03/10/2020
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Motorhome DIY: Looking after motorhome and campervan roofs

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Words and photos: Martin Watts
 

I recently bought a Talbot Harmony via Facebook Marketplace, from a private seller, for a ‘realistic’ price, given its minor faults and unkempt exterior. Having owned three Talbot-based campervans in the past, I knew exactly what to look for – and what to avoid!

Rot and rust is the main enemy, notably around the windscreen, wheelarches (inner and outer) and chassis. Thankfully, this example was pretty sound. I am a stickler for internal originality on factory conversions, and the Harmony was completely unmolested, albeit a little tired (an easy fix).

The roof is always my first port of call when breathing new life into a tired motorhome and, as expected, no one had cleaned the roof in years. Grime and hard moss patches can build up and the sealant around roof fittings, such as vent edges, begins to lift and crack over time.

My tried and trusted method of removing the muck build-up, algae, bird droppings and moss is to use a non-biological washing powder, mixed with water, allowing it to soak for an hour. I then mix up another bucketful and start scrubbing, always using a well-used washing-up foam pad, with the green scourer attached (do not use a new one, as it can scratch the roof surface).

On a roof the size of the Harmony I can get through around seven or eight buckets of water, and that is before rinsing!

Giving the roof a good clean and polishOnce rinsed and dried, any sealant is repaired and left to dry. I then use a paint restorer, such as T-Cut, on the whole roof surface, before finally giving it a layer of protective polish.

This job takes a whole day if done properly, which is why so many owners neglect the roof. It is hard work and time consuming, but should be undertaken at least once a year.

It is also an ideal opportunity to clean out gutters and check for cracks to the fibreglass from tree branches, as well as the aforementioned sealant around fittings.

Don’t neglect the plastic front grille, bumpers and door mirrors. A quick respray with a couple of cans of satin black (or grey) paint will transform them.

 

      

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