How To Remove Oxidation From RV Fiberglass (Do This!)

how to remove oxidation from rv fiberglass

Recreational vehicles or RVs allow us to get plenty of enjoyment from family vacations. Instead of having to cram into a smaller car or use public transportation, you can just relax in your spacious RV.

Now, if you want your RV to last for a long time, you need to care for it properly. Issues like its fiberglass surface oxidizing do pop up from time to time. You must be ready to act on that kind of issue as it emerges.

To remove the oxidization, start by applying your degreasing agent of choice to the fiberglass surface and then let it sit. Follow that by applying polish to the surface using a sponge that won’t scratch it. Let the polish dry before using a dry cloth to wipe its residue away from the fiberglass.

RVs are often exposed to the elements so their exteriors tend to lose their luster quickly. By following the tips in this article, you should be able to make your old RV look good as new.

What Causes the Fiberglass Exterior of Your RV to Oxidize?

Typically, RVs feature exteriors that are made from fiberglass. Considering how durable and lightweight fiberglass is, it’s no wonder why it’s the material of choice for many RV makers. Still, even durable fiberglass is not immune to the effects of the harsh elements.

Sunlight, the moisture hanging in the air, and various kinds of pollutants are all potentially responsible for the fiberglass oxidizing. Different protective materials including wax and gel aim to prevent oxidizing, but they can only stop it for so long. Eventually, even the fiberglass surface of a parked RV will succumb to the elements.

When the fiberglass oxidizes, it also tends to become greasy. That greasy surface then catches more debris.

All in all, oxidization simply makes the exterior of your RV look way worse than it should. That’s not all you have to worry about. Fail to address the oxidation and the bare exterior will start to wear down and rust over.

How Can You Tell if the RV’s Fiberglass Surface Is Starting to Oxidize?

There are two ways to tell if the fiberglass on your RV is starting to oxidize. First, you need to take a closer look at it.

If you’ve noticed that the colors of your RV appear dull, that’s a pretty good indicator of oxidation. A chalky surface tells you the same thing. In extreme cases, you may even notice that the fiberglass is starting to rust in certain spots.

You can also touch the RV exterior and inspect it that way. Since oxidation tends to produce greasiness, the fiberglass surface may start to feel slippery. While moving your hand over the surface, you may notice bumps indicating that bits of debris have clung to the fiberglass.

How to Remove Oxidation from the RV’s Fiberglass Surface

Not all cases of RV fiberglass oxidation are the same. Some are relatively mild while others can be better described as extreme. Let’s start by detailing how to address a mild case of oxidation.

Step 1: Gather the Items You’ll Need

To remove mild oxidation from the RV’s fiberglass surface, you’ll need a degreasing agent, a polishing product, rags, and a sponge. Make sure the sponge you choose won’t scratch the fiberglass.

Step 2: Apply the Degreasing Agent

Pick up your degreasing agent of choice now and apply that to the RV exterior. How you apply it will depend on which degreasing agent you chose. Some commercial degreasing agents can be sprayed on while others have to be applied with a rag.

Step 3: Allow the Degreasing Agent to Work

You must now allow the degreasing agent you chose to sit for a few minutes. Rubbing it into the surface a bit more is also fine. After giving the degreasing agent enough time, you can rinse it off the surface.

Step 4: Polish the Fiberglass Surface

The polishing product is going to get rid of the dull oxidation while simultaneously restoring the luster of the fiberglass. Put some polish on your sponge and use that as your applicator.

Work the polish into the fiberglass surface. You need to keep working the polish into the surface until such time you encounter no more resistance. That can take a while so switch hands if necessary.

Step 5: Let the Polish Work before Removing the Residue

You’ll need to play the waiting game again here. This time, you must give the polish enough time to dry and turn into a protective barrier. This could take a while so pull up a chair and something to read if need be.

After the polish is given the requisite time to work, you can now remove its residue from the fiberglass. Just get a dry rag and use that to remove any remaining polish.

How to Remove Extreme Oxidation from the RV’s Fiberglass Surface

The process detailed above is suitable for removing mild oxidation from your RV’s fiberglass surface. For more extreme cases, you’ll need to follow the steps below.

Step 1: Get the Required Items

You will once again need rags, a sponge, and a polishing product. The degreasing agent is no longer necessary, but you will need soap, water, and sandpaper. 1500 grit sandpaper would be ideal for extreme oxidation.

Step 2: Prep Your Sandpaper

If you’re planning to work on your RV during the weekend, this step is one you should do on Friday. Get several sheets of sandpaper and then soak them in a container with water. Allow the sheets of sandpaper to soak for a day at least.

Sandpaper works great at removing the oxidation. However, it can be too harsh. You will want to temper its abrasiveness somewhat to prevent unnecessary damage.

Step 3: Clean the Fiberglass Surface

This next step is pretty basic as you simply have to wash the exterior of your RV. Mix some soap together with water and wash the RV as you normally would. Rinse the surface with clean water after washing, but don’t let it dry just yet.

Step 4: Sand Down the Surface of the RV

While the surface of the RV is still wet, wrap some sandpaper over a sponge and get to work. Chip away at the oxidized spots until you start to see them return to normal. Apply consistent pressure to remove the oxidation.

Working while the fiberglass is still wet will limit the potential damage the sandpaper can do to the fiberglass. You don’t have to work too quickly. However, it is best to use the sandpaper while the water acts as a buffer of sorts.

Step 5: Rinse the Fiberglass Surface

With the oxidation removed, go ahead and rinse the RV exterior thoroughly with water. Once you’re done rinsing, you can now let the fiberglass dry. Allow it to air dry on its own or use some fans to speed up the process if you prefer.

Step 6: Apply the Polish

Just like before, put some polish on a sponge first before applying it to the fiberglass surface. Keep going until you feel no more resistance.

Step 7: Allow the Polish to Work before Removing the Residue

This will again be similar to a step detailed earlier. A lot of waiting will be involved. As soon as the polish dries and forms the barrier, get your dry rag and wipe away the residue.

Do You Need to Apply Wax on to the RV’s Fiberglass Surface?

Although you technically don’t need to use wax to remove oxidation, you still have to apply it after the polish. Without the wax, the fiberglass surface is missing an additional protective layer. It becomes more vulnerable to the elements because of that.

Put some RV-grade wax on to a dry rag and use that to apply a new coat to the fiberglass surface. Apply it just as you did the polish earlier.

Related Questions

Can You Use Household Products to Remove Fiberglass Oxidation?

You can use household products to help remove some of the oxidation, but they won’t be enough. Degreasing agents made from household products such as ammonia, soap, and water can be effective. To get rid of the oxidation completely though, you will still need the polish.

How Do You Prevent the RV’s Fiberglass Surface from Oxidizing?

As you’ve learned from this article, removing oxidation from an RV’s fiberglass surface is not that difficult. Still, it can be a really bothersome and time-consuming process. You probably don’t want to spend the bulk of your weekend cleaning your RV.

Preventing oxidation will help you avoid having to go through the cleaning processes detailed earlier. The good news is that preventing oxidation is pretty straightforward.

The most important preventative measure you need to take is to simply clean your RV regularly. Don’t let those foreign substances chip away at the protective layers for too long. Waxing the fiberglass surface regularly is also recommended.

In addition to regular waxing and cleaning, you should also be more mindful of where you keep your RV. Keeping it in your garage would be best. If your garage isn’t big enough, find somewhere with a lot of shade you can park the RV under. The shade will shield the RV from the elements and allow the protective coats to last longer.

Upgraded Home Team

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