Is Fiberglass Better For RV’s?
When it comes to RV’s, two materials stand out as being the most commonly used in siding: aluminum and fiberglass. Like everything in the industry, there are pros and cons to both types that should be considered. The good news is that both types of siding can be repaired by professional RV repair technicians, so you never have to worry about whether or not you can get damage repaired.
So, what are the differences? Is aluminum better than fiberglass when looking at the overall picture? Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of each one.
Aluminum RV Siding
RV’s made with an aluminum siding will typically be found with wooden framed walls. This siding is stapled or otherwise attached to the wooden frame which allows the use of fiberglass insulation. Some of the advantages of an RV with aluminum siding include:
- RV’s and campers with aluminum tend to be on the cheaper side when it comes to buying
- It’s much easier to run wiring and cables with aluminum siding
- Time-tested: aluminum siding has been used in RV’s for many years, and for good reason. If it was a poor option to use, manufacturers wouldn’t continue to use it.
Of course, aluminum RV siding has its downsides, too. Aluminum siding is extremely susceptible to water damage if not properly maintained. Routinely inspecting the sides and corners near the roof will help to prevent water leaks from starting. If a leak does start, the water will actually leak into the interior of the walls. Since aluminum sided RV’s typically use wooden frames, these water leaks can cause wood rot and mold. Then, the water leak goes from a small issue to a big repair bill.
Fiberglass RV SidingFor fiberglass siding, a more special type of wood is used. However, in many newer RV models a special product called “Azdale” may be used. This is a special combination of fiberglass and plastic that prevents the absorption of water. There are a lot more advantages for using fiberglass:
- Fiberglass siding is much easier to clean than aluminum
- Even if a water leak develops, the water won’t be able to affect any of the wood
- Fiberglass siding typically has less flex and looks better than aluminum
- Fiberglass siding is extremely durable and is more likely to hold its value over an aluminum siding
While fiberglass siding is much more durable, when damage does occur it is more expensive to repair. Unlike aluminum siding which could be repaired by yourself, fiberglass repair requires specialized skills to do properly. Additionally, when damage does occur it also tends to be more noticeable. This is especially true in collisions as the fiberglass will form “spiderweb” cracks which are easy to see. Due to how the walls are done, you won’t be able to run any wiring or cables through the walls. While this may not be a huge issue, it’s still something to consider if you plan on having a satellite dish.
Which Siding Is Better?
When it comes to durability, fiberglass siding is the absolute clear winner. Its aesthetics are more highly regarded as well, for both the shine and the ability to keep it clean. However, both are relatively good materials for an RV. For DIY or less expensive repairs, aluminum does have an edge over fiberglass. However, Elite RV Roof & Collision has experienced technicians specialize in the repair of RV fiberglass siding. Whether you have an aluminum or fiberglass siding, we are able to provide high quality repairs in a timely manner.