Coach Cleaning: Maintaining Your RV Fiberglass Roof

By Cindy Grossman

I don’t think there is any way to remove years of oxidation buildup without buffing first with a compound, then polishing with a sealant. The fiberglass Gel Coat has different requirements from a painted coach or coaches with other types of finishes. Gel Coat really needs to be sealed, rather than waxed.

I waxed our 1997 U270 roof for years but was disappointed to find oxidation was building up in spite of my keeping the roof very clean. I could tell because my cleaning rags had a white chalky residue. The sides also had a shiny but cloudy appearance. I researched what to do for Gel Coat specifically and learned that the pores of our fiberglass really need to be sealed. Wax just fills in the pores but doesn’t seal. Wax doesn’t do much to retard oxidation. The sides don’t take the direct sun beating down for hours so the sides will never need as much maintenance as the roof. I make a special effort to keep the roof clean because a clean roof keeps the sides clean.

After much research, I found the perfect combination for us at Classic Motoring ( Someone else on the Foretravel Forum has recommended Classic Motoring’s products. Their Gel Coat products really did the job for me. Yes, they were more expensive than the auto wax from Wal Mart. But they have exactly the right product for our coach’s finish:

  • 1) Gel Goat Color Restorer/Fiberglass Compound (comes in a can).
  • 2) Gel Coat/Fiberglass Micro-polish & Sealant (plastic bottles)

And, yes, I also ordered a Porter Cable 7424 Orbital buffer and 8″ accessories.

Don’t know how else one could do a deep clean (with compound) then seal the fiberglass doing it by hand. Trying to do this by hand would be really hard on the hands (think carpal tunnel syndrome) and elbows (think tennis elbow) and the buffer does a uniform job just not possible any other way. I did a lot of hand waxing before the buffer and now I use the buffer for everything.

The other disappointing fact I learned is that nothing lasts very long. I really need to seal our fiberglass every six months. YUK! Six months comes around again VERY SOON! So I’ve compromised for now. The first time, I did the extra step of compounding the roof because the oxidation needed to be removed. And the oxidation was worse than I thought based on how many times I had to wash my lambswool pads. I didn’t have to compound the sides because they weren’t badly oxidized and the Polish/Sealant cleaned enough to remove the cloudiness and put on a mirror finish.

The good news is that our Gel Coat finish is an excellent durable finish and can be restored to like new. Fiberglass is the best material for a roof, too. And a white color is the best color for reflecting the sun. Also, life got simpler now that I use only two products on the motorhome. I used to get confused about the many products available. And I’ve also found these two products worked on some difficult cleaning projects when nothing else would. I have now given away my arsenal of other cleaners.

When our coach’s finish is getting dull, I begin thinking it’s getting old and might be falling apart soon. Therefore maybe we should get a new motorhome? But when it is clean, shiny and bright white, I KNOW our 1997 can last many, many more years.

Everyone has their own methods of cleaning, but if what we use might work for you, I would be glad to give some ideas on what and how much to order.

Anyway, this is what we do for our coach named Homer…