If your RV has a rubber roof and you’re not already using a high-quality RV rubber roof protectant, this post is for you. In fact, if you’ve got an RV at all, regardless of the type of roof it has, the general idea behind today’s post (roof maintenance) is for you as well.
Our RVs are constantly exposed to the sun and other elements, which wear on the materials used to construct the roof. Over time, this can have an impact on the integrity of the roof due to fading, oxidizing, drying, and cracking.
As any homeowner knows, the roof of a building needs replacing after a certain number of years. This is due to the same type of constant exposure to heat, sun, rain, snow, fallen tree branches, sitting leaves, etc.
Where an RV is concerned, failure to protect the roof over your head can have devastating consequences. In today’s post, we hope to offer some information that’ll prevent that from happening to you.
Specifically, we’ll be talking about “rubber” RV roofs, but you can apply the same ideas to the protection of any rig by using the type of products that apply to your RV’s roof material.
Let’s head up to the roof (figuratively) and get to work!
- 1) What Is an RV Rubber Roof Made Of?
- 2) How Do I Protect My RV Rubber Roof?
- 3) What Are the Best RV Rubber Roof Protectants?
- 4) RV Rubber Roof Cleaning Demonstration
- 5) Do I Have to Clean and Protect My RV Rubber Roof Regularly?
- 6) Free RVing Tips, Tricks, Reviews, Giveaways & More
What Is an RV Rubber Roof Made Of?
In our “Complete Guide to Your RV Roof“, we laid out the materials used to construct the four main types of RV roofs and how to care for each type.
These included EPDM and TPO, both types of rubber roof membranes used on many RVs.
EPDM Rubber RV Roof
EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) is a membrane that’s commonly used on flat roofs. In fact, it’s one of the most common RV roofing materials.
This type of RV rubber roofing is often made from recycled materials like tires, sawdust, and slate dust.
You can keep your EPDM roof healthy and extend its life significantly by using a protectant that’s designed to protect and preserve the material.
This (along with regular cleaning) is the best way to keep a rubber roof pliable and protected. We’ll get into exactly how to do this in just a moment.
TPO Rubber RV Roof
Thermal polyolefin (TPO for short) is also a type of membrane used in the construction of RV roofs. TPO has been commonly used on RVs since the 1990s. As a matter of fact, these days TPO is often the first choice for RV manufacturers.
What you’ll need to do to protect your TPO rubber RV roof is exactly the same as what you’ll do to protect an EPDM roof (by using a product specifically designed to protect the material it’s made from), so let’s jump right into the how-to.
How Do I Protect My RV Rubber Roof?
Even if an RV manufacturer claims that their RV’s roofs are already “protected” from the elements, we subscribe to common sense periodic maintenance in everything we do on our rig.
One thing worth noting for all RV owners — regardless of whether your RV roof is constructed from EPDM, TPO, fiberglass, or aluminum, periodic roof inspection, and maintenance are crucial to preserving the integrity of your rig over the long haul.
While our rig has a fiberglass roof, we still need to care for it accordingly.
We go where we want to go, which often leaves our RV’s roof exposed to trees (leaves and sap) in the forest, LOTS of desert sun, and other weather phenomena as well.
We all need to keep our roofs as clean as possible, prevent RV roof leaks (Dicor maintenance), tend to any damage, and use a high-quality roof treatment appropriate for the type of roof we have.
Using a product designed specifically to protect your RV’s rubber roof is important because it keeps the material pliable and provides UV protection to slow aging due to the sun.
As an added benefit, using a good roof protectant product reduces the chalking that leads to streaks down the side of your RV. If you’ve ever dealt with the dreaded “RV black streaks” you know what we’re talking about. (See our post about RV black streak removers for more detail.) Our first RV had a rubber roof, so we know about black streaks firsthand.
To protect your RV’s rubber roof, take the following steps on a semi-annual (or at least annual) basis:
Clean Your RV Roof
It bears mentioning — be careful on your roof! That’s especially true when it’s wet. We personally know at least one person who fell off the roof of an RV, and she was incredibly lucky to suffer only a broken wrist.
Remove any debris like leaves, branches, pine cones, etc. from the roof of your rig, and give it a good cleaning.
Refer to our post on how to clean a rubber roof on an RV for specific steps to take and products to use to clean your roof. Using a high-quality cleaner like those listed in that post is the best way to prepare for applying additional protection.
Apply a High-Quality RV Rubber Roof Protectant
Depending on the product you choose, you’ll apply roof protectant (usually by spraying it on) and then spread it evenly, rubbing it in.
Some people prefer to use a floor mop so they can apply it while standing rather than getting down on their knees. That’s our back-saving tip for the day!
What Are the Best RV Rubber Roof Protectants?
There are a number of RV roof protectants on the market. Here are several popular examples to choose from:
Roof Gard from Dicor is designed to help protect your rig’s roof from damage caused by UV rays and other harsh elements.
Its mild, non-abrasive formula keeps surfaces cleaner longer with no residue or oily build-up. Roof Gard doesn’t use silicone, waxes, glycerine, or petroleum distillates.
You can spread Roof Gard with a damp mop or cloth and simply allow it to air dry.
- A Finish that Repels Dust and Water
- Will Not Harm Rubber Roofing
ProtectAll, a product from Thetford, coats your RV’s rubber roof with an anti-static polymer that helps prevent road grime and other contaminants from sticking.
Not only does it protect your rig’s roof membrane, but also helps reduce chalking — the powdery substance that leads to black streaks.
ProtectAll also includes UV protection to help prevent your rubber roof from being damaged by the sun.
The manufacturer recommends applying it every 3-6 months, depending on the climate where your RV spends most of its time. You may want to use it more often if your rig spends a lot of time in areas with lots of sun, heat, and/or humidity.
ProtectAll is biodegradable, non-abrasive, and non-toxic.
- [VERSATILITY:] ProtectAll Rubber Roof Treatment with UV Protection is easy to apply on any EPDM rubber roof
- [PERFORMANCE]: The formula coats the roof in a tough polymer with anti-static properties, preventing grime from sticking and reducing the powdery roof...
Aerospace 303 is another high-quality product that provides excellent protection against the sun’s damaging UV rays.
It helps to protect your RV’s rubber roof from fading, cracking, and staining. It also leaves a coating that repels debris and restores the luster of your RV’s roof, while leaving no oily residue behind as it dries to a smooth matte finish.
Aerospace 303 has lots of great uses. We’ve been applying it to our RV tires for years and love it. It’s one of our favorite ways to protect an expensive part of our RV from sun damage. Besides protecting the rubber, it leaves just the right amount of “shine” on the tires (which equals “not too much”)!
While your rig is parked in the shade (or on an overcast day) spray Aerospace 303 on your roof and wipe dry with a microfiber towel or mop. You can also spray Aerospace 303 directly onto the towel or mop and apply it to the roof’s surface that way.
- Ultimate Protection – 303 Aerospace Protectant provides superior protection against damaging UV rays. This protector spray repels dust, lint, and...
- Non-Greasy – Dries to a smooth, matte finish with no oily or greasy residue. When treating your outdoor furniture, spa and pool covers, vinyl...
Camco’s Pro-Tec RV Rubber Roof Care System is a two-step treatment.
The first step cleans and conditions your RV rubber roof, while the second applies a substance that helps resist dirt while. It also protects against UV rays and reduces the chalking that leads to black streaks.
Important: Camco recommends not using step two of the system on TPO roofs, noting that only part one is needed for TPO.
Both steps one and two are recommended for EPDM roofs. Make sure you know which type of rubber roof your rig has!
- Helps extend the life of RV Rubber Roofs
- Engineered specifically to reduce roof chalking
B.E.S.T. 55048 Rubber Roof Cleaner/Protectant
This one is a combination rubber roof cleaner, UV protectant, and moisturizer all in one.
Good for all types of rubber roofs (and rubber roofs only), the manufacturer recommends applying it every 6 months.
Instructions are to first clear your RV rubber roof of any loose debris and rinse it off. Then you’ll scrub one small area at a time and then rinse that area well. Repeat this process in small areas until you’ve done the entire roof.
- Package dimensions :8.5" L x4.75" W x3.5" H
- Country of origin :United States
RV Rubber Roof Cleaning Demonstration
Here’s Mark Polk of RV Education 101 to demonstrate how he cleans and protects an RV roof.
Do I Have to Clean and Protect My RV Rubber Roof Regularly?
Not everyone is capable of getting up on an RV roof every 6-12 months (or at all).
While it’s important to check and maintain the Dicor and other sealants on your RV roof and to clean and protect it regularly, you of course have the option to pay a professional, or a friend, to do the job.
You can also consider coating your roof with an RV roof coating designed to protect it for 2-4 years. If you decide to coat your RV’s rubber roof, be sure to use a product specifically designed for rubber roofs like those found in the linked post.
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