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Old 01-07-2016, 03:01 PM   #1
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Best fabric for slide toppers

Once upon a time here on the Forum there was a topic regardingthe pros and cons of various slide topper materials but I have not been able to locate it.

I am planning on replacing all three A&E toppers, more than likely during the 2016 DDR at Quartzsite, but can't remember which material or weight is most recommended. Vinyl, laminated vinyl, and also some types of treated fabrics appear to be the usual choices. Laminated vinyl material seems to be offered in 13 oz., 15 oz., and 18 oz.; with the 15 and 18 varieties being the most common.

Any comments from those who have replaced their toppers would be very helpful.
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Old 01-07-2016, 03:08 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Birddog Pilot View Post
Once upon a time here on the Forum there was a topic regardingthe pros and cons of various slide topper materials but I have not been able to locate it.

I am planning on replacing all three A&E toppers, more than likely during the 2016 DDR at Quartzsite, but can't remember which material or weight is most recommended. Vinyl, laminated vinyl, and also some types of treated fabrics appear to be the usual choices. Laminated vinyl material seems to be offered in 13 oz., 15 oz., and 18 oz.; with the 15 and 18 varieties being the most common.

Any comments from those who have replaced their toppers would be very helpful.
I had a Mexican guy and his son come to the CG in Corpus Christie, TX about five years ago and replace mine. He suggested using Sunbrella. It was a little more money than some other material but I have no regrets. After five years, it looks as good as it did new. The choice of colours is another advantage over some others.

Fabric Showroom: Sunbrella fabrics
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Old 01-07-2016, 04:15 PM   #3
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Had Sunbrella on my boat. Handled the wind, snow, and sun just fine. When the RV needs repair it will be Sunbrella.
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Old 01-07-2016, 04:22 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Birddog Pilot View Post
Once upon a time here on the Forum there was a topic regardingthe pros and cons of various slide topper materials but I have not been able to locate it.

I am planning on replacing all three A&E toppers, more than likely during the 2016 DDR at Quartzsite, but can't remember which material or weight is most recommended. Vinyl, laminated vinyl, and also some types of treated fabrics appear to be the usual choices. Laminated vinyl material seems to be offered in 13 oz., 15 oz., and 18 oz.; with the 15 and 18 varieties being the most common.

Any comments from those who have replaced their toppers would be very helpful.
Over the years on here, a lot have used and bought from these folks, and they are going to be at Quartzsite! and are offering a 10% discount!!!!
RV Slide-Out Topper Awning Replacement Fabric Installation
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Old 01-08-2016, 06:16 AM   #5
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I can give you my professional opinion as I deal with this topic on a daily basis in regards to slide toppers. I also work with some of the leading experts in the world on fabrics and know which fabric has changed and which ones have not and which ones have quality problems.

Sunbrella, which is an acrylic fabric, used to be the Gold Standard. It was an awesome fabric loved by the Marine industry. After they cornered the market they changed and cheapened their formula, out sourced their fiber mixing to China and the fabric now is thinner, lighter, stretches more and not as good with UV Rays. The Sunbrella of today is not the same as it used to be

We directly import acrylic fabric from Europe which has the highest acrylic standards in the industry. It is thick, will not stretch and is made with Turkish fibers. It is heavily treated for UV Rays.

In regards to vinyl, there are alot of different brands and also no name special run cheap brands. But to make this short you should concentrate on weight and grab tensile strength. For RV applications always avoid laminate vinyls. Wind buffeting separates the inner core and causes it to come loose. It then will begin peeling layer by layer. Laminated vinyls is a very poor awning material for RV's. Why do topper makers use it ? Because it is cheap to buy and increases their profit margins.

Most vinyls are coated with UV Ray protection. Some have heavier applications during the manufacturing process and some have very little and can be found in the cheaper vinyls.

Migliore Vinyl is the heaviest vinyl in North America, has the highest UV Ray protection and also has the highest grab tensile strength of any vinyl - 755 lbs. What is awesome is this vinyl also has rip stop qualities so if you slit the edge an inch or so, let it go. The cut wont grow. I just spec'ed this vinyl out for a project at a sentry post in Gitmo which gets hurricane winds and blazing heat. It is one of the only vinyls in the world that meets Military specs.

Most topper makers in the USA make their vinyl toppers out of the cheaper off brand stuff. This is why you can buy toppers so cheap from some sources. Like so much in our consumer world, the lower the price, the lower the quality. There is alot of mis information on topper makers web sites, including some who go to great lengths to embellish their products so always ask questions when shopping.

In the end, the best way to separate the good and bad is by checking the individual warranties each company has and stick with the companies that offer multi year warranties. The higher the warranty, the better the product and the longer it will last. The length of a full replacement warranty indicates the faith that company has in their products. Typically they date their warranties based on a multiplier of two to be safe and not get killed on warranty claims. So if the warranty is for 1 year they feel their product will last at least 2 years. If they offer 2 years they feel it will last 4. If they offer 4 years then they feel it will last 8.

I hope this helps.
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Old 01-08-2016, 06:28 AM   #6
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Not sure it will fit your timeline but suggest you consider getting your toppers from Stone Vos in Florida. Chris will make your toppers based on your measurements and ship them to you. You can do the install or hire someone to do it. My wife and I did three of the four on our coach and let the folks at Country Coach do the largest topper.

I got their acrylic material and it is heavy, well stitched and much nicer than the OEM fabric I had. Christ matched my main awning fabric color perfectly.

Stonevos.com
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Old 01-08-2016, 06:34 AM   #7
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I have Stone Vos Awning/Toppers made by Chris Throgmartin and frankly you won't find a better fabric, thread, stitching and overall awesome quality in any of the other competitors in the marketplace today.

I will personally vouch for Chris' products and workmanship.

If not satisfied, contact me directly!

Dr4Film ----- Richard
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Old 01-08-2016, 08:52 AM   #8
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Dick,

I can vouch for the Tough Top Awning replacement slide toppers in the Palehorse89 post. The material is coated 18 oz. high quality. I replaced all 3 of my toppers a few years ago and they're still doing great. I could see & feel a HUGE improvement over the original A & E fabric. The "roll up" length on the new material was shorter which improved the spring tension a little and keeps the material nice & flat. Just my 2 - cents ...

FYI, the key to installation is to use lots of silicone spray on the edge to enable easy sliding. The Tough Top folks will undoubtedly mention it when you speak to them.
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Old 01-08-2016, 10:29 AM   #9
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Stonevos for me, but I understand Tough Top is good also.
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Old 01-08-2016, 10:54 AM   #10
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I had ShadePro install the best stuff. Linen. Tough as nails, sags when wet, shrinks when it dries.
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Old 01-08-2016, 10:54 AM   #11
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When replacing fabric both vinyl or acrylic on your awnings or toppers here are some of the questions that you should be asking each manufacturer before making any decision about where to buy and from whom to purchase.

1. - What is the warranty period for the specific product I plan to use?

2. - What type of thread do you use and why?

3. - What type of stitching do you use on your products?

4. - What is the weight of your fabric you use (vinyl and acrylic)?

Remember, price isn't everything unless you want to go cheap and then plan to replace them again within a few years. That happened to me. You will always get what you paid for! Go Cheap Get Cheap!

I personally have had replacements done by Shade-Pro and within 2 years they were falling apart. Don't think that I wasn't PO'd.

I have read many other suppliers web sites thoroughly and have talked to them on the phone and afterwards I always came back to one supplier, Stone Vos. From my perspective you won't find any better product that uses the best thread, materials and workmanship plus the very BEST warranty being offered in the marketplace today. Oh, did I mention that they also have the very BEST customer service which is second to none!

If you do PLEASE send me their information so I can talk to them personally.

I have no personal financial interest in the Stone Vos, Inc business. I am only attempting to save you from making the same mistakes that I did.

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Old 01-08-2016, 11:06 AM   #12
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Came here to offer my opinion, but you have some expert opinions thus far, so will just add the obvious, get the thickest material you can afford...

While all will blow and flap in the worst winds, the heavier ones like on ours seem to just 'be moved', rather than flap ! we actually had a neighbor's flap so much it bothered us next door...
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Old 01-08-2016, 04:33 PM   #13
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WOW, thanks to all, absolutely fantastic information. Looks like the idea of replacing the toppers while at Quartzsite will be put on hold until I contact both Stone Vos Awning/Toppers and Tough Top Awnings; these two sound terrific.
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