RV roof maintenance is crucial to keeping your motorhome on the road. Without proper maintenance, normal wear and tear slowly become a major issue. From mold and water damage to problems that render your RV inoperable, your roof is a barrier and shield.
Worse yet, much of this type of damage isn’t covered by extended warranties. If something happens, it’s on you to cover the cost of repair services.
Luckily, there are a few steps to help you keep your rig’s roof in tip-top shape. With this guide, we want to provide a few RV roof maintenance tips to help owners avoid damage. Read on to learn more and know that TX RV Repair Shop is always here to help.
What Are RV Roofs Made Of?
Oftentimes, RV owners don’t realize what their roof is made of. However, this is a critical factor in how you tend to the maintenance. So, it’s essential to understand your roofing material.
Rubber RV Roof
Many rigs have rubber roofs, which come in one of two materials – ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) or thermal polyolefin (TPO).
People often refer to EPDM as rolled rubber roofing.” It’s a more affordable, easy-to-install, and durable material. Moreover, it has the potential to last up to 20 years and rarely scuffs or scratches. It is also less vulnerable to leaks.
Additionally, EPDM can withstand high temperatures and direct sunlight. However, the darker color means it absorbs more heat, which raises the temperature inside an RV.
TPO is a very common option. This is because it is white, which helps to keep RVs cool, and cost-effective. Additionally, it is generally simple to install, resistant to mold and dirt, and energy-efficient.
Unfortunately, TPO doesn’t last as long as other materials and doesn’t tolerate direct sunlight very well. Due to this, it requires more frequent repairs and replacement without proper RV roof maintenance.
Today, an aluminum RV roof is quite rare. That’s because they come with a lot of drawbacks. Still, the main advantage is its long lifespan.
Unfortunately, even when an aluminum roof lasts, it doesn’t mean it looks great after 20 years. Additionally, it requires fastening down instead of glue. As such, these roofs are more susceptible to seam issues and leaks.
Fiberglass RV roofs use synthetic materials and glass fibers. Generally, they come in either sheets or panels. People love fiberglass because it is customizable and lightweight. Additionally, it is a durable material that’s resistant to rot, fire, and rust.
However, fiberglass roof repair is quite expensive when it sustains damage. Like TPO, it also doesn’t handle heat well. With prolonged exposure, it can sustain thermal splits.
Often, this type of damage requires repair if not roof replacement.
Proper Roof Installation is Crucial
No matter the material, the biggest factor in RV roof maintenance isn’t about what it’s made of. For the best roof on your rig, it’s important to install it properly. Follow instructions carefully or work with professionals with experience in RV bodywork.
Additionally, it’s important to acquire any roof materials from a trusted manufacturer.
RV Roof Maintenance Tips
Regardless of what type of roof you have on your rig, it requires regular maintenance. Typically, manufacturers recommend preventative maintenance on a quarterly basis. To ensure a simple routine, it’s a good idea to have these supplies on hand.
- Caulking gun
- Roof cleaner
- Sealant and primer
- Seam roller
- Roof patches
Additionally, it’s a good idea to keep some of these materials with you on the road. In the event something unfortunate occurs, you can make a quick DIY repair. However, what’s more important is to be sure that any supplies you buy are specific to the material of your roof.
Cleaning Your RV Roof
It’s important to clean your RV roof several times throughout the year. This is especially true for rubber roofs. Cleaning is an essential aspect of RV roof maintenance because it ensures the longevity of the roof as well as its appearance.
As such, it’s important to avoid cleaners with abrasives, citrus ingredients, or petroleum solvents. These have the potential to weaken the bonds and strength of a roof.
When it’s time to clean your roof, scrub it with a medium bristle brush unless the manufacturer recommends otherwise. This helps to remove sap, mildew, and grime. As you clean, rinse the entire RV thoroughly.
Often, what comes off of the roof slides down the sides of the rig. When you fail to rinse it properly, it can lead to discoloration and streaking.
Inspect Your Rig
As you clean your rig’s roof, be sure to inspect the seams and sealants. When it comes to RV roof maintenance, even the slightest opening has the potential to cause significant damage. Address tears, holes, and rips as soon as possible.
Additionally, take a close look at the AC unit, roof rack, ladder, skylights, and vents. These areas are prone to dirt, cracks, and mold. If you notice anything in need of repair, follow the instructions on your supplies.
Lastly, exercise extreme caution as you work on your roof. It’s easy for the surface to become slick. Watch where you step!
Recoat & Reseal
Even when there are no visible issues, it doesn’t hurt to apply a fresh coat of sealant. Furthermore, some RV experts recommend resealing and recoating RV roofs as often as once each year. Additionally, remember to buy products specific to the material of your roof.
How to Prevent Roof Damage
In addition to general RV roof maintenance, there’s another step to prevent damage as you store your RV. Do what you can to keep it out of the sun and out of the elements.
Sun, hail, rain, and other natural elements are brutal to a rig left sitting out. To prevent sun and water damage, store your rig at a facility or purchase a roof cover.
If you decide to use a roof cover, be sure it’s designed for your type of RV. Some other tarps reduce airflow, which causes moisture, mildew, and mold to develop.
With Proper RV Roof Maintenance, You Can Get Back on the Road
With proper RV roof maintenance, you keep your rig’s roof in solid condition. Follow these simple maintenance procedures to help your RV stay adventure-ready. No one wants a surprise leak to ruin a road trip.
When you take the time to care for a roof, you prevent much worse damage down the road. Moreover, you keep your rig ready for your next vacation.