Courtesy Dicor Corporation
[Editor’s note: This information is provided by roof membrane manufacturer Dicor. While there’s “promotion” for their product included, some of the information and principles may be of assistance to our readers.]
What you need to know to prevent damage
Cleaning your roof is an important part of RV maintenance that you should do in the spring and at regular intervals throughout the year. Here we want to emphasize how critical it is to follow your manufacturer’s recommendations and use an appropriate cleaner for the type of roof and the type of stains you are trying to remove.
For example, many RVs have EPDM rubber roofs that react badly with any cleaner containing petroleum distillates or citric-based chemicals. The rubber reacts to such distillates by swelling up. These chemicals may also discolor the roof. The swelling can loosen the attachment of the rubber material to the substrate and compromise the integrity of the roofing.
Dicor Products offers a specially formulated cleaner for EPDM and other kinds of roofs, such as TPO, fiberglass and aluminum. This cleaner safely loosens dirt from the roof and works well on dirt, mold, bird droppings and all kinds of pollutants.
If you have stains that are still difficult to remove, like tree sap, try mineral spirits, but with a BIG CAUTION: Do NOT use mineral spirits unless you carefully follow these directions. Mineral spirits is a petroleum distillate, and a rubber roof can react with swelling, deterioration and discoloring.
DIRECTIONS: NEVER pour the mineral spirits directly onto the roof! Always pour a small amount on a soft cloth (less is best) and then use the cloth to scrub out the stain, using only as much as needed and wiping it up with another cloth when the stain is gone.
Runoff can damage sidewall appearance, graphics
When cleaning an RV roof, as you rinse it off, the cleaner and dirt will run down the sides and caps of the RV and stick to the sidewall graphics and create dirt streaks. If not quickly addressed, the dirt can start to permanently embed into the RV and degrade the graphics and appearance.
For these reasons, we recommend masking off the sidewalls and caps from the roof edge down to prevent the rinse runoff from touching them. It’s a bit more work at the beginning, but saves time in the actual cleaning process while protecting expensive wall graphics.
For a good look at what’s involved with RV roof cleaning, go to the Dicor Products website to see Rudy’s videos about cleaning your RV roof and other care and maintenance procedures.