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Old 05-23-2013, 07:14 PM   #1
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Roof cleaning question...

I had my motorhome out of storage today to wash it and used a taller ladder than I normally do, getting a good look at the roof. Really filthy but worse has a lot of mold-growth going on... nothing to worry about but am now wondering if I can use a pressure washer on the roof and front/rear caps without doing any damage to it. I would use common sense and use a wide-tip, and naturally would keep a reasonable distance away from the roof material and things like the roof vents.

Is this an acceptable practice, or am I looking for trouble?

Thank you. -RT
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:33 PM   #2
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Be aware that whatever you use on the roof will run down on the sides, so wet the sides and ricse them often. You might try using a sponge type mop and a mild Dawn and bleech solution to clean the mold. But rinse often and avoid direct sun. I am assuming that you have a fiberglass roof.
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:50 PM   #3
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I would not use a pressure washer on any part of a MH, just asking for trouble.
Mild soap and mild bleach solution like ghutch says would clean it....keep the sides flushed too.
I get up on roof and start at the front and work towards the ladder... I also wear boat shoes ...
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:51 PM   #4
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That's the ONLY way I clean my roof. I have a one piece fiberglass roof and I am sure that it would work the same on the EDPM roof's.

Once you're done take a real close look at all of your sealant around all of the fixtures on the roof looking for cracks and openings where water can get in. Seal those up with a good coating of Geocel RV Proflex.

I've been doing it that way for 10 years now without any problems BUT there are people who do NOT have any clue as to how to use a pressure washer and they should stay away from them.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:57 PM   #5
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I too would never use a power washer on my 5er. There is too much of a chance of doing some damage, ie peeling back a piece of calking. I think it is recommended to use mineral spirits on areas of the roof with stubborn stains.
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghutch View Post
Be aware that whatever you use on the roof will run down on the sides, so wet the sides and ricse them often. You might try using a sponge type mop and a mild Dawn and bleech solution to clean the mold. But rinse often and avoid direct sun. I am assuming that you have a fiberglass roof.
Yes, the motorhome has a fiberglass roof and when cleaning it by hand with just car wash soap and a mitt, a white byproduct does run off the roof and down the sides! -RT
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:31 PM   #7
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Been using a power washer on RVs for over 40 years. Havent done any dammage yet.
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:08 PM   #8
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RTegarini,
We may have talked about your roof before, seems I remember something, but, as usual, my mind is mush. Anyway, I'd be kind of surprised if pressure washing gets the mold off. I don't know if you checked out any of my threads on washing/prepping/rubbing out/waxing my roof but, the tiny mold spots I had to actually be rubbed off with a cutting compound on a Dewalt buffer, the kind you rub out paint jobs with, not the chincy vibrator/rotary style.

And even at that, some of them were pretty darn stubborn. The other pain in the a$$ I had was the over abundance of silicone sealer that the slobs dripped, pushed around, and "foot printed" all over the roof. I actually had to use a stiff, steel, 1 1/2" wide putty knife to get all of that off and then, start the buffing process.

When it was all done, approximately 2.5 days later, it looked better than most RVs do on their sides. It now is incredibly easy to maintain. It stays under a drive under cover and does get dusty at times. But, that's it. All I have to do is, get up there about once every other month, and use a damp cloth and a bucket of water and, in about a 1/2 hour, it's done and shining. It gets waxed about every 4-6 months.

But, the harsher the washing components, the more work has to be done to bring it back to a fine finish and a luster that repels all the mold, dirt and acid rain. Just some suggestions here. Take care up there, it gets slippery.
Scott


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Old 05-23-2013, 11:40 PM   #9
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I know that pictures are worth a thousand words and now realize that I should have taken a few pictures as I'm thinking that I have mis-spoken by calling it 'mold', especially since the motorhome doesn't sit in a moist area or under a tree. The worst of whatever it is is located primarily on the front and rear caps. When I return from a short outing with the motorhome on Monday I'll try to take a few pictures and post. Maybe if I just need to pressure wash the caps more people might be inclined to think it's okay...

Thanks for the input so far. -RT
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Old 05-26-2013, 09:22 PM   #10
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It really doesn't matter if anyone here thinks it's OK or not if you use a pressure washer, as it appears you've already decided. FWIW, I have a suitcase style 1,200 psi washer from Home Depot I use on many things, to spray off mud and heavy dirt from the MH, truck, cars, farm tractors, etc. I even took it along on our trip to AK.
Sounds like you know to maintain distance between your power washer tip and your MH, use the fan tip, etc. Keep in mind a pressure washer does not/cannot remove all the dirt, it takes direct rubbing/brushing to remove the film of dirt left behind by a pressure washer.
My MH also had dark spots on the roof before I washed it with a long-handled brush, using car wash soap and a few oz. bleach in 5G pail of water. The "spots" came off easily and my MH roof came out clean and spot-free.
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Old 05-31-2013, 06:14 PM   #11
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By reading and listening to a lot of experts who have been rv'ing longer than I've been alive the lessons I've learned have been to work hard but not harder than necessary.

A good mild cleaner and then a diluted bleach follow up for the mold, using a sponge mop to lessen the run-off on the sides. Step 3 was a good rinse with clear water. Dry either by letting it dry by itself or go inside, have a beer, watch a red neck episode on the motorola, or get some old towels and wipe the water off the roof . Step 4 is to use Johsons Liquid Floor Wax (lowes or HD) and applying it with the same sponge mop.

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! WHAT A BEAUTIFUL ROOF! Had all the neighbors come over to climb the ladder and check it out! Had to give them a beer too!

Last night, about 12 midnight, I realized the only person that was ever going to see my roof, was 1. my thirsty neighbors, 2. me, or 3. someone hanging out on a overpass watching the traffic go by.

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Old 06-05-2013, 12:09 AM   #12
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I have a 31' Minnie that sat, unused, for several years. When I finally brought it home and got to cleaning it, the fiberglass roof was a mess. It almost looked like I started a compost pile up there...

After washing it the best I could with car wash soap, then liquid dish soap, I
was left with dark blotches and smaller, black stains... and of course, the black streaks down the sides. Actually, they'd really all run together, into one giant black streak, that covered the entire rig!

I ended up cleaning the roof with straight Simple Green, scrubbing it with Mr. Clean Magic Pads. They're small, but they cut through the grime and stains like no body's business. I went through about 5 or 6 boxes of them, but when I was finished and the roof thoroughly rinsed, it looked brand new. Best of all, the pads aren't abrasive, so I didn't have to worry about the finish on the roof.

The nature of the stains didn't look as if a pressure washer would've been effective at removing them. It took plain old elbow grease...

I washed the entire RV with the pads, using car wash soap and the motorhome came out beautiful.
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unca waldo View Post
I have a 31' Minnie that sat, unused, for several years. When I finally brought it home and got to cleaning it, the fiberglass roof was a mess. It almost looked like I started a compost pile up there...

After washing it the best I could with car wash soap, then liquid dish soap, I
was left with dark blotches and smaller, black stains... and of course, the black streaks down the sides. Actually, they'd really all run together, into one giant black streak, that covered the entire rig!

I ended up cleaning the roof with straight Simple Green, scrubbing it with Mr. Clean Magic Pads. They're small, but they cut through the grime and stains like no body's business. I went through about 5 or 6 boxes of them, but when I was finished and the roof thoroughly rinsed, it looked brand new. Best of all, the pads aren't abrasive, so I didn't have to worry about the finish on the roof.

The nature of the stains didn't look as if a pressure washer would've been effective at removing them. It took plain old elbow grease...

I washed the entire RV with the pads, using car wash soap and the motorhome came out beautiful.
unca waldo,
Roger that Sir. While pressure washers have their place in this world, they are not the "does all" answer to the RV world. The roof, simply because it's a horizontal surface, catches everything and, what ever lodges up there, gets to sit, and sit and sit, 'till it's petrified. Couple that with dew, mist from light rain, etc. and, you have a "mortar" mix just about. So, what does all this mean, LABOR, THAT'S IT, LABOR!!!

And, if you read my post, you'll see I washed mine with lots of labor, scrubbing 'till my arms and hands fell off because like yours, mine was neglected. So, when it was "clean" but, not looking to my standards, that's when the buffer came out and the cutting compound. Two days later, working-resting-working-resting-more resting-more resting-working, it looks the way you see it in the pictures and, it's still that way today and all that was done last year at this time.

It all depends on what you want in the end.
Scott
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