RV-Residing-How-to-Replace-RV-Siding-Aluminum-Fiberglass

RV Residing: How to Replace RV Siding (Aluminum/Fiberglass)

RV siding can take a beating. When you are out on the road, you may not realize the beating RV siding actually takes. It is hit by stones, rocks and other flying objects constantly. Replacing your siding may be something you need to think about after you get back home.

How to replace RV siding: Replacing your RV’s siding is a long process as there is so much that has to be done. First, you have to remove the frames, then the lights, and when that is done you get to tackle the staples. That is just to take the old siding off.

To get a complete step by step guide on how to remove aluminum or fiberglass siding, just continue to read our article. It provides you with the instructions you need to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

How to Remove RV Siding

The good thing about replacing aluminum RV siding is that you do not have to replace every panel. The aluminum is placed on your RV in sections. This enables you to only replace those panels that are actually damaged.

With fiberglass, you are not so lucky. Here are some basic steps to take to replace your RV’s siding:

  • Remove all the frames covering the section you are about to replace
  • Then use a flathead screwdriver and remove any lights on those sections
  • Continue to use the flathead screwdriver and start removing any staples on or surrounding those sections
  • ​Continue to use the flathead screwdriver and start removing any staples on or surrounding those sections
  • Using a marker, identify the holes where the lights used to be
  • Lay the old sheets on top of the new ones and mark where the holes for the lights are supposed to go
  • ​Next, cut out those holes with a hole saw, Also make any fine tuning adjustments to the new sheets with tin snips
  • Now put the new sheets up on the wall of your RV and staple them in place
  • Replace the frames and the lights and seal any loose fittings

How to Measure RV Siding

When you go to measure your RV to find the right amount of siding you will need, you need to be wary of one thing. If your RV has extended metal frames covering your siding, you have to take their width into account.

What you do is measure your siding from frame to frame. Then add 2 3/4 inches for each frame and S-lock that covers your siding section. Now if there is no metal frame covering your siding, then you would have to measure your siding from S-lock to S-lock. Once you have that measurement add 2 1/4 inches to it for each S-lock you have to deal with. That is all you have to do when measuring your RVs siding.

RV Siding Replacement Cost

Siding costs are going to vary from dealer to dealer and if you go directly to a supplier over a parts dealer. What will happen here is that we will give you examples of the cost for fiberglass arctic white & filon siding and aluminum diamond style to give you an idea of what to expect when you want to replace the siding yourself.

Fiberglass

​Is priced at $15 per foot The actually measurement will be 102 inches by 12 inches for that price.

Aluminum

​The price will depend on the thickness of the aluminum. The .056 thick panel is $84.95 for a 4 by 8 foot section. The .045 thick piece is $73.50 for the same size.

Your costs may go higher is you need to replace any part of your frame before attaching the new siding to your RV.

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RV Fiberglass Siding Installation

Experienced RV users are turning to fiberglass to replace different siding materials. The reasons for this is that it is lighter, looks better and does not dent. If you want to follow their lead, here are some guidelines to help you make the switch:

  • Strip the old siding off and go down to the 2 by 4 or 2 by 2 studs. You may have to replace damaged studs at this point.
  • Next, use 60 or 80 grit sandpaper to remove old glue from those studs. If the studs are made from metal you will want to rough them up a bit to get a better hold
  • ​Then wipe any and all metal studs with an alcohol solvent. After that, wipe them down with a glue prep solution. When you have finished that use the correct adhesive and place it on the studs
  • ​Now, lift the fiberglass sheets into place and have someone help hold it. Start inserting your screws at the center top, then working your way outward and do the top first. Self-tapping screws are not recommended here as you need to pre-drill the holes to prevent cracking
  • After that, place braces every 2 feet going from the top to the bottom. This applies the pressure needed for the panels to adhere to the glue. Let this sit overnight
  • The next day use a router to shape the fiberglass around the windows etc., and then finish putting the screws in their proper place, making sure to pre-drill the holes first.

RV Fiberglass Siding Glue

When it comes to installing your fiberglass siding you have to be very careful about what glues you use. While there are a lot of good glues or adhesives on the market today, not all are made to work with fiberglass.

If you are going to do the repair yourself, you have to make sure that the adhesive you use does not contain any solvents or petroleum products inside. The reason for this is that those ingredients will destroy the foam insulation underneath the fiberglass.

Also, when you glue fiberglass, you have to make sure the surface you are going it to is extremely dry.

RV Aluminum Siding Installation

Replacing siding is not terribly difficult. It just can be a large task that takes time and has a lot of fine details to watch out for as you work. Here are a few steps to guide your work:

  • Measure first- Go top to bottom and side to side. Make sure you take into account any metal framing and S-locks, etc.
  • Go to the dealer- take your measurements to your siding dealer and purchase the amount of aluminum you need. If the panels are a little large, that is okay. You can trim them later.
  • Next, cut the panels to size leaving room for overlap. Then wash down the frame with rubbing alcohol.
  • ​After that place industrial grade double sided tape to the each post and brace of the frame. Make sure to press firmly so that the tape sticks without air holes or bubbles.
  • Now put the aluminum panels in place making sure to do it right the first time as it may be impossible to remove the panels after sticking to the tape.
  • Overlap each section by 1 inch, trim the excess and seal the joints , corners and seams with silicone.
  • Instead of tape you can use a pop rivet gun or good screws to attach the aluminum panels.

How is RV Siding Attached

There are several ways to attach RV siding to your RV. If you want a seamless look, then you can go to a strong glue or heavy duty double sided tape. In both cases you would need to make sure the frame’s surface is dry and very clean.

Another way is to use screws. When you turn to screws to attach fiberglass, you cannot use self-tapping ones. You need to pre-drill the holes to prevent the fiberglass from cracking. Self-tapping screws may be faster and easier to use but they may also damage your new fiberglass panels.

Another way to get a clean look on your RV is to use staples. These can be attached using a standard staple gun.

What Size Staples for RV Siding

The size of staples you want to use to staple your RV siding will be determined a lot by how you want your RV to look. Some RVs have been found to have staples measuring 3/8” wide by 7/8” long.

You can also use 5/8 to 1 1/2” long staples if you want or you can go with 1/4 by 1” size staples. You do not want to go too thin because then you will be losing your holding power.

Plus, you will want staples that go deep enough into the frame so that they do not work themselves out because of the vibration of the road.

RV Siding Screws

Because of the issues mentioned immediately above, some experienced RV users have replaced staples or avoid them in favor of good siding screws. These screws can be found at just about any RV parts store around the nation.

The good aspect about using screws is that they do not pull out. And Unlike staples, they can be returned to the same holes and still give you a tight hold. But with many screws you may have to pre-drill and countersink the heads to get a nice clean look on your RV.

Just make sure to get the screws in the right length so they provide you with a good hold on your siding.

How to Seal RV Siding

One of the most important tasks in replacing your RV siding, whether you use fiberglass or aluminum, is to get the right seal. Water causes a lot of damage and can give you a very big repair bill, if you do not seal the siding very well.

Even if you are not replacing your siding, you should check the seal once or twice a year just in case one of your road trips cracked or broken it. When you go to seal your RV siding repair, you will see that there are two different types of sealant.

One is for roofs and the other is for siding. The one you want is the latter and you want to make sure it is the non-leveling variety. Once you have chosen your sealant, you will need a good caulking gun.

You can use your fingers to smooth our the sealant but a plastic scraper may save you from a cut or two. Now make sure to wash your RV first and let it dry. You want a clean surface to help the sealant bond with your RV.

When all that is done, apply a thin bead of sealant to your seams, lights and soon. Smooth out as you go and let dry. If you are not repairing but replacing old caulk, then you would have to remove all of the old sealant first before applying any new caulk.

Replacing Aluminum RV Siding with Fiberglass

You can do this without harming your RV’s frame, all you need to do is follow the instructions above. The only thing you would have to be careful about is that fiberglass siding needs a luan plywood backing to work.

Fiberglass siding is very thin and would not hold up well to the stress of the road without that backing material. Adding the plywood will add a lot of weight to your RV. You should take this into consideration when thinking about making a change.

What you lose in gas mileage you may make up in the lack of repair costs. Fiberglass is more durable than aluminum and it does not dent.

Some Final Comments

As you can see, residing your RV is not that difficult. It is time consuming and you need to be extra careful as you work. That is because of the little details like shaping and fitting lights etc. Also, it is because of the materials that are being used.

Whether you use tape or glue, you need to make sure you are not distracted when placing the siding panels on top of them. One mistake can be another costly fix. Also, when working with fiberglass, you need to be careful not to crack the material.

Make sure when you go to replacing your RV’s siding, you have lots of help. The panels are heavy and the extra hands will help you get them placed just right.

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