roof 4-6 times a year
3- Do nothing and a bird will fall through your rotting roof within 3-4 years
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Old 11-06-2018, 12:03 AM   #4
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3 options...
1- Pay the dealer to walk around up there and caulk it (which is mandatory maintenance)
2- Carefully go up there yourself and stay close to the trusses, I'm on my roof 4-6 times a year
3- Do nothing and a bird will fall through your rotting roof within 3-4 years
So, I have 2.9 years to get something done.
Hehe.....
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Old 11-06-2018, 01:01 AM   #5
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Thanks wildwest. I just wanted to know if the manufacturer deems my roof "walkable" or not. I will just call them since they have contradictory documentation. As for your points:

1. I am not caulking anything....yet. Just trying to put a cover on it before winter.
2. Not sure where the trusses are. They cannot be seen from the outside.
3. Not sure about a bird or rotting roof. Why would a TPO rubber roof rot? And birds?
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Old 11-06-2018, 10:57 AM   #6
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Wildwest was just kidding about #3 (roof degrading to the point that if a bird lands on it, it will fall thru). FYI, TPO will degrade over time without treatment).
Rusty
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Old 11-06-2018, 02:11 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Hart_family View Post
3. Not sure about a bird or rotting roof. Why would a TPO rubber roof rot? And birds?
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Originally Posted by lcv800 View Post
Wildwest was just kidding about #3 (roof degrading to the point that if a bird lands on it, it will fall thru). FYI, TPO will degrade over time without treatment).
Rusty
Rusty gets my sarcastic nature.

From the time you leave the dealership your camper will be constantly flexing when your're moving it. It wont take long for cracks to develop in the caulking on the roof, I had to caulk within the first year of ownership.

If neglected it won't take long for water to penetrate and get into the plywood roof and cause not so fun or cheap damage.
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:01 PM   #8
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I finally called Dutchmen on this. They said the statement in the owner's manual is just a generalized "threat", and not necessarily correct. They also said their sales brochures are often incorrect or change (nice). They looked up my model by VIN and stated that my blueprints show I have an "alpha" TPO roof and is indeed considered "fully walkable". That said, I am going to be on all fours and move carefully, staying away for openings, edges, and penetrations.

As for roof maintenance, I will watch that too. Dutchmen referred me to the maintenance chapter of the owner's manual, which states that a TPO roof needs no maintenance, so not sure what "treatment" is being referered to. However, the seals and joints may need to be watched closely. There is a 12-year warranty on the roof for what that is worth. I will inspect the roof when I get it out of storage in the spring. Seems to me that the roof is the most important part of an RV. If it can't keep weather out, what good is it?
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Hart_family View Post
I finally called Dutchmen on this. They said the statement in the owner's manual is just a generalized "threat", and not necessarily correct. They also said their sales brochures are often incorrect or change (nice). They looked up my model by VIN and stated that my blueprints show I have an "alpha" TPO roof and is indeed considered "fully walkable". That said, I am going to be on all fours and move carefully, staying away for openings, edges, and penetrations.

As for roof maintenance, I will watch that too. Dutchmen referred me to the maintenance chapter of the owner's manual, which states that a TPO roof needs no maintenance, so not sure what "treatment" is being referered to. However, the seals and joints may need to be watched closely. There is a 12-year warranty on the roof for what that is worth. I will inspect the roof when I get it out of storage in the spring. Seems to me that the roof is the most important part of an RV. If it can't keep weather out, what good is it?

Interesting, An ultralite that has a walk able roof.


So my email got trumped by your phone call
I wonder if you could see what your roof is made of under that TPO? If you ever take the inside cover off your A/C, check it out.



Only shows how confusing it is getting the correct information.



Good luck and thanks for the update.
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:50 PM   #10
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Dutchmen referred me to the maintenance chapter of the owner's manual, which states that a TPO roof needs no maintenance

That's laughable. Take it in 5 years from now with a roof leak and see if they cover it. They'll tell you the roof wasn't caulked and deny your claim. That manual is an outright lie.
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Old 11-07-2018, 11:54 PM   #11
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That's laughable. Take it in 5 years from now with a roof leak and see if they cover it. They'll tell you the roof wasn't caulked and deny your claim. That manual is an outright lie.
Technically they are correct, the TPO itself doesn't need maintenance. But all the sealant the glop on does. What I find interesting is how thin that TPO is only 12-15 mills thick. The stuff we install commercially is 3-4 times, or even more, thicker. I have already sourced a short roll of a high grade Kee PVC commercial stuff, I have it stored in my shop for the inevitable roof replacement.

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Old 11-08-2018, 05:02 AM   #12
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Perhaps. Just saying what the manual says. Also, it may be referring to the roof itself, not caulked areas.
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Old 11-08-2018, 05:04 AM   #13
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Interesting, An ultralite that has a walk able roof.


So my email got trumped by your phone call
I wonder if you could see what your roof is made of under that TPO? If you ever take the inside cover off your A/C, check it out.



Only shows how confusing it is getting the correct information.



Good luck and thanks for the update.
Your email was fine....I just thought I'd call them to be sure. I am learning a lot about RVs as this is our first one. Quite the crazy world, I tell ya. And yes - sometimes tricky to find good information. Thanks for the advice though! These are such helpful discussions for me.
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Old 11-08-2018, 10:54 AM   #14
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Hate to say wildwest is right again. The material itself may have a 12 year warranty for degradation (but I would doubt even that), but I'll bet you the farm that if you go in with a seam leak or any other kind of leak in 366 days, you'll be SOL. Every roof, with maybe the exception of the aftermarket armor roofs or similar, need bi-annual inspection and cleaning. Just my opinion and experience.
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Old 11-08-2018, 03:34 PM   #15
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Technically they are correct, the TPO itself doesn't need maintenance. But all the sealant the glop on does. What I find interesting is how thin that TPO is only 12-15 mills thick. The stuff we install commercially is 3-4 times, or even more, thicker. I have already sourced a short roll of a high grade Kee PVC commercial stuff, I have it stored in my shop for the inevitable roof replacement.

Aaron
That was supposed to be my point, I just worded it wrong. I recently replaced my roof vents and was shocked at how thin the TPO was. It does stretch well, but wherever there is a small hole tears easily. I was poking and prodding the flaps they leave down inside the vent opening.
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Old 11-11-2018, 07:25 AM   #16
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Talked to service mgr to add a ladder so I can get to the roof. He said the outside walls are not strong enough to hold a ladder safely. So... Can I check and repair my roof? Yes. Just get your own ladder.
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Old 11-11-2018, 03:38 PM   #17
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Roof rot

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2014 Denali, 7/16 flake board, wood trusses. Membrane installed short at the corner because of poor workmanship (the hallmark of Dutchman). 25 man-hours to repair with plywood.
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Old 11-12-2018, 06:26 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Hart_family View Post
Your email was fine....I just thought I'd call them to be sure. I am learning a lot about RVs as this is our first one. Quite the crazy world, I tell ya. And yes - sometimes tricky to find good information. Thanks for the advice though! These are such helpful discussions for me.

I took no umbrage at all. Always happy to get more info. Only way to get it right is get all the info you can. Being a newbie also is a daunting task sometimes. Spending $thousands and the manufacturer only muddies the water sometimes.


And yes, this forum is great!

Have fun and good luck!
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Old 11-12-2018, 09:38 PM   #19
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I had a motorhome before this TT. The roof felt solid. We bought the 2017 TT and the dealer specifically said get up there and check your roof several times a year. I get up there with a ladder and look it over several times a year and I actually get on the roof twice a year and wash it down with soap and a brush. It does not feel secure and I walk like a cat as best as I can up there.

My experience is that preventing the first leak is critical. So, If I see something that even hints at a future leak I'm going to try to deal with it. On that old motorhome I was spending way more time than I wish I had keeping that roof sealed. It was dry as a bone when I sold it but, I have no faith that it could be ignored for an extended period of time.

Nevertheless, getting up there and checking really close is time well spent.
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