RVs: Stick and Tin vs. Fiberglass

Why traditional walls are better.

A simple search of RV de-lamination in any online search engine will return a list of images that show both ugly and expensive damage to campers everywhere.  These campers all have one thing in common; they are constructed with fiberglass walls.  De-lamination is real and not an urban legend or wives’ tale.  De-lamination is caused by water intrusion that has occurred to the sidewall, causing the plywood/luan backer and adhesive(s) to let go of the exterior fiberglass panel.  Resulting in the blistering of the outside skin.  This is referred to as a de-lam in the RV industry.  There are no easy repairs to this type of problem.  And the resulting depreciation to the value of the camper can cause lasting financial issues.  So what should an avid RV do?

One thing is to look at the tried and true, time-tested stick and tin built trailers.   RVs built with traditional walls that do not de-laminate.  Below are some benefits of RVs built with traditional walls.

  • Wood framing offers insulation, hollow aluminum is cold and does not offer any insulation value.
  • Metal siding is painted much like an automobile and does not fade.  Fiberglass fades with age and looks dull.
  • Metal has “ridges” (just like Ruffles Chips) which provide lateral lines that improves the look of the trailer.  Fiberglass is smooth often showing panel seams and the occasional ill fitted panel.
  • Metal allows for blocking to be added to the wall for aftermarket accessories should you wish to add items at a later date.  Fiberglass walls cannot be altered.
  • Wood frame, metal sided trailers allow for flex.  Fiberglass units can stress and can crack at weak or poorly designed locations.
  • Metal allows for DIY fixes of any damage done to the metal itself.  Damage done to a fiberglass exterior will cause you to take a trip to a fiberglass repair shop and a lot of out-of-pocket money.
  • Metal sided – wood framing side walls allow for decreased interior wall sweating.

Some great tried and true metal sided trailers that come to mind at the Keystone Springdale,  Keystone Summerland and the Palomino Puma.  Save your family and yourself some hard-earned money and enjoy camping in a great trailer.