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What are options for roof materials?


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#1 a8ksh4

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 04:16 AM

What kinds of materials does everyone have experience with for home built camper roofs (and walls) that can hold up long term?

Seems like everything on the market is either skinned with sheet metal or fiberglass. Someone on here did rubber, too, for a roof, and I've seen FRP (home Depot fiber reinforced panel, like in bathrooms) used for siding.

I'd expect that all-plywood could be done, but it would need regular upkeep to prevent it from breaking down from sun and rain. E.g. light-sand and coat with UV resistant epoxy or paint each year for upkeep. And bonding racks and jack mounts carefully to prevent water intrusion.

Any thoughts or personal anecdotes you all can share?
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#2 ntsqd

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 01:18 PM

Seems like what the roof frame and insulation were made from could drive some of that decision. Also is it going to be flat or will it have a small peak for drainage?

 

Years ago my dad built a hard tonneau cover for his pick-up from clear fir and 1/8" luan. Which he then covered in fibreglas with tinted resin. I've long liked that approach and plan to eventually duplicate it for a project pick-up that I'm working on. He made his flat where I plan to make it curved (120"-150" radius range) for drainage as his had some spots where rain would pool.


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Thom

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#3 HughDog

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 04:52 PM

What kinds of materials does everyone have experience with for home built camper roofs (and walls) that can hold up long term?

Seems like everything on the market is either skinned with sheet metal or fiberglass. Someone on here did rubber, too, for a roof, and I've seen FRP (home Depot fiber reinforced panel, like in bathrooms) used for siding.

I'd expect that all-plywood could be done, but it would need regular upkeep to prevent it from breaking down from sun and rain. E.g. light-sand and coat with UV resistant epoxy or paint each year for upkeep. And bonding racks and jack mounts carefully to prevent water intrusion.

Any thoughts or personal anecdotes you all can share?

 

I went rubber roof route layered over 3/16 panel ply....  Adds a few lbs vs a sheet of aluminum, but came out looking clean and is functional.  I've got some pics on my build posts on my 83 fleet  Only trick was tucking the extra material under the crown trim. 

 

Hit me up if you go this route and need any feedback.  


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#4 Ghettofab75

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 02:29 PM

Whats wrong with sheet metal?  That's what I'm planning on using.  If using aluminum its light, easy to work with, waterproof, and corrosion resistant.  It should last a long time.

 

I've considered using the plywood/luan and fiberglass approach.  It would work well if done right, better insulation factor for sure.

 

I guess I don't get rubber roofs?  We know tires don't like UV rays so lets make a roof out of rubber.  :rolleyes:

 

Kevin


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#5 larryqp

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 04:49 PM

Just a thought, another drawback to rubber roofs, beside the UV issue is that they are subject to tears and aluminum is unlikely to tear. Not a consideration unless you overland on roads with low hanging trees branches. Small tears in rubber roofs are easy to repair with a product called Etenalbond tape. The tape would also work on AL roofs. Its also great for sealing any accesses through the roof, such as vents etc as a alternate to self-leveling Dicor.


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#6 HughDog

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 11:34 PM

Aluminum is light and will last the longest, certainly longer than a rubber roof . . .  Though I suppose it can dent w/those big old pine cones!  That said, the rubber roof if cleaned properly is formulated to last well over a decade and easy to redo . .  . 

 

End result, looks super clean and flat.  BUT - Had I a big roll of aluminum, I might have done that - I'm not too concerned about weight. 


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#7 a8ksh4

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 04:37 AM

Seems like what the roof frame and insulation were made from could drive some of that decision. Also is it going to be flat or will it have a small peak for drainage?

 

Years ago my dad built a hard tonneau cover for his pick-up from clear fir and 1/8" luan. Which he then covered in fibreglas with tinted resin. I've long liked that approach and plan to eventually duplicate it for a project pick-up that I'm working on. He made his flat where I plan to make it curved (120"-150" radius range) for drainage as his had some spots where rain would pool.

 

I want to design a kit made with CNC cut plywood; any ribbing in the roof would be CNC cut plywood ribs glued under the external plywood, and insulation would probably be 1" pink foam, affixed with 3m spray adhesive.  I'm not sure about flat or not, but I can see how at least a gentle curve would prevent standing water.  I'm still trying to figure out how to model this stuff on the computer to generate templates for parts to cut and will have eventually HAVE to figure out how to work with curved surfaces. 

 

@ghetttofab75 - Aluminum sheet metal is cool, but if I go that route, then I'd be working with mixed-mediums and installing the roof would be less paint-by-number than I'd like.   Probably the same with rubber regarding installation. 

 

@HughDog, I saw your build (http://www.wanderthe...-rebuild/page-2)  The EPDM roof looks nice. I'm not sure if people would really be interested in a rubber roof, but it's worth considering, like aluminum.  I suppose it would just need to have trim installed around it's edges to finish it, right?  


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#8 ntsqd

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 06:31 PM

The usual problem with a metal roof is getting a blank big enough. You either end up with a seam running the length of the roof or across the width of it.

 

If you can buy an FRP blank side for an RV from one of the mfg's, that might make a decent roof with no seams.


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Thom

Where does that road go?

#9 HughDog

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 09:58 PM

I want to design a kit made with CNC cut plywood; any ribbing in the roof would be CNC cut plywood ribs glued under the external plywood, and insulation would probably be 1" pink foam, affixed with 3m spray adhesive.  I'm not sure about flat or not, but I can see how at least a gentle curve would prevent standing water.  I'm still trying to figure out how to model this stuff on the computer to generate templates for parts to cut and will have eventually HAVE to figure out how to work with curved surfaces. 

 

@ghetttofab75 - Aluminum sheet metal is cool, but if I go that route, then I'd be working with mixed-mediums and installing the roof would be less paint-by-number than I'd like.   Probably the same with rubber regarding installation. 

 

@HughDog, I saw your build (http://www.wanderthe...-rebuild/page-2)  The EPDM roof looks nice. I'm not sure if people would really be interested in a rubber roof, but it's worth considering, like aluminum.  I suppose it would just need to have trim installed around it's edges to finish it, right?  

 

Thx and Yes, the EPDM adds that element of crown trim re-design or retrofit if you are using oem material . . . I tucked the epdm under the trim and used the old FWC oem crown trim, . . . it's fat and pushes the trim out a bit and did create the need to add a small piece of aluminum to bridge the 2 crown trims in front and back.  At some point, I will probably replace the entire trim pieces with 90 degree angle aluminum for a cleaner look.  I am also fidgeting with incorporating a different lift strut bracket mount.   


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#10 Ghettofab75

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Posted 18 September 2019 - 04:24 PM

I want to design a kit made with CNC cut plywood; any ribbing in the roof would be CNC cut plywood ribs glued under the external plywood, and insulation would probably be 1" pink foam, affixed with 3m spray adhesive.  I'm not sure about flat or not, but I can see how at least a gentle curve would prevent standing water.  I'm still trying to figure out how to model this stuff on the computer to generate templates for parts to cut and will have eventually HAVE to figure out how to work with curved surfaces. 

 

@ghetttofab75 - Aluminum sheet metal is cool, but if I go that route, then I'd be working with mixed-mediums and installing the roof would be less paint-by-number than I'd like.   Probably the same with rubber regarding installation. 

 

@HughDog, I saw your build (http://www.wanderthe...-rebuild/page-2)  The EPDM roof looks nice. I'm not sure if people would really be interested in a rubber roof, but it's worth considering, like aluminum.  I suppose it would just need to have trim installed around it's edges to finish it, right?  

Sounds like a neat idea!  How are you planning on finishing the exterior sides?  That may drive what you do up top.

 

I actually really like the idea of plywood and foam construction and started down that design path, but realized I don't need the insulation factor and I could build out of metal quicker, easier and cheaper.  I may look at building out of plywood and foam at a latter date though assuming I don't get burnt out on this project.

 

I agree curved surfaces are a pain to model.  Luckily I don't do much of that at work.  On my camper model I have I wound up just modeling everything flat full well knowing I'll put a compound bow in it when its built.  What program are you using?

 

Kevin


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