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Old 09-28-2013, 07:17 PM   #1
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College Station, Texas area: get by with tarp skirting & vapor barrier in 1st winter?

I'm planning to set up a 36'+ fifth-wheel on a rural property for what will hopefully be my long-term, permanent location---but I would like to try it for this first winter before going ahead with building custom skirting and all of the usual long-term (but more expensive) improvements. So I'm hoping that for this first winter I could just put down down 10mil vapor barrier on the semi-packed-hard sandy clay soil and use tarp to block wind and rain from under the unit. (Once I'm sure that I like it there, I'll do everything as it should be.)

I'm assuming that the east Texas winters will be mild enough most of the time that the extra electric bills (and perhaps much greater attention to condensation issues) will be significant but tolerable as part of the experiment.

Does anybody have any opinion or advice about that sort of make-shift solution for my first RV full-timing winter at my hopefully permanent location?
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Old 09-28-2013, 07:19 PM   #2
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bales of hay even cheaper- I did that in Montana
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Old 09-28-2013, 07:37 PM   #3
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>bales of hay even cheaper- I did that in Montana

I've not farmed in many years but in my day bales of straw were much cheaper and cleaner than hay---and didn't introduce seeds and weeds. But I've heard that any area with horse lovers has driven up straw prices as well in recent years. (Does anybody know?) But with either kind of bale "skirting solution", I assumed that the fire hazard and the attraction of vermin (which love to borrow/nest in hay and straw bales) would be a major problem.

I also wondered if hay bales would encourage mold and condensation problems by retaining rather than blocking moisture under an RV. (That would certainly have been a problem where I used to live in the Midwest. But perhaps Texas is dry enough that needn't worry??? I just wonder if it would be counter-productive for me to put a vapor barrier over the soil to block moisture and then to place moisture-absorbing hay bales on top of the vapor barrier.)

But as I said, I've not RV-ed in Texas so I don't know the winter climate as well as I did other parts of the country.

(Does anybody know if hay bale skirting would void one's insurance policy? I can't imagine that the insurance companies would look kindly upon such a material but I've never looked at an RV policy here in Texas. I do know that mold is a huge issue on conventional homeowner's insurance in Texas so I assume it is likewise for RV insurance. [???] )

Thanks for you ideas.
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Old 09-28-2013, 07:52 PM   #4
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don't over think this. moisture is not contained by putting a barrier on the ground
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Old 09-28-2013, 08:22 PM   #5
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Little 4-legged vermin love nice warm bales of hay in the winter. Use the 1/2" foil backed foam board from a building supply.

Ken
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Old 09-28-2013, 08:33 PM   #6
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College Station does not have a "winter" :-) Average low temp is around 40 degrees.

Average Weather for College Station, TX - Temperature and Precipitation
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Old 09-28-2013, 09:58 PM   #7
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>moisture is not contained by putting a barrier on the ground

Then somebody needs to notify the people who write the building codes! :-)
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Old 09-28-2013, 10:00 PM   #8
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>College Station does not have a "winter" :-)

Yet pipes and hoses do manage to freeze here. :-)

(But I do support your optimism! Of course, the bigger issue in this area in terms of winterizing is condensation and mold, whether we get a hard freeze every winter or not. On the other hand, was it three or four years ago that we had the hard freeze that didn't let up for three days straight? Usually we can count on warm air by noon but that was a very strange winter.)
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:29 PM   #9
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PaulAllen,
Are you considering College Station E. TX? I was thinking more of Tyler/Longview/Nacodoches and such.
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:38 PM   #10
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>Are you considering College Station E. TX?

My rural property for my permanent full-time site is in the Bryan/College Station area so I don't have climate flexibility. I've lived in multiple areas of Texas but I don't know from experience how Tyler/Nacodoches would differ from the Bryan area. But I'm certainly open to any and all applicable, relevant help----so thanks!
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Old 09-30-2013, 09:08 AM   #11
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I would think summer would be a more difficult time to stay there than winter. I would not use straw or hay bales as creepy crawlers will make a home under them when you are not looking.

People stay in Florida w/o any blocking below the trailer at all.

I agree not to over think this.

Good luck
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:02 PM   #12
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Thank you all for your feedback!
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