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Topic: Rubber Roof vs Fiberglass

Posted By: fishseeker on 12/12/11 04:22pm

Shopping for a Class A to replace my 89 Jamboree.Looking at Mid 90s. which is better fiberglass or rubber. I know that pre. Mantaince must be concertered. Is one better than the other? Is one easier to replace than the other. All the RVs I have owned( which have been many in 35 years of RVing) have had Aluminum roofs.Just wondering and looking.


Posted By: FormerBoater on 12/12/11 04:43pm

Fiberglass roofs on mid-90's coaches would be preferable.

We have a 98 and the fiberglass roof was one of the selling points.

3 years and no problems.


Dave
1998 American Eagle 40EVS


Posted By: bkd148 on 12/12/11 04:44pm

Fiberglass!!! I will never again own one with a rubber roof. Just wash a fiberglass roof once or twice a year. Rubber, wash it treat it, wash it treat it, and it still deteriorates. I spent more time and hastle on my one rubber roof in 5 years than I have on a fiberglass in 8 years. Marty


2002 Beaver Patriot Thunder
Cat C-12 455hp. 6spd. Allison
2002 Jeep Wrangler Sahara



Posted By: skipnchar on 12/12/11 04:48pm

I've never known either ONE of them to ever leak. Almost all leaks are caulking issues not the roofing.


2011 F-150 HD Ecoboost 3.5 V6. 2550 payload, 17,100 GCVWR -
2004 F-150 HD (Traded after 80,000 towing miles)
2007 Rockwood 8314SS 34' travel trailer

US Govt survey shows three out of four people make up 75% of the total population



Posted By: Livin Good on 12/12/11 05:01pm

skipnchar wrote:

I've never known either ONE of them to ever leak. Almost all leaks are caulking issues not the roofing.


I agree. Remember, there are different grades and thickness's of Fiberglass. The tpm(not rubber) has been a good system if maintained properly(same required of Fiberglass).

Do your homework on what grade of fiberglass you are looking at including the substrate underlayment. This can make or break the value of a FG system.

Good Luck...


Posted By: OnaQuest on 12/12/11 05:12pm

If simply having a rubber roof, is a deal breaker for you, then you are going to be passing up many great motor homes.


Posted By: JoeH on 12/13/11 04:21pm

We are also shopping for a new to us MH. I will not consder one with a rubber roof only due to the issues with the white streaks. Ours current rubber roof is now 14 years old and we've had no problems with it , other than the darn white streaks on the sides and windshield of the MH. It's just a pain to clean it.
Was looking at Alegro Buses, but for several years, they had issues with the fiberglas roof radius resulting in leaks. The factory will replace it, butto me, it's too major of an issue. Just thought I'd mention that incase you came across one in your searching.


Posted By: Bumpyroad on 12/13/11 12:18pm

bkd148 wrote:

Fiberglass!!! I will never again own one with a rubber roof. Just wash a fiberglass roof once or twice a year. Rubber, wash it treat it, wash it treat it, and it still deteriorates. I spent more time and hastle on my one rubber roof in 5 years than I have on a fiberglass in 8 years. Marty


yep, my first two MHs had rubber roofs. last one has fiberglass. no more rubber roofs for me.
bumpy






Posted By: Bumpyroad on 12/13/11 12:20pm

OnaQuest wrote:

If simply having a rubber roof, is a deal breaker for you, then you are going to be passing up many great motor homes.


IMHO no "great" motorhome has a rubber roof. if it was great material, Prevost, et.al. would have them.
bumpy


Posted By: Livin Good on 12/13/11 12:25pm

Bumpyroad wrote:

OnaQuest wrote:

If simply having a rubber roof, is a deal breaker for you, then you are going to be passing up many great motor homes.


IMHO no "great" motorhome has a rubber roof. if it was great material, Prevost, et.al. would have them.
bumpy



All Fiberglass Roofs are not equal. Same for the substrate material.


Posted By: Ivylog on 12/12/11 05:20pm

OnaQuest wrote:

If simply having a rubber roof, is a deal breaker for you, then you are going to be passing up many great motor homes.
NO, just cheap ones as that's the only reason to use a rubber roof.
Rubber roofs have a 12 year warranty so one on a mid 90s MH would be a deal breaker for me too. Recently had to recoat the rubber roof on my 1998 5er as it was starting to leak. Not a easy job but better than replacing the whole roof.
I would walk all over any roof to make sure it's solid before buying. Guess a plus for a rubber roof is that it will give without cracking if the roof structure is bad enough.


This post is my opinion (free advice). It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.

04 Monaco Dynasty 42' quad slide
Where am I?
How I tow.


Posted By: rast on 12/12/11 05:21pm

And on the other hand, I've had all three and experienced problems with all three. Lifespan of rubber (EPDM) in my opinion is about 20 years. Replaced one. Aluminum and fiberglass depends on the structure strength and proximity of the rafters. I miss step'd on the fiberglass and cracked the ceiling inside, also never quits "curing" and get's more brittle with age, needs to be kept waxed and compounded when you wipe your hand on it and it "whites" your hand. Aluminum can pit and dent and strips out easily when replacing roof related components.


Posted By: phnguyk on 12/12/11 05:54pm

NO, just cheap ones as that's the only reason to use a rubber roof.
Rubber roofs have a 12 year warranty so one on a mid 90s MH would be a deal breaker for me too. Recently had to recoat the rubber roof on my 1998 5er as it was starting to leak. Not a easy job but better than replacing the whole roof.
I would walk all over any roof to make sure it's solid before buying. Guess a plus for a rubber roof is that it will give without cracking if the roof structure is bad enough.



HAHAHAHA!!!!! You're silly.


Posted By: RFCN2 on 12/12/11 06:39pm

One piece fiberglass is usually the preferred roof of the two you mentioned.


RFCN2
Country Coach
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited



Posted By: fishseeker on 12/14/11 10:29am

Thanks everyone. Gives me more to think about. A rubber roof is not going to be a deal breaker but I think I would prefer the GLASS, I can fix fiberglass if it cracks. Have built a few boats from waxing the molds to finished boat. Last one being a 16 river drift boat.


Posted By: Buck62 on 12/14/11 09:40am

PackerBacker wrote:

I've had both and currently I have a one-piece fiberglass roof. Given a choice, I would never get a rubber roof again if it came to a decision between both.


Totally agree, had both and will not go back to a rubber roof again. Rubber roofs require a lot more maintenance, more subceptible to damage from low limbs and other hazards. My fiberglass roof is one piece and I just wash it with soap and water and put a coat of Mop and Glow on it once a year.


Posted By: PackerBacker on 12/14/11 05:21am

I've had both and currently I have a one-piece fiberglass roof. Given a choice, I would never get a rubber roof again if it came to a decision between both.


Eric
2014 Enterra 314RES (Cruiser RV) TT, Equal-i-zer 12K, Honda 2000 Genny
2014 Ram 1500 Quad Short Bed, 5.7L Hemi, 8 speed auto, 4x4, Line-X
FQCC/Camping Quebec, KOA, Good Sam


Posted By: zmotorsports on 12/14/11 06:09am

I have had both and wouldn't have another rubber roof (TPO or EPDM). That said there are many coaches that use roof products other than fiberglass and like everything else, some are better than others.

Scott mentioned the fiberglass being noisier in the rain, I think there again it depends on more than just the material of the roof overlay. Our 1984 30' Travelcraft had a one piece fiberglass roof which was one of the selling points after having a trailer with a EPDM, and when it was raining you definately had to turn the televisio up or talk a little louder. The coach was well built for its time and we liked everything about it.

Our next coach was again an older one but higher end, a 1991 Beaver Contessa DP which had the one piece fiberglass roof. This was much quieter during a rain storm and we actually kind of enjoyed the sound when raining as it was very faint. This was mainly due to the fact that the materials used were better and more of them, the roof was about 4" thick due to main structure, plywood and insulation prior to the fiberglass. It is still out there running around at 21 years old now leakless.

Our current coach is even better insulated than the previous one and you have to really listen to hear anything during a rainstorm. The roof on the upper end Monacos is nearly six inches thick with insulation, luan, fiberboard, vapor barrier and then fiberglass.

My point is there are many other factors other than merely the top and final material on the roof.

Mike.


2003 Monaco Dynasty/ 26' Haulmark Edge trailer
2011 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon



Posted By: FIRE UP on 12/13/11 07:36pm

Well folks,
We've had all of them too. Our last coach, a '99 Bounder with the F-53 Chassis and V-10, had the rubber roof. It never leaked. It's quieter than the fiberglass one, at least during rain storms that is. Although it had lost 99% of its "White" coating and almost ended up being completely black, the actual physical condition of the rubber was not bad. We (my son and I)did a complete re-coat of it, using all the correct materials about three years ago and it looked great.

As for the "blanket" statement that Only cheap motorhomes are built with rubber roofs, well, that's not exactly true. Let's take a Fleetwood Discovery for example. Some of those coaches, say, '99-2005 plus or minus, were darned expensive rigs when they were new. At least to us working class folks they were. I mean, we're talking well over $100,000 plus! Now, to me, that's not a "Cheap" motor home.

And some of them were upwards of $150,000 plus or minus. Now, as for the Prevost or other top end coaches, they use TOP END construction techniques and materials for EVERYTHING! Not just the roofs. And, even if a rubber roof was say, way less than 10 years old, and SUPPOSEDLY still under WARRANTY, just try and collect on it if, it shows wear, fading, streaking, etc. Yeah sure.

Once a fiberglass mold is made and, production is begun on a fiberglass roof, it's just about as cheap to produce and install as a rubber one. They, the rubber ones, actually last a seriously long time, and that's without any maintenance. Who knows just what the "Best" roof is? You'll find lots of happy campers with rubber roofs and lots of happy ones with fiberglass. We went with a fiberglass roof on our newer Itasca just for a change, not because we had issues with our previous coach, which it didn't have any.

Now, here's another idea anyway, some folks are having them coated with almost the same exact stuff used in Pickup beds. I've seen many advertisements on that and it looks way promising.
Scott


Scott and Karla
SDFD RETIRED
2004 Itasca Horizon, 36GD Slate Blue 330 CAT
2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Ext Cab 4x4 Toad
2008 Caliente Red LVL II GL 1800 Goldwing
KI60ND



Posted By: Livin Good on 12/13/11 04:35pm

JoeH wrote:

We are also shopping for a new to us MH. I will not consder one with a rubber roof only due to the issues with the white streaks. Ours current rubber roof is now 14 years old and we've had no problems with it , other than the darn white streaks on the sides and windshield of the MH. It's just a pain to clean it.
Was looking at Alegro Buses, but for several years, they had issues with the fiberglas roof radius resulting in leaks. The factory will replace it, butto me, it's too major of an issue. Just thought I'd mention that incase you came across one in your searching.


Good Point....I have a TPO roof and the only streaks are from the cauking in a couple of areas.


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