Living in an RV I hate rain. I do not know if this is the case for all RVs, but our RV has a rubber roof, which forms a tight skin much like a drum. Now imagine like inside a drum when it rains on it. Fortunately, it only rains a couple of weeks a year, that is, fortunately for us; it is not so fortunate for the agriculture of California.

The second problem is that our roof is old. It should probably be replaced. However, this would cost several thousand dollars. This is a steep price to pay, when we are parked in a place with so little rain. Still, I don’t want to repeat lasts years routine of climbing around on the roof with a tube of dicor sealant at every opportunity. Hence, I have been looking for other solutions.

  1. Obviously the first solution would be to send the RV for a roof replacement. Duration, several days during which we’d have to check into a motel. Cost, several thousands. I suspect this would be the popular choice.
  2. DIY. Now, I do not think I am qualified to do a roof repair, that is, if I had all the time in the world, I could probably get it done. Still, it would require a construction site (like a barn) and a couple of weeks. Not a option.
  3. Buying a huge canopy garage to cover the RV. We’re talking about covering something that is 8’x34. This would cost $2000-2500 and it would be a semi-permanent installation.
  4. A tarp canopy similar to that of a car. This would cost $500 or so. My concern would be that this would need to be huge. We would have problems anchoring on the concrete patio side of the RV.
  5. A normal tarp ($150) strapped down with bungee cords and sandbags.

Which one did I pick?

None of the above. I bought a discarded billboard ad on eBay. This is a tarp like material that is three times thicker than heavy duty tarps and it is water proof and mild dew resistant, 10’x36′. It cost me $30 plus $40 in shipping. I then got a grommet kit and extra grommets costing about $15. I got some tarp bungee cords at $8 or so. And I got nylon and diamond braided rope, 200′ total, $20.

I spent the afternoon hammering the grommets in. I then rolled up the tarp and with a little help from DW I got it dragged onto the roof where I unrolled it. It was relatively painless but it took a few hours in total. However, now that I know how to do it, the next time I can probably do it on my own in less than a hour—now that I’m getting better at tying bowlines 😉 .

So now our RV is covered by a big orange former billboard advertising AT&T advanced TV(*) or something like that. It should be visible from space, so I kinda hope that it will show up on the satellite view on google maps at some point 😀 .

So this should take care of our water problems and hopefully also prevent the “soothing” raindrops from hammering our roof.

(*) Oh yeah, to honor the new FCC regulations on blogger compensation, I’m not getting any compensation from AT&T from mentioning this 😛 I’m just pleased that I’m not advertising Kleenex or laxatives or some such.

Update: An all day rain storm is currently passing over us and it is performing splendidly. Rather than overwhelming the microscopic gutters, the water is running off of the tarp overhang about 6″ from the walls. The sound from the rain drops is somewhat muffled but it is not as silent as I expected. Being in the lower registers, it is not as annoying as rain usually is.

Originally posted 2009-10-12 00:37:28.