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Is a Fiberglass RV Roof Really the Best?

Is a Fiberglass RV Roof Really the Best?

In today’s post, we’re taking a closer look at the fiberglass RV roof. Is it the best type of RV roof to have, and why or why not?

As noted in our post “The Complete Guide to Your RV Roof”, there are four types of roof material most commonly found on an RV. These are EPDM & TPO (“rubber”), aluminum, and fiberglass. 

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of having a fiberglass RV roof (which happens to be what we have on our own rig). Then we’ll talk about proper maintenance and even the process of fiberglass RV roof coating.

What Is a Fiberglass RV Roof?

Fiberglass is a material that’s widely used in RVs, boats, and homes for its durability, functionality, and appearance.

A fiberglass RV roof is a hard/rigid surface, which is generally installed in large panels or sheets that are overlaid on a wooden structural layer. 

What Are the Benefits of a Fiberglass Roof?

Having a fiberglass roof on your RV offers many advantages, but there are a few disadvantages as well. 

First, let’s take a look at the benefits, which are many.

Durable

One of the most commonly recognized advantages of a fiberglass roof is its durability. Most fiberglass RV roofs can easily last 20 years or more (with proper maintenance) before needing to be, repaired, recoated, or replaced.

Fewer Seams/Openings

Because there are fewer seams or openings in a fiberglass roof, there are fewer areas that are prone to leaking. This is a real advantage because RV roof leaks can be devastating to the integrity of the rig as noted in our post on RV roof leaks

Peter showing a severely damaged RV roof

RV roof leaks can cause damage to your RV roof that is potentially devastating to the integrity of the entire rig’s structure.

Extra Rigidity

A fiberglass roof provides a surface that’s more rigid than other roof types. Fiberglass provides excellent strength, leaving the roof with an incredibly durable surface.

This is beneficial to the entire RV as well as to the process of walking or sitting on the RV roof to conduct regular maintenance and repairs.

That said, it’s important to note that this hard (sometimes shiny) surface can be extremely slippery when wet.

Less Maintenance

A fiberglass roof provides a rigid, hard surface that is strong and requires less maintenance in general than a rubber RV roof. It’s pretty much impervious to just about everything!

Can Be Patterned

Fiberglass is capable of being patterned. 

For instance, the walkway around the perimeter of a fiberglass RV roof may be textured, which makes it less slippery, especially when wet, and therefore safer to walk on. We have this feature on our roof, and it makes for much safer washing!

Sound Deadening

A fiberglass roof offers some of the most effective sound-deadening properties, meaning that the sound of heavy rain on the roof is more likely to be pleasant rather than intrusive

What Are the Disadvantages of a Fiberglass Roof?

Along with the many benefits of having a fiberglass RV roof, there are a few disadvantages as well.

Let’s take a look at the “cons” side of things.

More Expensive in General

A fiberglass RV roof is more expensive than any other type of roofing. This is likely to mean that you’ll pay more for a rig with a fiberglass roof.

More Expensive to Repair

Fiberglass roofs are also more expensive to repair. (This is another very good reason to take your RV fiberglass roof maintenance seriously, preventing the need for repairs.)

Heavier 

A fiberglass roof is heavier than other RV roof materials. That’s good in some ways (strong & durable), but not all.

However, it also means that the weight of the roof contributes to the weight of the entire rig, reducing your cargo-carrying capacity.

How Do You Maintain a Fiberglass Roof?

It’s important to keep your fiberglass roof clean and free from road salt, tree sap, debris, and the like. 

This can be done simply by washing the rig (including the roof, of course) regularly. This is required more often if the rig has been sitting under trees, in humid environments (mold), or if you’ve been driving on salt-covered roads or staying near the ocean. 

There are lots of RV detailing supplies that can be very helpful in keeping your fiberglass RV roof in good shape.

If you’ve got some stubborn stains on your roof, you may need to use a product that specifically targets this type of issue, such as FSR Fiberglass Stain Remover.

Sale
Davis Instruments - 790 FSR Fiberglass Stain Remover (16-Ounce)
  • Country Of Origin : United States
  • The Package Height Of The Product Is 3 Inches

Some people swear by Barkeeper’s Friend which is a granular powder that is bleach-free and contains no harsh abrasives. The product is effective on many surfaces including fiberglass.

Bar Keepers Friend Powder Cleanser 12 Oz - Multipurpose Cleaner & Stain Remover - Bathroom, Kitchen & Outdoor Use - for Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Brass, Ceramic, Porcelain, Bronze and More (2 Pack)
  • Bar Keepers Friend powder cleanser is a grease remover and rust stain remover that powers through stains, hard water spots, tarnish, and grime. In the...
  • Looking for a stainless steel cleaner that's also a bathroom remover? You need Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser. Clean the shower, and use this cleanser as...

If you need to remove oxidation, you may want to consider a high-quality oxidation removal product like this one from Meguiar’s. 

Meguiar's M4916 Marine/RV Heavy Duty Oxidation Remover, 16 Fluid Ounces
  • MARINE CLEANER: Safely removes light to moderate oxidation, water spots, stains and scratches from gel coat, fiberglass and high-tech paint surfaces
  • BRILLIANT SHINE: Enriched feeder oils restore color while adding and enhancing brilliant shine and gloss

Keeping a fiberglass roof clean is a great idea, but it isn’t advisable to use wax on a surface may need to walk or crawl on to work up there.

All of this attention to the roof doesn’t need to be completed on a monthly basis. But you do want to try to keep the roof as clean and free from debris as possible.

Equally as important, if not more so, is the need to get up on the roof and carefully check all sealants around every opening in the RV.  Check around your vents, air conditioning unit, skylight, solar installation – absolutely every area where a sealant has been used.

Checking and maintaining your roof sealants at least twice a year, in fact, is one of the best things you can do to prevent potentially devastating water leaks into your RV. 

Check out our YouTube video on this important topic:

How Do You Recoat a Fiberglass RV Roof?

Dicor fiberglass RV roof coating is an excellent product that will not only offer a protective barrier but will also extend the life of your RV’s roof.

The product is made from 100% acrylic fiberglass resins that form a flexible covering on the roof. 

The finish expands and contracts with movement so that your roof is protected despite temperature changes and movement as you travel down the road.

You’ll want to use the Dicor fiberglass clean prep product first, being cautious not to get it on the paint/finish on the side of your coach.

Once the roof has been prepared using the Dicor cleaner, Dicor’s fiberglass roof coating will fill small cracks and crevices and leave your RV roof with a strong but flexible and very durable coating. Two coats of fiberglass roof coating are required to provide a solid and durable finish for your RV roof.

Dicor RP-FCP-1 Fiberglass Roof Coating System - 1 Gallon
  • Package Weight : 4.399 kilograms
  • Fast acting formula, Biodegradable, Easy to use
Dicor RP-FRC-1 Fiberglass RV Roof Coating System, White
  • Country of origin : United States
  • Package Weight : 4.99 kilograms

What Is My RV Roof Made Of?

If you’re not sure which type of RV roof you have, here’s Mark Polk from RV Education 101 to show you how to determine this:

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Greg

Tuesday 23rd of August 2022

Can you do an article on fiberglass repair. Our propane tank cover rubbed against the camper on a coast to coast trip. Now we have a divot in the fiberglass.

TheRVgeeks

Tuesday 23rd of August 2022

Oh boy, sorry to hear about that, Greg. We'll add the topic to our list!

Karen

Tuesday 23rd of August 2022

We love the Meguiar products. What we find hard to clean and keep clean on our Casita fiberglass trailer is the caulk around the windows and door, and all the caulked intrusions on the roof.

TheRVgeeks

Tuesday 23rd of August 2022

Hi Karen. Yes, those areas do tend to be a bit sticky and can accumulate "gunk" rather quickly. Each RV manufacturer is different, and there's not enough consistency with the products/sealants that they use on their rigs for us to know for sure what's around your windows & door on your Casita. Though it's probably clear, it's likely NOT just silicone caulk. It's more likely to be a product like Geocel ProFlex or Dicor Cap Sealant, both of which are available in clear (and both of which can be cleaned with either mineral spirits or rubbing alcohol... just be sure to clean the fiberglass afterward to avoid leaving residue that could damage it). On the roof, the most common sealant around roof penetrations is Dicor Self-Leveling Lap Sealant (which can be cleaned with mineral spirits). We'd suggest contacting Casita to find out what they use in each application, what they recommend to clean it with, and then do more research online about viable cleaners if what they suggest doesn't do the job (they'll likely err on the side of very mild cleaners which may not do the trick 😉).

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