Monday, September 14, 2009

Cleanin' Da Roof

It was a bright sunny day today, so I left work, drove home, changed into my work clothes, and decided to tackle what I have been avoiding for weeks, now----cleaning and treating the rubber roof of our rig. Yikes.

RV'ers in the know issue dire warnings about rubber roofs, admonishing would-be RV'ers to avoid rigs with rubber roofs due to the high maintenance needs therein. So what did we do? We bought a rig with a rubber roof! And so it is......

Several weeks ago, the mobile RV tech who installed our new fridge and fixed some other things in the rig urged us to clean and treat the roof as soon possible. Rubber roofs can dry, crack and spring leaks when exposed to the sun and not treated with UV protective coatings, thus they must be vigilantly maintained. Also, seams and other areas where water can enter must be watched closely and patched before leaks can develop.

So, there I was, climbing up and down that damn ladder, scrubbing the roof in small sections with a baking soda solution, removing the blackened areas, exposing the white coating of the roof that is its natural state.

I did as good a job as I could, scrambling up and down, trying not to slip and fall, entertaining images in my mind of my wracked body laying on the ground at the base of the ladder, a shattered femur and broken ankle a testament to my devotion and clumsiness as a handyman. After an hour of struggle, toil, sweat and no tears, I beheld a (relatively) clean, white roof, and then had to spend another half-hour washing and wiping down the outside of the entire rig, which had become covered with a gritty and grimy baking soda and dirt cocktail!

Completing my task, I rewarded myself with some time relaxing in the sun, waiting for the roof to dry (and folding some laundry).

After an hour of drying time in the blazing late summer sun, I grabbed my brand new sponge mop and a bottle of "rubber roof UV protectant spray", and slowly but surely made my way from the far end of the rig back to the ladder, careful not to trap myself in a corner from where I could not escape back to the solid earth.

The roof is not necessarily all solid---there are soft spots, seams, and some areas where it feels quite scary to put one's weight. Thus, I painstakingly traipsed my way around the air conditioner, solar panels, vents and other objects up there, and did the best job I could.

By the end, I was covered with splatters of baking soda and water and grime, but I came away satisfied that I had least done a passable job cleaning and treating the membrane that actually protects us from the elements above.

And my concluding thoughts about the roof treatment and cleaning process that needs to be done every 3 to 6 months? Next time I'll hire out.


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