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Old 01-14-2014, 03:03 PM   #1
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Newby Asks: Fiberglass or Aluminum Skin?

I have been doing some reading regarding fiberglass external skin versus aluminum external skin. This almost seems like a question comparable to engine oil brand, political party, or religious faith: everyone has an opinion, and only their way can possibly be correct.

For the benefit of this newby, what are the pros and cons of the two siding approaches?

Thanks much!

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Old 01-14-2014, 03:15 PM   #2
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Here is a recent thread on the siding topic:



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Old 01-14-2014, 03:44 PM   #3
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Aesthetic -- Which do you prefer
Weight -- Fiberglass typically is higher weight
Repair -- Fiberglass could require replacement of entire sidewall sections, Alum can have only damage sections replaced
Dents/Dings -- Alum is much more vulnerable to dent and dings, a real consideration if you live in a area prone to hail. However in the case of hail insurance will often pick up the cost of repair less deductible.
Cleaning/Waxing -- Several folks claim claim waxing and cleaning fiberglass is easier. I have only had Alum and I have never had an issue cleaning/waxing. I hand waxed my TT once every spring and fall with several hand washed in between. Takes several hours to wax, but I doubt it would be much quicker with fiberglass simply due to the amount of area to be cleaned

BIG ONE -- Delamination, Fiberglass can delaminate if water finds its way though a seam, Alum doesn't. Obviously the leak is the bigger issue, but if it occurs and you fix the leak, fiberglass delamination can only be repalced, not repaired.

However you are right, its very much like what oil is better or which poliitical party is better. Everyone has thier oppinion and neither is wrong.

If the trailer I wanted only came in one or the other, I wouldn't let siding material drive that decision. However, in instances like the current JayFlight where alum is standard and fiberglass in an option, its up to you. Personally we are shopping for a new TT. If we get a JayFlight, initially I thought I would go with fiberglass. Then I learned the JayFlight fiberglass isn't the same vacuum bonded construction used on the other lines. The vacuum bonded construction method is generally believed to be more resistant to delamination. I don't know what process they are using on the current JayFlight fiberglass, but the doubt it enough for me to stick with Alum should we go the JayFlight route. Additionally on the JayFlights, either material is hung on the wood frame, fiberglass is traditionally used with welded alum frame, but not the case in this instance.
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Old 01-14-2014, 03:48 PM   #4
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For me I did not really care and owned both
They are both great surfaces and have equal advantages and disadvantages

Sides are smoother looking
resists denting/hail storms
better insulated
cost more--almost always used in higher end units
prone to delaminating or cracking
is harder to repair

lighter -- More trailer for less weight
breathes better/lower mold issues
paint hold up better
cost less
repairs are easier -- so they say
dents easy
usually on entry level units

IMO both look great, however, some people thing AL looks dated while Fiberglass looks better
Also, look at the rest of the RV. Raised cabinets, better floor finish, Upgraded appliances will be included in the AL units

Just my .02
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Old 01-15-2014, 09:29 AM   #5
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Aluminum doesn't delam and weighs less.
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:53 PM   #6
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We looked at the Jayco Jay Flights with Aluminum Siding right next to one with hung fiberglass siding and the aluminum looked a lot better in my opinion. The fiberglass siding was not gel coated and looked dull compared to the aluminum siding sitting right next to it. We are torn and cannot decide right now.
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:34 PM   #7
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I have owned both and they both have + and - factors. I was always worried about dings on the aluminum. I have never had any De-lamination problems on the last 2 glass side rigs.
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Old 01-28-2014, 06:04 AM   #8
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As to the debate, have you ever seen a Aluminum sided motorhome? I haven't ... maybe they did it in the past but not now. I'm pretty sure motorhome owners aren't too concerned about delam.
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Old 01-28-2014, 08:16 AM   #9
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I just went through the same dilemma and researched both options extensively. My choice was between the Jayco 28BHBE in glass or aluminum and the Whitehawk 28DSBH. I was disappointed that my salesperson did not know that the BHBE was available in glass or even knew how it was attached to the wood studs. I did a lot of research on my own to compare models, materials used and the weight of each TT. The Whitehawk is around #1000 lighter than the Jayflight aluminum and if you went with glass siding that will add another #300. Is glass better than aluminium? I don't know as this is my first TT which is why I had such a hard time deciding and spent so much time researching. I had a very specific floor plan that was available in both the Jayflight and Whitehawk. I compared both of these TT's and finally decided on the Whitehawk. The cost was slightly more than the Jayflight but weight on the particular unit I bought comes in at #5900 where as the Jayflight was just over a #1000 more.

This debate is no different than welded hulls vs rivited hulls in boat manufacturing. Everyone is going to have their preference for whatever reason.
Good luck,
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Old 01-28-2014, 08:32 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by s1njin View Post
As to the debate, have you ever seen a Aluminum sided motorhome? I haven't ... maybe they did it in the past but not now. I'm pretty sure motorhome owners aren't too concerned about delam.
I am no expert in motorhomes...however my neighbors on each side have Class A's. Neither of them have rubber roofs, they both have welded Aluminum roofs. I agree that you don't see a lot of delam on MH, however I wonder if its the roof material differences.

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