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Old 09-02-2017, 06:04 PM   #1
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Going up on the roof

I probably shouldn't admit this but I have not been up on the roof of my 2017 Classic yet for a lot of reasons including the little thing of Acrophobia which of course is not little to me but it is time.
I know I need to be careful but I need to know how tall of a ladder will I need? How and WHERE do I get on the roof. I know I will need to say away from the end caps so where do I put the ladder? Where do I put my feet once I have actually let go of the ladder? What should I check while I am up there? What do I need to take with me?
I am doing this now so if/when something fails I will know what "normal" looks like. I would rather get to know my roof at my convince instead of when something fails.
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Old 09-02-2017, 07:22 PM   #2
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What do you want to know is normal?? Do you climb under your tow vehicle every now and again to see if all is normal if not do not worry about normal on the roof. I also have a 2017 Classic and have solar panels on roof. Do not plan on going on roof at all. Part of the nice thing of having an AS is not having to climb up on roof to clean it as with my past rv. Just my input I hope I do not ever need to climb on roof but if did would go up on side with awning. Will be interesting with other inputs to find just how many owners have been on their roof.
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Old 09-02-2017, 07:27 PM   #3
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Someone will need to climb on the roof eventually to reseal it. Every few years. I plan on paying someone to do it. Supporting the local economy and all...
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Old 09-02-2017, 08:04 PM   #4
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I use an 8 ft step ladder. I go up on my roof quite often. No big deal.
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Old 09-03-2017, 03:07 AM   #5
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I've leaned an 8 foot step ladder against my Airstream at vertical rib locations, and I always put a 2'x2' foam pad between the camper and the ladder. I've never tried to stand on it, didn't want dents or falls. You can do a lot of minor maintenance without actually getting up there.
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Old 09-03-2017, 05:14 AM   #6
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I actually go up quite often on our 2017 Classic - recently to repair a leak caused by improper Sat Ant installation by the selling dealer. I have two ladders I use, one is a Little Giant step ladder that extends to a regular type ladder, the other is a folding extension ladder up to 15'. I put towels under the ladder where it rests on the AS and I lean it on the awning cover. I've done this on all four of our Airstreams and never had an issue with the awnings or damage. When up there I walk on the ribs or put down plywood to walk on and sit on when replacing the caulk.

Airstream says to check the caulk every six months, after being up there most recently I can see why, the caulk after 12 months is almost shot, so I will be up there again scraping and replacing all the caulk this fall. Our trailer is outside 24/7.

Bud
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Old 09-03-2017, 05:15 AM   #7
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The 8' ladder seems to be the magic size, and it's a common household item. Do any of you travel with some brand of collapsible/folding ladder in case there's a failure or damage on the road? Seems like FT road warriors would require one. I don't have space in the TV for a full size ladder, and I don't want to be like the SOB folks who bungee their construction ladder out back.

Thanks,
Larry
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Old 09-03-2017, 06:34 AM   #8
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The 8' ladder seems to be the magic size, and it's a common household item. Do any of you travel with some brand of collapsible/folding ladder in case there's a failure or damage on the road? Seems like FT road warriors would require one. I don't have space in the TV for a full size ladder, and I don't want to be like the SOB folks who bungee their construction ladder out back.

Thanks,
Larry
Telesteps 1400 is the way to go, they are pretty much the original and their price can reflect that, beware if you decide on one of the many knock offs, they have been known to collapse under weight.

I agree that most everything can be reached without actually going up there, short of a major reseal.
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Old 09-03-2017, 09:05 AM   #9
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Hi

The neatest thing I have seen is to tape foam to the "top" end of an 8' or 10' straight ladder. It makes it a bit of a dedicated item, but ladders aren't all that expensive. It eliminates all the "position the padding" stuff when setting up the ladder. If you have some goof named Bob spotting the ladder it might also make things a bit safer as well

Bob (the guy spotting the ladder ...)
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Old 09-03-2017, 09:30 AM   #10
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Look up You Tube video from Colonial. Patrick did a nice vid of the how's and where's to get on your Airstream roof.
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Old 09-03-2017, 09:31 AM   #11
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Thanks. Getting my nerve up. Got a good ladder. Will I recognize where the ribs are? I am guessing I should look for the rivets. Not only do I want to check the sealant up there but I want to make sure that the skylight or other things aren't about to break loose.
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Old 09-03-2017, 10:03 AM   #12
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THIS is the whole reason I bought this book...but, I highly recommend it for lots of other reasons now that I have it in hand. Great guide. The following is from the "Airstream Life's (Nearly) Complete Guide to Airstream Maintenance" (2015) by Rich Luhr (also authored the Newbies Guide most of us know and love):

"Never go on the roof when it is wet or snowy. Never stand on the end-caps. If you can work from a stable ladder next to the trailer instead of standing on the roof, that's usually preferable. (Be safe with the ladder, too!)

The strongest place to get on the roof is by the entry door. Place your ladder there if you can. Leave the door open so nobody can open it and knock your ladder over. If you use a straight ladder, throw a towel or some other protective fabric where the ladder contacts the Airstream, to a void scuffing it.

The awning tube is strong enough for the ladder to lean on, and it will give you a hand-hold when climbing up. But after that, there are few things to hold onto. Keep your body low and try to have a grip on something as you move around.

You'll see rivets on the roof. Those indicate the locations of structural ribs. These are the strongest parts of the roof."

Also found this in the "how-to" section of Out-of-DoorsMart dealership. Also helpful. http://www.odmrv.net/tips/GettingOnAsTrailer.php
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Old 09-03-2017, 12:14 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by quietguy View Post
Look up You Tube video from Colonial. Patrick did a nice vid of the how's and where's to get on your Airstream roof.


I've used an extension ladder leaned against the awning cover, with appropriate padding, myself. I watched Colonial's video, and saw that Patrick (apparently simply) stepped over from the top of an A-frame ladder to the top of the Airstream roof. Worked for him, but I could see how an old geezer like me could kick the ladder sideways and down, either when climbing up, or on the dismount :-O
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Old 09-03-2017, 01:30 PM   #14
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I plan to never get on my roof.

I use a 6 foot step ladder when I wash my AS. It allows me to view and wash my roof. I use a telescoping 4' long wash wand with wash mop head on the end. I wash the AS about 6 times a year and I can easily see if anything looks funny.
I plan to let the dealer check my roof annually and reseal as needed.
I keep my AS under roof when not in use. I expect to get min 2 years out of a roof seal. It really matters how much sun your roof see's.
Climbing onto the roof doesn't seem like a good idea to me but I am not planning to maintain my roof sealant myself.
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Old 09-03-2017, 06:19 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by kendrick.l.j View Post
Thanks. Getting my nerve up. Got a good ladder. Will I recognize where the ribs are? I am guessing I should look for the rivets. Not only do I want to check the sealant up there but I want to make sure that the skylight or other things aren't about to break loose.
Hi

The ribs are where the rivets are. Easier to spot on some older models than on some of the newer ones.

Bob
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Old 09-03-2017, 06:39 PM   #16
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Thanks for the replies but I think I need to rephrase my question. I was really directing my question to those that have actually been up on the roof as to the safest way to get up there and look around and of course get back down without damaging the roof.
I guess I think it is my responsibility to take a peak up there to see if there might be an issue with caulking or sealant before it becomes a problem just like we have endless discussions on tire pressure or TV. Owning and properly maintaining the Airstream is my responsibility not some guy at the dealer and yes, I do crawl around under my truck and my trailer. I want to know how it works, why it works and when it breaks I want to know why and how to prevent the same thing from happening again. To me that is being a responsible owner.
I have seen too many posts about skylights coming off, or vent covers coming off, or even leaking, to just assume everything is good to go. If it take me 30 minutes to take a look at things up on the roof and it saves me 30 hours in the shop then that's a good thing, as long as I don't cause a dent.
So I am not asking permission and you don't need to explain why you haven't taken a look on your roof. I just want to do it safely and to look for any telltale signs of imminent failure from those fellow Airstreamers who have actually done this. That's all.
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Old 09-03-2017, 06:57 PM   #17
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I have a couple of squares of 1/4" plywood that I move around the roof to stand or kneel on.
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Old 09-03-2017, 09:00 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by kendrick.l.j View Post
Thanks for the replies but I think I need to rephrase my question. I was really directing my question to those that have actually been up on the roof as to the safest way to get up there and look around and of course get back down without damaging the roof.
I guess I think it is my responsibility to take a peak up there to see if there might be an issue with caulking or sealant before it becomes a problem just like we have endless discussions on tire pressure or TV. Owning and properly maintaining the Airstream is my responsibility not some guy at the dealer and yes, I do crawl around under my truck and my trailer. I want to know how it works, why it works and when it breaks I want to know why and how to prevent the same thing from happening again. To me that is being a responsible owner.
I have seen too many posts about skylights coming off, or vent covers coming off, or even leaking, to just assume everything is good to go. If it take me 30 minutes to take a look at things up on the roof and it saves me 30 hours in the shop then that's a good thing, as long as I don't cause a dent.
So I am not asking permission and you don't need to explain why you haven't taken a look on your roof. I just want to do it safely and to look for any telltale signs of imminent failure from those fellow Airstreamers who have actually done this. That's all.
Hi

Simple answer: watch for the rivet lines. That's where you want to place the weight. Stepping on and off (in my experience) is easier with a straight ladder than a step ladder. That said, if major work is involved, pay somebody else to do it

Bob
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Old 09-04-2017, 04:32 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by kendrick.l.j View Post
Thanks for the replies but I think I need to rephrase my question. I was really directing my question to those that have actually been up on the roof as to the safest way to get up there and look around and of course get back down without damaging the roof.
I guess I think it is my responsibility to take a peak up there to see if there might be an issue with caulking or sealant before it becomes a problem just like we have endless discussions on tire pressure or TV. Owning and properly maintaining the Airstream is my responsibility not some guy at the dealer and yes, I do crawl around under my truck and my trailer. I want to know how it works, why it works and when it breaks I want to know why and how to prevent the same thing from happening again. To me that is being a responsible owner.
I have seen too many posts about skylights coming off, or vent covers coming off, or even leaking, to just assume everything is good to go. If it take me 30 minutes to take a look at things up on the roof and it saves me 30 hours in the shop then that's a good thing, as long as I don't cause a dent.
So I am not asking permission and you don't need to explain why you haven't taken a look on your roof. I just want to do it safely and to look for any telltale signs of imminent failure from those fellow Airstreamers who have actually done this. That's all.
I wish I had posted a picture of my front skylight when I went up on the rood to find and repair the Sat Ant leak. It was attached at the factory with double faced tape, but the tape had deteriorated to the point where the skylight was held in place by only one inch of tape at the rear. I easily lifted the front up and with it came both sides. I have no idea how it stayed in place during our last trip to NC. But, I fastened it in place and I am ordering Maxim skylights, just trying to decide on colors. The rear skylight was fine.

So, my suggestion to all 2017 Classic owners and probably every other AS owner is either go up and check or pay someone to do it as the skylights are not "hard" fastened, only double faced tape.

Bud
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Old 09-04-2017, 05:07 AM   #20
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Bud, thank you. That is exactly the type of answers I am needing. I know very well that there are many owners that go up on the roof just to check things. The more information I can gather as to what to look for from other Airstream onwners the better.
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