In this article, we will discuss the differences between RV aluminium roof vs polyester fiber roofs. We will explain what is great about each one, but also the cons and why you should consider an alternative.
RV aluminium roof vs polyester fiber roof: what to choose?
The evolution of the panels with which motorhomes are built has been considerable in recent years, in an ongoing effort by manufacturers to obtain more insulating and resistant materials, but with less weight. However, when it comes to exterior cladding, we always end up with the same question: Aluminum or fiber?
Aluminium has a long tradition for use in motorhomes, especially of the corrugated type, also known as “frog skin”, now practically disused, but used for many years in lower-end vehicles. The smooth aluminium cladding, meanwhile, has a much more attractive finish and is therefore still used today, especially in mid-range and high-end vehicles.
Smooth aluminium coatings have a lovely finish and are therefore still used today, especially in mid-and high-end vehicles
Polyester fiber arrived later in the sector but quickly took over the market, due to its greater ease of assembly and lower cost, which means that today we find it in most models, especially in the medium and low ranges, although It is also not surprising that some high-end vehicle bets on this termination.
RV Aluminium Roof, pros and cons
With a smooth and elegant finish, Aluminum has been the most used material in high-end motorhomes in recent years.
Its imperceptible discolouration over the years and it’s better breathability, which reduces condensation and mould growth inside the motorhome, are exciting features, but the most attractive of all is its lower weight, a great advantage for the fight against overweight in motorhomes, in which manufacturers are immersed and which make Aluminum the perfect material.
In addition, Aluminum is a material whose elastic nature makes it very difficult to break or crack in the event of a blow or accident. However, this same flexibility is also one of its most significant drawbacks, as it makes it especially sensitive to damage from hail or small bumps on the side walls.
In these cases, the repair is very complicated, let alone in the case of corrugated Aluminum, being necessary, in most cases, the replacement of the entire panel with the inconvenience and extra cost that this entails.
Aluminium is a complex material to break or crack in the event of a blow or accident. However, this same flexibility makes it especially sensitive to damage from hail or small bumps.
At present, the price of Aluminum is somewhat higher than that of polyester fiber, a very determining factor, taking into account the current economic situation and that, when in doubt, many end up opting for fiber.
RV Polyester Fiber Roof, pros and cons
When a product becomes one of the most used by most motorhome manufacturers, it is for some reason, and in this sense, polyester fiber is not without its advantages. The biggest of them, with respect to Aluminum, probably lies in its resistance to small blows and hail, something especially important when it comes to people who live or travel to areas with adverse weather.
But it is also that, in the event of an accident, the ease of repairing the fiber is much greater and it does not require such specialized hands, since it will not be necessary to disassemble half a motorhome to repair a small blow.
Fiber also has a better thermal insulation coefficient than Aluminum, a conductive material that is more influenced by temperature changes, something that, however, should not worry us excessively.
The fiber is very resistant to small blows and hail, as well as being easy to repair. However, fibre laminates are prone to discoloration and flaking over the years.
Unfortunately, not everything could be perfect and in this sense, the fiber has a great disadvantage: how it looks.
When buying a new vehicle, there are hardly any differences between fiber and Aluminum, but over the years fiber laminates are prone to discoloration and flaking, causing the vehicle’s image to deteriorate greatly.
The best known of them is the yellowish colour that, over the years, many vehicles present, especially the white ones. Of course, there are different qualities of material but all, to a greater or lesser extent, suffer more over time than those finished in Aluminum.
RV aluminium roof vs fiber roof: The middle ground
Some say that the world does not have to be black or white, that there is also grey, and in this sense, we find some manufacturers who, faced with the dilemma of making their vehicles in fiber or Aluminum, have decided to use a mixture of both.
The usual thing in these cases is that we find a vehicle made with sidewalls in an elegant aluminium finish, difficult to discolour and less weight, and the fibre roof, offering greater protection against hail.
However, even this option, theoretically more perfect, has its drawbacks and that is that the expansion of both materials due to the effect of temperature is different, as well as the discolouration of the bodywork, being able to find, after a few years, with a motorhome with a roof in a different colour from the sides.
As we stated at the beginning of the report, there is no perfect solution and, in this case, more than in any other, we will have to greatly assess the advantages and disadvantages of each material, to determine which option is the best for us.
To do this, we must think about the type of destination we like to travel to, the activities we want to do and, above all, the place where we plan to store the motorhome so that we can be sure that we are going to buy the most suitable vehicle that will satisfy our needs.
Please let us know if you have any questions or comments on the content.
FAQ on RV Aluminium Roof Vs Fibre Roof
Is polyester less heat-transmitting than aluminium?
No, polyester is not less heat-transmitting than aluminium. In fact, polyester has a better thermal insulation coefficient than Aluminum, a conductive material that is more influenced by temperature changes, something that, however, should not worry us excessively.
Do I have to replace the entire sheet to repair an aluminium roof?
It depends on whether it is a scratch or a strong blow or a “break”. In most cases, however, you will have to replace the whole sheet. This is why people prefer polyester since it is easier to repair, as it is chemically bonded.
The fiber is very resistant to small blows and hail, as well as being easy to repair. However, fibre laminates are prone to discoloration and flaking over the years
Are polyester motorhomes heavier or lighter than aluminium motorhomes?
Polyester motorhomes are generally less heavy than aluminium ones. However, the smooth aluminium cladding has a much more attractive finish and is therefore still used today, especially in mid-range and high-end vehicles.