How do you wax the roof (but not make it too slippery?) - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-20-2011, 01:45 PM   #1
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How do you wax the roof (but not make it too slippery?)

Hi,

I have a 21' 2007 Bigfoot and I am planning on using various 3M products for the compounding and then the waxing but I am not sure whether I should treat the roof differently. I don't want it so slippery up there that I am in danger of sliding off when I have to check or repair something. What do you suggest? Should I buff the roof less than the sides of the TT?

Thanks!
Esther
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Old 04-20-2011, 02:30 PM   #2
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Alert! Red flag! Warning! Danger!

Fiberglass roofs are typically not designed to handle the weight of people on them (unless you would like a wonderful skylight)

The roof can be buffed and waxed as much as the rest of the trailer but I warn you not to go on the roof unless you understand how the roof works.
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Old 04-20-2011, 02:54 PM   #3
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Alert! Red flag! Warning! Danger!

Fiberglass roofs are typically not designed to handle the weight of people on them (unless you would like a wonderful skylight)

The roof can be buffed and waxed as much as the rest of the trailer but I warn you not to go on the roof unless you understand how the roof works.
Thanks, Mike, I did not realize that. I was crawling on the roof with the RV inspector before I bought the TT and I had planned on being up there again so I can re-chaulk around the vents. What is your suggestion?
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Old 04-20-2011, 03:26 PM   #4
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Caulkingwith "GASP" silicone is NOT recommended - the thought of the S word on fiberglass will make the hair stand on most of our members here. there are lots of threads on the dangers of silicone and proper ways to seal vents etc.

For working on the roof, I would recommend making a staging on both sides of the trailer and across the top. I am not familliar with the strength of the roof of a bigfoot or which model you have and it may be able to hold some weight. Like I mentioned before understand your trailer before you do things

everyone here is very helpful and all you have to do is ask. there is almost nothing that someone hasen't done here.
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Old 04-20-2011, 03:53 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Trusty2010 View Post
Hi,

I have a 21' 2007 Bigfoot and I am planning on using various 3M products for the compounding and then the waxing but I am not sure whether I should treat the roof differently. I don't want it so slippery up there that I am in danger of sliding off when I have to check or repair something. What do you suggest? Should I buff the roof less than the sides of the TT?

Thanks!
Esther
On my 13, I am seriously considering doing the roof,[beyond the line of sight and reach] with bedliner spray, that would end any thought or necessity for wax in that area.
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Old 04-20-2011, 04:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Mike and Sarah K View Post
Caulkingwith "GASP" silicone is NOT recommended - the thought of the S word on fiberglass will make the hair stand on most of our members here. there are lots of threads on the dangers of silicone and proper ways to seal vents etc.

For working on the roof, I would recommend making a staging on both sides of the trailer and across the top. I am not familliar with the strength of the roof of a bigfoot or which model you have and it may be able to hold some weight. Like I mentioned before understand your trailer before you do things

everyone here is very helpful and all you have to do is ask. there is almost nothing that someone hasen't done here.
Hi Mike - Silicone was never mentioned - so I am not sure why you wrote that. Caulking is a generic term for sealing two seams or a joint.
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Old 04-20-2011, 04:10 PM   #7
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my mistake, I obviously was write faster that I was reading, Hope you enjoy the bigfoot
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Old 04-20-2011, 04:17 PM   #8
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To answer the original question, by all means, wax the roof. It gets the most UV.
Sherry
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:41 PM   #9
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I was on the roof of my 21í Bigfoot several times and I weigh over 200lbs. It was plenty solid.

Here is the way I clean my trailer:

1. Use extreme caution. It would be easy to take a fall and it is a long way to the ground. If your trailer has a built in ladder on the back it is much safer than transitioning from a regular ladder to the roof.
2. Remove your shoes. A new pair with rubber soles that have never been on the ground would be ok. The grit imbedded in the soles of your street shoes is not good for the finish. If you just wear socks they can be very slippery. Do not walk on the ground with your socks or shoes and pick up sand and grit then walk on your trailer. Knee pads will be useful.
3. If you lean a ladder against the trailer you need to cushion it from contact with the fiberglass otherwise it will mar the finish.
4. Plan on doing the outside edges while standing on a ladder or some kind of platform that you can move or that you can move the trailer around. You can easily reach in two feet all the way around. That keeps you from having to work near the edge when you are up on the roof. Do it this way through all the washing, buffing and waxing.
5. You must wash the roof first because there will be an accumulation of dirt, tree sap, and dust etc. that requires actual sponging or mopping with soapy water. Have plenty of new sponges and mop pads. If you drop one on the ground throw it away. A damp sponge or cloth will pick up sand or grit that you canít get out of it. If you then use it you will be scratching the finish. You will also most likely have dried splattered bugs along the front edge. They require some work. Just spraying water on it at a car wash will not work. You donít want to be grinding dirt or bugs into the finish when buffing or waxing. It requires actually being up on the roof to get all the areas around the vents etc near the center of a Bigfoot. As a side note I like to wash my roof while it is raining hard. That way I get a free rinse job.
6. If gel coat has been exposed to the sun for three years it will begin to show oxidation. If you keep it sealed with wax you can extend that time.
7. I do not like the gel coat polishes sold at RV stores. I have found it to be an extraordinary amount of work with not very good results. When gel coat is showing oxidation the best way I have found to deal with it is use an automotive buffer with variable speed trigger. Get the very finest grit automotive compound available along with the appropriate foam pad. Note I said compound not polish. Gel coat is like clear coat on a car except it is thicker and softer. You do not have to grind away at an area to remove oxidation. It is real easy to burn through the gel coat. Keep the buffer moving quickly and keep the pad at the proper dampness. The work is all the bending, stretching, stooping, and manhandling the buffer. You wonít need to go to the fitness center to exercise the day you do this.
8. After buffing with the compound I always apply regular high quality automotive paste wax by hand. I have tried the polishes but I canít see any improvement in the shine over just going directly to wax. Be sure to get good coverage and work it in well before it dries. The key is applying it to a CLEAN surface. I then buff the dried wax off by hand. I donít try to use a power buffer with the wax. Wax your way back toward the ladder so you donít have to walk on or crawl across the freshly waxed surface. It is very slippery. I believe a properly applied coat of wax seals the gel coat from oxygen for three or four months depending on the exposure to sun and weather.
9. I figure the finish on an average gel coat trailer is good for about four light buffings then most of the gel coat will be gone. That should be ten to fifteen years. My plan then is to find a body shop that has experience painting fiberglass Corvette bodies or truck hoods and have the trailer painted.
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Old 04-20-2011, 08:11 PM   #10
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Thanks, Bruce, that is incredibly helpful and I will definitely follow your instructions. Your post taught me a lot - especially about watching out for grit in the sponges and cloths - something I had not thought about. I really appreciate the work you put into the post - thanks, again for sharing your experience - Cheers!

Esther
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Old 04-21-2011, 03:38 PM   #11
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Cool

While most 13' trailers aren't strong enough to support a person's weight due to open floor-plans, areas on larger trailers that have internal support such as cabinets or dividing walls can hold a person on the roof.

I regularly clean and wax the roof of my Fiber Stream for the reason SherryNPaul stated: It is stored outside without a cover, and the Southern California sun plus the particulate air pollution in the city combine to cause damage.

My Fiber Stream has two cross-hull dividing walls (between the Bathroom and Kitchen, and between the Kitchen and Living/Bed Room) that internally support the roof while the four molded-in lateral support ridges externally strengthen the roof.

I never stand on my roof. I use a spray cleaner/wax and hand buff with dedicated towels that are only used on the trailer.
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:28 PM   #12
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waxing the roof

I use a sponge mop-pour wax on mop or roof and sponge it around-the mop with the handle is long enough to reach all areas-works great. I stand on the ladder-not on the roof. We have a l 13 ft. Casita.
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