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Old 12-17-2015, 05:14 PM   #1
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Rubber Roofs

What is your general opinion of the rubber(lack of the correct word) roof on some manufacturers? Quiet I know. Maintenance issues, not as big deal as owners of fiberglass roofs make them out to be, less aging problems than fiberglass? Please chime in.


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Old 12-17-2015, 07:04 PM   #2
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What is your general opinion of the rubber(lack of the correct word) roof on some manufacturers? Quiet I know. Maintenance issues, not as big deal as owners of fiberglass roofs make them out to be, less aging problems than fiberglass? Please chime in.


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Well Sir,
We've owned one rubber roof coach and, we (I) will never own another one. The primary reason is because they are simply not as durable as a fiberglass one. In fact, in shopping for a newer coach, it was one of the few parameters/conditions of purchase, NOT to have a rubber roof.

Any roof, will deteriorate over time, and, constantly subjected to the elements and sun. Fiberglass is quite a bit more durable when it comes to physical damage. Tree branches, hard soled shoes, rigorous cleaning, etc. are just a few things to think about.

Our previous coach, a '99 Fleetwood Bounder 34V with the F-53 and V-10, had the rubber roof. We never damaged it due to low flying branches etc. but came close. But, we purchased it when it was about 5 years old and, we owned that coach for 7 years. At about the 6th year, almost all the white coating had deteriorated away and, that left an almost completely black rubber roof.

Well, after doing a bit of research on here and other places, I purchased the Dicor two part prep and re-coat system for it. It was a seriously tough day to say the least but, we completely cleaned, prepped and double coated that roof, in one 10 hour day, in 95 degree heat. It turned out really nice but, I don't EVER want to have to do that again.

So, that leaves us with the fiberglass roof. Now, as stated, it will deteriorate some too but, not to the effect that the rubber ones do. Yes, there are some rubber roofed coaches out there that are 20 years old and are still in somewhat decent condition. But, all I've done on ours is, a thorough washing, a buff out and, a wax job and, it's outstandingly clean and nice looking.

And I don't worry one bit if I get too close to some branches etc. I don't aim for them, just don't worry about getting too close.
Scott

P.S. Don't get me wrong here. I'm not really down on them, I just don't like them and, won't have one. I'd much rather have a sprayed on "Rhino Lined" roof that many RVers are turning to. Talk about durable. You just about CAN have an NFL football game up there with one of those.
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Old 12-17-2015, 07:15 PM   #3
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I've had both types, and read lot's of Ford/Chevy threads about them.

Conclusion is that, if there are a lot of Ford/Chevy proponents about a subject, then it's a "flip the coin", subject.

Fiberglass is nice, but everywhere you drill a hole for a screw or cable needs attention for leaks.

Rubber is nice, and you need to clean and re-seal those holes.

What I see about fiberglass that I don't like as much as rubber is that the white sloughs down the sides of the coach. Be careful about what you put up top as far as it not running down the sides.
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Old 12-17-2015, 08:03 PM   #4
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Any roof will need maintenance sooner or later. I recently scrubbed and repainted my entire fiberglass roof for the first time in it's 38 year history. Although I must admit that it should have been done years ago.
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Old 12-17-2015, 08:39 PM   #5
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Rubber has a finite life and re coating adds some...liquid roof is another option but I only did that for a real close friend...nobody would pay me enough to do another one.

The 89 CC with full fiberglass top just needed some eternabond added to roof jacks and other penetrations no muss no fuss.
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Old 12-17-2015, 08:53 PM   #6
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I owned one rubber roof and the next two were fiberglass for a reason. I would not buy another coach with a rubber roof.

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Old 12-20-2015, 10:31 AM   #7
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I've had metal, rubber (EPDM), TPO and fiberglass. I see three drawbacks to rubber:
(1) Continual chalking, which causes dirt streaks on the sides of the RV
(2) Harder to scrub clean than the others
(3) Vulnerability to tree branches poking holes

EPDM should easily last for 15 or so years (its warrantied for 10), so longevity is not a major concern unless you drive under low-hanging branches often.

The pores in the surface of EPDM rubber are magnets for dirt and tree sap and a PITA to get clean. If you park under trees, on or off season, a rubber roof will be a major cleaning chore.

Sealing (caulking) around openings and along seams is the same for any roof material. It's rarely the roof covering that leaks - it's the edges and openings.

I recently had to re-paint my 10 year old fiberglass roof. The fiberglass was still fine, but it was painted white at the factory and the original paint began to wear off and chalk. Took me about 5 hours to wash it down thoroughly, prep and re-paint it with Dicor's fiberglass roof paint. Hope to be good for another 10 years with nothing more than an annual wash job.
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Old 12-22-2015, 06:44 AM   #8
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I agree,stay away from rubber,I had fiberglass on our previous mh,and have a tpo roof on our current coach,I do not have any issue with the tpo.It is very durable and easy to clean,and does not leave streaks down sides of coach,mine is only 3 yrs old,I wash roof every time that I wash coach,so it still looks new,but even some of the older tpo roofs I have seen,still seem to hold up far better than rubber.All roofs still require maintainance around penetrations,for me, if a coach that we liked came with either tpo or fiberglass I would consider both as good options IMHO,I would love to see and touch one of these sprayed on roofs sounds very interesting...
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Old 12-24-2015, 02:51 PM   #9
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Maintenance issues, not as big deal as owners of fiberglass roofs make them out to be,
This is the key part of the actual answer. Fiberglass roofs are not all the same and you need to be very careful in making sure that you know which one you are buying. The thick fiberglass used in typical end caps is much more durable than the 1/8" fiberglass that is glued over a layer of the same materials used to support the modern EDPM (often called rubber) roofs. In addition, there are more than one type of EDPM as well and while the earliest ones did chalk, and they did require more maintenance than most fiberglass, that has improved dramatically over recent years. When we were shopping for our latest RV I found that the manufacturer's materials warranty was longer on the EDPM than on most fiberglass.

Fiberglass is less likely to be damaged by a tree limb or such, but the fiberglass is far more likely to be damaged by large hail. We were in a park in Kansas in a major hail storm once with an EDPM roof and all that had to be replaced was our skylight and vent covers, as was true for most if not all of the EDPM roofed RVs. The only RV with a fiberglass roof that I know was not in need of major repairs was an older Newell that was just across from us. There were several of them which had leaking roofs.

Over all, I would probably rate fiberglass just slightly better than EDPM because of the lower maintenance, but not a great deal. At the high end the million dollar motorhomes all have fiberglass but it is the kind that is molded and not glued to some substrate material. The newer, more costly membrane today is Brite Tek and it has much better characteristics than the original EDPM, but it also costs more.

RV roofs of any material are not all the same nor of the same quality.
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Old 12-25-2015, 09:36 AM   #10
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Brite-Tec is TPO, not EPDM. Though TPO is also a rubber-based material, it is substantially different than EPDM. Brite-Tek did not replace EPDM - it is a higher cost alternative. Both Dicor and Alpha Systems continue to sell EPDM as well as TPO for RV roofs and low end RV models still come with EPDM rubber roofs.
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Old 01-01-2016, 12:41 AM   #11
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Unfortunately, due partly to weight and expense they can't put the best roofs on RVs. If you get a rubber/vinyl roof, just make sure you maintain it well. A RV takes constant maintenance and unfortunately the roof and axles are the items you don't think about, yet they can be the most costly to ignore
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Old 01-01-2016, 12:56 AM   #12
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Since 2000 we haven't had anything but BriteTek and now fiberglass. Personally I'd take BriteTek any day. Both Dutch Stars had the BriteTek and I found them to be quieter than the fiberglass we now have and I never had any problems with them. Just wash them off once or twice a year, spray some 303 on them and I'm done. Puncture resistance? I don't know, I've never put a hole in a roof since I started RV'ing in 1957.
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Old 01-01-2016, 08:32 AM   #13
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I've had EPDM rubber, TPO, and fiberglass. I wouldn't have rubber again if I had any choice, but the TPO and fiberglass are on a par as far as I can tell. The fiberglass is probably a bit more puncture resistant, but both are rugged and the difference is probably academic. It takes a major force to damage either one - no casual brush with a tree branch will harm either.

I'm down on EPDM because of the heavy maintenance due to chalking. Neither TPO nor fiberglass require anywhere near as much cleaning and streak removal.

People seem to lose sight of the fact that roof leaks rarely come through the roof membrane material - it is nearly always a roof seam or the edge around something that protrudes through the roof. In other words, a caulked or taped edge. The choice of TPO or fiberglass vs rubber doesn't affect the leak potential one iota.
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Old 01-02-2016, 08:14 AM   #14
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Do those that have had both, and have good hearing, notice a noise difference when a hard rain hits the roofs? Is fiberglass a more piercing sound?
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