Every year, millions of Americans pack up their RVs and go on a road trip with their families. If you're one of the many who take frequent drives in their rig, you know the importance of having it in tip-top shape.
Part of keeping your ride on the road involves performing RV roof maintenance. This means doing an inspection once a year, resealing and recoating as needed, and using a cover to protect your roof from harsh UV rays. Continue reading for a complete list of steps you'll need to take.
Understand Your Roofing Material
The first step in RV maintenance is understanding the material it's made of. You wouldn't care for an RV with a fiberglass roof like you would care for one with an aluminum one.
Fiberglass RV rooftops are made using synthetic materials and glass fibers. On the upside, this structure allows the roof panels to be lightweight. They're also resistant to rusting and will never rot.
The downside is they don't stand up too well when faced with the summer heat. You as the RV owner will have to take extra steps to keep your ride out of the sun. Fiberglass can also be expensive to repair and replace.
Out of all the different roofing types, rubber is the most popular when it comes to RVs. It's an easy and inexpensive material to work with. There's more than one type of rubber.
The first type is TPO. It's a white rubber that's resistant to mold and dirt. That makes it easy to maintain.
Due to its color, TPO is also energy efficient. You won't have to keep your air conditioning going full blast for you and your family to stay cool.
The downside of TPO is that it can't take the heat. It's for this reason that you may have to replace it more often than you would like. Like with fiberglass, you'll have to take extra steps to keep your RV setup out of the sun for long periods of time.
EPDM is the second type of rubber. Like TPO, it's affordable and simple to install. It's also a bit more durable than TPO. It can withstand hot temperatures, and you won't have to worry about it leaking.
It is a darker shade, which comes with its own share of problems. Since it absorbs a lot more heat than TPO rubber, you may find it difficult to keep your RV cool.
Aluminum is not a material you see a lot on RVs due to all the drawbacks. It's prone to leaks and seam failure, so you'll have to keep an eye on it to spot small problems before they turn into larger ones.
While the material is known to last for 20 years or more, you'll most likely pay for a great deal of repairs during that time.
Cleaning Your RV Roof
Now that you know a little more about your roofing material, it's time to get into the actual maintenance steps. The first (and probably the most important) one is cleaning.
Keeping your roof tidy isn't only important for aesthetics. It will also increase the lifespan of the material. Dirt and grime can eat away at a roof and make it vulnerable to leaks and other issues.
Put on the Right Gear
To begin, put on the right gear. It doesn't matter if it's rubber or aluminum. RV rooftops can be slippery.
You shouldn't set to work without a pair of slip-resistant shoes. Even with a good pair of shoes, you'll still need to watch your step to avoid falling.
Mix Your Cleaning Solution
Combine six ounces of cleaner with a half-gallon of cool water. Be sure that whatever cleaning solution you use is made with RVs in mind.
Abrasive ingredients can wear on the roofing materials and cause problems later on down the road.
Sweep and Scrub the Roof
Before applying your cleaner, sweep away any leaves and larger chunks of debris. Doing so will make the cleaning process a lot easier.
Use a medium bristled brush to scrub stains off your roof. You may have to put in a little elbow grease to remove stubborn stuck-on sap and grime. If you don't have a brush, you can use a mop.
After you're sure you've cleaned your roof thoroughly, it's time to rinse it with a hose.
Know that RV care is a messy job where the roof is concerned. It will most likely make a mess of the sides of the RV, so you'll need to spray down the entire outside of the vehicle.
Inspect Your Roof Often
You'll need to inspect your roof at least once a year. Again, for materials like aluminum, it's wise to check on it more often than that.
Most RV owners inspect their roof while they're cleaning. Look over every single sealant and seam. All it takes is one small opening to cause damage to spread across the whole roof.
While on the roof, you should also check for cracks, dents, and peeling. If you see the smallest sign of wear, schedule repairs to avoid significant issues.
Even if your roof looks 100% fine during your inspection, resealing it hurts nothing. It will add an extra layer of protection to keep the roof in good shape.
There are sealing products for aluminum, fiberglass, and rubber. You only need to choose the right sealant and follow the manufacturer's instructions to apply it. It's recommended one or so times a year.
Use a Cover
The sun's harsh UV rays can do a number on your roof. Especially if it's made with TPO rubber.
Placing a cover over your RV while it's not in use will create a protective shield that will prevent the sun from fading and cracking your roofing material. It will also keep out sap and other debris.
The Secret to Good RV Roof Maintenance
As you can see, the secret to good RV roof maintenance is not really a secret at all. Cleaning and resealing will work wonders. As will an RV cover and a thorough inspection.
Maintaining your RV will allow you and your family to visit a great number of exciting places like Canopy RV Resort. Contact us today to ask about booking a reservation!