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Old 10-20-2020, 06:36 PM   #1
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Fiberglass Roof Channel Maintenance - Is There A Better Method?

We all know our fiberglass roofs are supposed to be superior in everyway except one. This has to do with the roof sealant cracking in the sun. And since I just re-glued my roof seams with Geocell ProFlex "clear" sealant, I'm now wondering if how long it will be before I have to re-seal all over again; or if there is something more I can do that will extend the 1-2 year maintenance effort to more like 3-5 years or longer?

* I understand that polyurethane sealants have better bond strength, but they also will not withstand the rigors of UV sunlight. So you should NOT use any of the builders or window sealants commonly found in HomeDepot or Lowe's.

* I understand 100% silicon is the best "clear" sealant when it comes to withstanding UV light, but it does not have enough bond strength to be used on our Winnebago fiberglass roof channels; and nothing sticks to silicon very well. Not even an follow-up bead of more silicon.

* Over 20 years, more than 31 flavors of hybrid sealants have been tried and failed too.

SO WHAT IS A BETTER WAY? ...Or is this Geocell Proflex the end-all and beat-all solution?

If it's not, then what I want to do is to protect the Geocell ProFlex "clear" sealant from the sun. ...But how to do that?

My concern is that when you apply dissimilar sealants on top of one another, that there will be a chemical reaction and the sealant will break down faster than what the UV rays would do if I just left it alone.

So you might say I'm looking for a better mouse trap?

==> I'm hoping some chemist or metallurgist or farmer out there knows how to combat the sun when it comes to applying a "clear" sealant in applications that require stronger than 100% silicon bonding strengths?

Here's what I am contemplating, but before I choose one of these options I would like to hear from others?

I'm thinking that if I apply some sort of UV protection on top of the GeoCell ProFlex (like a "top coat") that would work. Will it? What would you do?

Do either of these options sound like good additional, preventative measures to extend the time between re-sealing your roof radius seams:


A) Just tape-off and apply an nice bead of clear 100% silicon on top of the Geocell ProFlex "clear" sealant? ...Will the clear silicon stick to the clear ProFlex; and will it provide more UV protection; without breaking down the bonding strength of the ProFlex "clear" sealant?

Or...

B) Maybe it would be better if I tape-off and apply a "Zin Bin" primer on top of my Geocell ProFlex; and then use a latex paint the same color as my roof radius so it blends in. Why? ...Well, this is what you do to PVC you want to leave in the sun, because latex paint is the best and cheapest UV blocker on the market, which is why we paint everything. ...but apparently "clear" this and "clear" that is a problem? ...So by painting over the Geocell ProFlex sealant, using a color latex paint, that will blend in with the colors of your roof radius, is the way to go?

Which method do you think would be best and/or would you recommend another method?
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Old 10-20-2020, 06:49 PM   #2
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My top is painted from about 5 inches on the top and down into the channel so I can’t (won’t) do it but some people that don’t have full-body paint are using Eternabond tape to cover the seam after caulking. It’s less noticeable on a non-painted fiberglass top and the tape holds up to the UV rays.
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Old 10-20-2020, 07:21 PM   #3
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To clarify, I'm talking ONLY about painting over the 1/4" bead of clear ProFlex Sealant... or applying a 1/4" bead of 100% pure silicon on top.

* This "top coat" will not take much effort and anyone can do it with a tiny brush.

==> Just tape-off the 1/4" strip where the ProFlex sealant is applied, and then do either "A" or "B" as listed above.

Alternatively, if anyone has use Geocell ProFlex "clear" sealant more than 3 years ago, that would be a good sign. 5 years would be better, but I don't think this product has been on the market that long?

I would not want to paint the whole roof radius either.

Note: Winnebago put a new roof on my RV 2.5 years ago. The first year I stored in in Houston from Oct-April... drove it a lot in the sun; and the next year I stored the RV in a Pole Barn; and this summer I was on the road for just 3 months in the sun. So that's not a whole lot of roof sun exposure if you ask me.

...But this summer I had to replace the sealant Winnebago used. Specifically, after 2.5 years my roof radius sealant needed replacing; and FYI it was failing in several spots... probably for 6 months before I finally re-glued it.

In fact, the sealant failed to the point I was concerned about driving the RV in the Texas/Arizona down poor. So, IMO, the sealant Winnebago used 2.5 years ago is garbage! (...Not their fault, of course, but brighter minds must prevail.)

So this is why I posted this thread. There has to be a better method when it comes to applying roof sealant, because I don't want to risk my roof getting blown off again, and I don't want any water leaking inside!

Note: Geocell says you an paint over their products, but other say the paint will flake off at some point. This is also true of silicon. And because an RV flexes so much, I'm not sure even if using a primer and then applying latex paint will be flexible enough to withstand everyday RV use?

...So what about using FlexSeal "clear" as a UV top coat? You, know that "clear rubber stuff" in those TV commercials? ...I understand the clear spray is rather thin, which is okay with me, because I think the goal here is to apply a flexible UV protection that will last longer than the Geocell sealant would otherwise achieve on its own!
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Old 10-20-2020, 07:59 PM   #4
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Check the AZEXPERT YouTube channel. He replaces and reseals a number of Winnebago products and has videos showing the process.

He advises that he uses the ProFlex Clear Urethane. He puts painter tape along the top of the radius. Cleans out the existing sealant and "forces" (his wording) the Proflex into the channel. Working to get the sealant behind the roof material and to have it ooze out as he presses on the roof.

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Old 10-20-2020, 10:49 PM   #5
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Use of Silicon can be a hazard. Nothing likes to stick to it not even itself. It is a bear to remove completely.

I redid my roof seam in 2011 and it was redone in 2019. I bought in 09 and do believe it was original. Used Pro Fex both times.
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Old 10-20-2020, 10:50 PM   #6
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Right... I'm glad you posted this video by AzExpert, which explains how I applied the Geocell ProFlex "clear" sealant to my roof channel.

Now I want to go 1 step further and I proposed a couple (3) methods to do a BETTER JOB. And by better I theorize that if I can apply better UV protection ON TOP of the ProFlex clear sealant, I can get 4-5-7+ years between roof maintenance service (when it comes to re-gluing the roof channel). Right now I'm only getting ~2 years and I don't have my coach stored in the sun or in terribly harsh climates.

So I repeat:

Does any of these options sound like good additional, preventative measure to extend the time between re-sealing your roof radius seams:

A) Just tape-off and apply an nice bead of clear 100% silicon on top of the Geocell ProFlex "clear" sealant? ...Will the clear silicon stick to the clear ProFlex; and will it provide more UV protection; without breaking down the bonding strength of the ProFlex "clear" sealant?

Or...

B) Maybe it would be better if I tape-off and apply a "Zin Bin" primer on top of my Geocell ProFlex; and then use a latex paint the same color as my roof radius so it blends in. Why? ...Well, this is what you do to PVC you want to leave in the sun, because latex paint is the best and cheapest UV blocker on the market, which is why we paint everything. ...but apparently "clear" this and "clear" that is a problem? ...So by painting over the Geocell ProFlex sealant, using a color latex paint, that will blend in with the colors of your roof radius, is the way to go?

C) Does anyone think the spray-clear-rubber stuff by FlexGlue, will work well on top of the ProFlex clear sealant... and will be a better UV blocker? ...Will it stick to the Geocell ProFlex clear sealant?

I would conduct a few tests myself, but my coach is now in storage and I live a long ways away from where I store it in Texas. So I'm putting these question out there for someone else to think about; and maybe for the benefit of all us Winnebago owners we can find a BETTER METHOD to resealing our roof channels!
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Old 10-20-2020, 11:04 PM   #7
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Well gang,
If you take just a few minutes to watch this video, you'll see what they use at that facility, which is but about a 1/4 mile from the Winnebago factory. They get coached on what's to be used, and what isn't. As for *Silicone*, well, again, just watch a few minutes of that video. I used Silicone for my re-seal/adhesive and, that was around 4 years ago and that roof to cove joint is as tight as it was when I did it.

We've been in severe wind storms, hail, brutal sun, freezing nights, and more, and that joint is still holding and sealing just fine. Your choice, your coach.
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Old 10-21-2020, 02:19 AM   #8
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I'm glad we are getting a number of replies, but again, I'm not asking about your choice of sealant.

I feel like we have several high quality sealants with proven "bond strength," but all of them will break down in UV light over time. This includes the Mantus bond clear sealant mentioned in the 2016 video by Lichtenstein, which is no longer the sealant of choice in the RV community.

Winnebago will also not recommend a sealant. So you are on your own when it comes to how you "maintain" your roof.

This is because Winnebago does not want to get into roof separation issues with owners that have plagued owners for years.

So if nothing else, if you are reading this thread you should be reminded to get a tall ladder and climb up high to inspect your roof seams. I.e., you can't just look at your roof channel from the ground floor, because they will look good from down there! ...And I will bet there is an 80% chance your 4 year old roof needs re-gluing, unless you never drive it, and it's parked where the sun can't get to it!

Once you re-glue your roof, like I have, you will then ask yourself: "Is there anything more I can do to prevent sealant failure? And is there anything I can do to prolong the time between re-sealing the roof channel?"

So this thread is not about the adhesion qualities of Mantus vs Geocell sealants, nor it about recommending another sealant. It's about what can be done as an ADDITIONAL STEP to re-gluing the roof channel so as to protect the sealant of your choice from damaging UV rays?

That said, if you have not inspected your roof channel lately, I'm reminding you to do so.

...And I will point out the most troubling area that will cause roof separation is located just behind the drivers side cap. This is where wind can creep-in and get under the fiberglass skin. ...On the driver's side because there is no awning like there is on the passenger side.

As for adhesion, without a doubt, the most permanent way to secure your roof, and never worry about roof channel maintenance again, is to apply black 2" Eternabond tape, but I don't want to see a black strip running the length of my coach.

In closing, there are 100's of improvements us owners do (have done) that go beyond what Winnebago or Lichtenstein recommend for the love and care of our RVs; and I think this subject is one of them that needs more discussion and experimentation. ...And one day, if you ever lose your roof, and I hope you don't, you will then remember this thread, and wish you gave more thought to this subject. Or better yet, did something about it!
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Old 10-21-2020, 11:51 AM   #9
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Imnprsd, I'll offer this one comment on painting over the Geocell and suggest it's a good idea. Also, according to the specifications it is paintable. It can't hurt IMHO. When I cleaned my roof channel before applying the Geocell I noticed the areas along my roof channel where the Paint Was still intact was in very good shape.

The area toward the front and rear of the coach had lost adhesion probably due to flex but all the rest was a bear to remove. I wanted to paint mine but I left it clear for now. As for your other considerations I wouldn't suggest silicone but that's just me. The other thoughts would be a WAG on my part so I'll refrain on those.
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Old 10-21-2020, 01:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Topsail View Post
As for your other considerations I wouldn't suggest silicone but that's just me.
WBGO lists the sealants they recommend for all over your RV. And most if not all of the roof mounted items - antennas, vents, fans, skylights are sealed with silicone sealant and WBGO advises against using anything but silicone for those items on your roof. I think the product they recommend now is NuFlex 311 Self-Levelling RV Sealant

Note, that WBGO does from time to time change the sealant that they recommend users apply. So, if the recommended sealant chart was published 8 years ago you should check to see if there are any changes. They are usually noted on updated charts.

As to UV protection for the roof radius - I think it may slow down the deterioration of the sealant, but I doubt it would eliminate it due to heat and body flex also being an ongoing reality.

I have put eternabond tape over the front and rear cap roof joint after making sure the sealant was in good shape. But the tape ends before the side wall of the roof radius so it can't be seen from the below.

PS. I used Manus Bond 75 black sealant on the front cap sidewall where it wraps around to the drip rail. I had a small leak there and removed all the old sealant on both sides of the RV and injected the Manus Bond into the cavity.
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Old 10-21-2020, 02:06 PM   #11
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Creativepart, the question raised by imnprsnd about adding silicon on top of the Geocel that he used on the roof channel was what I responded to and not anywhere else. I am familiar with Winnebagos sealant recommendations and would adhere to that unless there have been advancements for another product.

Moreover, I used the Black Manus Bond 75 on my front cap sidewall just like what you did. It's looks great and has bonded very well. I used the clear Geocel on my roof channel.

After removing the old existing roof channel caulk myself it gave me a good sense that painting over the caulk did help. There isn't any test data to support my conclusion, it's just my observation.
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Old 10-21-2020, 03:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Topsail View Post
Creativepart, the question raised by imnprsnd about adding silicon on top of the Geocel that he used on the roof channel was what I responded to and not anywhere else.
Thanks... I missed that it was related to a suggestion to put silicone over the ProFlex. Sorry.
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Old 10-21-2020, 03:37 PM   #13
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Honestly, I don't know how you keep up with all the input. I couldn't do it. Thanks for all you site folks.
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Old 10-21-2020, 10:17 PM   #14
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I have been doing a lot of searching to better understand the differences between sealants, coatings, and tapes. And here's one that may hold promise:

LLPT Caulk Tape Clear 1.2 Inch x 33 Feet Extra Thickness Waterproof Adhesive for Sink Shower Bathtub Toilet Lavabo Kitchen (CT123)

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...91CK8ZYM&psc=1

According to this items description it says: The Acrylic adhesive is resistant to moisture, high pressure water and shocks absorption with excellent sealing quality and good durability; a sensible pick for sealing applications in outdoor and indoor areas that are constantly exposed to water and humidity.

I have looked at several videos on this tape and I can't find anything the says it will or WILL NOT yellow in the sun. So I am trying to get in contact with the supplier. What I can tell you is this: Up until now, this is the only tape of this type that is ~1" wide and has butyl qualities vs. packing tape or gorilla tape qualities.

Has anyone used this brand of butyl tape outdoors?

Note: I once applied 2" Eternabond "black" tape to a roof channel and while it worked very well I thought 2" was overkill, and I did not like the black so much. The back color over my largely green roof radius paint wasn't that bad, but I would definitely prefer a clear 1" tape like this one! And I think the tape will add adhesion strength and at the same time provide longer UV protection, but this is just a guess. Personally, I think taping has positive and negative issues I won't go into at this time, but taping may work very well. And a clear tape like this one is very unique.

Alternatively, I also have come across a 100% UV stable, flexible, solvent based, clear coating that may be more promising. (TBD)

Again, someone needs to do perform a few tests before a better method can be proposed. So I'm just putting this information out there with the hopes someone can share a positive testimonial and share there method to extend the time between roof channel maintenance.

...And I'm still thinking a bead of 100% silicon laid on top of the GeoCell ProFlex clear caulk may be the best way to go? ...Just wipe on some denatured alcohol to scuff-up the ProFlex and then apply a layer of 100% silicon. (Easy, simple, cheap!) But I want to go with the BEST solution. So the jury is still out at this time.

I sent KBS-Diamond Finishes an email about my concerns so we shall see what they say soon.

Until then you might like to know more about these finish types and when one type might be preferred over another:

https://www.angieslist.com/articles/...sun-damage.htm

or

https://www.finepowertools.com/woodw...ne-vs-shellac/
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Old 10-21-2020, 11:53 PM   #15
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Just my 'sperience, FWIW:

I used Geocell Pro Flex on my Class C about 3-1/2 years ago. It didn't end all that well, but I now believe it was my bad. I was surprised to find how bad my OEM sealant was on inspection so I cleaned it all out (pretty easy, about 10 percent was actually missing and the rest was pretty dried up) cleaned everything well and applied the Pro Flex well down into the channel. Then I left for AZ a couple of days later. I checked it on return (about 30 days later) and there was a very thin longitudinal crack (right in the middle) along about 80 percent of its length.... on both sides of the coach. The crack in some areas went all the way to the bottom of the channel. So NOW I read that full cure can take up to 6 days! My bad ..... I should have researched that better, I guess. I believe the slight racking of the coach in normal driving probably caused the cracking of the (not fully cured) sealant.

I do not believe the sealant is needed to keep water out of the coach; the mounting screws for the J rail are well above the "water line" (just my $.02, of course.) I covered the cracked Pro Flex with a continuous run of 2" Eternabond for UV blocking and additional protection from strong side winds getting under the Filon roofing mtl. (I did apply sealant to the "cove" area at the end of the tape runs to keep water out [lots of freezing/expanding/thawing in my area] and I keep that maintained.) It has been up there over 3 years now and it looks almost as good as the day I applied it. One Class A owner did this and had roof sep after about 6 years ..... he would not do the tape thing again because the sealant is hidden from view and you won't notice deterioration. He did finally conclude though that his failure was most likely from severe racking as he very s l o w l y drove down a really bad road to his favorite beach place ...... often. But he still would not recommend applying Eternabond over that area. So I guess I will look after 6 years.

This is a really interesting thread. There must be a "best practices" approach out there somewhere. Maybe properly applied (and cured) Geocell Clear will end up lasting a long, long time without any add'l UV protection. But if there ends up being a coating that will improve it that would be a "good thing" for sure.

Be safe, all.
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Old 10-22-2020, 04:36 PM   #16
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Here is what KBS says about their Diamond clear coat:

KBS Coatings Support Desk <[email protected]>

[I] Thu, Oct 22 at 7:08 AM

M ---

Thanks for contacting KBS Coatings. Our goal is to give you the best possible KBS experience. Below are answers to your questions:

* Can your Diamond clear coat be applied to a hybrid caulk that claims it is "paintable" even though tests prove paint will flake off over time?

Test it. In general, coatings (including DiamondFinish Clear) do not stick well to a silicone surface.

* Will it also stick to 100% silicon caulk?

Test it. In general, coatings (including DiamondFinish Clear) do not stick well to a silicone surface.

* What if I first clean the silicon caulk with denatured alcohol; will that help to establish a bond?

Doubtful that would make a difference. We recommend cleaning with a mild solution of KBS Klean.

* How flexible is your DiamondFinish Clear?

Very. See video here -->

OP Summary: It would appear there are challenges in these areas:

* Adhesion

* Flexibilitiy

* Discoloration

* Ability to last for years in the sun.

Winnebago has been trying to solve these problems with a single application sealant; and then they leave roof channel maintenance to us owners. ...What a PITA! Egro, us owners need to find a better method; and right now it looks like these are our best options:

A) If we first clean the existing Geocell Flexpro clear sealant with denatured alcohol, and then apply a layer of 100% silicon on top, this sounds like a "homerun."

B) You might prep and then spray or paint a Diamond clear coat on top of the Flexpro. Of course, it may flake off over a 1-3 years, but at least you can re-apply it more easily than cleaning and scraping your old roof sealant out of the roof channel and then re-applying it.

C) You might use FlexSeal clear in place of Diamond clear coat. I know they offer it a spray can, but I think a liquid can and a small brush will be easier and faster and maybe better.

Question: Has anyone used FlexSeal clear in the sun and can you tell us how it worked over time?

D) Tape. ...And the 1.2" clear caulk (replacement) tape mentioned above could also be very promising so long as it does not yellow in the sun?
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Old 10-25-2020, 06:57 PM   #17
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A year ago (Vista 26) recaulked all the seams including the edge where the roof meets the side and then white Eternabond over all the caulk. Now looks about the same as it did just after installation. Looking up from down on the ground the Eternabond is pretty much undetectable from stock roof. Per the picture above on roof channel maintenance, the Eternabond overlaps the area labeled "sealant" where the fiberglass roof meets the aluminum channel.
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Old 10-26-2020, 03:16 AM   #18
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Thanks for the great thread. My last seam reseal lasted about a year and 7 months. It wasn't in horrible shape now but given the consequences of not doing it, I just resealed it again with GeoCel. I also for the first time, used the self leveling sealer across the front cap, stopping just before the radius turns down. We'll see how that goes.

The last time I did the job, I went up and down the ladder way too many times and was trying to come up with a way to avoid the same thing. I did, I rented scaffolding for 3 days - see pic. Please ignore the fact I was on a coffee break. Believe me, it was worth the cost - $50 for the 3 days, and I believe it would have been the same cost for a week.

I like some of the suggestions and will consider doing a test of one or two types (in different spots) to see what might work. If I do, I'll let everyone know.
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Old 10-26-2020, 05:45 AM   #19
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Eternabond tape

We put a band of 2" Eternabond tape around the seam. As far as I'm concerned, I'm not worried about it for awhile. Looks good and neat. Comes in 4" also.
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Old 10-26-2020, 08:51 PM   #20
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Thanks Cheech! ...Please let us know what sort of adhesion results you get if you put a top coat over your Geocell ProFlex sealant.

FYI, I heard back from the folks at KBS-Diamond Clear Sealant and they said their flexible clear coat will NOT stick to 100% silicon. I then replied asking more specifically about laying down a clear primer first and KBS offered no opinion. So KBS is out.

So now I'm down to top coating the Geocell ProFlex sealant with:

A) 100% silicon only

B) Using clear Flex Seal out of the can (not the spray, because it's thinner).

C) Using that 1.2" clear caulking tape (as posted above).

Note: If my roof radius was painted "white" I would have no problem using 2" white Eternabond tape. But my roof colors are green for the most part with some gold sections. So I would not be a fan of the black tape over gold. Black over dark green is okay so that's another option. I.e., if your roof radius ever needs painting you can paint it with the darker green color and then the black Eternabond tape will not look too bad. I just which Eternabond offered a 1" wide tape, because 2" wide is overkill.

==> That scaffold idea sounds great! ...And it's a reminder to us older boys who have a greater chance of falling off a ladder. ...Don't chance it. There is too much irony in this world as it is!

==> Alternatively, if you are ever are near Arizona, you can forgo all this effort traveling 1.5 hours over the Lukeville, AZ-Mexican boarder to Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) where you can pay Carlos and Pedro $600 to work 2-3 days on your rig to repaint your roof radius and re-glue it with Geocell FlexPro clear sealant. ($200 to just reseal it... and you bring the 3 tubes of Geocell.)
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