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Old 12-29-2013, 05:21 AM   #1
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Aluminum or fiberglass

We are looking to get our first travel trailer and want to know th pros and con of each type of exterior aluminum and fiberglass.

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Old 12-29-2013, 05:48 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by smoore173 View Post
We are looking to get our first travel trailer and want to know th pros and con of each type of exterior aluminum and fiberglass.
Just no "filon" fiberglass.

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Old 12-29-2013, 07:32 AM   #3
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Our previous coach was fiberglass and it fades and the decals crack,unless you spend a lot of time taking care of it. The coach we have now is aluminum with full body paint and it looks better and is easier to take care of,if we get another one,it will be the same. (just my opinion)
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Old 12-29-2013, 11:01 AM   #4
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Corrugated aluminum will dent easily. Especially on the front from rocks. A diamond plate guard cures that. Doesn't look as good IMO as fiberglass and is harder to clean.

Fiberglass is subject to delamination. But IMO looks nicer, washes easier.

Keeping either well maintained is the key. You will get dry rot with leaks on aluminum but it's easier to repair. If fiberglass delams it's harder and more expensive to repair.

Most manufactures make both types. The aluminum ones are usually on the lower end. Fiberglass sided ones are also on the lower end but can be in the mid-upper end as well, where as aluminum will never be in the upper end and very few in the mid range.

Aluminum TT's tend to use wood studs for framing, fiberglass uses aluminum. Less weight with aluminum and no dry rot.

You can't get smooth sided aluminum TT's unless you get an Airstream.

Only smooth sided aluminum RV's are high end 5th wheels or motorhomes with 5th wheels costing more than $100,000.00.

IMO the best way to go with a TT is with one that has the High Gloss finish on it like the Keystone Cougar High Country. The paint and decals will stay nicer longer. The ones to avoid are the ones with the lesser grade finish with the decals over the top and not in the final clear coat. Not all TT's will fade or have their decals peal off. Just because one did doesn't mean they all will.

The main thing to do is keep up on maintenance. It's not that big of a deal to get on the roof and check it out a couple times a year. Takes about 5-10 minutes max. Also do a walk around on the outside and check caulking . Again takes about 5-10 mins and only needs to be done 2 times a year.

If you can afford an expensive smooth aluminum sided high end RV then you can pay someone to do your dirty work. But for the average RV'er most maintenance items aren't that much work at all.

FWIW I have a fiberglass sided 5'er and a friend that has a corrugated aluminum TT. He was looking at mine the other day and commented that his next one will be fiberglass. He hates the little dents that aluminum ones get, the looks and how hard it is to keep clean.
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Old 12-30-2013, 04:40 PM   #5
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I personally would not buy a ruffled aluminum sided trailer...UNLESS I got a deal I could not pass up. They all have the same interior I just like the smooth fiberglass. I actually probably wouldnt buy a trailer that didnt have an actual molded front cap
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:36 PM   #6
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Have had both now. It's a no for me on the aluminum because of the easy denting and being harder to clean. Black streaks are a $%^&* to clean off. The fiberglass is a composite assembly with rigid foam and alum. framing. I think it has a little better R-value overall but it looks a lot nicer. Also somewhat stronger too. Fiberglass also seems to look higher end when compared to the others in a campground.

Some manufacturers, like KZ, have an option where you can get a painted-on version of the decals. They don't go into detail on their website and just call it a "paint package". We looked at it but it was expensive and not worth it to us. Decals have improved in recent years and will last longer.

As said, unless you find a price you can't refuse, go fiberglass.
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:56 PM   #7
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On the filon fiberglass which is more of a textured fiberglass, which I call "cheap mans fiberglass", I find it easier to clean. I use Gel-Gloss which is a cleaner and a wax all in one. Another poster stated your decals will fade and peel. On any RV if you have decals and don't wax them, after about 3-4 years you can see the effects of that. Your not going to find a tt with the good smooth 1/4" fiberglass and painted designs under 50k. Now on the other hand if you plan on not do much maintaining of your RV either washing or waxing, get the aluminum sided ones and go with that.

My 2005 tt looked as good as the day I bought it after 7 seasons while waxing it about 3 times over the season. On the decals I use Gel-Gloss HD because it has a UV protector blended in. ** If you don't wax your decals they will fade & peel...period *** It's just a matter of time. Wax will keep the coloring on the decals very vivid.

One thing I did on my new 2013 ( took delivery in March 2012) was go around and press all the edges of the decals to make sure they were stuck on good. Especially all the little warning stickers (example: "City Water", "Cable Connection"...) the factory people have a habit of just slapping them on.
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Old 12-31-2013, 08:34 AM   #8
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Had an aluminum sided trailer that looked good for 8 years - then got hailed on 4 times! Not good! New trailer is fiberglass and hbas gone thru 2 storms and shows no signs of damage. I also think the glass is easier to wax as the ribbed aluminum was a bear on the hands!
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Old 01-01-2014, 02:29 PM   #9
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I would definitely go fiberglass as well. Our last TT was an 04 with aluminum siding and our current is an 05 fiberglass. The 05 while it's only a year newer looks dang near new (as far as the color goes). Both TT's decals are worthless but overall body of the fiberglass is far far superior to the aluminum. Plus our insurance actually went down a tad
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Old 01-08-2014, 10:18 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by dcarver View Post
I would definitely go fiberglass as well. Our last TT was an 04 with aluminum siding and our current is an 05 fiberglass. The 05 while it's only a year newer looks dang near new (as far as the color goes). Both TT's decals are worthless but overall body of the fiberglass is far far superior to the aluminum. Plus our insurance actually went down a tad
I prefer Molded Fiberglass Travel Trailer will last for ever like a Bigfoot or a Alumscape with fiberglass front and rear caps.

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