How to Install a Solar Panel to the Roof of your Caravan

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What’s the best adhesive to use for installing solar panels onto a caravan we  hear you ask?

Sikaflex of course! Specifically, Sikaflex 252 is the adhesive we would recommend time and time again for this important job. The easiest way to get the best result, one that will stand up to bumping and banging about the countryside in a caravan is to ensure that you prime and prepare your surfaces properly.

Let’s get a little technical for a moment. These instructions are only valid for the substrates we are talking about, and they are the most common ones for these materials. If your caravan or solar panel mounting bracket are made from something different, call the Sika Technical Help Desk on 1300 22 33 48 for a more specific recommendation.

Your caravan roof is likely to be made out of Fibreglass with a gel coat finish. Your mounting brackets for your solar panel are likely to be either Mill Finished Aluminium or Anodised aluminium – it will say on the product box or label which, so check that first.

What you’re going to need:

Sikaflex 252 for attaching solar panel to caravan roof  

For the Mounting Brackets – Lightly abrade the surface that you are sticking to the roof using the Scotchbrite pad and clean to remove any dust using a clean dry rag.

Using a cotton cloth, apply the Sika Aktivator 205 (you only need a little bit!) and allow to dry for 10 minutes, but don’t leave it more than 2 hours.

Apply Sika Primer 206 G+P in a light, uniform coat using a brush or foam applicator, and set aside for anywhere from 30mins to 24 hours, depending how busy you are!  Then apply your spacer tape (4 mm to 5mm thick) to the primed area, ensuring it is stuck down well. This will ensure that the adhesive is at the correct thickness to function properly, so it’s pretty important!

Applying the Adhesive – Apply Sikaflex 252 to the bottom of the mounting bracket or fibreglass roof. Make sure that you have trimmed the nozzle of your cartridge to an appropriate size so it’s only just bigger than the bracket to give a nice, clean finish, and use a high quality caulking gun to ensure that your application is smooth and even. The thickness of the Sikaflex 252 should be about 8mm high, or twice as high as your spacer tape.

Assembly – Bring the mounting brackets and the caravan roof together and push down until the mounting bracket is touching the spacer tape. This will leave a really thin layer of adhesive between the bracket and the spacer tape and give you a bulge of sealant around the tape and bracket, forming a waterproof seal. Leave the whole lot to cure for 24 hours and you are good to hit the road again!

22 thoughts on “How to Install a Solar Panel to the Roof of your Caravan

  1. Hi,
    Can you please advise if Slkaflex-221 is appropriate for installing a solar panel on a plastic manufactured bracket system, to a fibreglass roof on a caravan?? 252 is not available at my local hardware store.

    1. Hi David! Thanks for getting in touch. Sikaflex 221 is approximately half the strength of SF 252, so we would prefer SF 252 is used.
      Other options are Sikaflex 260 or Sika TITAN 258
      If the hardware store you’re visiting doesn’t carry Sikaflex 252, try your local Blackwoods, Bunnings or Mitre 10 stores- they all carry this range of products. Otherwise, drop us an email at au.marketing@au.sika.com and we will find you a retailer near your postcode for you to visit! Thanks,

  2. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though
    you relied on the video to make your point. You obviously
    know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to
    your weblog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

    1. Hi there! Sorry, you must be talking to the wrong people – there is absolutely no reference to any video in this blog! Great to see that you’re interested in the content though, and don’t worry, there will be more posts on caravans to come!

  3. Hi there , i am looking to fit a 150 w solar panel to the roof of my van using sikaflex 521. The panel is screw attached to plastic Biard mounting panels and i was aiming to glue this down onto the metal roof of my van. Will the sika be strong enough by itself to hold the panel and mount in place or will i need to physically mount the panels by drilling through the van roof and securing with bolts? any help gratefully appreciated.

    1. Hi Dan,

      Sikaflex-252 is specifically designed for this application as it is able to create a strong bond between those materials and withstand high levels of dynamic stress that will be exerted on the joint during travel. The Sikaflex-252 should be more than strong enough to hold the mounting panels (depending on how large/heavy the panels are) however, if possible, we would also of course recommend physically attaching the panels for that extra peace of mind. The decision, of course, it up to you! If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact our customer service line on 1300 22 33 48.

  4. Hi Dan, I intend to mount my panels on my caravan using the procedure and Sikaflex 252 that you recommend. however I am mounting them on a white gloss aluminium roof, using plastic mounting kits. the roof is somewhat concave so the Sikaflex will not have an even depth once mounted. is there any special treatment/method that is required?

    1. Hi Bert,

      You can still use the same products and methods however you will need to switch the procedure so you are applying the Primer and Aktivator on the aluminium surface which will be your caravan roof, instead of the mounting brackets as explained in the original blog post. We also recommend abrading the plastic surface of the mounts as well as the aluminium surface of your caravan roof. In terms of the concave roof, provided you use enough Sikaflex-252 to ensure there are no gaps between the roof and your brackets, you should be fine!

      1. Thank you for your answer. as per your answer to cuppa, will it be necessary to remove the white gloss coating from my caravan roof or will it be sufficient to abraide the gloss? also is there any need to use the prime and aktivator on the plastic mountings or is the Sika 525 able to bond to this medium with only roughing the base?

  5. Another similar question. I intend to mount several solar panels to the roof of a painted aluminium canopy on the back of a 4wd. I would like to use aluminium angle for the mounting brackets. Would Sika 252 used as described in your blog suit? Would it be necessary to remove the paint from the roof surface?

    1. Hi Cuppa,

      Sikaflex-252 would definitely still be suitable. If possible, we would definitely recommend removing the paint before applying Sikaflex-252. This ensures a guaranteed bond between the Sikaflex adhesive and the aluminium roof. We also suggest abraiding both surfaces with a scotch pad before applying Sika Aktivator, Sika Primer and then finally Sikaflex-252.

      Hope this helps!

  6. What is the best Sika product to use to secure a solar panel to the roof of my VW campervan? I ask this because I have read on caravan/camping forums that many people recommend using Sikaflex 11FC rather then Sikaflex 252. Which would be best to use in my situation and what is the main difference between the two products? Thanks

    1. Hi Coaster! When determining what adhesive is going to be the most suitable, the most important information you’ll need to know is the materials of both items that you intend to glue together. In either case, if you’re adhering solar panels (whethere they’re flexible or on aluminium brackets) to the roof of your campervan (whether it’s fibreglass or aluminium), Sikaflex-252 is the recommended product and is specially designed for this type of application. Sikaflex-11FC is an adhesive/sealant designed for more construction type applications. More info on Sikaflex-252: http://aus.sika.com/en/solutions_products/01/01a004/01a004sa04/01a004sa01100/01a004sa01105.html

  7. We have a 1980 caravan and have had the roof painted with a special waterproof paint. We want to mount 3 solar panels to the roof which products would you suggest we use please.

    1. Hi! It completely depends on the substrates you’re working with. Are you adhering the panels directly to the roof or using mounting brackets? If so, what material are the brackets? Sikaflex-252 should still be suitable if you’re using the same materials as the one described in our guide. Be sure to abrade both surfaces to ensure a proper bond.

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