RV Roof Maintenance

2/10/2022 – Good Sam Extended Service Plan

Many RV owners overlook their RV's roof. RV roofs can be made from any number of different materials: Vinyl, Fiberglass, Aluminum or Rubber. The most common roof on RVs today is rubber and will be the focus in this article.

There are many common repairs on your RV that you may need to make over the life of it, so be prepared. You can sign up for a Good Sam Extended Service Plan today to be protected against mechanical breakdown costs.

How can you maintain RV rubber roofs?

RV rubber roofs are made of a material commonly called EPDM which stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer. EPDM roofs are resistant to severe weather, ozone, oxidation and ultra violet light. So as you can see this is a very durable material and will give years of service and protection to your RV and its contents if not neglected.

To keep your rubber roof in good shape you should keep it clean and inspect it at least 3 times a year. Cleaning is pretty straight forward and will protect you roof as well as the sidewalls of your RV. Cleaning is also required to protect your warranty. Read your manual for recommended cleaning, inspection and sealing procedures.

Just about any cleaning solution can be used to keep the roof clean as long as it does not contain: petroleum solvents have a citric base or harsh abrasives. This can not be overstated. Petroleum based cleaners deteriorate the roofs adhesive and result in the EPDM membrane becoming loose. We suggest using products that specifically state on the label to be EPMD safe and intended for use on rubber roofs. Most RV dealers have EPDM cleaning products and Camping World has a wide selection of products to clean and condition rubber roofs.

Spending a bit more for roof conditioners results in a better looking roof for a longer period of time. Roof conditioners will help protect from ultra violet damage and curtail oxidation as well. Oxidation causes those annoying streaks on the side of your RV. These streaks can leave persistent stains and actually damage decals. While conditioners or protective coatings are not required per the manufacturer's warranty, they help maintain your roof and protect you unit's sidewalls.

How to Stay Safe on an RV Roof

Let's cover safety before you head to the upper deck. Take your time as you make your way up top. That ladder attached to your RV might look good but may be in terrible shape. If your RV does not have an attached ladder then you should be extra careful about walking on the deck. There is a good chance it was not constructed to be walked on. In this case you will need a nice size piece of plywood to distribute your weight. Wear non-slip soles; it's highly recommended to have a partner on the ground to spot you. It's not a crime to have your roof professionally cleaned if you don't feel up to it.

Make Sure to Prepare the RV Roof Before Cleaning It

Before cleaning, inspect roof and seals around all openings. Reseal any areas found suspect. Pre-Rinse the roof and sidewalls before cleaning, and follow cleaning solution instructions. Heavily soiled roofs might require additional passes to get good and clean. Remember keep the sidewalls wet while rinsing the roof to prevent the residue from drying on the sides of your RV. Finally give the sides one more rinse and insure that no sludge from the roof was missed. Don't forget that the cleaning products and of course water can make surfaces very slick.

Not that Dicor, the leading distributor of EPDM roofs state that only periodic cleaning as needed is required to maintain the warranty on their rubber roof.