"One-Piece Roof" Story

(why "no center seam" is no big thing)

Some salespeople tout a "one-piece roof" as if it were a big deal. It's not, at least not anymore, but for anyone who remembers or has heard of a bad episode with "two-piece roofs" it's easy for salespeople to use the "one-piece roof" phrase to their advantage. This is a slick salesperson move because the issue one-piece roofs address is an outdated issue (by over 20 years). Here's what happened:

Before the dominant use of Fiberglass and ABS for camper roofs, aluminum reigned supreme. The aluminum roof for most campers (including Flagstaff, Rockwood, and Starcraft) had a mill-roll seam down the middle of the camper.

A "mill-roll seam" joins two pieces of aluminum in a huge press with several folds of aluminum intertwined at the joint. Once pressed this mass of aluminum is virtually inseparable. For all intents and purposes the mill-rolled seam was strong enough to qualify the roof as a one-piece roof.

However, in the late '80s one camper manufacturer thought they could save money by exchanging the mill-roll process for a cheaper process. The cheaper process: simply overlap one sheet of aluminum over another sheet and run a line of #8 screws down the two pieces of very thin aluminum!

Of course the overlapped-aluminum roof had all sorts of problems and the design was quickly abandoned. Unfortunately the damage had already been done to "two-piece roofs" in the eyes of the pop-up camping community.

Camper manufacturers started looking for alternatives to the aluminum roof (which had worked well for decades but, again, looked "bad" from a PR standpoint). Some turned to Fiberglass, others turned to ABS. Fiberglass and ABS came with their own challenges, though, and some roof designs had as many structural issues as the overlapped-aluminum roof.

Understandably some people still harbor ill feelings towards any roof with a seam down the middle because of this experience. It's too bad, too, because the mill-rolled aluminum roof worked great and was essentially maintenance-free.

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