Mod #32: Roof Ladder

Mod #32: Roof Ladder

Submitted on: 07/09/08

     Category: exterior
Mod Rating: 12345

(23 ratings)

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Mod Description:

Oddly, some RVs don’t come from the factory with a roof access ladder. Although some RV roof tops are not made to walk on frequently, having a roof ladder is a must if you want to be able to inspect and clean your RV roof. You could use a regular a-frame ladder but then you must carry it along with all of your other stuff. Some don’t mind that but for those that do, installing a roof ladder is the mod to do.

Mod Difficulty:

First, start by contacting your RV manufacturer to find out exactly where you can anchor the ladder. From the factory, the ladder is screwed to the wooden or aluminum supports that are part of the RVs frame. The manufacturer should be able to provide you with the support or frame locations.

Once you have the anchor locations, mounting the ladder is quite easy. Place the ladder in the location where you want it and mark the holes. Now drill 3/32″ pilot holes, ensuring you are drilling in to something substantial, like a frame member. Don’t drill too far though. An inch is all you need for depth.

Next, coat the underside of the mounting tabs with rubberized silicone or exterior caulking. You can use a lot and wipe the excess off after mounting. This will ensure some sealant will make its way in to the screw holes. Attach ladder with a few #8 screws to ensure everything lines up correctly. Screw in the remaining screws and wipe off excess sealant.

Finally, try out the ladder. Be careful the first time making sure all attachment points are secure under load. You could try hanging on the ladder first to see if it holds. Otherwise, it’s just going to be a trust thing. Now you can inspect your roof and see what other mods need to be done.

ModMyRV recommends these parts for this mod:
Universal Straight RV Ladder
Universal Hinged RV Ladder, up to 100” Bright Dip - Topline

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13 Comments For This Mod

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  1. Bob Vaughn

    My TT has a ladder already installed on the back….It is great for putting a bicycle rack on and we carry our blue portable dump tote on…we used to carry our bikes on a rack that hung on the ladder but after we installed the bike rack on the bed of our pickup I started carrying my tote on it…(empty of course)….

  2. jmt

    I rarely see new TT with ladders. I’ve been on the hunt for one of those telescoping ladders. Small, compact, can be used at home too.

  3. azkingranch

    My 5ver had a ladder when i bought it.

  4. imacrichie

    called tt manufacturer they told me tt is not set up for ladder (i think that is hogwash). Anyone have advice for finding how to mount this ladder ? Stud finder doesnt work. Thanx in advance for anyones help

  5. sdayman

    @imacrichie, I’ve seen message after message saying that an Ultralight/Superlight/whatever trailer doesn’t have the framework to support a ladder mount at the top end. Many have reported back that Keystone reps advise against such a mod on their lightweight TTs.

  6. imacrichie

    my tt is a 2000 Jayco Q-west 27foot already bought a used ladder but wanted to find out info before trying to mount Thanks sdayman

  7. Fiona

    I was wondering if imacrichie ever did install the ladder? We bought a 2007 Denali TT and would like to install a rear ladder for ease of roof access and to hang bicycles on. Would love to know if anyone has done it successfully as an after-market?

    We have had no success with getting an answer at Dutchmen/Thor as to whether structurally it is feasible without damaging the rear wall.

  8. Fiona

    Just a PS on the ladder question. Dutchmen/Thor finally did get back to us. Apparently it is NOT a good idea to add a rear ladder on our TT. We are very disappointed, as I had already found and purchased a Topline Bike Carrier cheaply on Craiglist.

    We are now looking into a bumper-mounted cargo carrier to haul our generator, but trying to figure out what to do with our bikes.
    Anyone have any thoughts?

  9. sdayman

    Fiona, if your rear bumper is like my 2010 Keystone Passport, it’s too flimsy to mount a cargo carrier on. You’d need to have a welding shop weld something to your frame. If you were to have them weld a receiver hitch to your frame, you’ll have a very versatile mount point.

  10. Russ

    I called Dutchmen and was told that my TT may not have the support structure installed. I could pull the sheetmetal back and check for support and if it was not there, install it myself. This sounds like hoowey. Why would you develop two different structures for the same TT. That would mean you must maintain two sets of plans to trailer development. Assuming they have a configuration control department.

  11. mrgehring

    Instead of this mod, I bought a telescoping ladder for $120 that I keep in the cargo area.

  12. Chr$

    I have a Skyline Nomad. They sent me the full drawing package. Basically they said I would have to connect to the frame members. I just cut the back off the trailer to add a cargo door, and the frame alum is a little “thin” but should be fine. Since the frame studs are not spaced properly for the ladder, I suggested using mounting plates. Mount the plates to the studs, mount the ladder to the plates. Solves that problem and they said that would work.

    My smooth side trailer is a layer of fiberglass glued to a layer of luan plywood, which is glued to the aluminum frames with about an ocean’s worth of RTV, then a layer of that already wallpapered luan plywood inside. It wasn’t done very well. the wall was not exactly flat.

  13. drew_92123

    Here is WHY ladders cannot be installed after the fact on many RVs.

    Many RVs use light weight aluminum for their framing, in order to keep the unit as light as possible and to reduce cost they make the aluminum as thin as possible as well. Because the aluminum is so thin they have to insert wood blocks anyplace where screws are to be used to fastened. It’s likely that in the case where a ladder isn’t ordered they just leave out those blocks to save time and money.

    Even on wood framed units they generally use thinner weaker wood where nothing substantial is going to be attached.

    Given the low cost these days of collapsible ladders I don’t think it’s worth the trouble or the risk to add a ladder if you aren’t 100% certain that the support structure is there.

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