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Old 06-18-2012, 09:41 AM   #1
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metal vs. fiberglass siding

Can someone give me the pros and cons of metal vs. fiberglass siding? A dealer told me they were getting away from fiberglass due to leaking problems; anything to this? From what I think I know the metal siding models have wood frames and the fiberglass has metal frames; is this correct?

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Old 06-19-2012, 11:58 AM   #2
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Most of the new TT i have seen are fiberglass with either a smooth sides or ribbed. Both can have wood or aluminium frames all depends on the weight aluminium frames make the trailer lighter. as for leaks both the should be the same they leak when the seals crack so leaks should be limited to to the roof seams and window. You pay the money and take your chances. Good luck with your discussion do research on the dealer as these are the key players for service and repair. if find a good dealer you will get good service which is more important than a good sales guy.

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Old 06-19-2012, 01:29 PM   #3
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Dealer told me that insurance rates are cheaper for fiberglass due to hail resistance. Aluminum dents with hail that will bounce off of fiberglass. But when the hail is big enough to break the fiberglass... all bets are off...
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Old 06-20-2012, 08:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by edwardo37 View Post
Can someone give me the pros and cons of metal vs. fiberglass siding?
Fiberglass gel-coat looks better, is easier to wash and clean up, and is heavier and more expensive. Aluminum is lighter, doesn't look as good to most eyes, and dents easily, but costs less. Way back in 2001 model year, my 5er had aluminum siding standard and fiberglass as an extra-cost option. I barely remember that sticker, but I think the fiberglass option listed for about $1000.

A dealer told me they were getting away from fiberglass due to leaking problems; anything to this?
No. In fact my new ecomomy-priced 2012 TT has fiberglass gel-coat front and rear with aluminum sides. The fiberglass front resists the bugs and bird hits better, and is much easier to clean up the bug juice after a trip. One reason they used fiberglass for the sloped front is because it is less likely to leak between the seams of the aluminum siding. I don't expect any leaking problems between the seams on the sides, or any leaks at all assuming the factory properly sealed between the roof and the sides.

In about 12 years and over 100,000 towing miles, my 5er with fiberglass siding didn't leak a drop. Darling Daughter is still living in it and reports no problems.

Dealers want to sell what they have in stock. Perhaps your dealer was overloaded with aluminum skins, and the better fiberglass units were in short supply?

From what I think I know the metal siding models have wood frames and the fiberglass has metal frames; is this correct?
No. The siding is not related to the frame construction, although the more expensive fiberglass skin is more likely to be on the more expensive aluminum frames. And then some are like mine = fiberglass front and rear caps with aluminum on the sides. And some are like my previous 5er = mostly wood frame, but alumium framing around the doors and windows, with standard aluminum siding but optional fiberglass siding.
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Grumpy ole man with over 50 years towing experience. Now my heaviest trailer is a 7,000-pound enclosed cargo trailer, RV is a 5,600 pound Skyline Nomad Joey 196S, and my tow vehicle is a 2012 F-150 EcoBoost SuperCrew.
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Old 06-21-2012, 07:15 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by edwardo37 View Post
Can someone give me the pros and cons of metal vs. fiberglass siding? A dealer told me they were getting away from fiberglass due to leaking problems; anything to this? From what I think I know the metal siding models have wood frames and the fiberglass has metal frames; is this correct?
My wife and I recently (February) bought our first travel trailer (Gulfstream Innsbruck 269BHL).

When we were shopping at the RV show, many different RV dealers explained that the metal siding was easier to repair or correct if there were problems. You only have to take off and replace pieces of metal if they should need repair.

Unfortunately on my second outing with the trailer, I scraped the side of my trailer, and had to have it repaired. One piece of metal siding was replaced and the trailer looks good as new. (It was a very minor scrape).

I was told while shopping for trailers, that should something hit or mess up a fiberglass siding, there was no good way to repair it, and they would be likely to have problems with any repair. Since we don't have one, I can't attest to that one way or the other, but intuitively it makes sense to me.

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Old 06-21-2012, 07:29 AM   #6
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It's all what you can afford. I have had both aluminum and fiber-glassed sided RVs. I would never go back to the aluminum. It can corrode as well as dent and tear. I would definitely try to stay away from a wood frame in the walls. The best setup is aluminum framed walls and fiberglass sidewalls. Fiberglass can look good even without full body paint although the tape stripes do tend to curl after time.
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Old 06-23-2012, 11:05 PM   #7
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Our's is not really fiberglass,like the Bolers or Bigfoots,rather a lamination, better to call it a hardside. On our Outdoor RV Creekside,the walls are bonded into one piece making for a very strong side wall. This I think is the main advantage,strength.
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Old 07-01-2012, 07:57 PM   #8
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Having had a metal sided trailer with wood frame, I can say from experience that the wood structure will get wet and rot. Yes, the metal siding can be removed and wood replaced. I had to do it. I guess some would argue the advantages of wood, but the fact is wood rots. AND trailers wiggle and move around so much on the road that the joints where the ribbed metal siding meets smooth surfaces like windows, doors, and the outside corners will leak. You basically have to re-caulk after every trip. to be sure no leaks have opened up. A smooth sided trailer is much better at resisting leaks but even they need attention after use. Its just that the leaks will be fewer and aluminum will not rot. Corrode maybe but hay, got to have something to worry about. Just inspect all joints often and if necessary, be guilty of over caulking rather than having to replace rotted wood.

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