There are many Class C Motorhomes out there with a proven rubber roof technology called EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer). This type of roof is on more Class C’s than any other type of roofing material. It has a long and proven track record of protecting many types of recreational vehicles.
If you do a cost-benefit analysis on EPDM, this rubber roof will come out looking pretty good. It is still one of the least expensive roofs; and if properly maintained, it will provide many years of roofing protection.
It will, however, require some attention on a regular basis if you want to achieve maximum longevity. Therefore, a little sprucing up will be required on occasion. With a little bit of luck you will never have to do any more than clean the thing.
The question is, how often should this be done? Well, like everything else out there, it depends. A quote from DICOR, a leading manufacturer of this EPDM rubber roof material, recommends the following: “To maintain your warranty, all that is required is periodic cleaning at least 3 to 4 times per year”.
As a rule of thumb, I want to stay off my rubber roof as much as possible for a host of reasons. Just being up there will track dirt, grime, and grease. This, of course, will mean that I must clean it more often. I simply do not want to grind this stuff into my rubber roof.
This tracking of dirt and grime occurs most often around the ladder. I’ve noticed that when I step out off of my ladder onto the rubber roof; I always step in the same spot each time. It has to do with the hand holds on the ladder. Getting on the thing is sort of a learned technique.
I am very methodical when I’m on my rubber roof. Anytime anyone is on top of an RV, safety has to be a priority. Focusing on some task and stepping off the thing is not the way anyone wants to end the day!
DICOR has also determined that there is no need to apply any type of protectant on the rubber roof. However, they don’t take issue with putting a protectant on an EPDM roof as long as it does not contain ANY petroleum distillates.
Petroleum causes a blistering effect that raises the EPDM up off of the wood sub frame. When this happens, there is a loss of adhesion. This can allow water intrusion.
Keeping a rubber roof clean is more than just about motorhome hygiene. When you take the grime off this roof, you can more easily inspect and see potential problem areas that could allow water penetration if left unchecked.
However, black mold spots that grow over time on this type of rubber roof are not a major concern. Just clean them off with a proper detergent. If you want, put on a coating of UV (ultra-violet) protectant. The stuff looks like white paint, and it will give it a nice finish.
Keeping your rubber roof clean is the most cost effective way to insure that you will have many fun packed and worry free years using the ole home on wheels.