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How to Prevent UV Damage When You Store an RV Outside

store an rv

What do your skin and your RV have in common? Both are susceptible to sun damage. When you store an RV, a silent threat lurks: the relentless assault of the sun’s UV rays. 

Every minute your RV spends baking in the sun not only causes untold damage but also chips away at your investment.

There’s no reason to leave your RV at the mercy of the elements. From covers to caulking, you can use a variety of strategies designed to guard your RV from UV degradation.

If you’re preparing an RV for storage, you’ll want to read this article. It’s filled with tips to help shield an RV from sun damage. Together, we’ll explore the best ways to protect an RV while storing and preserving its beauty for countless journeys ahead. 

Cover It Up: Shield Your RV From UV Rays

Investing in a quality RV cover is one of the most effective measures you can take to protect an RV vehicle from sun damage. Not all covers are created equal, and selecting the right one requires careful consideration.

Material Matters

Opt for materials engineered to withstand prolonged sun exposure. Look for covers constructed from UV-resistant fabrics such as polyester or polypropylene treated with UV inhibitors. These materials resist fading, cracking, and deterioration caused by UV radiation. 

Custom Fit for Maximum Coverage

The cover should fit your RV’s dimensions snugly. A custom-fit cover provides better protection. It also minimizes the risk of abrasion and damage caused by a loose-fitting cover flapping in the wind. 

Look for covers with reinforced seams and adjustable straps to secure them firmly in place, even in windy conditions.

Ventilation Is Key

While it’s essential to shield your RV from UV exposure, proper ventilation is equally important. The best covers have integrated vents to allow air circulation and prevent moisture buildup. This reduces the risk of mold and corrosion. 

Other Features to Consider in RV Covers

Some RV covers come equipped with additional features to enhance protection and convenience. Look for covers with zippered access panels. These panels allow you to easily access your RV’s doors and compartments without having to remove the entire cover. 

Consider covers with reinforced corners, extra padding, or built-in reflective panels. These features provide added protection in high-wear areas and further minimize UV damage.

What about maintenance and care?

Regularly clean your cover using mild soap and water to remove dirt, debris, and environmental contaminants. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as these can damage the cover’s UV-resistant coating. 

Buying the wrong cover is a common RV storage mistake, so try to buy the best one you can find and afford.

Park in the Shade: Minimize UV Exposure

RV covers are ideal for sun protection, but they’re not the perfect solution for short-term storage. Putting on and taking off an RV cover for short-term storage can be time-consuming and inconvenient, especially if you need to access the RV frequently.

The easy option is to choose your parking space wisely.

Opt for a shaded parking spot for your RV, whether under a carport, awning, or trees. It’s a simple yet effective way to minimize UV exposure. Even partial shade can offer substantial relief from the sun’s harsh rays. 

By parking in shaded areas, you create a natural barrier that helps maintain the integrity of your RV’s paint and decals. 

Apply UV Protectant: Shield Your RV from Sun Damage

Treating your RV’s exterior surfaces with UV-protectant products is a crucial step in defending against the harmful effects of solar radiation. These specialized formulas create a barrier that deflects UV rays. 

Regular application of UV protectants is essential to maintain their effectiveness over time. 

Begin by thoroughly cleaning the exterior surfaces of your RV to remove any dirt, grime, or oxidation. Once clean, apply the UV protectant evenly, ensuring complete coverage on all exposed areas. Include fiberglass, plastic, rubber, and vinyl surfaces.

Pay particular attention to areas prone to sun exposure, such as the roof, sidewalls, and trim. 

Armor Your RV Against UV Assault

Maintaining a clean exterior is your best defense against UV damage. Regular washing removes accumulated dirt and debris. Both can accelerate sun damage on RV surfaces. 

First, rinse your RV with water to loosen dirt and grime. Then use a gentle cleanser specifically formulated for RV exteriors to scrub away stubborn contaminants.

Once clean, apply a high-quality wax to provide an additional layer of protection. The wax creates a barrier that shields your RV’s surfaces from the sun’s harmful radiation, helping to prevent fading, cracking, and deterioration over time.

Make regular cleaning and waxing part of your RV maintenance routine to fortify your vehicle against UV assault. 

Inspect Seals and Caulking

Regular inspection of seals and caulking helps prevent leaks and water damage caused by overexposure to the sun.

Periodically examine these critical components for signs of wear, cracking, or deterioration. Pay close attention to areas around windows, doors, vents, and roof seams, as these are common entry points for water infiltration.

If you detect damage or wear during your inspection, promptly replace the affected seals and caulking to maintain your RV’s watertight integrity. By addressing issues early, you can prevent costly repairs and mitigate the risk of structural damage caused by moisture intrusion.

Tire Covers: Preserve Your RV’s Foundation

RV tires should keep you moving down the road for around 30,000 miles. UV exposure poses a significant, leading to premature drying, cracking, and deterioration. To ensure safety on the road, use tire covers when storing your RV. These covers act as a barrier against harmful UV rays, shielding your tires from sun damage.

By using tire covers consistently, you extend the lifespan of your RV’s tires, reducing the likelihood of blowouts and other tire-related incidents. Preserving tire integrity enhances overall vehicle safety and performance. 

Tip: Even if you choose to store an RV in a covered storage space, don’t skimp on the tire covers. Protecting tires from dust buildup is essential to optimize tire life.

Install UV-Blocking Window Film or Sunshades 

UV-blocking window film is a transparent, adhesive film applied directly to the interior surface of your RV’s windows. This specialized film contains UV inhibitors that filter out harmful UV rays while allowing visible light to pass through.  

Window film reduces UV penetration into the interior, minimizing the risk of fading and discoloration of furnishings, upholstery, and cabinetry. UV-blocking window film also helps regulate interior temperatures by reducing heat gain and enhancing comfort for occupants during hot weather. 

Window film has a bonus benefit. It not only protects your RV from sun damage, but it can help protect your skin.

Sunshades are opaque or semi-opaque coverings that attach to the exterior of RV windows. Sunshades not only reduce UV penetration into the interior but also help regulate temperature by blocking direct sunlight, minimizing heat buildup inside the RV. 

By installing UV-blocking window film or using sunshades on your RV’s windows, you create a protective barrier against UV radiation, preserving the interior’s appearance, comfort, and longevity. These window treatments offer a practical solution to mitigate UV damage while enhancing the overall enjoyment and value of your RV.

Maintaining a Healthy Environment Inside Your RV

Proper ventilation is essential for safeguarding your RV against the detrimental effects of UV exposure and moisture buildup. By ensuring adequate airflow throughout the RV, you not only reduce UV damage but also deter the growth of mold and mildew. 

Preventing Moisture Buildup

Without proper ventilation, moisture can accumulate inside your RV, especially in areas prone to condensation, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and sleeping quarters. Over time, excess moisture creates an ideal environment for mold growth. Mold development leads to unsightly stains, musty odors, and potential health hazards

By promoting airflow through proper ventilation, you can reduce humidity levels and prevent moisture buildup.

Alleviating UV Damage

In addition to controlling moisture, proper ventilation plays a crucial role in minimizing UV damage to your RV’s interior surfaces and furnishings. By allowing fresh air to circulate freely, ventilation helps dissipate heat buildup. This reduces the strain on materials exposed to direct sunlight. 

Practical Ventilation Strategies

To optimize ventilation in your RV, consider incorporating a combination of passive and active ventilation methods. Passive ventilation options include roof vents, windows, and vent covers that allow for natural airflow without the need for additional power sources.

Installing exhaust fans or roof-mounted vents can enhance airflow and humidity control, particularly in areas prone to moisture accumulation.

How to Maintain RV Ventilation Systems

Regular maintenance of ventilation systems is essential to ensure their effectiveness and longevity. Keep vents and air ducts clean and free from obstructions to promote unimpeded airflow throughout your RV. 

Periodically inspect and clean ventilation fans, filters, and intake vents. This helps to prevent debris buildup and maintain optimal performance.

By prioritizing proper ventilation in your RV, you create a healthier and more comfortable environment while safeguarding against the damaging effects of UV radiation and moisture buildup. Implementing practical ventilation strategies and routine maintenance routines will help preserve the integrity and longevity of your RV for years to come.

What About Protective Exterior Paint?

Another protective method to consider is applying reflective paint or coatings to your RV’s exterior surfaces. 

Reflective paints contain special pigments that reflect sunlight, reducing the amount of heat absorbed by your RV. By applying reflective coatings to the roof, sidewalls, and other exposed areas, you can lower the temperature inside your RV and lessen the strain on its cooling systems. This not only helps protect your RV from sun damage but also improves energy efficiency, particularly during hot summer months.

Reflective coatings are available in various formulations and colors, allowing you to choose an option that complements your RV’s style while providing maximum UV protection. Additionally, some reflective coatings also offer waterproofing properties, further enhancing your RV’s durability and weather resistance.

Shield Your RV From the Elements With Covered Storage

Opting for covered RV storage facilities is a wise investment. Protecting your RV from UV exposure and other environmental hazards ensures longevity.  

Enhanced Protection Against UV Exposure

Covered or indoor storage facilities provide a significant advantage in shielding your RV from the sun’s harmful UV rays. The overhead cover acts as a barrier, significantly reducing direct exposure to UV radiation. This helps preserve the exterior finish and sensitive RV components. 

Protection Against Environmental Elements

In addition to protection from UV exposure, covered storage facilities offer protection against a range of environmental elements, including rain, snow, hail, and wind-blown debris. By sheltering your RV from these elements, you minimize the risk of water damage, corrosion, and other weather-related issues that can compromise its structural integrity and performance.

Protect Your RV From the Inside Out

Indoor or covered storage environments also help maintain interior comfort and quality. By reducing exposure to extreme temperature fluctuations and moisture, you prevent potential damage to furnishings, upholstery, electronics, and other interior components.

Indoor or Outdoor RV Storage?

Covered RV storage surpasses outdoor, uncovered storage in safeguarding your recreational vehicle. Shielded from the elements, covered storage helps protect your RV not only from sun damage but also from other forms of wear and tear.

It also protects against weather-related issues such as water damage, mold, and mildew, extending your vehicle’s lifespan. Covered storage offers enhanced security, warding off theft and vandalism. It’s also the best option to keep pests and rodents from moving in.

Outdoor, uncovered storage exposes your RV to harsh weather conditions, heightening the risk of damage and wear. If covered storage isn’t available, you can optimize uncovered storage by using the RV cover and tire covers mentioned earlier in the article.

Need to Store an RV?

Safeguarding your RV from UV damage is crucial for its longevity and performance. By implementing preventative measures such as covers, UV protectants, and proper storage, you can preserve your investment for years to come. 

Partner with Ideal Storage in Kingston, WA, where we offer state-of-the-art storage solutions for all your needs. Our commitment to excellence ensures that your RV is protected in covered storage facilities, maintaining its condition and value. 

Reserve your covered RV storage space today and experience peace of mind when you store an RV in our team’s capable hands.