10 Tips for Better RV Fiberglass Roof Maintenance
December 21, 2020
If you have a fiberglass roof on your RV, it will generally require a little extra care and attention to keep it looking pristine. When you do your RV fiberglass roof maintenance right, you will also protect it against the elements. If you neglect to look after it, repairing a fiberglass roof can work out expensive. This sleek-looking type of roof is made from synthetic materials that are woven with glass fibers and a binding solution to create a hardwearing composite.
Although it is a lightweight material, this kind of fiber-reinforced plastic is very durable. However, as with any RV roof, lack of maintenance increases the risk of stress cracks and leaks. Your RV is a considerable financial investment, so it makes sense to do what you can to help prolong its life. Here are 10 tips to help you achieve the best results.
RV Fiberglass Roof Maintenance Tips
Get familiar with how to wash an RV before you start. An initial word of caution. Take extra care when cleaning your RV roof, especially when you are using soapy solutions on the smooth and shiny surface of the fiberglass roof. It can become very slippery underfoot when wet, so make sure you’re wearing your best slip-resistant shoes before you go walkabout on the roof of your RV.
1. Prep the Roof to Make Seals and Vents Watertight Before Cleaning
You don’t want water and assorted cleaning products trickling into gaps, roof vents, seals and seams during RV fiberglass roof maintenance. So, the first thing to do before starting RV fiberglass roof maintenance is to make sure any openings such as air conditioning vents and roof windows are properly sealed. A good tip is to use a waterproof fiberglass mesh tape to create a protective barrier before you start cleaning.
2. Useful Tools for RV Fiberglass Roof Maintenance
Using the right tools make the job quicker and easier when cleaning an RV. When you’re washing the roof, here is some cleaning equipment that might come in useful.
- Telescopic wash brush to clean the roof before applying wax or coatings
- Laminating brushes for applying resin or topcoats to an RV acrylic roof
- Pressure washer or hose to quickly and efficiently remove soapy residue. Be careful not to direct high-pressure jets of water at seals.
- Fiberglass spray gun for even coverage of protective coating
Due to the specifics of the material of your fiberglass roof, always be mindful to use soft bristle brushes to clean without scratching. This will avoid causing damage to the roof surface where dirt can collect in the future.
3. Follow a Methodical Cleaning Technique
An RV fiberglass roof is a large area to cover. Furthermore, an acrylic roof quickly becomes slippery underfoot. However, the job becomes safer and more manageable if you clean it in sections. For example, aim to wash and rinse 3ft x 3ft sections at a time. You could start in one corner and then move sideways, then down, and so on. Choose a pattern that will prevent you from going back over sections of the freshly washed roof.
4. Pick a Good Time for RV Fiberglass Roof Maintenance
It is not just important to know how to wash a camper, but also when to wash the vehicle and carry out routine maintenance work. Ideally, aim for a time early in the morning or later in the evening unless, of course, you have your RV in storage. If you do have to work outside, the tip is not to clean or wax the roof of your RV in direct sunlight. Otherwise you might get unsightly water spotting. The wax will dry out too quickly and reduce its effectiveness. You don’t want to apply roof coatings or wax in the rain either. Any run-off in the rain may mark the sides of your vehicle, so be sure to do a weather check first.
5. Wash Once a Month to Avoid Grime and Dirt Build-Up
Routine RV fiberglass roof maintenance should include a thorough wash and clean once a month to make sure road salt, bird droppings, tree sap and so on don’t damage the roof exterior. Additionally, working with the right RV detailing supplies is recommended for safe RV fiberglass roof maintenance. You don’t want to erode the roof’s protective coating with harsh chemical formulas. Instead, look out for non-toxic biodegradable solutions with no harsh abrasives. These are specially formulated to easily eliminate general dirt build-up and road film to help maintain the polished appearance of your RV roof.
6. Apply Regular Wax Treatment to Protect Against UV Damage
An important part of RV fiberglass roof maintenance includes applying a specialized wax treatment that is designed for this type of roof material. This will enrich the high-gloss look of your roof while also protecting it against UV damage. The wax coats the roof in a UV-resistant film. Ideally, this should be done every couple of months or at least once or twice a year. However, if you don’t have time to do the job, schedule an appointment for an RV wash and wax service. Note, a high-quality wax treatment should also help remove light oxidation. For heavy oxidation, see below.
7. Tackle Tough Stains with an RV Roof Fiberglass Oxidation Remover
Does your RV acrylic roof have a chalky, dull appearance or feel slightly brittle to the touch? Oxidation is the cause of these problems. Oxidation will all too quickly result if you don’t have a regular RV fiberglass roof maintenance routine. You will need more than mild soap and water to refresh the roof’s appearance if oxidation has started to take hold. Look out for a specialist fiberglass stain remover. For example, shop around for a high-quality stain-absorbing gel that easily removes stains without the need for sanding or compounding.
8. Apply a Specialist RV Fiberglass Roof Coating
Extend the life of your RV fiberglass roof and improve its appearance with a specialist coating that contains acrylic fiberglass resins. These resins create a protective layer while helping the coating expand and contract to cope with the roof’s movement. Another good tip is to go for a brilliant white coating to increase reflectivity. This will help to reduce the temperature inside the RV during hot summer temperatures. If you are unsure about achieving a professional-look finish, mobile RV detailing can be carried out by a professional detailer on your driveway.
9. Stop Leaks with an RV Roof Sealant
Another great plus about regular RV fiberglass roof maintenance is that you can fix problem areas before any serious damage is done. For example, sealant touch-ups around vent fans, solar panels, windows and rooftop air conditioner units will keep them watertight. Go for an acrylic roof-compatible liquid sealant. Preferably one with a nozzle cap that will enable you to access awkward areas and angles. You’ll need a steady hand to achieve the best results. Have a soft cloth nearby to remove any excess sealant before it dries and sets.
10. Invest in an RV Fiberglass Roof Cover
Regular RV fiberglass roof maintenance is a great way to sustain the appearance and life of your vehicle. Indoor storage is the best way to keep your RV roof in the best shape and protect it from the elements. This is especially useful over the colder months until it is time de-winterize an RV for summer travel. However, it is not always possible or practical to find indoor space for a large RV. Hiring storage space can be expensive too. A more affordable solution is an RV fiberglass roof cover. Go for a high-quality waterproof cover made from breathable fabric to aid air circulation and prevent mold.
If you can follow these tips for effective RV fiberglass roof maintenance it will make all the difference to both the look and the lifespan of your vehicle. Keeping your RV in good condition will cut back on costly repairs and enhance its value. Using the appropriate cleaners and tools will ensure you achieve the best results.
Above all, carry out roof maintenance safely. If you are in any way unsure about climbing onto the roof of your RV or what techniques and products to use, schedule an appointment with DetailXPerts. You can have your RV fiberglass rooftop evaluated and have the entire RV professionally detailed to restore its original good looks.
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