RV Rubber Roof Maintenance Tips
Let’s talk RV rubber roof maintenance. The majority of modern RV roofs are manufactured of a rubber type material that is adhered to the RV during manufacturing. Most of these rubber RV roofs should last for many years or even the life of your RV if properly maintained. Below are some of our RV Rubber Roof Maintenance Tips.
The roof of your RV is the element of your RV that is most exposed to the environment; namely the sun. Heat and UV damage from constant sun exposure is your roofs number one enemy. Of course, there are others, for example; tree sap, rotting leaves, soot from campfires, and an array of other toxic pollutants that are extremely damaging to your RV rubber roof.
Regular RV roof maintenance can and will greatly extend the life of your rubber RV roof, saving you expensive repairs in the future should the roof fail.
Whenever working on the roof of an RV, extreme caution should be taken to prevent slips and falls. While on the roof of your RV, you are a long way from the ground. And, if you park your RV on concrete or asphalt, a long way from a devastating fall that could seriously injure or kill you. So, be extremely careful when performing roof maintenance on your RV.
Below are some routine RV rubber roof maintenance steps and product recommendations for keeping your rubber RV roof clean and protected for long life. We suggest you clean and apply a commercial protectant at least annually (follow manufacturer recommendations if your RV is under warranty).
The information below is ONLY intended for rubber roof material. Other materials; vinyl, fiberglass, or even aluminum all require different care and maintenance. Follow YOUR RV’s maintenance recommendations.
Sweep away any loose debris from the RV roof. Check around RV slides for any leaves or sticks that may be stuck in the gaskets of the slides and remove that material.
Using a water hose, rinse away any dirt and grime. We use a pressure washer to remove most grime – be careful to use a wide spraying nozzle to keep from penetrating the roof membrane. Using a pressure washer will cut your cleaning time substantially, however, you need to use caution with high pressure to prevent tearing or ripping into the roof membrane.
Scrub the roof
Using an appropriate commercial cleaner, scrub the roof to remove remaining debris. We use a commercially available Marine/RV liquid cleanser for this. Pretty much anything will do for this step – You are simply removing dirt and grime.
Caution: most manufacturers advise against using cleaners with Petroleum distillates, citrus-based products, or anything with abrasives. Scrub thoroughly in smaller sections, rinsing quickly to prevent drying.
Once you have all debris removed, cleaned the roof, and allowed the roof to dry, it’s time to apply a commercial UV protectant.
There are numerous products available for you to choose from, just be certain to read the label of the product before applying to be certain the product is approved for the type of roofing material on your RV.
We use Dicor Roof-Gard UV Protectant – It is approved for most RV roof materials and is an easy wipe on and allow to dry application.
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Other roof maintenance to consider while on your RV roof
- Check the seals around roof-mounted vents and appliances. If anything looks cracked, dried, or pealing, seal it right away. Water damage is a very costly thing that is completely preventable with a little routine maintenance. Also, check the seals where the roof has adhered to the sides and ends of the RV – these are most likely where you will see cracks and separation first (likely from the movement of the RV during transport). Use only an approved Marine/RV grade sealant/caulk – household use caulk will not hold up. We recommend Starbright Marine grade sealant.
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- Check the overall appearance of the roof – look for tears in the membrane. If you find a tear or location where the rubber roof is separating from the RV structure, it needs to be repaired right away. Water can get into the smallest cracks or tears and do considerable damage. A quick inspection of the overall roof can head off costly repairs later on.
- Clean the Air Conditioner – We know you like to stay cool during those 100-degree Fahrenheit summer days. Your air conditioner needs to be cleaned occasionally for it to function efficiently. Remove the plastic housing and check the compressor fins for dirt and debris first. If the fins are covered in dirt or have other debris visible, it needs to be cleaned. How we do this is to use our pressure washer on wide tip spray to flush out the debris – Now, HVAC folks are probably cringing right now about us saying we use our pressure washer. You can use compressed air to do this as well, but the real concern is to NOT damage or bend the fins of the compressor. Damaged fins equate to an inefficient A/C unit. Just be very careful when cleaning this way, and the reason we use this method is that we are already on the roof and using compressed air means another piece of equipment is needed.
Once you have cleaned the roof, inspected your seals, and checked you’re A/C unit, you should be done with this routine maintenance.
We urge you to consult your Owner’s Manual or Dealer to inquire about roof maintenance and/or how often it is recommended. We do our RV roof maintenance at least annually at the beginning of the season. There are countless opinions about the frequency of cleaning OR if it should be done at all.
These tips are simply provided to those that prefer to do the maintenance as an extra step to prolong the life of their RV roof.
So, there you have it Happy Campers, RV Rubber Roof Maintenance Tips. Happy Camping and as we mentioned earlier – Safety First when working on the roof of your RV.
Check out our Tips for RV Leveling also – Read that HERE.
Now get out there and do some camping.
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