Will ceiling show roof leaks?

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by WoNHUSA, Sep 14, 2021.

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  1. WoNHUSA

    WoNHUSA New Member

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    I am in the market for a used pop-up and have been able to go look at a few over the last couple of weeks. Much of what I read and get for advice says to stay away from anything with a leaky roof. A couple of the pop-ups I have seen have what looks like "bubbling" or "ripples" on the ceiling. No water stains, mold, or mildew, but those spots seem to be soft and swollen.

    I have read a few times that the layers in the ceiling will or have separated and some folks comment that this can happen over time and possibly occur do the high temps and which may allow the adhesives to fail.

    My question is, are those "bubbles and ripples" in a ceiling that feels soft a telltale sign of a leaky roof? Thanks for any help you can give.

    Also, I have been mostly looking at Coleman/Fleetwood pop-up campers from 2004 - 2010.
     
  2. WoNHUSA

    WoNHUSA New Member

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    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Here are a couple of examples of what I am talking about...
     
  3. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Bubbling is a sign that the roof leaked at one time. I personally would be OK buying a popup with localized bubbling in a small area. If the area above the leak looked like the seller refreshed caulking or took other initiatives that they stopped the leak immediately after it was spotted. That’s just me as trying to find any camper without any bubbling in the roof is practically impossible in my area unless you really really get lucky. In my experience a camper roof will leak at least once in its lifetime especially if it’s stored outside. Now the downside to buying a camper with a leak is there is higher chance that mold set in between the layers of the roof and if you are anyone is very sensitive that could be a problem. Good luck with your search.
     
  4. Toxictom

    Toxictom Member

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    Poke the wood everywhere on the roof and sides of the roof and if it is spongy anywhere you are likely looking at a roof rebuild. It is a really good negotiating point if you are a handyman.
     
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  5. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Im handy, and that would negotiate me right out of buying it! Lol. Unless it was free or close to it.
     
  6. SouthJerseyCamper

    SouthJerseyCamper New Member

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    My camper had a small bubble on the ceiling. Over time it seemed to travel further (around center of ceiling). So I pull the center strip off the roof, cleaned everything up like new (painfully slow and messy - use rubber gloves). Then I used a strip of butyl rubber and carefully resealed the center seam, using new stainless screws. Over time, with heat, it kept squeezing out. Popped the vinyl cover to center strip, and retorqued screws a little tighter (squeeze out more butyl rubber). I kept trimming which was messy. Then I discovered using a plastic squeegee and naptha. The squeegee corner cuts and cleans out the rubber without spreading it. The naptha melts and removes the excess. Then I repainted the entire roof with rustoleum semi-gloss white. Looks brand new. I masked everything off and used an automotive spray gun and used a bit of paint thinnner for the paint. Eventually I cut out the bubbled section on the ceiling, to find out that the trapped water from when it had leaked, kept the bubbles traveling (glue had become wet). So now I just have to fill the hole, glue back the thin layer of laminate, then I will apply vinyl to the ceiling - maybe pictures of clouds or something - or maybe textured vinyl. It will be lightweight and will cover my repair and make ceiling look like new. I see textured vinyl like fabric weave that I might do the ceiling with, rather than paint it. Whatever I do, it's permanent, so it should be thought through.
    Check with popup owner to find out if the roof was repaired and the bubbling is residual damage. You can't tell mine has been redone it looks so new. But I have receipts and pics of the repair throughout the process. This camper has had everything redone, and looks brand new for a 2004 Yuma. I just couldn't assume my reseal had worked, that's why I cut the bubbles open to see if there was water in there. After a heavy rain, I felt it and everything was dry. Time to seal up the hole in my ceiling now, still thinking about how to do that. I'm open to suggestions, the luan was almost paper thin, and I had to slowly scrape out the styrofoam insulation to the ceiling (saw 7 screws), to determine the seam was not leaking in that area. I'm pretty sure my butyl rubber reseal was effective. I was able to clean and reuse my center metal strip, as I did not damage it removing it. These are maintenance items if you plan to keep one, especially if it is older.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2021
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