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Old 08-23-2014, 06:04 AM   #1
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Aluminum or fiberglass exterior?

We're looking at RVs and I like the fiberglass skin and painted front cap much more than the aluminum. Which one is more durable over time and takes a better beating in all weather conditions?

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Old 08-23-2014, 06:56 AM   #2
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Hi Lori, The fiberglass is more durable in that it resists small dents like hail better. It's also the current trend so it will have better resale value. The tin skin units tend to be identified with entry level units. The metal skin units are more easily repaired in case of a big dent. Delamination of the fiberglass units still occurs and is very costly to repair, but most builders have that process figured out now. I'd go with a fiberglass side unit if I could. Just my 2 cents worth. Happy camping, Ken

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Old 08-23-2014, 08:07 AM   #3
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Fiberglass is generally considered to be more durable and in most current RVs they use it also because the walls are laminated into sections with framework, electrical wires and everything that goes into them in place in the mold and the wall is then put into place as a unit, requiring less labor to build. It does withstand more hail and rocks generally than aluminum but it also weighs a lot more.

Aluminum is typically found on the light and ultra-light weight RVs today and it is used mostly due to the weight savings. Having owned several of each over the years, it is more subject to hail damage but is fare less difficult to work with in the event that you need repairs. Laminated walls are generally repaired by replacing the entire wall and that usually means a trip back to the factory. Aluminum is put on in layers like siding and one section of it can be replaced without need to do the entire wall. It is also much more possible to modify wiring inside a wall or to replace the interior wall materials with this type of construction.

Over all, fiberglass is the preferred unless weight is an issue in today's market. But aluminum is not cheap if properly done. Both types of skin come in several quality levels ranging from really cheap to high quality that costs more.
Good Travelin! Kirk
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Old 08-23-2014, 02:03 PM   #4
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We just bought the fiberglass exterior because I think it looks better and will last longer. I have been watching Rvs on the road for years. The aluminum sides alway look wore down.
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Old 08-23-2014, 02:29 PM   #5
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I much prefer Fiberglass over aluminum. If we were talking about smooth aluminum {Holiday Rambler) it would make less of a difference. There are benefits to both but for us the looks of fiberglass especially with a molded cap is always best.
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Old 08-23-2014, 02:57 PM   #6
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I too like the fiberglass, but went with the aluminum because I live in Phoenix, AZ and get tired of looking at faded old trailers and RV's. You should see them at my storage place. My last RV was fiberglass and it too was faded (before I bought it, and after I sold it). I would say I agree with most of what has been said above. I would think about what conditions you will be in and how long you will own it.
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Old 08-23-2014, 05:39 PM   #7
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Check out hail damage and let us know.
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Old 08-23-2014, 06:53 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by SKP Kirk View Post
Fiberglass is generally considered to be more durable....................but it also weighs a lot more.

Aluminum is typically found on the light and ultra-light weight RVs today and it is used mostly due to the weight savings.

Over all, fiberglass is the preferred unless weight is an issue in today's market.
From your statements, one might conclude that equivalent design travel trailers will be heavier if fiberglass skin vs. aluminum skin.

To prospective buyers, I would say check the weight specs.

For instance, I did a dry weight comparison of my 2014 Wilderness 2175 RB fiberglass vs. the Heartland Prowler 20P aluminum.

The two travel trailers are virtually identical in size and layout and features.
Single slide, 2 axles, 26' overall length.

Wilderness 2175 RB 4,648 lbs.
Prowler 20P 4,725 lbs.

In this case, aluminum or fiberglass is essentially the same dry weight.

Sailor Don
Livingston, TX
2014 Wilderness 2175 RB
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Old 08-24-2014, 04:51 AM   #9
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I know i'm fairly new to rving , but my next TT will still be Alum. My current TT is 14 years old and the alum. siding looks just fine and i 'KNOW" i will have no delamination problems .

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Old 08-25-2014, 07:39 PM   #10
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My Aliner has aluminum skin. They offer an identical model with fiberglass skin that is about 300 lbs heavier. That's a big difference if you are towing with a 4cyl car like I have for years. Remember this difference is with a small pop-up. That difference could easily double with a 30 ft TT. I guess it depends on the thickness of each material being used too. Yes, my Aliner has dimples on the roof, not from hail, but from hickory nuts. As fiberglass ages in the sun, it gets brittle and loses strength, compared to many half century old Airstreams which are still going strong.


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