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What Are Azdel Panels on an RV?

What Are Azdel Panels on an RV?

When shopping for RVs, you may have noticed a small sticker pointing out “Azdel” panels. That little reminder doesn’t register for most, but have you ever considered what benefits Azdel brings to that new rig?

It might surprise you that this alternative building material offers some extremely important changes that will enhance your camping experiences while saving you money and extending the life of your RV. Let’s take a look.

What Is an Azdel Panel?

In 2006, RV manufacturers began using a new component in many of their product lines. Azdel panels hit the market, hoping to replace lauan plywood, which had many deficiencies like off-gassing and added weight. Azdel boasted features like lighter weight, polypropylene and fiberglass construction, and better insulation. Its thin panels worked for the floor, wall, and roof.

Azdel Onboard Composite Panels

What Are the Benefits of Azdel Panels?

The addition of Azdel panels to many RV models has improved their lifespans. Here are a few of the benefits that Azdel offers.

No Delamination

Because polypropylene is fused with fiberglass to create an Azdel panel, there’s no peeling on the exterior layer on a panel. Water and air can’t get between the layers because there are no layers. So you’ll never need to worry about delamination.

No RV is impervious to water. Learn how to spot water damage, and more importantly, how to prevent it here: The Biggest Downfall to RVs: Water Damage

Mold and Mildew Free

Azdel’s makeup of fiberglass and polypropylene doesn’t retain water like wood. Therefore, mold and mildew can’t grow on an Azdel panel. That’s one big worry you’ll never have to consider.

Azdel Lauan 2-Month Mold Time-Lapse

More Insulating Than Wood

Because it’s lightweight, Azdel offers twice the insulation value of its plywood counterpart. Lighter weight could mean better fuel economy, as well better insulation, and less need for heating and cooling. This all adds up to big savings.

Ultra Durable

You can create seamless curves with Azdel, which helps keep out water and heat. It’s heat-resistant, water-resistant, and fire-resistant. With double the insulation of wood, these panels help battle temperature extremes. And they don’t give off noxious fumes because they’re constructed without any glues.

Are There Any Disadvantages to Azdel Panels?

The only apparent disadvantage of using Azdel panels is the realization that your rig will last a lot longer than those created with lauan plywood. So if you were planning on trading up to a new trailer every five years, you might want to reconsider. An RV made with Azdel can remain a member of the family indefinitely.

Which Top RV Manufacturers Use Azdel Panels?

Several manufacturers have embraced the benefits of using Azdel panels. Companies that have integrated Azdel into their lineups include Forest River, Leisure Travel Vans, Winnebago, Lance, Jayco, Coachmen, Renegade, Grand Design, Heartland, Gulfstream, Dynamax, Nexus, and Aliner. You’ll find travel trailers, Class A, B, and C coaches, and fifth wheels all using Azdel panels. Some pop-up campers also use it to lighten their load while improving insulation. 

R-Pod Camper with Azdel Panels
Forest River’s R-Pod campers are made with Azdel panels.

Azdel Equivalents and Alternatives

The only alternative construction elements that are comparable to Azdel would be lauan plywood or aluminum components. But Azdel outperforms these in many regards, including weight and insulation.

Are Azdel Panels a Good Choice for Your RV?

If you want an RV that doesn’t off-gas with formaldehyde, has double the insulation value and strength of wood components, is water-resistant, doesn’t delaminate, and is half the weight of comparable campers, Azdel panels are the perfect solution. In fact, a lower weight might open up more opportunities for you when it comes to picking your rig.

Pro Tip: You’ll often find Azdel on 4-season campers due to its high insulation value.

Azdel panels have been a game-changer for many manufacturers, as well as RVers. Azdel is better for the environment and RV owners. You can make a secure investment in a new RV when you choose one using this innovative material.

Row of fifth wheels at an RV dealer
The next time you’re shopping for an RV, check to see if it has Azdel panels. Often you’ll find an Azdel sticker near the door of a camper, or you can visit the manufacturer’s website to learn about the RV’s construction.

Have you ever had an RV with Azdel? Share your experience in the comments.

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Doug Ludwig

Saturday 25th of September 2021

Hmm, I've been wondering whether Azdel or some similar material could be used to build a bed platform in place of 3/4" plywood (or 5/8" - whatever was the lightest adequate size to support a person or two). Or is it only good for wall panels and fully supported floor underlayments?

Dean Harris

Thursday 23rd of September 2021

I think I read somewhere that Azdel panels are not structural so support is always needed. I’m guessing that could be a disadvantage.