How to Maintain the EPDM Roof on your RV

If you maintain it well, an RV EPDM roof might last for more than 20 years… just about the working life of your vehicle. Even better, EPDM roofing materials require minimal care and maintenance to keep them in top condition. You only need a little bit of maintenance to keep them in great condition.

Regularly cleaning your EPDM Coatings Liquid Roof is the first step. You should clean it four times a year, using a cleaner specially designed for EPDM roofs that contains no petroleum distillates.

Why no petroleum-based cleaners? Whether the product is meant for protecting or for cleaning, any petroleum distillates in your cleaner will cause swelling and loosening of the rubber. Unfortunately, there are many products out there that will cause problems with your roof. The best idea is to find one that says on its label that it’s petroleum distillate-free and EPDM safe.

Once you start cleaning, you’ll find it’s pretty easy. Just stay safe as you do it, and keep on your hands and knees while you’re up on the roof in order to make sure you don’t fall.

Start by rinsing off your EPDM roof using plain water under pressure. If you can, remove any branches or other sharp objects by hand. EPDM is resistant to tears, but a sharp object may create scratches if it’s dragged along the roof surface. These scratches can turn into tears over time.

Having rinsed away all the debris, you can get up on the roof with a medium bristle brush and a bucket of EPDM-safe cleaner diluted with water. You only have to scrub the areas where you see dirt or stains. Bring your hose up too, so that you can rinse off the roof while you clean.

A tip: by starting in the corner furthest away from where you’re going to exit the roof, you’ll spend less time on the wet surface. You’ll also be able to scrub away any footprints you might leave, helping ensure your EPDM roof is absolutely spotless when you’re done.

Once you’re done cleaning, an EPDM protectant (not just any protectant, it must be designed for EPDM roofs) can help extend your roof’s useful life, minimizing the chances you’ll have to repair or restore it. Even if it is helpful, a protectant is not necessary.

Finally, properly caring for your RV’s EPDM roof means parking your RV in a place where the roof is as protected as it can be. Like with everything, the more your RV is exposed to the elements, the more problems that can occur.

Avoid parking around fruit trees, because they drip citric acid that can slowly deteriorate the EPDM material. The citric acid from fruit and fruit trees drips onto the roof and remains there until your next cleaning session. Over time, it penetrates into the rubber and reduces EPDM’s ability to resist the elements. If you do have to park where overhanging fruit is unavoidable, just wash your RV roof as soon as possible afterwards. A short term exposure is not likely to do much damage to your roof.

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