RV Roof Maintenance 101: Keep Your Camper In Good Shape
Your RV goes through a lot every year. Whether you take long road trips, like to camp frequently, or just leave it uncovered in your yard, time will take its roll on the exterior. The roof particularly needs to be checked, and it’s easy to overlook this part. Because we can’t usually see the roof, we might not think to check it. However, RV roof maintenance is essential to keeping our campers ready for action at any time.
There are lots of things that can cause damage and degradation to a trailer over time, but luckily there are ways to fix these issues as well. Inspecting, cleaning, and protecting your roof will pay off in the long run.
Potential roof issues to watch for
Before you roll up your sleeves and get to work, it’s important to take a step back and examine your RV roof for warning signs. Plan to do an RV roof maintenance check at least once a year. A good time to do it is right before you store the vehicle for winter, or when you have just returned from a long trip.
Carefully inspect your RV before you do anything else. Try to avoid climbing on top of the roof if you can, just in case there are structural issues you don’t know about. Use ladders to inspect the roof from all sides and check the interior ceilings for signs of stress or damage as well.
There are lots of factors that can take a toll on the integrity of a roof, and looking for the signs will help you make the best RV roof maintenance plan.
The sun is one of the worst enemies of RVs. Ultraviolet radiation can break down trailer materials over time, leading them to become discolored, brittle, and warped.
Some materials are more resistant to UV radiation (such as metal) but fiberglass exteriors are particularly vulnerable to this type of damage. If you have a fiberglass RV, make sure you store it in a garage/carport. Or at the very least, protect the camper with a fabric covering whenever it’s not being used.
Many RVs have lots of vents and openings built into the roof. These are designed to improve ventilation and provide more natural light to the interior. They are also prone to wearing down and getting dirty, so it’s important to inspect and clean all of your RV roof vents. They will run less efficiently if they are dirty, and could cause larger breakdowns in the future. To prevent this, you’ll need to inspect and clean things like A/C vents, skylights, and fans.
Nothing is more damaging to the value of an RV than water damage. This can appear in several different locations throughout an RV, but some water damage signs will be visible in the ceiling and roof. Check the inside and outside of your trailer carefully and look for any areas that are damp, bulging, or leaking. If you spot any signs of water damage, fix them as soon as possible to prevent further costly problems.
Some RVs are at-risk for developing roof bubbles over time. This usually affects models that have rubber roofs, so pay extra close attention if you have an RV like this. Roof bubbles grow when the roof of an RV is damaged with small cuts and holes. While driving, the force of the wind rips into these weak points, creating air pockets and bulges in the roof material. This problem can sometimes be covered by the warranty, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for it and do what you can to prevent/treat it.
Finally, part of RV roof maintenance is just doing a simple scrub down. Whenever RVs are parked or stored outside, they’re at risk of getting dirty. It’s totally normal to pick up debris such as:
- Dead insects
- Bird poop
All of this buildup can be solved with a good wipe down with some towels and soap. It keeps your roof looking nice and prevents any long-term staining.
General RV Roof Maintenance Process
Once you’ve checked over the various parts of your roof, you’re free to start the cleaning and upkeep process. As long as there are no major issues like water damage, you should be good to follow the steps outlined below.
Remove A/C Shrouds and Inspect A/C
Air conditioning systems are essential in an RV, especially if you travel during the hot summer months. These systems are designed to be fairly low-maintenance, but they still need help from time to time.
During your maintenance check, unplug the A/C from its power source and remove all your A/C shrouds. Examine the A/C system for any blockages, dust build-up, or broken parts.
Next, use a grime cleaner on the evaporator and condenser coils. Give it time to soak for about 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, you can clean the shroud/vent covers with damp towels and a gentle cleaning soap. Hoses can be used to spray out particularly stubborn clumps.
Once the grime cleaner has soaked, use a shop-vac to suck the excess moisture off of the main unit. Let the whole thing dry for a few hours (or overnight) then replace the A/C shrouds.
Check skylights, fans, and vents
Repeat the process above for any other vents or outlets on the roof. Carefully remove the exterior covers and give them a thorough wash with soap and water. Make sure all of your fans are functioning properly and examine the openings for any blockages or debris buildup.
Cleaning the roof
Once all of the accessories have been cleaned, you can focus on the roof itself. RV roof maintenance is supposed to leave you with a nice-looking product, as well as a fully functioning one.
Cleaning an RV is similar to cleaning a car in many ways. Basically you just need a cleaning product, water, and something to scrub with. You may want to use different cleaning products, depending on the type of roof material you have. Rubber roofs have specific products, as do fiberglass and metal ones.
Use a ladder to clean the roof when possible, as it’s dangerous to stand on top of a slippery, raised surface. Long scrubber brushes can also come in handy here!
Put Dicor over cracks
Once everything is clean and dry, you can start thinking about the long-term aspects of your RV roof maintenance plan. As we mentioned above, some roofs can develop cracks, holes, and cuts over time. These can spread if they’re not dealt with, so using a protective coating is a good idea.
Dicor is one of the leading brands for RV sealants, coatings, and protective products. They have a whole line of products that’s just for roofs as well! Any of their products will work well, so just apply it to the damaged areas of your RV roof and allow it to dry.
Finish with RV Roof Magic
To finish off the whole process, apply a fresh coat of RV Roof Magic. This amazing product will protect your roof from a variety of future problems. The benefits are almost.. well, magical!
You can apply this to any type of RV roof and there’s no need to use a primer. The application will dry within the day as well, so you won’t need to wait around.
It also provides several levels of protection. RV Roof Magic is UV and ozone resistant and it has anti-fungal properties as well. Mildew, mold, and other living things will have a hard time getting a hold on your roof after this!
The default color for this finish is white, which gives your roof a reflective property that will enable your RV to stay cooler and will let you save on cooling costs. It’s very hardy and strong as well, so you won’t need to reapply it often.
This is a great product to use to finish off your RV roof maintenance process. Once everything is cleaned, sealed, and protected, you’ll be set for another long haul with your trailer.
Track your RV maintenance
Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as Maintain My RV. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.
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