RV Fiberglass Care & Maintenance

Fiberglass should be maintained on a regular basis. So just how regular is regular? In order to answer that question we have to ask what kind of exposure to the elements the vehicle receives. If the vehicle is kept dry and inside a garage away from the elements, then exposure is minimal and the fiberglass can be maintained about every 6 months or so with great results. However, if the vehicle is kept out in the elements under constant exposure, then regular maintenance should be done every 3 months without fail. Without regular care and maintenance, fiberglass will begin to show signs of oxidizing in 4 to 12 months.

Choose a wax suitable for fiberglass, like Protect All, Polish, Wax and Treatment with UV Protectant. Regardless of the product you select, be sure to follow the application instructions to ensure that you get the best results and all the benefits that the product has to offer. Be sure to apply the products using the regular intervals suggested above.

Periodic cleaning with a mild detergent product is necessary to remove normal accumulations of soil. This soil is the result of regular use of your RV as well as environmental pollutants, soot, smog, etc. General washing as needed prevents soil build-up, staining, etc.

General Maintenance

Normal maintenance of your gel coated fiberglass RV is similar to the care you would give your automobile. In general, automotive cleaners and waxes work well. Do not use caustic, highly alkaline (high pH) cleaners or those containing ammonia. These cleaning agents may darken white or off-white weathered gel coat surfaces. The staining that results is a chemical reaction within the weathered gel coat, and can be removed with a rubbing compound or by light sanding with 400 grit sandpaper followed by application of rubbing compound and waxing.

Cleaning

Periodic cleaning with a mild detergent product is necessary to remove normal accumulations of soil. This soil is the result of regular use of your RV as well as environmental pollutants, soot, smog, etc. General washing as needed prevents soil build-up, staining, etc.

Waxing

As the gel coat begins to lose its gloss from constant exposure to the natural environment and pollutants, it will require some special attention to restore the original gloss and color. After washing with mild soaps and detergents, a good polishing with a self-cleaning automotive wax will restore most of the original gloss. A fall and spring wax job is generally all that is needed to maintain the original appearance. If the surface has been allowed to weather badly, and cleaning and wax polishing does not
restore the finish satisfactorily, then compounding will be necessary.

Compounding

Polishing compound (fine abrasive) or rubbing compound (coarser abrasive) is recommended for use on fiberglass RVs to remove scratches, stains, or a severely weathered surface. Polishing or rubbing compound can be applied by hand or by mechanical means, such as an electrical or pneumatic buffer. After the scratched, stained or weathered surface has been removed, it should be waxed to enhance the gloss and color while providing a seal to retard staining or new soil accumulation.

Removing the Discoloration

Discoloration of the gel coated fiberglass surface may occur if regular washing and waxing has been neglected. Discolored areas are very shallow in depth and, in fact, are on the surface. They can be removed by gently wet-sanding only the affected areas with 600 grit 'wet or dry' sandpaper to remove the blemishes. Always sand in one direction, using plenty of water. After sanding, dry the areas and ensure all the discoloration has been removed. If not, repeat the process. Once all discoloration has been removed the affected surface area will need to be buffed. Buffing, using an electrical or pneumatically operated buffer at low speed (1750 rpm - 2250 rpm), will restore the luster to the sanded surface. Use a soft wool pad and apply a generous amount of rubbing compound using circular motion. When the buffing has been completed, wash off the rubbing compound with clean water. Dry the surface. Wax your RV with a high-grade automotive wax.

For more tips about RV maintenance and service, contact Mike at mikeb@rvglass.com

or call (800) 551-9149 ext. 2030