Why Choose TPO Over Fiberglass in RV Manufacturing

Discover the Difference to Provide the Best Quality

Keeping quality and pricing at the forefront of recreational vehicle manufacturing is essential to its durability, reliability, and value. One of the most important, but often overlooked, features to consider in the overall health of RV production is maintaining a solid, strong roof. The RV's roof keeps customers safe from weather and debris, allowing you to enjoy your travels without interference from unpredictable outdoor elements.

Understanding the benefits of what Thermoplastic Polyolefin, or TPO, has to offer and how this newer RV roofing material differs from the traditional choice of fiberglass can help you determine the best way to maintain quality for your recreational vehicle production.

What is the Best Roofing Material for RV Manufacturing?

Recreational vehicle roofs are made from one of three types of materials: rubber, fiberglass, or metal/aluminum.

  • Rubber TPO: Thermoplastic Olefin is a single-ply, white roofing membrane that is both heat-resistant and affordable, but should be repaired at the first signs of cracks or leaks in order to avoid long-term performance issues.
  • Rubber EPDM: Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer is a membrane-type cover used for flat roofs, EPDM is sturdy and easy to both install and repair, but absorbs heat so quickly that it may affect the RV’s cooling system and make the window for repair time easy to miss.
  • Fiberglass: hard to the touch, this reinforced plastic is embedded with glass in a resin, fiberglass is lightweight and has a low risk of cracks or tears, but can prove to be expensive if maintenance or replacements need to be performed.
  • Aluminum: the rarest material used for RV roofs, made from a sheet of silver-white metal, aluminum roofs are durable, but not visually appealing, not resistant to heat, and can be difficult when determining the exact location of leaks.

While each type of roof has its advantages and disadvantages, at Advanced Plastiform Inc. we believe the best overall roof type for your recreational vehicle is TPO. Thanks to its easy-to-install adhesives and inexpensive use of materials, TPO has risen to become the most popular choice for RV owners since its introduction to the market in the early 1990s.

The Differences Between TPO and Fiberglass

Thermoplastic Polyolefin Recreational Vehicle manufacturing

When choosing between different thermoplastic materials on the market for the roof of their RVs, consumers focus primarily on:

  • Cost
  • Maintenance
  • Quality

Cost of TPO vs. Fiberglass

In today’s economy, RV ownership offers an affordable way for families, couples, and individuals to travel. When purchasing RVs, consumers are looking for a cost-efficient product that delivers long-term results in reliability. TPO is significantly lesser in cost than fiberglass, ranging between $5 to $16 per square meter of material; in contrast, fiberglass costs upwards of $90 to $110 per square meter, making it a much pricier option.

Maintenance of TPO vs. Fiberglass

Even though fiberglass is the more expensive material, an upside of a fiberglass roof is that it likely won’t need to be repaired or replaced as long as the vehicle is well taken care of. Fiberglass roofs last between 30 to 50 years, whereas TPO roofs will likely need some form of repair maintenance around year 20, even for RVs that have responsibly been kept out of excessive heat conditions. Despite the difference in upkeep, TPO roofs are still durable, and when balanced with their low, budget-friendly costs of materials, it still makes for an ideal thermoforming choice for your RV.

Quality of TPO vs. Fiberglass

While fiberglass still proves to be the most stable material there is for the roof of a recreational vehicle, TPO comes in a close second when considering the quality. Fiberglass is built to withstand nearly any weather condition, whereas TPO can succumb to thermal stress created by extreme weather conditions or repeated exposure to excess heat.

Benefits of a TPO Roof in RVs

Even though fiberglass roofs offer the benefits of low-maintenance needs and overall quality, our recreational vehicle thermoforming experts recommend TPO as the best overall choice for RV roof material.

Here are some of the significant benefits of installing a TPO roof in your RV:

  • Energy-efficiency: with UV-resistant properties, TPO is the best choice for environmentally-friendly thermoforming with sustainability in mind.
  • Easy to install: TPO is the least laborious installation when compared to other RV roof materials.
  • Strength and durability: because the rubber in TPO expands and contracts the membranes create a strong seal, limiting the buildup of debris and the possibility of tears or fractures in the seams.
  • Budget-friendly: the low cost of TPO is incomparable to the high costs of competitive materials, making it the best overall choice for value.

Schedule a Free Quote on TPO Roofing in Recreational Vehicle Production

Advanced Plastiform, Inc. offers high-quality, durable plastics for recreational vehicles at a low per-unit cost and a fast lead time. Since 1988, we have worked with all types of industries across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia. We are dedicated to offering high-quality thermoforming and injection molding services for recreational vehicle manufacturing.

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