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Topic: Fiberglass or aluminum siding

Posted By: Bama bluejay on 11/28/11 02:43pm

I'm totally confused. Dh and I had decided to go with something other than the aluminum siding on our next TT. Have been reading all the problems with delamation. Which would be your better choice, if you were in the process of buying a new one. It would be kept under a carport, most of the time. Thanks


Posted By: turnipbwc on 11/28/11 02:49pm

Fiberglas if possible. That would be my choice. Other people will not agree with me.
Good Luck.


'95 Dodge Roadtrek 190 Versatile,
'01 Chevy Silverado 1500 4x4
'02 Subaru Outback LT



Posted By: Francesca Knowles on 11/28/11 03:11pm

I've got a molded fiberglass trailer and used to think that "stick-built" fiberglass sided RV's were the same type of built-up layers of fiberglass.
Participating in forums like this one has sure taught me different!
It seems that most are actually "sandwiches" of a relatively thin layer of fiberglass glued to luan veneer/particle board and maybe some foam insulation. That seems like a recipe for disaster to me- what a moisture trap that could be!
There's a picture of a piece of such a material in This Thread Discussion

As you noted, there are lots of delamination stories out there, and in my opinion that should come as no surprise...
I'd have to say that I'd be more inclined toward the aluminum sides if the above kind of material is the other choice.


" Not every mind that wanders is lost. " With apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien


Posted By: rfryer on 11/28/11 03:27pm

I prefer the aluminum because they’re somewhat lighter and less expensive. Plus I’ve read of far too many delamination issues, too, and in my area of the country they tend to develop an unpleasant yellowish cast from the sun that I don’t like. I might reconsider if I lived in an area with hail storms, fiberglass holds up better to that.


Posted By: vladen on 11/28/11 04:00pm

Ive had the opportunity to get inside my lamination fandango and Im not impressed. They're basically built pretty to get out the show room with no intent of creating something of long term use.


Vlad's busy workings

All hope is gone




Posted By: downtheroad on 11/28/11 04:07pm

There are a bazillion trailers running around with fiberglass siding without delam problems..

Pick the trailer that best fits your needs..floor plan, size, features, etc. and then vigorously keep after the maintenance regardless of the siding material.

And yes, storing an RV under cover like a carport will certainly help...again regardless of the siding material.

Good luck with your choice.


"If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane."
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Komfort
Reese Dual Cam HP
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Posted By: Wills250psd on 11/28/11 04:20pm

I have had both and will not buy another fiberglass model. I did not have a problem with mine but I have friends that are having serious problems, they arent sure they will last until paid off. also if you damage the side or something you can replace panels but fiberglass is a different animal all together. good luck Will


Posted By: Still Searchin' on 11/29/11 09:25am

We've had two TTs with alum. siding: one that was 30 years old and one that we kept until it was 20 years old and NEVER had to do any maintenance to them other than washing the rig maybe once per year!
Our new Jayco has fiberglass siding and have already waxed it twice in ONE year! (but we love the trailer, floor plan, etc and that was the primary need).


2011 Jayco Eagle Lite 256rks 28ft. travel trailer; Reese SC hitch
2010 Chevy Silverado 2500 6L w/3.73 differential
Member: TTN, Escapees, Good Sam
3x around USA, traveling about 6 mo/year


Posted By: Dixonmatco on 11/29/11 09:41am

When we purchased our trailer in Feb of 2005, the outside construction was the least of our concerns. Size, weight, quality of construction and floor plan were the deciding factors. Now that we have had it for almost 7 years, it still looks like new. We have been over 30,000 miles with it in a wide variety of conditions and altitudes. It is a "stick snd tin" construction. There have been zero problems.
Is it better than fiberglass? Not necessarily. I personally believe that quality of construction determines long life and number of problems more than the difference in material.


2000 Chevy Silverado 1500
2005 Komfort Trailblazer T23S
Honda EU2000I



Posted By: jerem0621 on 11/29/11 09:50am

Aluminum for me.

Every campground I went to had at least 1, often many more fiberglass sided TT/Fivers with obvious delam issues.

However, my dads 2001 Fiberglass fiver has zero sign of delamination. His is a Keystone Challenger. And he is seriously Anal about the maint on his "Home".

Me personally, I like aluminum, because if there is ever a need to repair water damage then I would be able to DIY the repair with my stick and tin trailer (mine is a 95 model).

I don't ever see how fiberglass siding could be a DIY or at home repair.

but the Fiberglass sided TT are Beautiful.

Thanks!


2014 Chrysler Town And Country
3.6 Pentastar V6

"It's Kind of Fun To Do The Impossible"
~Walt Disney~


Posted By: keithinspace on 11/29/11 09:56am

Aluminum was the only trailer that fit our price/length/weight/floorplan requirements. I had a fiberglass HTT with water issues and wasn't looking forward to figuring those out.

Stick and tin, as others have said, allows you to dig in there if necessary and replace components if water damaged.

Going on 2 years and I don't mind my aluminum sided trailer one bit.


2011 Gulf Stream Ameri-Lite 255BH
Hensley Arrow
2012 Ford F250 Lariat(6.7L Diesel, 3.55 gears, Crew with 6.5' Bed)
Me, Wife, Girl (9 YO), Boy (7 YO), Blind Beagle (108 YO), Tuxedo Cat (3 YO; 6 lives remaining)


Posted By: Cedarhill on 11/29/11 10:15am

Delamination can't be as bad a problem as what some people are saying. I shopped for new and used travel trailers most of this last summer and this is what I saw.

1. Most of the expensive new trailers I saw were constructed of laminated fiberglass and nearly all of the cheap ones were constructed of aluminum sheets over wooden studs. I doubt if this is just a coincidence or geographic phenomenon. Even with all the bad publicity over delamination, most companies are willing to stake their reputations and their futures on laminated fiberglass construction.

2. I looked at dozens of used trailers over the last year, over half of which were fiberglass. Some of them were several years old. So far, I have seen only two with delamination problems and both of them were neglected and looked like they had sustained water damage. I hadn't even heard about delamination as a big problem until I started reading this forum.


Posted By: keithinspace on 11/29/11 10:29am

Cedarhill wrote:

...nearly all of the cheap ones were constructed of aluminum sheets over wooden studs.

Just so you know, some of us just want to go camping with our family without selling the farm.

My kids are having just as much fun in my "cheap" 28' stick-and-tin Gulf Stream with master bedroom, bunks, superslide, and no leaks ($15k 2 weeks out of the factory) as they would in a $70k Airstream.

If spending within one's means is "cheap", then I don't know what to say.


Posted By: Francesca Knowles on 11/29/11 11:46am

Funny how people associate aluminum siding with "cheapness"...
I guess the look of fiberglass siding seems "richer" to the general buying public, which probably accounts for its popularity.

But for some, what's under the surface invisible to the eye remains an important factor.


Posted By: Cedarhill on 11/29/11 12:21pm

Francesca Knowles wrote:

Funny how people associate aluminum siding with "cheapness"...
I guess the look of fiberglass siding seems "richer" to the general buying public, which probably accounts for its popularity.

But for some, what's under the surface invisible to the eye remains an important factor.


It is quite ridiculous in my estimation to think that a major RV manufacturer would knowingly use a construction material that is doomed to a high failure rate no matter what it looks like. After a few years, people would notice what is going on and stop buying that brand of trailer. It would be financial suicide.

I am sorry but the experience of a few people on an internet forum is not more convincing to me than the behavior of nearly all the major RV manufacturers. Here is the thing - if a person's trailer has lamination problems, then they will unhappily (and rightfully) go on an internet forum to tell the whole world about it. However, the tens of thousands of campers whose RVs did not have lamination problems will not come on the same forum just to say that nothing happened. The perception is easily skewed.


Posted By: youth4him on 11/29/11 12:34pm

I've had both, and much prefer the look of the fiberglass in my new one, plus, it's lighter.

The only thing I didn't like in this one is it's constructed with a SIP type panel, with outer fiberglass, foam, and then inner covering. That makes it hard to do any mounting of stuff inside the trailer, which I learned the hardway by running a screw all the way through to the outside. Ooops.

All things considered, if you're like me and regularly keep your trailer washed and waxed, you'll much prefer fiberglass for the ease of cleaning.


KD

Trip of a Lifetime Blog - 12000 Miles, 100 Days, 34 States, 4 Humans, 1 Mini Daschund...FUN!
2007 GMC Yukon XL Denali - 6.2L, 6-speed


Posted By: keithinspace on 11/29/11 01:41pm

Cedarhill wrote:

I am sorry but the experience of a few people on an internet forum is not more convincing...whose RVs did not have lamination problems...

I totally agree!

I had made a post some time ago about slides. If you read the forums, you would be CRAZY to have a slide in your trailer with all the problems you read about. This is, of course, a small percentage of people that are ON the forum and a small percentage of THOSE that have a problem. It's just all you read about, though, because nobody posts "My slide worked as designed this weekend".

Regarding "cheapness", folks can view it however they want. I drive an Expedition, not a Mercedes G550. I guess that's cheap.

My criterion for trailer purchase did not include "looks". It is a house on wheels. If the same exact trailer was available in fiberglass at no difference in price or weight, I guess I would consider it, but I also don't count it as a huge "downgrade" to have aluminum.


Posted By: doxiluvr on 11/29/11 02:33pm

We have had 2 aluminum TTs as it just happened they had the floorplans I liked and were on the lot and ready to go. We have had for 6 years now and we take good care of it and it looks like new. Plus it sits out all year in northern Wisconsin and we have had no problems with it. So I would have to vote for aluminum.


2006 Keystone Sprinter 300fkms
2007 Silverado 2500 Duramax Diesel 6.6 - Allison 1000 6 spd. auto. tran.
1 high school sweetheart hubby - 1 mini-dachshund/Chihuahua - Abby
4 grown kids, 6 grandkids, 1 great-grandchild
1 2007 Yamaha v-Star 1300


Posted By: bobbyg123 on 11/29/11 02:59pm

Let's be honest here, all travel trailers are cheaply made. I've been to over a dozen of RV shows and I've climbed through just about every travel trailer make out there. All of them, even the so-called high end trailers look cheap in one way or another. These aren't complex units we're talking about here.


2008 Jayfeather 29A
2007 Ford F-150 5.4L V8


Posted By: Francesca Knowles on 11/29/11 03:01pm

Does that go for 5th wheels and motor homes, too?

Or do you think they're built to higher standards?


Posted By: rgolding on 11/29/11 04:24pm

Our first TT was aluminum sided and I sure was dissapointed as to how easy it dented and scratched. A friend of ours had their TT in the middle of a hail storm amongst a bunch of glass sided models and their's was by far the worst one damaged. Lots of dimples. So when we were looking for a bigger model, we thought we would try the glass sided. Many of the GS models seemed to have the floor plans we wanted. Now, I've seen the delamination problem on an older GS, but I felt it wasn't maintained very well. The decision has had more to do with what it had inside and how tall it was. It seems most of the aluminum sided models are taller and that may be an advantage to some, but my wife needed a stool to see in the microwave. So we are now trying the GS style and are watching the roof very closely. Five years from now I'll try to give you a better opinion.


Smooth Sailing,
Ric and Jan

2005 ARCTIC FOX 30U "Life's Good!"
2009 Chevy 2500HD Diesel w/ Allison Transmission



Posted By: Aluminum Siding on 11/29/11 04:55pm

Cedarhill wrote:

Francesca Knowles wrote:

Funny how people associate aluminum siding with "cheapness"...
I guess the look of fiberglass siding seems "richer" to the general buying public, which probably accounts for its popularity.

But for some, what's under the surface invisible to the eye remains an important factor.


It is quite ridiculous in my estimation to think that a major RV manufacturer would knowingly use a construction material that is doomed to a high failure rate no matter what it looks like. After a few years, people would notice what is going on and stop buying that brand of trailer. It would be financial suicide.

I am sorry but the experience of a few people on an internet forum is not more convincing to me than the behavior of nearly all the major RV manufacturers. Here is the thing - if a person's trailer has lamination problems, then they will unhappily (and rightfully) go on an internet forum to tell the whole world about it. However, the tens of thousands of campers whose RVs did not have lamination problems will not come on the same forum just to say that nothing happened. The perception is easily skewed.


I totally agree, however you never see folks posting photos and talking about their delaminated aluminum sided travel trailers.


Posted By: Aluminum Siding on 11/29/11 05:00pm

I too am on the fence as to which to buy. Just for fun I took a walk through a rather large storage lot. 1 out of 4 rigs (fivers and tts) has some form of delimitation somewhere.


Posted By: jerem0621 on 11/29/11 07:27pm

Aluminum Siding wrote:

Just for fun I took a walk through a rather large storage lot. 1 out of 4 rigs (fivers and tts) has some form of delimitation somewhere.


This has been my experience too.

Thanks!


Posted By: keithinspace on 11/29/11 07:33pm

Aluminum Siding wrote:

...1 out of 4 rigs (fivers and tts) has some form of delimitation somewhere.

There was a MASSIVE yard in Myrtle Beach where trailers of all shapes are stored for occasional use. Most were rather large 5th wheels. Nearly all were fiberglass. None were covered. I pulled over and took a look through the fence out of curiositiy and it was freaky scary how many suffered delamination damage. It's a darn shame, that's for sure.


Posted By: Husker Jerry on 11/29/11 07:44pm

I bought my '03 Jayco Designer new in '02 . . . zero problems with any sort of delamination. Actually, I don't recall ever seeing an RV with delam problems, altho I certainly concede there are some out there, just not as many as this thread would imply.


2001 Ford Excursion V 10
2003 Jayco Designer 31FKS
Twin Honda Eu2000 gen sets


Posted By: keithinspace on 11/29/11 08:25pm

Husker Jerry wrote:

...I don't recall ever seeing an RV with delam problems...

Wow. I don't look and see at least a few in the campground every time I ever go out.


Posted By: Bama bluejay on 11/29/11 09:22pm

We were just interested in reliability. We had our first aluminum sided TT less than a year, found out it was too small. Our second which is an 07, has a few dings from hail storm. Just looking at how well they will hold up, so we don't keep dishing out money, as my DH and I are retired.


Posted By: rgolding on 11/30/11 06:26am

This would seem to be a true statement -

"It is quite ridiculous in my estimation to think that a major RV manufacturer would knowingly use a construction material that is doomed to a high failure rate no matter what it looks like. After a few years, people would notice what is going on and stop buying that brand of trailer. It would be financial suicide."

But I have always been dismayed by the limited warranties on most travel trailers, however isn't the warranties on houses limited unless you buy an extended warranty?

Good products even need maintenance, but life is what it is.


Posted By: Cedarhill on 11/30/11 08:07am

Aluminum Siding wrote:

Cedarhill wrote:

Francesca Knowles wrote:

Funny how people associate aluminum siding with "cheapness"...
I guess the look of fiberglass siding seems "richer" to the general buying public, which probably accounts for its popularity.

But for some, what's under the surface invisible to the eye remains an important factor.


It is quite ridiculous in my estimation to think that a major RV manufacturer would knowingly use a construction material that is doomed to a high failure rate no matter what it looks like. After a few years, people would notice what is going on and stop buying that brand of trailer. It would be financial suicide.

I am sorry but the experience of a few people on an internet forum is not more convincing to me than the behavior of nearly all the major RV manufacturers. Here is the thing - if a person's trailer has lamination problems, then they will unhappily (and rightfully) go on an internet forum to tell the whole world about it. However, the tens of thousands of campers whose RVs did not have lamination problems will not come on the same forum just to say that nothing happened. The perception is easily skewed.


I totally agree, however you never see folks posting photos and talking about their delaminated aluminum sided travel trailers.


You don't see folks complaining about hail dents in their fiberglass camper walls either. Every type of construction has its benefits and drawbacks. I just think the delamination problem is overblown. I didn't say it was non-existent.


Posted By: vladen on 11/30/11 07:50pm

The aluminum frame tubing is rather thin maybe 1/16th inch and is bolstered and reinforced by wood most fasterners of structural intent go thru wood because of this.


Posted By: keithinspace on 11/30/11 08:15am

Something I've always found humor in was my '92 Ford Explorer and the fact that the door hinges gave out around 80k miles. THE DOOR HINGES, FOR PETE'S SAKE. Common problem in that truck.

You would have thought that 'the house that Henry built' would have figured out door hinges in the past 100-odd years.

There aren't many anythings that are designed and contructed to last forever. Even if you have a leak and delamination, that doesn't mean the thing is unuseable...it just means you have an issue that needs to be fixed. The bummer is that you can't just put a peice of bubble gum under the fiberglass and make it LOOK like you didn't have an issue...the evidence will be there as long as the trailer exists unless you spend a bunch of money fixing that, too.


Posted By: rgolding on 11/30/11 08:43am

keithinspace,
You said - "The bummer is that you can't just put a peice of bubble gum under the fiberglass and make it LOOK like you didn't have an issue...the evidence will be there as long as the trailer exists unless you spend a bunch of money fixing that, too."

That is probably true. I work in the marine industry and deal with "blisters" in fiberglass quite often. Really not a serious problem, unless there is major delamination, which I have only seen in one TT. Small blisters under the waterline can be fixed easily. A major bubble or delamination in the above the water gelcoat is totally different. The lamination on TT's is not the same and is between dissimilar material, plywood and a surface coating. Time, maintenance/care and quality of product will be the telling factor. All of life is a compromise and many times we get to choose our own battles.


Posted By: vladen on 11/30/11 07:37pm

if you have plastic or vynyl siding (more like whats on a regular stick house) and it rippels/bulges in the heat then it wasnt installed right, The product comes with specific instructions and is cut and fastened to allow for expansion and contraction.


Posted By: vladen on 11/30/11 09:11am

best time to see delam is on the sunny side of the RV about ten AM after the panel is warm to the touch.


Posted By: SingleAction on 11/30/11 09:19am

I just bought a new to me fiberglass TT.
Looked at lots(100) of trailers over a 3 week period, and the main problem I saw was leaking around the slide area, and very few had delamination problems!

I got quite an education on both types of siding. The general rule of thumb was that the cage(wall,roof,floor) of the aluminum siding was made of wood, and the fiberglass/gelcoat siding was made of bonded aluminum.

I think if you do have a leak with the aluminum frame, you still have major frame integrity, and will be easier to repair, instead of a rotted wooden frame!

I should know because I have a Lance TC with aluminum siding and wooden frame.


2004 Chevy Silverado 2500HD
2008 Pilgrim 1500 Lite 27PRB
2000 Lance 835


Posted By: Timothy on 11/30/11 11:34am

I thought I saw a lot of delamination on trailers too. What I learned is not all fiberglass sided trailers have laminated construction. The rear wall of my trailer looks like it was delaminating when the sun hit it but I found out that it's not laminated construction, the siding is attached to the studs just like an aluminum unit and the temperature change made it have a little rippled look. Once the sun is off it it's fine.

True delaminiation is almost always caused by water infiltration and the seperating of the luan substrate from the fiberglass.
Just to note that stick and tin trailers leak too but you may not notice it until considerable damage is done.

The bottom line is you should choose a unit that works for you and the type of conditions you will be camping in and maintain that unit.
A roof and sealant inspection twice yearly along with touching up the exterior sealant will ensure that your rig will last a long time.
Be vigilant to check the sealant around the clearance lights and leaks often start there.

Best of luck on your decision.


Tim & Cindy
2010 Canyon Trail 35FLFT
2001 Chevy Silverado 2500HD Crew Cab
8.1 Allison
www.gsowners.com



Posted By: luislane on 11/30/11 08:32pm

READING LOTS OF POSTS HERE I SEE THAT SOME WENT WITH FIBERGLASS BECAUSE OF THE LAYOUTS.AS IKNOW U HAVE THE OPPTION ON EITHER FG- ALUMINUM-OR EVEN GELCOAT WITH THE SAME LAYOUTS.


Posted By: Aluminum Siding on 11/30/11 09:55pm

I’ve posted this before but I really really like the Passport 2650 BH. It is the exact floor plan size and weight I want. On my current TT I inspect my roof seems monthly and reseal as needed. I cover the top of the TT with a plastic tarp that hangs over 2 feet all the way around. I then put my cover over that. The roof of my TT is almost never exposed to rain, unless we’re camping. I wish someone could tell me if my new Passport (assuming I went with that TT) would still delaminate with this extreme and meticulous care. If so I’d buy one. In defense of fiberglass models most that I have seen with delimitation issues have been rotting in a storage lot neglected somewhere. I’d love to hear from someone that kept the water off their TT via the methods above and or stored in covered storage and still experienced delaminating. I have heard that even covered, the condensation on inside walls can cause delamination, but who knows?


Posted By: Aluminum Siding on 11/30/11 10:04pm

Cedarhill wrote:

Aluminum Siding wrote:

Cedarhill wrote:

Francesca Knowles wrote:

Funny how people associate aluminum siding with "cheapness"...
I guess the look of fiberglass siding seems "richer" to the general buying public, which probably accounts for its popularity.

But for some, what's under the surface invisible to the eye remains an important factor.


It is quite ridiculous in my estimation to think that a major RV manufacturer would knowingly use a construction material that is doomed to a high failure rate no matter what it looks like. After a few years, people would notice what is going on and stop buying that brand of trailer. It would be financial suicide.

I am sorry but the experience of a few people on an internet forum is not more convincing to me than the behavior of nearly all the major RV manufacturers. Here is the thing - if a person's trailer has lamination problems, then they will unhappily (and rightfully) go on an internet forum to tell the whole world about it. However, the tens of thousands of campers whose RVs did not have lamination problems will not come on the same forum just to say that nothing happened. The perception is easily skewed.


I totally agree, however you never see folks posting photos and talking about their delaminated aluminum sided travel trailers.


You don't see folks complaining about hail dents in their fiberglass camper walls either. Every type of construction has its benefits and drawbacks. I just think the delamination problem is overblown. I didn't say it was non-existent.


Agreed….in defense of fiberglass, you don’t see the scary gross wood rot posts like you see quite a bit with aluminum sided TTs.


Posted By: Francesca Knowles on 11/30/11 10:16pm

Aluminum Siding wrote:


in defense of fiberglass, you don’t see the scary gross wood rot posts like you see quite a bit with aluminum sided TTs.

Actually, it's often "scary gross wood rot" that causes delamination on fiberglass sided rigs.

In many rigs, the so-called "lamination" is really just chip-filled luan veneer sheets that have been glued to the fiberglass.
"Delamination" occurs when moisture gets to the luan and dissolves that center to a nasty mush.
That's the part that fails.
More often than not, the outermost layer of luan is still adhered to the fiberglass- it's just not adhering to anything else anymore!

Here's a pic of a typical "laminated" piece of siding-


* This post was edited 12/03/11 12:35pm by Francesca Knowles *


Posted By: jerem0621 on 11/30/11 10:32pm

Aluminum Siding wrote:

Cedarhill wrote:

Aluminum Siding wrote:

Cedarhill wrote:

Francesca Knowles wrote:

Funny how people associate aluminum siding with "cheapness"...
I guess the look of fiberglass siding seems "richer" to the general buying public, which probably accounts for its popularity.

But for some, what's under the surface invisible to the eye remains an important factor.


It is quite ridiculous in my estimation to think that a major RV manufacturer would knowingly use a construction material that is doomed to a high failure rate no matter what it looks like. After a few years, people would notice what is going on and stop buying that brand of trailer. It would be financial suicide.

I am sorry but the experience of a few people on an internet forum is not more convincing to me than the behavior of nearly all the major RV manufacturers. Here is the thing - if a person's trailer has lamination problems, then they will unhappily (and rightfully) go on an internet forum to tell the whole world about it. However, the tens of thousands of campers whose RVs did not have lamination problems will not come on the same forum just to say that nothing happened. The perception is easily skewed.


I totally agree, however you never see folks posting photos and talking about their delaminated aluminum sided travel trailers.


You don't see folks complaining about hail dents in their fiberglass camper walls either. Every type of construction has its benefits and drawbacks. I just think the delamination problem is overblown. I didn't say it was non-existent.


Agreed….in defense of fiberglass, you don’t see the scary gross wood rot posts like you see quite a bit with aluminum sided TTs.


TRUE TRUE...Fords have the distributor in the front of the block and Chevy has the distributor in the back... LOL..

Hemi vs everything else.

Chevrolet or Cadillac?

We buy what we buy because it meets our perceived needs.

Then again, most of us don't "need" an RV. For some of us it puts a roof over our heads.

One thing is pretty certain on both sides of the argument.

Water penetration aka leaks destroys RV's whether you own a sticks and tin model or a fiberglass beauty.

Thanks!


Posted By: vladen on 12/01/11 08:23am

Truly if they didnt use the cheapest wood products they can find for the interior core of these things both aluminum and plasticoids would be better served. I dont see how a manufacturer can be that interested in his product when cuts quality where he thinks people wont notice.

As to keeping the things covered all the time and I guess never driving them in bad weather that makes no sense from a user stand point. Im sure the makers would be happy with that.


Posted By: vladen on 12/01/11 08:30am

One thing that hasnt been mentioned is water from wheel splash/wet roads getting in to your core. Look under the thing an see what kinda efforts the maker has made to that end also.


Posted By: mlts22 on 12/01/11 01:33pm

For me, I'd leave fiberglass on luan (as pointed to the above) on the last of the list. There are other composite materials used on newer RVs which seem to be well made and will last longer, and those might be worth checking out. I know Evergreen RV uses them, perhaps Jayco and Nash/Arctic Fox on their higher end stuff.

The problem with gambling with delamination is the fact that when the bubbles appear, your trailer's value most likely will drop to the value of its scrap metal contents. It most of the time is a cosmetic defect, but resale values get hit hard when this happens. Of course, rotted wood on a stick/tin coach isn't good either.

The ideal would be aluminum framing/aluminum sides. I'd love to see some larger Camplite models where the bare trailer is all aluminum, but the inside is finished with wood, so if worse comes to worst, major mold damage consists of just replacing wall panels.


Posted By: SailingOn on 12/01/11 08:03pm

Repairing a gouge in the fiberglass wall isn't all that challenging.
Last year, I cut a corner too close and a sign got me: divot 3" wide, 6"long, 1" deep on the outside of a slide.
Immediate repair: duct tape to keep water out.
Back at home: handful of foam fill (old packaging) made tacky with a little paint, filled the void; 5 minutes. Surface filled with epoxy and fiberglass fibers left over from boatbuilding mixed to putty consistency: 10 minutes, then half an hour to set. Surface smoothed with epoxy, 5 minutes then overnight to set. 20 minutes of sanding - that stuff is hard. Paint, and you can't tell where it was.


Posted By: jerem0621 on 12/01/11 08:41pm

SailingOn wrote:

Repairing a gouge in the fiberglass wall isn't all that challenging.
Last year, I cut a corner too close and a sign got me: divot 3" wide, 6"long, 1" deep on the outside of a slide.
Immediate repair: duct tape to keep water out.
Back at home: handful of foam fill (old packaging) made tacky with a little paint, filled the void; 5 minutes. Surface filled with epoxy and fiberglass fibers left over from boatbuilding mixed to putty consistency: 10 minutes, then half an hour to set. Surface smoothed with epoxy, 5 minutes then overnight to set. 20 minutes of sanding - that stuff is hard. Paint, and you can't tell where it was.


That is an awesome repair! Thanks for sharing with us


Posted By: Curly2001 on 12/03/11 09:28am

I agree that you can walk through any campground and find a handful of delam trailers. I can't believe that manufacturers make the fiberglass trailers knowing that a great percentage of them will fail over time. I would like to see aluminum frame trailers with aluminum siding on them for a change. I go to new trailer lots and see delam on units that they have just received from the factory so why buy them? Maybe out in the west we have a worse problem but I still will go with stick and tin.
Curly


2007 Chev. 2500HD, 6.0, 4:10 diffs, six speed auto
2013 Heartland Sundance XLT 265RK


Posted By: Cedarhill on 12/04/11 06:31pm

Accidental double post


Posted By: Cedarhill on 12/04/11 06:26pm

Curly2001 wrote:

I agree that you can walk through any campground and find a handful of delam trailers. I can't believe that manufacturers make the fiberglass trailers knowing that a great percentage of them will fail over time. I would like to see aluminum frame trailers with aluminum siding on them for a change. I go to new trailer lots and see delam on units that they have just received from the factory so why buy them? Maybe out in the west we have a worse problem but I still will go with stick and tin.
Curly


I don't think you are talking about the same thing as I and a lot of other people are when you talk about delamination. I probably looked a 200 new travel trailers at 10 different dealerships this past summer. While i didn't inspect each one carefully, I didn't see any new ones with delamination problems.

You say can't believe that manufacturers make fiberglass trailers knowing that a great percentage of them will fail over time. You shouldn't believe that because it isn't true! What you are seeing is something else.


Posted By: Francesca Knowles on 12/04/11 07:07pm

I think that it would be unusual to see delamination in a new rig on a dealer's lot.
It usually occurs long after someone else has assumed responsibility for the rig.

The best way to avoid becoming one of those "Bagholders" is to understand exactly what the sidewalls are constructed of, and choose a rig with materials resistant to or, better yet, immune from this problem.


Posted By: colliehauler on 12/04/11 08:12pm

If stick and tin is superior to fiberglass why do insurance companies give a discount for fiberglass? Less claims against fiberglass. You show me a +100K 5er or motor home with stick and tin. My TT at my seasonal site is stick and tin, it's harder to heat and cool and transmits noise from the outside. It is cheaper to buy, easier to repair and weighs less. For my use it's just fine but I would not call it superior, just another choice. My opinion


Posted By: JoyceandSteve on 12/05/11 06:54am

For me, I am unsure of what I will buy next time. 2 months off the dealers lot (it was there for 2 months prior)I had a delamination problem on the rear cap. It was fixed under warranty but was out of commission for 1 month. No water damage was found, and yes I went out and looked at it before they put the new cap on. I do like the looks of the fiberglass and the possiblity of hail damage is decreased. Aluminum does offer the DIY aspect and no de-lamination problems. Anyway, after owning both types now I have a few years to make up my mind and will stick around here reading and asking before I make up my mind next time.


Steve & Joyce
2011 Chevrolet 2500 Z71 4X4
2013 Montana High Country 343 RL
1996 Celebrity 200 Boat
2000 Yamaha 1200 LTD Waverunner
2012 Ford Mustang GT (Mama's ride)
Vítejte na víkend doma a Steve Joyce



Posted By: keithinspace on 12/05/11 10:20am

One thing to be VERY clear about:

I'm certain there are just as many leaks on aluminum-sided trailers as fiberglass ones.

The difference here is that on an aluminum trailer, you at least have the CHANCE of fixing the trailer without it being extremely evident on the outside of the trailer.

On a fiberglass trailer, if the leak has lead to delamination, you can fix the leak, repair the affected components inside, replace the insulation, and have a 100% functional trailer. But the chances of undergoing the enormous expense to "re-stick" the fiberglass onto the underlying wood, new or not, are extremely low.

Not saying this is a big deal either way. Nor am I saying this is the only reason to go with one or the other. Either can be maintained well or poorly. Either can leak or not leak.

My choice was a matter of cost and weight...aluminum fit the bill...fiberglass did not. Others have different reasons for their choices, but don't think for a second that aluminum trailers are without similar faults...the faults are just hidden in a different way.


Posted By: Bonefish on 12/05/11 10:43am

Our Forest River 2004 fiberglass is going on 8 years now and still looks good. I have seen one camper with a delam problem.

My reason for my choice is I have been in several marble size hail storms. The aluminum sided ones had to go in for skin repair. Looked like some one had taken a hammer to them.

Ours has been through several light hail storms with no ill effects.

Bonefish






Posted By: mlts22 on 12/05/11 01:06pm

colliehauler wrote:

If stick and tin is superior to fiberglass why do insurance companies give a discount for fiberglass? Less claims against fiberglass. You show me a +100K 5er or motor home with stick and tin. My TT at my seasonal site is stick and tin, it's harder to heat and cool and transmits noise from the outside. It is cheaper to buy, easier to repair and weighs less. For my use it's just fine but I would not call it superior, just another choice. My opinion


The 100k+ motor home will not be using the crappy fiberglass on luan. It will likely be using Azdel IXIS or other composite which is epoxy based and will be as immune to delaminating as a Corvette or Saturn is to that (both having fiberglass bodies.)

Fiberglass isn't fiberglass. The******on luan looks cool, but once the bubblies start, your value becomes the scrap value of the RV, and insurance really doesn't care because they don't cover that. However, the real stuff that is automotive grade is going to laugh at delamination and still look good decades from now.

As always, you get what you pay for.


Posted By: Cedarhill on 12/05/11 01:55pm

If you always get what you pay for and aluminum is better, then why are most of the upscale (and more expensive) trailers made of fiberglass laminate and all the the cheapest trailers aluminum? It sounds to me like you are contradicting yourself.

Azdel is a relatively new material and yet high end motor-homes (as well as Corvettes) have been constructed from fiberglass and polyester resin for decades. Did this material and construction technique suddenly become much worse? How about the millions of fiberglass boats that have been constructed of fiberglass and polyester resin?


Posted By: Francesca Knowles on 12/05/11 02:00pm

We're talking about a specific kind of fiberglass or composite siding, which uses a layer of luan.
Some manufacturers use this "sandwich", others don't.

Point being, it might be wise to inquire about the actual makeup of the side panels, and try to stay away from that combination.

And on the subject of aluminum trailers...
I'd hardly characterize an Airstream, for one example, as "cheap"!


Posted By: Cedarhill on 12/05/11 03:34pm

Francesca Knowles wrote:

We're talking about a specific kind of fiberglass or composite siding, which uses a layer of luan.
Some manufacturers use this "sandwich", others don't.

Point being, it might be wise to inquire about the actual makeup of the side panels, and try to stay away from that combination.

And on the subject of aluminum trailers...
I'd hardly characterize an Airstream, for one example, as "cheap"!


While you are talking about a "specific kind of fiberglass", you really ought to mention the "specific kind of aluminum" that Airstream trailers are made out of. Airstream trailers do not make use of 1.5 inch square wooden studs like the box shaped aluminum sided trailers.

If you are trying to say that some manufacturers are better than other manufacturers, I don't think anyone would disagree. When you talk about aluminum siding being superior to fiberglass laminate siding - even the kind with luan substrate - then neither the evidence nor the behavior of nearly all the major RV manufacturers supports that idea in my observation. I keep coming back to this but just about all the major manufacturers build a majority of their upscale trailers out of fiberglass - yes, the kind with luan plywood substrate.

If you go to enough trouble and do it the right way either aluminum or fiberglass will make a fine and very long lasting trailer. There are hundreds of thousands of examples of each type that people camp in every day.


Posted By: colliehauler on 12/05/11 05:28pm

mlts22 wrote:

colliehauler wrote:

If stick and tin is superior to fiberglass why do insurance companies give a discount for fiberglass? Less claims against fiberglass. You show me a +100K 5er or motor home with stick and tin. My TT at my seasonal site is stick and tin, it's harder to heat and cool and transmits noise from the outside. It is cheaper to buy, easier to repair and weighs less. For my use it's just fine but I would not call it superior, just another choice. My opinion


The 100k+ motor home will not be using the crappy fiberglass on luan. It will likely be using Azdel IXIS or other composite which is epoxy based and will be as immune to delaminating as a Corvette or Saturn is to that (both having fiberglass bodies.)

Fiberglass isn't fiberglass. The******on luan looks cool, but once the bubblies start, your value becomes the scrap value of the RV, and insurance really doesn't care because they don't cover that. However, the real stuff that is automotive grade is going to laugh at delamination and still look good decades from now.

As always, you get what you pay for.
I have owned 4 fiberglass rv's trough the years 2 Gulfstreams 1 Keystone 1 Forest River and none have had any delamination issues or water leaks. The 2 stick and tin RV's I've owned a Damon and Forest river RV's developed water leaks. If stick and tin or fiberglass did not sell they would no longer make it. I'm glad I have the option to choose what I want.


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