Your RV motorhome or camper trailer is a major investment. So, it only makes sense to take care of it properly. But the RV roof maintenance is often forgotten or put off until something detrimental happens. In this article, we’ll include some details on inspecting, cleaning and maintaining your RV roof.
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Owning an RV is a huge investment and like with other investments, you’ll want the best return on it. That’s why it’s important to conduct periodic inspections at least twice a year.
Not only the roof but the entire RV should be inspected to find out areas requiring immediate attention or issues which may likely cause problem in near future. In addition to periodic inspections, you’ll need to inspect the RV after it has been exposed to extreme weather conditions like hail, snow or wind storm.
RV Maintenance: RV Roof Inspection and Maintenance
Before you undertaking this task, please understand getting onto the roof of an RV is not for everybody. If you can’t safely get onto your RV’s roof ask someone else to do this task for you.
Your RV roof will need inspection and basic maintenance regularly. The amount of cleaning and inspection will depend on where you park your rig. For example, if your RV is parked under trees, exposed to freezing temperatures, high heat or direct sunlight, you’ll need to pay closer attention.
SAFETY FIRST!!! Anytime you get on your RV roof, make certain that someone is around in case of emergency. Having a spotter is a good idea.
Climbing Up to Your RV roof
Once you get onto your roof, conduct an overall visual survey of the roof area to determine where you will step. Ensure that you don’t step to close to the roof’s edge, onto sky lights, vent covers, or solar panels. They can be fragile and are not meant to support any weight. Also, avoid leaning on or grabbing onto antennae or pipes.
What to Look For on your RV Roof
Your RV’s roof should be free of debris and have no rubbings, cracks, tears or holes. Carefully inspect the vent covers, skylights and roof air conditioners for cracks, chips and peeling.
Inspect all caulk and sealants around the vents, skylights and rooftop components to ensure it is still pliable and in good condition. If the roof sealant is dried out, cracked, torn, peeling or missing, you’ll need to replace it to preserve the water tight integrity of your roof. We use self-leveling sealant.
Cleaning your RV Roof
Cleaning your RV roof should be a two-person chore. You should always have a at least a spotter. Try to get someone to assist you by handing the water hose, cleaning solution and cleaning tools to you. That way, you don’t have to go up and down the ladder while trying to carry your cleaning gear.
Transporting a 5-gallon bucket, long-handle brush and specific rubber roof cleaning solution can be done by hoisting your gear using a rope. Be careful not to damage or scratch the side of your RV while hoisting them.
Hoist your kink-free hose to the roof top area with the same rope. Ensure you secure the hose to a roof top fixture with a bungee cord to keep it from slipping off the roof. This will also prevent you from struggling to hold it in place while you clean.
Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions listed on the roof cleaning product. Be conscious that the cleaning solution will be running down the sides of your RV.
It’s important that you rinse the roof and sides of the RV thoroughly with plenty of water to prevent wax removal and streaking on the sides of the unit.
RV Maintenance Tip: Always make sure your cleaning solution and applications are compatible with the rubber seals and gaskets of your RV.
Work in one small area at a time to ensure the cleaning solution does not dry onto the roof of your RV. Be very careful as you step because the cleaning solution combined with the water will make the rooftop very slippery.
Avoid stepping close to the rooftop edges as you move around the RV. Don’t step inside the bights or loops in your hose or ropes.
You’ll need to scrub the rooftops of all slide-out tops as well as the main rooftop. Take care when rinsing the slide top areas so you don’t force excess water into the seal areas.
If you have slide toppers, it’s a good idea to clean and inspect those and the actual slide out rooftops. You may have to get on your hands and knees to get a good look at them.
When cleaning is complete, visually survey the entire roof top area one last time before you lower your RV cleaning supplies to the ground.
RV Roof Repairs
You should have a readily-available RV roof repair kit. Knowing your RV’s Roof material will dictate what caulking product to use. Typically towable like fifth wheels and travel trailers have a rubber roof membrane while older towable travel trailers and motorhomes have fiberglass sheeting roofs.
Your roof repair kit should include:
If you notice any rubbings, cuts or tears on your RV roof’s rubber membrane, allow the roof to thoroughly dry. Then piece on white roof tape over the blemishes. This preventative measure will help alleviate potential leaks or further damage.
One word to the wise; this roof tape is highly adhesive. Once it sticks, it ain’t coming up. So, be extra sure of placement.
After you’ve finished all of your inspections and repairs, it’s time to bring all of your gear down with you.
Recoating your RV Roof?
Recoating the RV is another standard part of RV maintenance. Your RV roof will need a fresh coat of RV roof coating every three to five years depending upon the condition of the roof. Make sure you choose a product that is compatible to use on the RV roof and that you also follow the complete application process as outlined by the manufacturer.
If there are many weak spots and damaged areas, then it is better to recoat the entire RV than doing spot RV roof repair. RV roof maintenance seems like a huge task but don’t worry. Much of the work can be done in a single weekend. Also if you want to protect your investment, you need to keep up with RV roof maintenance to keep things in the up-tight condition.
All of that said, if you don’t feel you have the expertise and time to do it right, we highly recommend hiring a RV roof professional who specializes in reciting and RV roof applications.
Regularly Schedule your RV Roof Inspections and Repairs
Lastly, if you’ve not done this already, get into the habit of inspecting and caring for your RV’s roof on a regular basis. This will help to eliminate the possibility of leaks and discrepancies in water integrity.
We regularly inspect ours every month or so. It will assist in prolonging the life of your Rv and will enhance your RV adventures and enjoyment.
And remember, if you keep your RV in climates of hot and blistering sun, be aware that your roof will show signs of wear faster. Which, is reason to make it a habit to conduct monthly roof inspections.
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Since you’re up on your roof, read about our solar panels
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