How do I maintain the Rubber roof??

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Apr 15, 2005
Thanks for all of the suggestions on the summer storage for the interior. Now we need somehelp on the exterior for the Palm Springs area.
Think I mentioned the tires are covered. Since the rig is new,the exterior is in good shape. We saw a can of stuff for the rubber roof. Do we need to treat it now or just wash it?
We were advised that having a full cover (very expensive) is a problem because of the straps rubbing on th gel coatin.g due to wind. Several rigs have been left here allready and non are fully covered.  I know a place that is climate controlled storage but runs $600 a month. Maybe if we had one of those 1/2 million+ dollar motorhomes!!

Also how about the fact that the tires are in the same position on the slab. One person tod me that the new type tires are not affected. Moving it even a few feet would take a truck. At least the slides will be retracted.
There is no requirement to treat it with anything - just wash it occasionally. Mold is the biggest problem and that shouldn't occur in that climate.

If you want to use one of the rubber roof treatments, they are pretty easy to apply and might make it a bit easier to clean later. They are basically a wax.  They have no proven value as a preservative, though.
Sir, so if a rubber roof has some material that looks like peeling paint; is that a wax?

What's the best way to clean a rubber roof, remove that peeling paint looking material and re coat the roof with what?

Thank you.
can you post pictures?  The rubber membrane shouldn't flake or peel unless it is dry rotted and if that's the case than you need a new membrane.  Is it maybe just some sealant or caulk around the vents that is peeling?
If it looks like peeling paint, it probably is. Nothing in the usual make-up of a rubber roof would look like that and the wax treatments aren't that thick.

Post a picture if you can.
There are coatings for rubber (epdm) roofs.  They can effectively double the life of epdm. Find your nearest ABC supply or other Mulehide dealer and get the "epdm restoration" coatings. It's a two part acrylic elastomeric system that you simply brush and roll on. Cleaner and coating.

I'm a commercial contractor and have worked on literally hundreds of rubber roofs. Rubber (or epdm) is not a forever product. UV rays, heat, cold, chemicals in the air, etc will kick it's ass over time. And maybe a short period of time for some roofs. I have seen 5 year old roofs that looked like hell, and I have seen some 20 year old roofs that looked pretty good.
Coat the roof to protect it from UV would be the most advisable thing I could tell you. $300 worth of coating might pay off big time in the end.

And now my disclaimer. The rubber that I work on is black. Your camper roofs are probably white rubber. I honestly don't know if there is a difference in coatings, maintenance, etc.
Ask the Mulehide techs.

If Mulehide isn't  readily available I'm sure Henry products have a similar line if coatings.
There are numerous roof coats for RV EPDM roofs. Just Google RV Roaf Coat and you will find a bunch.  But that's not really "maintenance" - they are for reapir of leaking or damaged roof and essentially put a new layer of EPDM over the original.

To me, "maintenance' means something you do regularly to extend the life o fa product and I don't know of anything like that that is needed for EPDM RV Roofs. Regular cleaning with a detergent & bleach solution and a medium brush will help keep it looking nice and reduce chalk residue, but that's about it. RV shops sell a variety of Rubber Roof Coatings but they are basically just wipe-on waxes that make it shiny for a month or two. They don't really do anything to extend life or whatever. Purely cosmetic, in my opinion.
Once a year I use Dawn dish soap with bleach plus I add about a 3/4 cup of bleach. This has worked great for me for the last 5 years. Sometimes I wash sooner if needed and still no problems. You just want to make sure you rinse with enough water that the bleach will not leave any streaks down the side your your trailer. I tried a product that was suppose to make it stay cleaner longer. It was just a waste of money, I still had to wash it at the same time the following year and it wasn't any cleaner.
When I bought our 97 gulf stream, the roof coating was in pretty bad shape, all oxidized and pealing.  The rubber roof on mine is black but coated with "white whatever they used" at the factory.  I scrubbed it with a brush and simple green to removed all the oxidized coating and bought a 5 gal bucket of Kool Seal at Ace Hardware and rolled about 4 coats on it.  Looked so much better after that, plus kept the inside cooler on hot days.
There is some information on this topic that is misleading.

Rubber roof treatments do increase the life of your rubber roof! We use Dicor's Roof-Guard Protectant on vehicles we service. It is made by the company that produces a majority of the roofs used on new RVs.  Roof Guard contains "No silicone oils, waxes, glycerin and petroleum distillates".  The main benefit of Roof Guard is that it is a UV blocker. It is basically a sunscreen for your roof. Roof Guard also conditions the rubber keeping it from drying out, chalking, or cracking. Used after washing your roof, Roof Guard will help repel dust and water, extending the period of time between washes.

Rubber roof cleaners are also very effective. Using rubber roof cleaners alone will not make your roof stay cleaner longer, but it is formulated so that it will not harm the roof. Here is an excerpt from Dicor's website "Important: Some products sold for RV maintenance contain petroleum distillates and citric ingredients. These chemicals will damage your roof membrane and shorten its life. Whether you choose Dicor?s Roof-Gard Rubber Roof Protectant or another brand, be sure the products you use do not contain these harmful chemicals."

Lastly Roof coatings are a great product but they are not used to fix a leaky roof. Roof coatings are best used on roofs that nearing the end of their life or were not maintained properly. Most rubber roofs have a white top half and a black bottom half. The rubber roofs I have coated have ether been weather checked or the black is starting to show.  Many customers have asked for roof coatings for leaking roofs, something they can just brush on. The best fix for a leaking roof is not a coating, but scraping off the old sealant and applying self leveling lap sealant.

Hope this helps clear things up for everyone!

My Credentials:
12 yr RV Technician
Company CEO
Rubber roofs have been employed on RVs since the very early 90's and some of those roofs are still alive and well today. We got along fine without "rubber roof treatments" for a dozen years, but now the RV accessories industry wants us to believe our roofs will die young unless we apply their products religiously.  It's worthwhile noting that Dicor and Alpha Systems both warranty their EPDM roof material for 10 years without any requirement whatsoever to ever apply any "treatment". But using any product on a regular basis means that the roof is being cleaned and somebody is up there to observe any deterioration of seams and caulk, so that's a positive step. And a product that binds the pigment to reduce the chalk runoff is always appreciated cause it reduces streaking on the sidewalls.
JonathanPCRV said:
The main benefit of Roof Guard is that it is a UV blocker. It is basically a sunscreen for your roof. Roof Guard also conditions the rubber keeping it from drying out, chalking, or cracking. 

On another forum, I noticed where some recommended (if anything) using 303 Aerospace Protectant.  The discussion was mostly about what to use that wouldn't harm your decals on the side of the rig, but this protectant can also be used on rubber, plastic, and fiberglass, and specifically rubber roof on RV.  The main advantage is that it is a UV blocker also.  8)
I'm not sure if it was this forum or another...but there was a thread about using Aerospace 303 Protectant on tires as well.  Here's a link to their web site where it talks about rubber applications....

And here's a link to where it talks about UV protection for the RV in general....where it mentions EPDM rubber roofs specifically....

I used it on the exterior siding and end caps about ten months ago.  Washed it last weekend and it's shinery (is that a word?) now than it was the day I picked it up.  I'm surprised it lasted this long.  Although my 5er is kept at an indoor storage, we have it out at least two weekends a month, plus three, nine day trips a year.
;)  So there you have it.  The 303 site says specifically that you can use it on your roof to make it easier to clean and look good, but that protecting the roof from UV and Ozone exposure with a treatment is not necessary. 
  As manufacturers we always would put the advice in the owner's manuals which came straight from the rubber roof suppliers....Use absolutely nothing but soap and water on the rubber roof material.

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