Friday, December 27, 2019
Tuesday before Christmas, just before heading out to spend the holiday with my son and my ex, I discovered a leak in my roof. Oh, no! Leaky roofs can destroy RVs in no time. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to deal with it. But, fortunately, the leak was very small: water was slowly dripping, just a single drop at a time, through a screw or rivet hole in the ceiling above my kitchen cupboard. It could wait. I shoved a bowl under it and hit the road.
I got back Thursday evening and took a look. It wasn’t too bad. Although it was still dripping pretty steadily, there was only a little bit of water in the bowl. My ladder is too short to reach the roof, so I borrowed one from a neighbor Friday morning and climbed up to take a look.
My roof is pretty solid, almost completely covered with a rubber membrane. And, there are no vents above the area with the leak. I had no idea where the water could be coming from. However, my rain gutters were completely clogged with moss and Douglas fir needles. Although I couldn’t see any holes along the seam where the membrane met the sides, it’s possible water could have backed up and made its way in somehow.
The only way to test it was to clean my gutters. And, if cleaning my gutters fixed it, then it would be a super easy solution, right?
I hooked up my hose, grabbed a brush, and got to cleaning.
It was a mess! Moss and needles and dirt washed down my arms and splashed into my face and body. It didn’t take long before I was soaked and covered with muck. But, the moss and needles came out pretty easily. For a good measure, I also hosed out the build up under my antenna and vent hoods. I needed to remove it all so rain wouldn’t wash it into the gutters, clogging them again.
I hosed out and scrubbed the gutters on both sides, making sure both were completely unobstructed, and then rinsed off the muck where it ran down the sides of the trailer. The total job took about an hour.
The leak continued to drip for a few days, as I figured it would. Whatever water was in the ceiling would need to finish draining or dry up.
But, after about four very rainy days, no more leak! The ceiling dried up nicely, and I can’t see any damage. As long as I keep the gutters clean, it should be fine until summer. And then I can borrow my neighbor’s ladder again and reseal the seams to prevent future leaks.
Lesson learned: Clean gutters are important!