Well, after reading all of these responses, I took the plunge and washed the roof. Took me about an hour. I couldn't find any literature on my Jayco rubber roof maintenance (other than the blurb in the Jayco manual), so I just bought Champions Choice - Protect All spray-on rubber roof cleaner and it worked really well. The directions said to just spray it on and wipe - no rinsing required, but I needed to rinse - it was so dirty up there. It looks very bright white now! I then used a spray-on black streak remover and that worked fine to clean the sides. She's squeaky-clean now!
Rubber has oil in it. If you use cleaners such as Simple Green, it will take the oils out of the rubber, which will shorten the life of your roof. That is why Murphy's Oil Soap is recommended by Jayco.
you need to be sure which type of roof you have... Murphy's is recommended for TPO roofs, and is not recommended for EPDM rubber roofs...
Love my mass produced, entry level, built by Lazy American Workers, Hornet
No I didn't just make that up. Several years ago I was doing some research on using this material on a home improvement project.
It seems that the various rubber roofing materials are used on many construction projects. Mostly commercial building. At that time I discovered the ease of maintenance touted on several websites, and just how they work.
I don't think you made it up... while I am certainly no expert on EPDM and only know what I have read and heard, it is my opinion that cleaning is necessary to get maximum life out of the material... my research hasn't been extensive but I have done some research years ago because I bought a used TT (4 years old) with a bad membrane on it... I learned enough to convince Alpha systems to replace the roof ) membrane - wood - and all related material...
Of course no one washes the roofs on commercial buildings as no one can see them and looks don't matter.
this might be a geographical thing, but there are people that make their living doing exactly that... weather they do it for looks or it is required for the warranty, and proper care is part of the sales contract...
But put the same material on a TT which is some peoples pride and joy, and they will insist on washing it! Now I doubt that anyone here will actually keep a TT long enough to wash away their roof. You would have to live in a place were the sun is especially harsh like Arizona, and even then it would take a long time.
That brings up another point. I researched all of those that claim roof washing is necessary, and in every case I could find... They had relatively new trailers. (the oldest one was a 2004) None of them were as old as mine, which I purchased new in 2000. It is used a lot. We take about a dozen trips a year, and live in it at least 2 months a year. We live in AZ and camp there and in NM, so it gets the maximum sun exposure. I have never washed the roof, and was surprised at just how long the original caulking lasted. I finally had to redo it last year after seeing some hairline cracks in it. When I was doing the job I saw that the cracks were just on the surface and that the caulking was nice and flexible under the top layer. I went ahead and redid it any ways.
I am sure appearance has much to do with it on RV's (I can assure you that is not the case here)... the one I have now was bought in 03 and has been in fulltime service since then... much of my time is spent under water restricted areas where I can't wash it...
washing or not washing probably had nothing to do with your caulk lasting... I have had campers for many years the never needed calking repairs...
I never washed the roof on my previous TT either, although I can't vouch for it as I bought it used.
my first new trailer was bought in 2000 and replaced in 03 because it was also the worst trailer I ever owned... I also own a 90 & 91... they both have aluminum roofs were bought used but neither has ever had a leak, and both roofs get washed every year...
I think the conditioning theory is hilarious. Just what snakeoil is in that soapy water that will condition the roof?
I don't believe in conditioning either, the roof has all the UV protectent in it, that it will ever need...
In summary, if washing the roof makes you feel good,,then by all means do it. There may even be some benefit as it will give you an excuse to look at it and spot any problems developing.
Myself? I'll just keep doing annual inspections and not waste my time on cosmetic issues. I'd rather do something fun with my time like camping!
while we may not agree on what is needed, I choose to believe the Mfg, that has done extensive testing on the product, and will continue to clean mine... the added life gained may never be needed, but I tend to keep things longer than most, my 12 year old TV is proof of that...
I just went to the Dicor website. It's been quite a few years since I've visited that site.
Back then I remember they had a freqently asked questions section, and you guessed it, "How to wash the rv roof" was one of the top subjects! At that time Dicor basically poo, pooed the idea. They had explicit warnings on how the wrong substances could damage the roof.
They did say that it could be washed with care using a select product(s). I can't remember what was recommended.
Now the Dicor site has a new attitude towards washing roofs!
It seems that they realized that their was a huge demand for a safe product to use for roof washing, and thus a buissiness opportunity !!
They now SELL roof washing products! They have also changed their recomendation and now say to wash the roof 4 times a year!
A deeper look and the ability to read between the lines will reveal the truth.
Dicor says that Carlisle (UH OH, How many roof blowout stories will we hear now?!!) makes the membrane for them to their specification. Now I seriously doubt that the actual composition of the material is any different than the HUGE commercial roofing market that Carlise serves. I bet the main specification is that the Dicor material comes in rolls the width necessary to roof RVs!
A visit to the Carlisle site is also enlightening. They have their maintenence and warranty brochures for their roofing products online.
The only washing recomended is that the white EDPM be washed every 2 years! And that is only to keep the reflectivity of the white material from degrading due to excess dirt! The black EDPM has no washing recommendations. Both of the EDPM products have cautions about foot traffic.
If you go to this site, notice the changing pictures on the home page.
One of them shows a roof that is alive,,,with grass and other vegetation. That rings a bell with me as I have read articles on these kinds of roofs and remembered that under all that soil and plant life is an EDPM membrane to keep the water out of the structure. So much for the theory of a little dirt etc. hurting the membrane.