You might have seen your fellow campers enjoying the sunset on their RV’s roof or even setting up a rooftop tent. While it all might seem routine and natural but you would have wondered, how much weight can my RV roof support?
If this question is bugging your mind and you can’t get a straight answer, it’s because most manufacturers don’t put such info in the owner’s manuals, and people usually don’t talk about it.
It is important that you know more about your RV’s roof, what it is made of, how long can it last, its maintenance, and most importantly, how much weight it can support. In simple terms, a standard RV roof can support 250-300 lbs, depending on the type and construction of that motorhome but consider it a stretch and don’t ever exceed the limit.
Disclaimer: This is the normal range of weight capacity of most RV roofs and we do not take any responsibility in case of any accident or damages. Please contact your manufacturer for more clarity.
Let’s get into the details of your RV roof and get clarity on some of the most glaring questions.
Common Reasons You Need to Access Your RV Roof
There is more than one good reason you might have to access your RV’s roof. Let’s take a look at some of the common ones:
Whether you use your RV regularly or once in a season, its roof is bound to get dirty and accumulate debris over time. You would have to access the roof via a ladder and clean it with different equipment.
Regardless, it is not so cumbersome and doesn’t even take much time as most of this cleaning is just plowing and scrapping.
Repair and Maintenance
A lot of stuff is going on the top of your RV and you need to perform regular repairs and maintenance. Most importantly, the piping system of your RV has access from the roof, vents that need cleaning, and a few other maintenance and servicing protocols that have to be followed.
Make sure that you and your equipment don’t exceed the total weight limit while accessing the roof of the RV.
Getting Rid of Snow
RV owners know the struggle of the winter season and cleaning the snow off their RV roofs. Snow accumulating on the top of your RV could be dangerous and the roof could cave if you don’t remove the snow timely. Snow plowing requires you to access the RV roof but occasionally.
Solar Panel Set up
This is one of the most important and justifiable reasons for getting to the top of your RV. Portable solar panels help you save a lot of space, and weight and get rid of extra diesel tanks in your RV.
Setting up a rooftop tent and turning your RV’s roof into a picnic spot is also a common reason behind people climbing up their RVs. This could potentially be dangerous as too many people and equipment on the RV roof can damage or even force it to collapse.
If your RV comes equipped with a roof rack, it offers you extra storage space and helps you save some space on the inside. Taking luggage up top can be a hassle and you might need a hand with it.
What are RV Roofs Made of?
Manufacturers use different materials to construct RV roofs, trying to make them sturdier, lightweight, and long-lasting. These are some of the most commonly used materials for RV roof construction.
Fiberglass is the sturdiest material used for RV roof construction. It comes in either small pieces or one large panel and is corrosion and rust-resistant.
It doesn’t cave that easily and has a maximum weight-bearing capacity of 300 lbs. Fiberglass is also the easiest to maintain and can easily last up to 20 years.
The most commonly used material in the industry and is lightweight and resists corrosion. Aluminum is cheaper than fiberglass and it doesn’t get punctured as well. Most RVs that come with roof racks have an aluminum roof.
Aluminum roofs can bear up to 250 lbs of weight and last easily up to 15 years.
Rubber is also a very popular material that laminates the rooftop of your RV. It is durable, and thick, and can resist heat in summer and cold in winter. The only problem is that they require cleaning quite often and get punctured easily.
Rubber can last up to 10-12 years and carry 250 lbs maximum.
What Factors Influence the RV Roof Weight Capacity?
The weight-bearing capacity of an RV roof depends on certain factors, which also vary with time and quality of care. Let’s understand some of these important factors;
The material used in constructing an RV defines the on-road and off-road performance of the RV, and its durability in the long run. Some materials are more prone to rust and corrosion whereas others are quite durable.
Modern RVs have roofs made of fiberglass or rubber, both of which are quite durable and dependable. Fiberglass is heat-resistant and it also doesn’t bend under pressure with a long life span of nearly 20 years.
Rubber is also quite reliable and performs well under pressure. You won’t have to worry about bending or caving with a rooftop made of rubber. Aluminum on the other hand is becoming obsolete due to its corrosion and rust issues, while it also bends under pressure and modern RVs are relying more on fiberglass and carbon composites.
Like cars, RV manufacturers can also be classified into different strata and premium RV makers never compromise on the quality of materials used.
It is well known that top brands have more reliable and well-constructed RVs, and if you opt for one of those, you wouldn’t have to worry about the roof caving in or its weight-bearing capacity.
There are different types and classes of RVs available on the market and each type has a different weight-bearing capacity and overall performance, apart from features and onboard equipment.
Class A RVs are top-of-the-line or full-size motorhomes with bigger sizes and definitely more load-bearing capacity than smaller class B RVs, or trailers.
Condition and Age
Needless to say that every machine is bound to undergo wear and tear with time, because of usage and negligence. Mechanical parts and metal panels deteriorate with time and lose their strength with usage.
If you are driving an RV that’s nearly a decade old, has rattling sounds, and leaks in the roof, it is better that you don’t go anywhere near the roof and get it refurbished. It is highly likely that older RVs’ roofs have reduced weight-bearing capacity and response to stress.
Safety Tips About Accessing the RV Roof
Before accessing your RV’s roof, it is important that you check a few things and take a few precautions, to avoid any hazards.
- Inspect your RV and its roof for any damage or rusting.
- If your RV comes with a ladder, check it for any damage or lose bolts.
- Make sure that the stuff or equipment that you are carrying doesn’t weigh more than the roof’s capacity.
- Also take a glimpse to ensure that the roof is not slippery or wet, which could become dangerous afterward.
- Climb up top carefully, first place your stuff on top of it, and then get yourself up.
- When you get up there, do not rush, walk near vents or edges.
- Do not jump between rafts or try to run. Just walk carefully and perform any maintenance or cleaning you went up there for.
- Do not try to jump off the roof and use the ladder to get off the roof.
- It’s also important that you do not take the kids or pets atop your RV roof, as it can become very dangerous.
There are occasions when you need to gain access to the roof, regardless of whether your RV, camper, or motorhome comes with a ladder or not. Be it snow plowing, maintenance, or star gazing, you would have to climb atop your RV one day.
Even though different RV roof weight limits will apply, if you act smartly and follow some safety measures, you can climb onto your roof without any trouble. However, unless your vehicle was designed specifically for rooftop walking or features a roof rack, I wouldn’t advise staying up there for too long.
Keep in mind that the max an RV roof can handle is 300 lbs and you should check with your manufacturer before going up there. You could also look for a spec sheet pasted next to the ladder or owner’s manual for your RV roof’s weight-bearing capacity.
Ever since I was a kid, I've been fascinated by travel. I inherited this passion from my parents. Since my college years and to this day, I have had a passion for traveling in a motorhome. I am here to share my experiences with you.