How to Maintain Your RV EPDM Roof
With proper care and maintenance, your RV EPDM roof can last for 20 years or more. That’s pretty much equivalent to the life of the vehicle itself. One of the benefits of EPDM roofing materials is that the care and maintenance required is minimal. Regular cleaning is the first step.
Most manufacturers recommend cleaning the roof at least four times per year. The cleaner used should be one that is specifically designed for EPDM roofing and is free of petroleum distillates.
Products containing petroleum distillates, whether they are designed for cleaning or protecting, will cause the rubber to swell and loosen. There are many chemicals that fall under the category. The easiest way to tell for sure that the cleaner you are using does not contain any of the chemicals is to look for one that states on the label “free of petroleum distillates, safe for use on EPDM materials.”
Cleaning is a relatively simple matter, but you should keep your safety in mind. If you are going to be getting up on the roof, you should be on your hands and knees to reduce your risk of falling.
The first step is to rinse the roof thoroughly with plain water at a relatively high pressure. Any branches or sharp objects should be removed by hand, if possible. While EPDM is tear resistant, sharp objects can cause scratches when they are pushed along the surface. Eventually the scratches can become tears.
Once all debris has been rinsed away, you will need to take a medium bristle brush, a bucket of safe cleanser diluted with water and get up on the roof. You need only scrub in areas where you see stains or dirt.
Keep your hose with you so that you can rinse while you are cleaning. Start in the corner farthest away from your exit point and work backwards to minimize the amount of time you spend on the wet surface.
After the roof is cleaned, you can use an EPDM protectant if you like. The protectant should be specifically designed for EPDM roofing, not for other types of materials. Some EPDM manufacturers also sell special protectants. While using the protectant is not essential, it may extend the life of the roof and reduce your need to restore or repair the roofing material.
Finally, proper care of your EPDM roof includes parking it in an area where the roof is protected as much as possible. Don’t park around fruit trees. The citric acid can deteriorate the material in between cleanings.