Skirting the RV – Our Options

Skirting Options for Winter RVingThis post may just be the most boring thing I’ve ever written.  BUT, with the possibility that it might help someone as they decide how to skirt an RV, I’m posting it anyway. There are several options for skirting a camper, today I’m sharing our list.

South Dakota in the winter dictates that we need to skirt the RV.  So does Hart Ranch (where we are staying).  It really is a win win I suppose.  We get to have warm floors and save on our electricity/propane costs. So we 

Being a cheap thrifty gal, I don’t want to skirt the RV because of the cost and pain of figuring it all out.

Mark and I have measured the RV five times!  We’ve calculated.  We’ve asked tons of questions.  In the end, we’ve balked at making a decision.  BUT I think we just don’t want to bite the bullet on something that could be a flop and not work

Regardless, here are the options we’ve come up with:

  1. 2″ Foam Insulation Board
    • Pros – More insulation, inexpensive (I don’t know how much but it’s pretty cheap)
    • Cons – Not mobile, not durable unless reinforced with plywood
  2. Plywood
    • Pros – sturdy & durable, inexpensive (about $200)
    • Cons – not mobile
  3. EZ Snap Kit
    • Pros – mobile, professionally done
    • Cons – expensive (just under $1,000), not heavily insulated
  4. Hay Bales
    • Pros – cheap (probably less than $100), heavily insulated
    • Cons – mice, spiders, & fires OH MY!
  5. DIY Vinyl 
    • Pros – mobile, moderate costs ($700)
    • Cons – more labor from having to piece the vinyl, room for us to really jack this whole thing up.
  6. RV Skirting.com
    • Pros – custom made to fit and relatively hassle-free, mobile
    • Cons – more costly (over $2,000 for our rig)

There may be more options, but these seem to be the most common ones out there.

We’ve decided to do Option 5.  It’s a hybrid of #3. EZ Snap Kit, but by purchasing the components from 2 different vendors, we’ll save some money this way over buying it all from EZ Snap Direct.

UPDATE:  I WISH we would have gone with Option #1, the Foam Insulation Boards.  The vinyl was pretty costly – even as a DIY and it ended up causing more frustration that what it was worth.  

Since we have to spend money on skirting, we wanted an option that would be durable, mobile, and cost effective.

We didn’t want to go with RV Skirting.com because we’re doing this whole debt pay-off thing and that was the most expensive option (though the easiest we could find).  Plus we figure we’re mildly intelligent people.  We should be able to figure this out.  Right?

We’ve ordered our supplies and will post another update when we actually install the skirting.

Any RVing experts have an option we didn’t cover?

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Comments

  1. We are full-timing in Wisconsin at a campground this winter – do you have a link you can share for the DIY Vinyl kit? We are trying to figure out what to use for skirting.

    • You bet Brent!

      We’re going to post all the info, but in the meantime, I’ll give you the cheapest places we found for supplies. We are buying the 5th Wheel enclosure kit (and extra snaps) directly from EZ Snap, the vinyl, velcro, and vinyl cement came from SailRite.

      We are piecing our own vinyl skirting as our RV sits about 34 inches off the ground and we can’t cut the 61″ inch vinyl in half (there has to be a flap to fold 2X4’s on the bottom to hold them in place).

      Hope this helps you, we’re planning on putting a detailed post up within a week or 2.

    • We just recently had our first forray into freezing RV’ing while visiting the ‘rents for Christmas. The pipes froze the moment the temp outside dropped below 30 degrees. We thought we had taken precautions by putting r-21 insulation inside the wet/utility bay doors on either side and cut an opening in the furnace piping to pipe hot air in there; not just the ancillary heat from the loss in the pipe wall. Didn’t work. LOL. So we got online, read some posts, and discovered the secret is in the SKIRT. We got up first light and headed to Lowe’s and got reflective bubble insulation. Three 25′ rolls wrapped up our entire camper. It was 4’ high, taped at one door trim, and just simply wrapped around, taped at seems at the end of the roll, along the insulation, not the camper (not sure how the gorilla tape will affect our finish), and then we put a ceramic heater under the RV, being sure to have it close to the back half (where the plumbing is) and away from the fuel tank direct. Withing two hours the pipes were thawed. Granted, it got up to 34 today, but it’s down around 20 again tonight and things are working well. CHEAP ($200 for tape, insulation and heater, and low temp 15 amp drop cord). And it works. You can reuse the insulation and it looks like a shiny present! We cut around the slide out, vents and any other area that had exhaust, etc., and it’s working. We are doing alot of praying, but I think this is the best solution, especially if you’re not staying put for extended periods – IT’S PORTABLE, LIGHTWEIGHT AND EFFECTIVE! : ) Happy camping!

      • I would love to see pictures of this set-up if you have any! We’ve been researching how to skirt the RV and make it more winter-friendly! Thanks!

        • I’d love to share our setup with you, but we are no longer RVing. Sorry I can’t be anymore help but I hope you find a solution that works. Skirting an RV is no joke and really does make or break the winter months.

      • SUESadventure says:

        Sounds
        Great for amateurs not and not so scary as the big projects

  2. Can you give me a link to what vinyl you are using at SailRite? So many choices…

    • There ARE a ton of choices! We bought the Shelter Rite Vinyl. Mark found it recommended in some forum about RVing and skirting and it’s also the same vinyl that EZ Snap Direct uses for their skirting kits.

  3. Thank you! May be the most boring ever, BUT VERY VERY helpful!

    • So glad it was helpful Gerri! I need to do another update about the skirting, but I have to tell you that we took all our skirting down. We were pretty disappointed in the results of the vinyl. To do it again, I wish we would have just put up insulation board. I do think that vinyl skirting is an excellent choice if you are not in a high winds area. South Dakota has some serious winds and it was just too much for our skirting to handle. We had some more snaps bust off recently because of a storm. Best of luck to you!

  4. I’ve experienced one episode of temps that froze my tank drain hose (i had an arctic insulated camper). I used the styrofoam 2″to keep heat trapped under trailer (where drain hose was routed). I think overlapping a double 1″ would have been more effective and not much more labor.
    Styrofoam is certainly cheap enough for one use and easy to install.

    • Yes it is Randy! I think the styrofoam would be the best option. A few modifications would make it stable and effective with very little hassle.

  5. mICHAEL A.K.A. GYPSY says:

    I just bought a 36′ 5th wheel with 3 slides. I am interested in doing the foam option. Tips on how to fasten/stabilize and connect the sections would be a great help. Thanks so much for any input!!!

    • A friend of ours went with this option Michael. The basic structure would be to build a frame to hold the foam board, (simply screwed in and I’d use bigger washers). Then you’d want to put some rubber foam around the top portion so it wouldn’t squeak when it rubs against the camper. The reason for this as all campers move when you walk around in them (as I’m sure you know). Of course, make sure you leave access doors or cutouts so you can get to your drains and such. The 5th wheel part does not necessarily need to be enclosed since heat rises and the 5th wheel section is usually warmer. You can frame out sections and to make it easily storable. You may want to put a hardy plank or plywood over the foam to protect it. Good luck!!

      • Do you have any photos of the foam option your friends used? I’m getting ready to move into a 5th wheel long-term and want to be ready in the fall. I’m in Estes Park, CO and the winds can get VERY high, especially in the winter time. Do you think the foam will hold?

        • Forgot to ask, what do you think about wrapping water pipes with heat tape? Would it be better to do this, or cover them with those foam pipe wrap pieces?

          • So we did both. Wrapped with heat tape and covered with foam tubing. Thing to really watch out of is where the water connects to the RV…that was where all our freezing happened.

        • Sorry…I don’t have a picture of what they did and they are no longer RVing.

          • Hi Julie! Are you still at Hart Ranch?? We are doing our first winter at Hart Ranch and can’t figure out how to attach the top of the skirting to the camper without wrecking the camper.

          • We are not out there anymore Lynda (but we LOVED it). What kind of skirting are you attaching?

          • Wondering if some sort of fence material, chicken wire/rabbit fencing etc, could be wrapped around the Styrofoam to hold in place?

          • You sure could try it! I’d just be extra careful to not scratch up your camper. (camper movement and wind play a part in moving things around) 🙂

          • We will be using wood skirting! It’s that time to get it put on so we’ll be building it some time in the next couple weeks. Cross your fingers for us!! Are you still RVing and just relocated?

  6. Thanks for this post! We’re already prepping for winter up here in North Dakota and I appreciated this rundown on options!

  7. What do you use to hold up the plywood and foam or attach it to a Motorhome?

    • Hi Charmaine. It isn’t actually attached to the motorhome. It should be tight fit around the bottom of the RV, and there should be foam to protect the camper if there is any shifting. The plywood is heavy so it just sits on the ground.

  8. I looked at all options from various vendors, and decided to bite the bullet so to speak and spend the equivalent amount on fabric, brass and stainless snaps, turn buttons, and an industrial quality sewing machine.
    In the end; and for the same price point as the upper tier skirting kits, I’ll have one with overall better hardware and the ability to customize as I feel I need to to suit my rig.
    All products came from sailrite, I looked at and discarded the idea of ez snaps primarily to not wanting to rely on adhesives, and I don’t have a problem with fasteners to my sidewalls. One item I liked much better than the pipe clamps is a sewn pocket for pipe, and webbing to utilize spikes or stakes if I’m setup on a non paved site.
    Overall cost with shipping is $2000.00, but I will have a machine sturdy enough to make that add-a-room I’ve been eyeballing but didn’t want to pay the price for… 🙂

    • Hope you are pleased with you skirting Wayne. We pretty much agonized over the decision. Who wants to be cold and waste time and money!? Best wishes!

  9. We just bought vinyl to DIY our skirting at an Army Navy store in town for $40. There’s just over 100ft on the roll and they had all kinds of colors. We also found some online at any army navy website for about $250. Something to check out if anyone plans on doing it themselves.

  10. Sorry to hear about the problems with the snaps 🙁

  11. Howdy all.
    My wife and built skirting using 1.5 inch sturdy foam, cut to height, attached to fidth wheel using housing tape (Tyvek brand), with a ground-level frame made from 2×4’s. We placed a ceramic heater underneath at the north west side – where the heavy winter winds come from. A PVC sewer pipe was made, and we were fortunate to find a location where the entire sewer line was maintained within the skirting.
    The tape made the whole set up look a bit silly, bit did the trick. We didn’t suffer a single freeze, and stayed plenty warm – so did our cockatoo and parrot! In Cedar Rapids, IA, we experienced many nights as low as -25°F during the winter of ’14/’15.
    It took about two days of trial and error. We used expanding spray foam around many larger exterior openings like those near the leveling system, and caulking or more house tape around smaller ones.
    Prior to all this, we brought each slide in a few feet and applied additional weather stripping on the interior. Same was done with the door, to which we also cut to fit 1 inch foam to sit against the interior of the doors. We cut foam for the ceiling exhaust fans as well.
    Very importantly, we purchased a dehumidifier and 2 additional ceramic heaters – one for either end of the interior of the fifth wheel.
    We were going to bite the bullet and spend $2250 for the zet up from rvskirting.com. Yet when we were ready to place our order – during the “slow” season they state on their website – they simply didn’t reply to our multiple emails. They talked us through everything and then simply ignored us.
    So, we saved $1500 or so insulating a 40 foot, 5 slide fifth wheel ourselves. Again, it looks a little silly with the tape, but we did choose the blue Lowe’s foam over the hot pink Home Depot foam!
    So, about $750 total for foam, tape, wood, screws, washers, weather stripping(around 250 ft), 3 ceramic heaters, 1 extension cord, 1 heated water house(look them up, they’re expensive but worth it).
    We left the skirting up during this summer and it has helped immensely with AC cost. No damage was done to the paint or gel coat by the house tape, yet I keep an eye on it regularly.
    Hope this helps you all!

  12. I have been rv’ing for work since 2008 in extremely cold areas down to -40 in a 33′ tongue pull Jayco eagle that was built for temp down to 32 degrees. 2in pink foam board under the edges with 1’x2′ at the base (when you can secure them to the ground. Spray foam on the inside seams and corners bonds and seals well. I run one small heater by my holding tanks and sewer. I keep a thermometer under the trailer and it stays about 40 to 46 in -20. I spent the extra money on a great heated water hose that can just lay in the snow w/o any extra protection those are the basic I do. Hope it helps.

  13. We have just finished skirting our 5th wheel (41′ 8″ length)
    We purchased Ez snap 2 weeks and the snaps are coming off.
    This was very expensive and we are extremely disappointed. We spoke directly to the company spokesman. He talked us out of the screw on attachments. Said the stick on are secure. NOT!! We are very frustrated

    • So sorry to hear that Linda! We were also so frustrated with the skirting on our RV. Wish we would have gone with a cheaper option!

  14. I’m in Oklahoma this winter and I used 1/2″ foil backed Styrofoam board I purchased at Lowes. I built light weight frames out of 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ lumber. I drilled holes through the bottom boards where they meet the ground and used 8″ nails and drove them through the holes into the ground so the bottom is secure. I attached the Styrofoam to the lumber using 1″ wood screws with a 1 1/2″ fender washer. I screwed each frame together and ran tie wire under the trailer one side to the opposite side frames and pulled it tight. I also used weather stripping on the top side of the frames where it touches the camper so I would not damage the finish of the trailer. I used foil tape to seal all the joints. I have a 40′ fifth wheel with three slides and this cost around $200.00. I believe I can brake it down and haul with me to the next place. Hope this helps.

    • Thank you Glyn! Way more cost effective too!

      • I’m in north ga. mtns. Definitely not crazy cold like u guys, but routinely in 20s. I used black vinyl w/velcro all around. Tent stakes on bottom ropes instead of sand in hem (both available). Amazing how hot the black gets in sun. In fact, velcro glue sometimes unglues. Maybe hooks thru camper (like kitchen cup hooks) can be placed at ends of each vinyl panel and middle of long runs (add riveted holes) to take weight of vinyl off velcro glue. Anybody know if screws can go through body of rv and hold? Also, hose heater works great! Needs AC power, and don’t WIND AROUND water hose; just tape it running along one side of hose.

    • Deb Fuller says:

      Hi Glyn,
      Was wondering if you might have a picture of how this looks or how you put it together?Thanks

      • I have pictures but having problems uploading to this web site. As far as the looks go I installed it in a hurry but overall it came out great and saved my plumbing, I’m sure. It got very cold here and Ice storms and I never froze.
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Trackbacks

  1. […] There are lots of options for skirting an RV, which we discussed here. […]

  2. […] Skirting for Winter RVing Posted on November 6, 2012 by Julie We’ve already covered the skirting options and supplies needed to do vinyl skirting for the […]

  3. […] Oh, to do this again!  We didn’t do our homework as well as we had thought.  Most certainly, we made mistakes.  Overall, I think we would have been better off skirting our RV with Option #1. […]

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