What are the best lightweight building materials for RVs?

In this blog post, we will answer the question: “What are the best lightweight building materials for RVs?” We will discuss the best lightweight building materials for RVs along with their benefits and properties. We will talk about the various types of materials that are used in modern-day recreation vehicles.

What are the best lightweight building materials for RVs?

The best lightweight building materials for RVs are.

  • Fiberglass
  • Aluminum
  • Composite panels
  • Carbon fiber
  • High-density polyethylene
  • Honeycomb panels
  • Foam core panels
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) panels
  • Lightweight wood


  • Fiberglass is one of the oldest lightweight building materials that has been used for RVs for years together. These lightweight materials are being used as RV body panels. Most RVs today have fiberglass as the exterior shell and interior walls. They are also widely used on the roof of RVs.
  • One of the major advantages of fiberglass is that they have a good combination of strength and weight. They can also be used with other materials and are perfect for RV panels. Fiberglass has stood the test of time and is still widely used on the latest RVs due to its lightweight. It also helps to reduce the drag on motorhomes.
  • Fiberglass is also durable and long last with superior weather-resistant nature. However, it can still get worn after decades.


  • Aluminum has been one of the top lightweight building materials for RVs for various reasons. The good thing about aluminum is that it arrives with several benefits. They are lightweight and are corrosion resistance. Aluminum will not get rusty soon and are not heavy like metal or steel.
  • These lightweight materials are used for exterior panels and roofs of RVs. They are also used for framing and other structural components. While there are surely rust-free and long-lasting, there has also been a few disadvantages with aluminum. In rare cases, aluminum can bend and is less strong than fiberglass.
  • Using aluminum with other materials is certainly one of the best lightweight options for RVs.

Composite panels

  • Composite panels are also one of those lightweight building materials for RVs, but they are not used too much in the exteriors. These panels are perfect for the interiors of motorhomes as they provide an excellent appearance and classy look.
  • Not many RV manufacturers use composite panels since they have a few disadvantages. These panels are not built to handle rough weather. Hence, they are not a perfect fit for RVs for the outer shell. However, they are excellent for interior walls and can be used on floors. 
  • Composite panels are built with various materials, including plywood, foam, fiberglass, etc. Composite panels work well for RV kitchens and interior bedroom walls. Overall, they bring a great aesthetic to the appearance of the RV.

Carbon fiber

  • Carbon fiber is not found so easily except in high-end RVs. The main reason carbon fiber is uncommon is due to its price. When compared to other lightweight building materials, carbon fiber is more expensive.
  • The advantage of carbon fiber is that they have exceptional strength and weight-reduction properties. They are used in RV applications and as a combination of lightweight components. Carbon fiber has high structural integrity, and luxury motorhomes have a combination of carbon fiber.

High-density polyethylene

  • Another commonly used lightweight building material for RVs is high-density polyethylene. These are impact-resistant plastic materials, otherwise known as (HDPE). They are lightweight and durable at the same time and are not as expensive as carbon fiber.
  • Many RV manufacturers use high-density polyethylene as exterior panels, storage compartments, etc. The major advantage of high-density polyethylene is that they are resistant to UV rays and extreme weather conditions. 
  • This lightweight building material is also widely used for tanks and is perfect for preventing damage from the sun when exposed.

Honeycomb panels

  • Honeycomb panels are not too common, but they are still one of the best lightweight building materials for RVs. These panels are made with a combination of aluminum and paper. These act as protection and are fixed in the middle of two outer layers.
  • The strength-to-weight ratio is excellent with honeycomb panels. They are mainly used in RV cabinets and furniture. On the other hand, they are slowly picking up the pace and are used in several RVs as walls. Honeycomb panels offer thermal efficiency and are corrosion-resistant when combined with aluminum.
  • They also act as sound insulation and are lightweight without compromising on strength. When it comes to the pricing, honeycomb panels are not too expensive.

Foam core panels

  • Foam core panels are widely used in modern RVs. These are lightweight building materials that are found in various types of motorhomes. These panels can be used for numerous applications in RVs. They are lightweight with high mechanical stability.
  • These are efficient panels that are durable and robust. The high-quality appearance is excellent for RVs. Foam core panels can also be used for RV shelves, interior, and wall cladding. These panels have a low density of only 0.65 g/cm. Hence, they are 30 percent lighter and fuel efficient for RVs and motorhomes.
  • Some of the other advantages of foam core panels are the slip-resistant options. They are easy to work with and have good insulation properties. The high-quality surface and high resistance to UV rays are perfect for motorhomes.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) panels

  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) panels are a cheaper option used as lightweight building materials for RVs. These panels are durable, and they arrive with various patterns and textures. There are multiple colors and combinations to choose from.
  • PVC panels are used in motorhomes due to their lightweight and low maintenance. They are durable and budget-friendly at the same time. These panels are not brittle and do not get easily damaged while handling.
  • They can also act as thermal insulation and are completely waterproof. When working with these panels, they are one of the best among the lot. Fixing these panels is easy and quick.

Lightweight wood

  • Lightweight wood has been used for RVs and motorhomes since the beginning. Multiple lightweight wood options can be used for RVs, including plywood. The only difference is that lightweight wood cannot be used individually.
  • Plywood can be used for flooring, walls, and roof if an outer shell offers extra protection. When it comes to the interiors, a major percentage of motorhomes use only plywood. 
  • Paulownia wood is widely used in RVs and campervans. These types of wood can be used for building cabinets, shelves, countertops, wardrobes, etc.
  • Cedarwood is one of the lightest materials that are used for motorhomes. Cedar is a softwood building material and can be used for several purposes. Some of the other lightweight wood that is used in RVs are pine and poplar.

Those were some of the best lightweight building materials that are used for RVs. These materials are widely used in all types of motorhomes due to their durability, balance, and compatible properties. Over the years, the construction of RVs has evolved. The latest RV models use lightweight building materials for multiple purposes and benefits.


In this blog post, we have answered the question: “What are the best lightweight building materials for RVs?” We have discussed the best lightweight building materials for RVs along with their benefits and properties. We have talked about the various types of materials that are used in modern-day recreation vehicles.



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