When you think of RVs, you’re probably mostly concerned with amenities like floor configuration, beds and included appliances. However, most people don’t take the time to think about the roof over their heads. RV roofs take a beating on any trip, and over time they break down. Regular roof replacement and maintenance is necessary, and sometimes they just need to be replaced.
Did you know that there’s more than one kind of RV roof? There are actually four common RV roof types, each with its own specific benefits. Knowing the differences between these roof types can go a long way to ensuring you build the RV that’s perfect for you.
Types of RV Roofs
There are four main types of roofs that you can find on an RV.
EPDM RV Roofs
EPDM stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer. It is a special type of rubber that is used specifically for flat RV roofs. It is a relatively low-cost material that makes it perfect for someone looking to stick to a budget while purchasing an RV or re-roofing an existing one.
Rubber TPO Roofs
As the name implies, TPO roofs are also made of rubber. It’s a thinner, single-ply material made from polypropylene and ethylene-propylene that are bonded together in a chemical reaction that strengthens their integrity into something stronger than each of the individual parts.
Fiberglass is a compound that most people are familiar with. It’s a lightweight, hard-shelled material made of plastic, textile fibers, glass and resin that’s easy to work with and easy to maintain.
The only roofing option on this list that isn’t plast-cbased, aluminum is a strong metal that has been an option as a roofing material for decades. It comes in long sheets that are bent and molded to fit the RV in question.
Pros and cons of different types of roofs
Each of these types of roofs comes with its own pros and cons that need to be considered as you shop around.
There are many pros to EPDM roofs. First, they are lightweight which helps keep the overall weight of your RV down. This will help you fuel efficiency over time. Second, EPDM is scratch-resistant, so it will look nice for a long time. Third (and most importantly to us) it is easy to repair with a simple application of liquid roofing, shingles or latex adhesives.
EPDM roofs also have some cons as well. They aren’t exactly attractive to look at, and more closely resemble nothing more than what they are: stretched-out rubber. Second, they absorb heat very well. In the winter, this can be good, but in warmer weather they make it harder to keep your RV cool. Third, while they might be scratch-resistant, they do puncture quite easily. This can lead to situations where water enters the material is not repaired in time.
Rubber TPO roofs have many advantages and disadvantages as well. First, even though they are rubber, like EPDM, they are white, which means less heat absorption. That means it’s easier to regulate the RV temperature. Second, there are many ways that it can be installed, depending on your preferences.
As far as disadvantages go, the main one has to be the lack of consistency in TPO products. Different manufacturers can make this material with varying quality or thickness, which means you never quite know what you’re going to get. It is also more prone to cracking and splitting; it needs a laminate covering to help protect it, but over time it will degrade and cause problems.
Fiberglass roofs have a lot of pros and cons to consider. As far as pros go, fiberglass is a very durable material, designed to withstand a lot of stress and pressure. It’s lightweight, which helps with your fuel efficiency. In addition, it can be molded into any shape you might need, so custom jobs are always easy.
As far as cons go, fiberglass can be expensive to repair. Many RV owners choose to replace whole sections rather than repair a roof. This can lead to weakened integrity overtime and an obvious “patch-work” appearance if not done right. Another serious thing to consider is that fiberglass is not heat-resistant; it will warp and split when subjected to too much heat. Considering that RV roofs spend a lot of time in direct sunlight, this is something important to note.
Finally, we consider aluminum pros and cons.For advantages, aluminum is tough, pierce- and dent-resistant and less likely to degrade over time, as long as it is taken care of. It’s tough and lightweight, offering many advantages.
For disadvantages, it’s definitely the least visibly appealing of the options. In addition, over time it will start to look worse and worse. Another thing is installation: unlike the other options aluminum won’t install with adhesive or glues or anything like that – you need galvanized screws to attach it to the roof.
Which RV roof is better, EPDM or TPO? While both types of roofs here have advantages, we have to go with EPDM. Yes, TPO is more energy-efficient and attractive, but EPDM is cheaper and ore durable than TPO, making it a better choice,
What is the best roof for a RV? When looking at all these choices, we again have to side with EPDM. It’s easy to install ,easy to maintain and overall offers the best options for re-roofing your RV.
How often should RV roof be resealed? While no one wants to reseal their RV, the truth is that it has to happen from time to time. How often depends on what materials you’ve used in the past and how much of a beating you’ve put your RV through. In general, howeve,r the best rule of thumb is to do it every year, with a complete roof replacement every 10 years or so. You can go here to learn more.
If you’re looking to replace or reseal your RV roof, then it’s important to come to the experts for the help you need. Why not contact us today?