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Author Topic: Pressure washing a rubber roof  (Read 4739 times)

COMer

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  • John & Darla
Pressure washing a rubber roof
« on: August 28, 2010, 06:27:01 AM »
Has anybody tried to wash their rubber roof by using a pressure washer?  I can't remember anybody commenting on this and don't see any warnings in my roof maintenance literature.  I wonder how hard it would be on the roof (using the proper settings) as opposed to using a bristle brush which is recommended.  It would be a lot easier if it would do a good job and not damage anything.
John & Darla
Home near Erie, PA
Spend half the year with Campers on Mission

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Pressure washing a rubber roof
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2010, 07:36:11 AM »
I would be VERY concerned about possible damage. A rubber roof is just a fabric covering coated with EPDM.  Let that high pressure spray get too close for a second and you are going to either scallop out the EPDM or even cut the fabric.  I'm sure it can be done successfully with a lower pressure washer (NOT one of those 1500-2000 psi jobs) and a suitable wand (no needle sprays!) and strict attention to what you are doing, but I think it is still risky.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

tennsmith

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Re: Pressure washing a rubber roof
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2010, 07:44:06 AM »
My personal experience with a membrane roof is that the "dirt" for lack of a better word, is a combination of mildew/black particles and other forms of discoloration that are pretty well-fixed (almost embedded) to the rubber.  The surface is not slick or glazed and whatever dirt is on it is attached pretty well.   I think (I've not tried it) pressure washing would achieve some "change in color", but to get it really clean, and particularly if you are going to treat it afterwards with some recommended dressing, then it's gonna take that brush and a lot of elbow grease to get it clean.  If a detergent or some form of soap can be infused into the pressure washer stream, then that might make a big difference.

If you choose to use a pressure washer, I'd advise being very careful how you "direct" the pressure stream onto the roof.  RV vents do not "seal" air tight and depend on rain falling from above not to leak.  A pressure stream directed close to the base of a vent is going to wash up and under the vent lid and fall inside.  Same goes for refrigerator vent as well.  Anything going into the vent stacks for grey and black water would just fall into the tanks with no harm done.

Bob Smith
Huntsville, AL
2000 Itasca Horizon 36LD
300 Cat
6 speed Allison

Just Lou

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Re: Pressure washing a rubber roof
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2010, 08:11:26 AM »
I have a relatively low pressure nozzle for my power washer that I use for washing automobile wheels and for washing salt off my fishing truck and equipment.  I've used it to pre-wash the EPDM roof of the Bounder.  It's especially good for loosening leaves and debris that settle between the roof edge and main awning roll.

As others have said, be very careful with the force and direction of the water stream.
“You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” F. Scott Fitzgerald
lou  ---  '97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

edjunior

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Re: Pressure washing a rubber roof
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2010, 09:50:17 AM »
I have, and had no issues.  As folks said above, caution and pay attention to what you're doing.  Here's a few pics of my job.  You can see the before, during, and after.


Ed.....KF5INW
2011 F-250 XLT, 6.7L PSD
2010 Forest River Wildcat 28RKBS
"I thought I was wrong once, but I was wrong!"

COMer

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  • John & Darla
Re: Pressure washing a rubber roof
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2010, 11:27:37 AM »
Sounds like it may not be worth the risk.  And if I do try it, I should start with a low pressue nozzle.  My washer has a collection of nozzles with various forces.  I just got to figuring that it would not be any harsher on the roof than scrubbing with a bristle brush which is necessary to remove the junk.
John & Darla
Home near Erie, PA
Spend half the year with Campers on Mission

edjunior

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Re: Pressure washing a rubber roof
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2010, 03:02:33 PM »
Mine just has an adjustable spray nozzle, and it did just fine.  I had it at a fairly wide setting and no problems.  You can really see the difference in that second picture.
Ed.....KF5INW
2011 F-250 XLT, 6.7L PSD
2010 Forest River Wildcat 28RKBS
"I thought I was wrong once, but I was wrong!"

rbell

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Re: Pressure washing a rubber roof
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2010, 03:44:28 PM »
I'd be a little cautious with a pressure washer. I just did mine, started with Spic & Span which did a fare job. When I ran out I picked up a bottle of Thetford Rubber Roof cleaner. It did a very good job. I just put a ladder against the side, used a fairly stiff brush with about a 6' handle, wet it down, scrubbed, and rinsed. Every time I moved I also rinsed the sides and kept them wet to prevent streaks.

In this day and age it's refreshing to buy a pruduct that does what it says it will.
Dick
2012 150 Ecoboost
2012 KZ Spree 323CSS

tworootless

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Re: Pressure washing a rubber roof
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2010, 04:17:21 PM »
Been using the pressure for years without a problem  Just use the wide spray settings

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Pressure washing a rubber roof
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2010, 04:38:10 PM »
Dicor and Alpha, the distributors of most all the rubber & TPO roof materials used in the US on RVs, recommend only a medium bristle brush for rubber roof cleaning. Never a stiff bristle brush.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL