RV Siding TypesAnthony Day
This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
- Fiberglass and aluminum are the major types of RV siding.
- Aluminum siding is cost-effective for fuel, maintenance, and use.
- Fiberglass siding is highly durable and hard to damage.
- Fiberglass has better resale value and retains its appearance longer.
- Avoid siding materials like vinyl or wood due to potential vibration issues.
Discover the world of RV siding types as we delve into the diverse options available. Let’s explore the best options for your outdoor adventures.
The two most common RV siding types are aluminum and fiberglass. Other options include filon, composite, vinyl, wood, and steel siding. Choosing the right type of siding depends on several factors, such as material durability, weight distribution, and resale value.
With years of research and hands-on experience, I’ve gained valuable insights into the various siding materials, their pros and cons, and their performance in different environmental conditions. I have a track record of providing accurate and unbiased information to help you make informed decisions about your RV investments. Rest assured, my expertise will guide you in choosing the most suitable siding type for your RV, ensuring both functionality and aesthetic appeal.
RV Siding Types
When it comes to RVs, the choice of siding material is more than just an aesthetic decision; it's a crucial factor that can impact your RV's durability, maintenance, and overall performance. We'll delve into various RV siding types, focusing on two prominent options: Aluminum Siding and Fiberglass Siding.
Each comes with its own pros and cons, and understanding the characteristics of these materials will help you make an informed choice when it comes to your RV's exterior.
Aluminum siding has two subcategories: corrugated siding panels and a seamless design.
Though seamless may appear to be more appealing to some, it is significantly more expensive to repair because it requires replacing the entire skin of the RV. In contrast, corrugated aluminum siding panels only require replacing the damaged panels.
- Wiring convenience
- Thermal insulation
- Fuel efficiency
- Susceptible to water leaks if silicone sealant is compromised
- Prone to damage from hail or heavy rain
Then there's fiberglass, which is equipped with effective insulation components and has a sleek appearance. When compared to aluminum siding, fiberglass siding can weigh up to a third more.
Fiberglass RVs are much more expensive than their aluminum counterparts. Depending on your vehicle's ability to tow the weight and your budget, either option may be suitable.
Fiberglass RV siding can have taped-on graphics, have paint applied to it, or be coated according to your preference. Although painted fiberglass walls indeed provide more protection from harmful UV rays, this is becoming less and less true as fiberglass technology advances.
Fiberglass siding is available in smooth and corrugated forms, just like aluminum siding. Our favorite fiberglass RV siding is the RecPro Arctic White RV Fiberglass.
- Excellent noise insulation
- Sturdy and reliable
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Resistant to hail damage
- Maintains appearance for higher resale value
- Clean attachment with no staples, reducing water leak risks
- Vulnerable to water damage and delamination
- Limited space for wiring and cables behind solid camper exterior walls
- Prone to spider web-like cracks upon impact
- Difficult DIY repairs, often requiring full-side replacement
- Occasional poor basic construction leads to water damage and deformities
Choosing Between Fiberglass and Aluminum RV Siding
Despite its flaws, most experts believe that fiberglass siding is superior. When choosing fiberglass as the finest RV exterior siding option, they consider hail resistance, resale value, and other criteria.
Some people argue that aluminum siding is the greatest since it gets higher gas mileage, is easy to run electrical, and is easy to repair. We generally agree with those who prefer aluminum to fiberglass.
Aluminum siding is far less expensive to replace and repair, compensating for any disadvantages. However, the choice is entirely yours since it depends on your preferences and needs.
Fiberglass has a more modern appearance, and it retains its market value, which makes for an interesting debate. Get additional information and perspectives on both types of external sidings before making a decision.
Alternative RV Siding Materials
Manufacturers have only two main exterior siding options for your RV due to weight and mileage considerations: aluminum or fiberglass.
Composite, wood, and vinyl camper siding options are occasionally utilized, although they are inferior to fiberglass and aluminum. The expense of replacing damaged parts could be high as well. Let’s explore these alternatives further.
Filon RV Siding
Filon is a type of fiberglass that is frequently used to improve the siding on RVs. It's a popular choice because it lasts longer, is extremely strong, and will not dent easily.
It may also be installed on your RV in one piece and does not require painting. Its sole flaw is that it requires a layer of protective gel covering to prevent harm.
To install filon siding on your RV, you'll need the help of a professional. It requires particular glue, and the surface to which it is being adhered must be completely dry.
Filon siding has a Luan or filon backing, and there must be no air spaces between the filon siding and the material it is attached to.
Composite Siding for RVs
In case normal RV siding fails to meet expectations, composite RV siding can be used. Sidewalls, decking, ramps, and slide-outs are more commonly used. They're also more expensive to install than standard RV siding materials.
The honeycomb structure choice strengthens the siding, while the foam form gives better insulation from the elements.
The siding is generally lightweight, but that does not make it weak. It's a remarkably durable siding. Because of the versatility in handling it, RV owners can cut the panels to size and add trim to make their RV look brand new.
Vinyl Siding for RVs
Vinyl RV siding can be installed on your travel trailer and should not conduct as much heat or cold as other RV siding materials. One of the disadvantages of vinyl siding is that it is not a sturdy or long-lasting material. It may not be able to cope with the stress of road travel.
Vinyl RV siding is made of an attractive and lightweight material but lacks the durability of other RV sidings. It would also have to be very tightly tied to your RV, resulting in more probable water leak openings, and should endure the vibration and wind strain.
Wood Siding for RVs
Some folks enjoy giving their RVs a distinctive appearance. They frequently use wood to achieve that distinctiveness. Here is a video on how to install wood siding on your RV.
There are a few drawbacks to choosing wood as an RV siding material.
- Wood is hefty and can rot if not treated
- Costly to replace
- May attract bugs
- Less wind and vibration resistance than other materials
- Time-consuming installation
- Deteriorating appearance over time
- Lower resale value compared to other materials
Steel Siding for RVs
RV sheet metal siding is also known as RV steel siding. The material is simple to install on your RV and comes in a variety of sizes to match your repair requirements.
Sheet metal is extremely durable, and it can survive a variety of rock and weather conditions that would otherwise harm weaker RV siding.
Sheet metal siding may be cut using simple hand shears when repairing damaged RV siding. It's best to have at least one or two extra hands to assist you when fixing your RV with sheet metal siding.
However, the material can be difficult to get into place and is fairly heavy.
RV Siding Gel Coat
A gel coat is a water-resistant outside layer that is applied over filon, fiberglass, and wood by itself. This coating hides all of the fiberglass strands, making it look attractive.
It has all of the benefits that fiberglass offers when it comes to RV use.
This type of siding will withstand dents and other damages. However, it does add some weight to your RV.
Plus, it costs a little more than standard aluminum siding. Gel coat siding is also more robust, lasts longer, and has a higher resale value than most other RV sidings on the market today.
RV Siding Made at Home
People enjoy DIY projects. These initiatives are both cost-effective and enjoyable. Even RVs are prone to DIY chores, such as installing new siding on the outside of the vehicle.
Internal shower panels, vinyl sheets, and cedar paneling are some of the ideas that different RV owners have for updating the aesthetic of their RVs. Some people have even gone as far as modifying PVC pipes to make their RV stand out.
When it comes to redoing your RV outside siding, there are as many materials as there are ideas. When doing this type of project, make sure you can securely fix the siding without destroying your structure or creating potential leak points.
You should also be practical, as many materials will not withstand the vibrations caused by vehicle travel.
Additional RV Siding Concepts
When it comes to external siding for RV, there are many options. Wood frames typically support aluminum siding, and everything that can be fastened to wood is suitable for use on an RV.
When you add your own personal touches to your RV, remember that you'll have to remove the old siding and inspect the structure for rot and other issues. Then, before you can add your new siding, you'll need to replace those broken frame parts with new ones.
Even if you're merely putting new siding on top of old, you should have the frame inspected. Damaged frames cannot support the additional weight or withstand the increased stress.