If you’re not sure how to clean RV rubber roof, then you’re in the right place. This is a step by step guide that shows you how to clean not just rubber but other types of RV roofs. The best time to do the cleanup is during a sunny day.
Roof Cleaning Basics
Prepare your cleaning tools and materials. Before cleaning, do a thorough inspection for any parts that need repair. If your RV requires repair, get it done prior to the cleanup.
How to Clean RV Roofs according to Type
There are several types of RV roofs, but the most common are fiberglass, PVC and rubber (TPO, EPDM).
Rubber roofs consist of a rubberized membrane. This thin rubber is set on a wood substrate. This is in contrast with fiberglass roofs which are molded and PVC roofs that have polyvinyl chloride.
a. Rubber Roofs
Rubber roofs are popular due to their durability, but they can be vulnerable to harsh chemicals. Use only materials that are designed for RV rubber roofs.
b. PVC and Fiberglass roofs
I focused on rubber RV roofs but you can use the same steps above for fiberglass and PVC roofs. The only difference is you use oil soap rather than a rubber roof cleanser. There are also RV cleaners for PVC and fiberglass roofs.
Don’t forget to apply fiberglass protection on the roof to prevent oxidation. You can also use a cleaner wax to fix slight oxidation. Use only those with mild abrasives as the harsh ones may cause more damage.
Step by Step Guide to Cleaning Your RV Roof
Prepare all the tools and materials you’ll need. Make sure your RV is not running and the engine has cooled down.
Clean up your RV on a regular basis especially the roof. The roof should be cleaned 3 to 4 times a year. If you regularly park under trees, leaves, sap and bird droppings will make a mess on your roof. In that case you may need to clean it more often.
When you get up on the roof, use the time to inspect it for damage. If there is damage, have it fixed right away. By keeping the roof clean you’ll have an easier time spotting cracks, dents and other damages.
If you haven’t already, buy an RV rubber roof cleanser. Read the instructions before using it.
You can apply the rubber roof cleaner right now. But if the roof is caked with dirt, put plastic sheets on the sides so when you clean the roof, the dirt doesn’t fall off on the sides.
Bring out your ladder and get on the roof. Someone should watch over as you get on the ladder and the roof. Have your companion assist in bringing up your cleaning tools and materials. When you’re on the roof, sweep the leaves and dirt off the roof. Wipe the roof with a cloth if necessary.
Use the rubber roof cleaner according to the directions. Use your sprayer and spray on the roof. Things will be simpler if you work on small areas first. Start with an area of 2 to 3 square feet and then move on to the next area.
Use a soft bristle brush or sponge to remove dirt. Wipe in a circular manner. Make sure you’ve got several sponges ready to clean the entire roof.
Use a sponge mop to absorb the grime. Rinse the mop with a bucketful of clean water.
Repeat the steps above until all the dirt and grime are removed.
Get a hose and equip it with a spray nozzle. Use this to eliminate the remaining traces of grime on the roof.
Check the roof for any signs of cracks. Pay close attention to the sides as those are the most vulnerable on rubber roofs. Replace the sealant if there are signs of degradation or is lifting up. This can happen at various points like the vents, air conditioner and more.
If the sealant is beginning to lift up, remove as much as possible. Do this gently to avoid damaging the surface. Clean up any residue and apply new leveling sealant.
If the sealant is beginning to come off, apply the leveling sealant. Place a tube in a caulking gun. Set the pointed end in the appropriate slot opposite the ratcheting system. Make an opening about 1/4 inch.
Put the sealant on the damaged or cracked parts. Apply the sealant on the area you removed the grime and dirt from.
This step is not as hard as it seems. If you clean your RV roof on a regular basis you’ll be familiar with how the roof looks. So if there is a problem or damage it will jump out immediately.
You may see some black spots on the RV rubber roofs but it’s not a big deal. Just use a rubber roof cleaner and you’ll be able to get rid of the spots. Once you have removed the dirt, apply UV protection.
UV protection for rubber roofs resemble white paint but is more effective in blocking UV.
Once you’re done cleaning the roof of your RV, replenish your supply.
Additional Tips and Warnings
- Where you park your rig plays a role in how much dirt the RVs get. If you keep the RV far from trees you’ll notice that it doesn’t collect as much dirt.
- Timing is very important. Do not clean your RV when it’s raining. Not only is it dangerous to climb on the roof, but all that cleaning will be for naught once it rains.
- Do some research before deciding what cleaning solution to use. Using the wrong cleaner can cause permanent damage to the roof. Buy only from reputable manufacturers and you should not have any problems with cleaning.
Don’t Forget to Clean Your RVs Roof as Often as Possible
Now that you know how to clean RV roof, your rig will look as good as new. And if you’re wondering how often to clean, do it as often as you can. Anytime you’re stopping for a while, use the opportunity to tidy up your rig.
It is true that cleaning an RV takes time, but you’re actually going to save you more in the long run. The earlier and more frequent you do the cleaning, the less time it will take to complete the cleanup.
If you spend most of the time in hot, moist locations, there is a greater chance of dirt building up faster. It is understandable why a lot of RVers want to park under trees because of the shade it has. However the sap and sticky substances that fall from these trees makes cleaning more difficult.
I also have to point out that you need a stable and durable ladder. No matter what the weather is, you can never be to careful when it comes to ladders.
Most of us don’t think a lot about the roof of the RV unless there is a problem with it. If you’re looking to live in an RV or spend time in it cruising, it pays to know as much as you can about cleaning the roof.