Rubber roof ?

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Well-known member
Mar 22, 2011
Can someone one please tell me what is the best rubber roof protector to use?  I'm looking for just a simple spray on wipe off kind.  Should it have a wax in it or not?  I have a bottle I picked up at a RV store its a overall protector, but it has a wax in it, is this OK.  Thanks, Jay
I would be very careful what you put on your rubber roof.  If you go on the web site of the manufacturer of your rubber roof they will say no treatment products of the rubber is needed or advised.  The manufacture calls for washing the roof with a mild bleach solution and soap once a year at a minimum.  You can also use an abrasive cleanser such as Comet, etc., and a stiff brush to remove stains.  In no event should you use any products on the roof that contain petroleum distillates.  Petroleum products can penetrate the rubber and cause the adhesive to fail.

A friend's rubber roof bubbled up and sections would flap on the road.  He made arrangements to return it to the rubber roof facility.  They informed him that on arrival the roof would be tested and if any petroleum distillates were detected he would have to pay for the repairs or the rubber roof replacement.  His roof tested good and was replaced at no charge.  After some complaining on my friends part they also gave him a gas allowance.

Some roof cleaning and preventative coatings advertise negligible amounts of petroleum distillates.  The rubber roof sites say "No amount of petroleum distillate is satisfactory on the rubber roof."  I used a mild bleach solution with a little Dawn dishwashing liquid to wash my TT roof about twice a year for 14 years.  When I traded it in it had some typical sap and tree berry stains but was in very good condition.  The only time I saw those stains was when I was washing the roof and they didn't harm the integrity of the rubber.  Caution:  The roof gets real slippery when wet, especially with bleach and soap!
Our first roof lasted 18 years before we replaced it.  All I did was wash it 2x/year with soap water & a soft brush.  Using the same approach, the new roof will out live the RV.  I'm not a lover of coatings and magic compounds.  Petroleum distillates attack the rubber adhesive, allows bubbles to form and softens and releases the rubber, been there done that.
You don't need a rubber roof "protector" to preserve the roof. Just wash it occasionally with a detergent & bleach solution and check the caulking at least annually and touch up as needed.

The rubber roof "protector" products are primarily to reduce the chalking that causes the black (or sometimes gray) streaks that run down the sides of the rig as the chalks and dirt washes off in rain and dew. They are a synthetic "wax", which is fine to use if you like. A cheap kitchen floor wax probably works as well, though. They all need to be re-applied every few months, depending on what's in the air, sun exposure and rainfall.
The key is certainly washing it regularly.  My owners manual says to wash it four times a year.  I don't think anybody does that but wash it as often as you can and you will be properly maintaining it.  I bought protectant from Protect All, and another from Di-cor.  I think that since Di-cor made my rubber roof, I am assuming they know what products to use on it.  I bought their lap sealant and feel it is very good.  I wash yearly and sometimes spray on protectant if I think about it.  But I would be careful about spraying on anything that has wax in it.  The roof is slippery enough without making it more so.
So let me ask you guys what if the wrong product was used only once?  Is the damage done?  And if so how long will it take to happen before the roof starts to let go? I have always had some small bubbles on the roof to begin with. And is there any way to reverse the process or stop it from happening?
If a solvent based product is used, the rubber may lift within 5-10 mins.  It's really quite fast.  To fix a bubble involves cutting a hole or slit injecting glue, reattach the rubber (weights on a pad maybe needed), seal the hole & apply Eternabond as a secondary seal.  The glue is water based.  I've used lap sealant in place of glue, but out gasing during the curing process requires a distributed load over the glued area to keep the rubber down as the gases vent off. 
The "wrong product" would have to be something like mineral spirits or gasoline to do any damage. I can hardly conceive of a household cleaning product or home or car polish/wax that could harm it.
Well I better get out and wash the roof of my RV. I typically rinse it off but never really scrub it or soaped it. So I'll grab the soft bristle shop broom and a bottle of dish soap and wash the roof. But as I read through the this thread it start me thinking... (Not good!) Why is it everyone worries about the tires being covered but never worry about covering the roof? They are both rubber? (Scratchin' My head)  ???
But as I read through the this thread it start me thinking... (Not good!) Why is it everyone worries about the tires being covered but never worry about covering the roof? They are both rubber? (Scratchin' My head)

Now there you go, stirring up trouble again!  ;)  I suppose one could argue that EPDM and the compounds used in tires have little in common except the generic and not-terribly-accurate name "rubber". But I don't cover my tires either, so what do I care?  Plus, the "303" crowd likes to coat their EPDM roofs as well, so there's another school of thought. And somewhere there is surely someone who puts WD40 on theirs!  :eek:

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