You want your RV to be something you’re proud of; a dependable little getaway that you don’t mind showing off. But in order to keep your RV looking sleek and operating effectively, a certain amount of maintenance needs to be done. It might not be the most enjoyable part of owning an RV, but it is a necessary one. To keep your roof in top shape, consider these insights on fiberglass roof maintenance and enjoy an RV that is both dazzling and leak-free!
You can find fiberglass used in an array of products from boats to bathtubs. Fiberglass is also a common material used in the construction of RV roofs for numerous reasons. Not only is it lightweight, but it’s also relatively durable too. Compared to its rubber-made counterpart, fiberglass RV roofs are also less maintenance. Fiberglass consists of fiber-reinforced plastic that is coated in a clear or colored gel resin covering. It is this gel coating that fades and dulls as a result of sunlight, heat, and moisture exposure. These damaging elements work together to accelerate the oxidation process, which is what your periodic maintenance will help to combat.
How you store your RV in the off-season can have a tremendous amount of influence on the level of deterioration that your roof sustains. Indoor storage is ideal, because nothing protects a roof like another roof, but storing your rig in a garage for the off-season isn’t always an available option. For outdoor storage, be aware of where you keep your RV. Obviously, if you choose to park it below trees, there’s a good chance your roof will collect sap, catkins, bird droppings, and other falling debris that can make cleaning more of a challenge. If you must store your RV outdoors, make sure to protect it with a cover.
The intensity of your maintenance depends largely on the levels of exposure your RV gets. If it is stored in an enclosed area, exposure is greatly reduced and you can feel safe maintaining it every 6 months or so. If your RV sustains extensive exposure, you’ll want to maintain it consistently every 3 months. The longer you go without cleaning it, the more accumulated gunk there will be to wash away. Keeping up on maintenance and basic inspections are simple preventative measures that will greatly reduce your risk for leaks and ensure that your RV keeps its chic appearance as you hit the road for amazing adventures, like visiting The Grand Tetons.
It’s a good idea to give your RV's roof a good cleaning at least twice a year. To do so, sweep off the surface to remove dirt and debris buildup, and then rinse it off with a hose. Working in sections, apply your chosen cleaning substance and scrub with a soft-bristled brush. Just like knowing what to use to clean your RV's interior, pay attention to what you should use on your roof. Certain compounds can cause damage to your roof’s protective coating. Most RVers with fiberglass roofs rely on a granular powered product such as Bar Keepers Friend.
Waxes & Polishes
After your roof is washed, it will need to be protected with some sort of additional coating to prevent oxidization. Not only will polishes and waxes work to ward off oxidization, but they will also restore the shiny luster to your roof and help it repel debris in the future. Choose a coating that is designed for your intended use and apply the product using the guidelines and instructions included. Waxes work best when there is little oxidization present. Polishes are more ideal for moderate oxidization as they can help to reverse the effects. If you do choose a polish, wax should still be applied after the polishing compound is removed, however 2-in-1 systems are available. Work in small 3' x 3' sections, applying the product in a circular motion before buffing it out.
Seals & Caulks
As you’re cleaning your RV’s roof, you’ll also want to be examining it for points of weakness where water could infiltrate. These compromised areas will need to be repaired as soon as possible, and the quicker you identify them, the less chance you will have of sustaining water damage as a result of a leaky roof. Check for any cracks or tearing in the seals, keeping a close eye on the caulking around vents and skylights. If you notice any signs of wear, reseal them by running a bead of caulk down the crack. Don’t worry about making your repairs appear perfect and pristine. After all, if you keep up on maintenance, you shouldn’t spend much time staring at your roof anyways!
When you’re in the great outdoors, having a roof over your head is a luxury that should be protected. Take the time every few months or so to keep up on basic maintenance and keep your RV’s roof in tip top shape!