Most RV roofs are made of rubber, either Thermal Polyolefin (TPO) or Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM). These materials are known to last for up to even 20 years, but of course only if properly maintained. One of the maintenance practices you can carry out on your RV’s roof is regular cleaning. It is, therefore, very important to know how to clean RV roof.
The above two types of RV roofing materials are often not so easy to clean. The most difficult to clean are the EPDM roofs as they are oil resistant. Remember, you still have got no otherwise but to ensure that the roof is well-cleaned. This is because that is one of the cost-effective ways of extending the RV’s lifetime as well as maintaining the roof’s warranty.
In the process of cleaning the RV’s roof, there are some issues that you need to pay close attention to. We have all these captured in this article. Read along and get to learn what it entails to keep your RV roof in good shape.
What are some of the materials you’ll need to clean the RV roof?
To get the job done perfectly, there are some materials that you will need to have. These are:
Brush with soft bristles
Steps to ensuring a clean RV roof
How will you be able to clean your RV’s roof? Where do you start? These are some of the critical questions that we seek to answer in this section. It is important to know when exactly to do the cleaning. The steps outlined below will help you a great deal; you surely can’t afford to get it wrong:
Step 1: Regular checking of the RV Roof
Before noticing that your RV Roof is dirty and needs cleaning, you ought to have made frequent checkups. This is what will help you realize if there is any form of mildew or mold on your recreational vehicle’s roof. Additionally, make sure that the ladder is more secure at any given time you are trying to assess the rooftop as failure to pay attention to this can cause injuries.
You should also check for any tree sap remains on the roof as these might be the destroyer of your beautiful camper. If you find any then there is a need to go for the powerful and quality cleaning agents.
It is only through regular inspection of the motorhome’s roof that you will be able to be sure of its state and eventually decide on the ideal detergent for the roof. You will also get the opportunity to check the conditions of the seams. Make sure that the seams are properly sealed to prevent any leakages into your RV during cleaning.
Apart from the seams, check on other possible damages that could have occurred on the roof during your trip. This should be the first step for you before you think of cleaning the roof.
Step 2: Repairs
If you happen to come across damages or seams that are likely to leak, then it is recommended that you have them repaired before you proceed to carry out your cleaning activity. You have to ensure that you do the repairs using the right materials as you might end up with a lot of damages if wrong tools are used.
This is where the owner’s manual comes in handy; check the manual to be sure of the correct tools to use. Only start the cleaning process when all the repairs have been done.
Step 3: Sweep the roof clean
The next step now is to ensure there is no debris or loose dust on the RV’s roof. You can use a soft brush to sweep the roof clean. Only stop sweeping when all the loose dirt is cleared off the roof. All the remains of the repairs that were done need to be cleared out.
All unwanted caulk and grime are cleared off the roof at this stage. If you happen to be in an area with compressed air then you can use that to sweep clean the recreational vehicle’s roof.
Step 4: Mop the roof
Now have your detergent ready and mix the required amount in a bucket of water. Be sure to have gone through the detergent’s package instructions to be fully convinced that it will perfectly deliver on your RV’s roof.
There are also some recommendations on liquid soaps and detergents that are usually made by RV manufacturers; you need to check if there are such cases for your RV. If you mop the roof, there will be no need of you having to hose again.
Petroleum-based and citrus solvents, as well as the harsh abrasive detergents shouldn’t be used on RV roofs. These solvents usually damage EPDM roofs.
While mopping the roof, start from the RV’s front side moving towards its back. This isn’t enough though; there are instances that you might come across some stubborn materials that water and the liquid detergent alone cannot remove. What should you do about these? Well, this takes us to the next cleaning step.
Step 5: Remove the stubborn grime and tree sap
If the dirt is proving to be a little bit stubborn then you have to go ahead and use a bristled brush, a soft one to be precise to clear the grime off the roof. If there is a roof cleaner that you want to use, then you can spray it before beginning to scrub.
You need to change the water at least twice for the best results. On the other hand, tree saps can best be removed using mineral spirits. Where do the tree saps come from, you may be wondering. But during your RV camping adventures, they might get to the roof from the trees.
The mineral spirit is poured on the rag then rubbed onto the spot that has the sap. The mineral spirit should never be poured directly onto your RV’s roof. Once you are done removing the grime and tree sap, use the sponge mop to absorb the grimy residue which will have dissolved by now. Rinse the mop using clean water in a bucket.
In case you come across mildew and mold during your cleaning process, use diluted bleach to scrub such areas.
Step 6: Apply some UV protection
When you are done with the cleaning, allow the roof to dry and use another sponge mop to apply some protection against ultraviolet rays. Start from the front side moving backward while applying the UV protection.
Basically, you will be done with the cleaning process by the end of this step. What now remains is some inspection on seams and vents to ascertain that the caulks are in place. There should never be leaks nor puncture marks on the RV’s roof.
If by any chance you come across any cracks on the roof, then seal them using an appropriate RV roof sealant.
Precautions when cleaning RV roof
As you have noticed, the process of cleaning your RV’s roof is very simple and can be done in just a few minutes. But this is only possible if you follow some of the precautions below:
When looking for a detergent or UV protection for your recreational vehicle’s roof, ensure that you choose whatever has been recommended by the manufacturer. Using a cleaner that has been prohibited by the manufacturer will make your warranty if there is any, void.
There are some cleaning agents such as mineral spirits that should never be applied directly onto the rubber roof.
If there is any need to use a brush, then it should have very soft bristles to avoid damaging the roof.
Read the labels on the cleaning agents carefully before using them.
Avoid petroleum-based solvents
Make sure that the ladder you will be using on your way up and down is well secured.
Always start your cleaning from the front side of the RV as you move towards the back systematically.
Carefully tread on the roof as you take caution of possible tripping hazards.
Avoid cleaning the roof during rainy days as the RV roofs are usually slippery at such times, therefore, you might get yourself injured in such conditions.
These are just some of the precautions you need to pay attention to. If there are no labels for your own reading, then you better consult a professional. The same applies to when you are afraid of heights. You will have to part ways with some cash if a professional is called to action though.
How often should the roof be cleaned?
Actually, there is no specified duration that the RV roof should take before it is cleaned. That’s why there is a dire need for you to always keep checking the condition of your roof. If you notice that it has large amounts of dirt, then know that it is time to have it cleaned.
But doing the cleaning at least once in three months is just fine. This regular cleaning is what will help keep your RV in good condition.
Knowing how to clean RV roof is very important. There is nothing fancy when it comes to cleaning your RV’s roof. At times, just a brush and soapy water will be enough to get you done. You only need to keep the cleaning process a routine. Otherwise, it won’t be as easy as you have seen above.
Whenever you doubt anything, consult a professional. This simple maintenance practice is often ignored by many RV owners and that is why they experience a lot of challenges with their roofs. This is surely one of the simplest but very reliable ways of extending your RV’s lifetime.
You basically have nothing left but to start cleaning your RV’s roof immediately you are done reading this article.