RV Vinyl Skirting Update – Pipe Clamp System

Once again, we’re revisiting the skirting.

EZ-Snap-Clamp-System

You’ll remember we were having some issues, but today’s post is a very positive one.

I’ll admit, after I got the email back from EZ Snap Direct I was skeptical.  The recommendations they made didn’t seem like they’d make THAT big of a difference.

Still, we decided to do everything they suggested since we needed to figure it out and didn’t want to waste any more money.

Our Fixes

Additional Snaps.  Mark attached the additional snaps we ordered to make sure they were spaced closer.  We allowed them to cure for a few days (much longer than recommended by the manufacturer).

5th Wheel Enclosure.  We removed this area of the skirting and ran some more vinyl to keep the main living area skirted. It’s been relatively warm up in that room, even on days when it was near zero.

PVC Pipe Clamp System.  When we ordered our additional snaps, we also purchased PVC pipe clamps.  Mark bought the PVC pipes from Menards and cut them in lengths to follow the skirting.  The skirting is attached to the PVC pipes by wrapping the bottom side of the vinyl around the pipe and using the clamps we purchased from EZ Snap Direct to clamp the vinyl to the pipe.

You do have an option of using corner connectors to keep the skirting even more neat and tidy, but we have not done that as of this posting.

Our workout weights and sand bags are laying just behind the PVC pipes on the inside. This setup is to cut down on any excessive flapping and to keep the skirting from moving too much.

How Has it Worked?

Since the changes were implimented, we’ve had some days that were pretty windy.

The skirting not only stayed up, but was also much quieter in the camper.  And YES, there wasn’t any flapping.  It is a whole new world I’m telling you!

Are we happy with the update?  You bet we are!  It’s so much better and fuss-free since using the PVC and pipe clamps, which I think was the most significant thing that we did.

Next, we’ll let you know how you can save money on skirting and what we’d have done from the start if we could have a do over.

 

Vinyl RV Skirting Issues at Our Windy Location

There are developments in the vinyl skirting that we put up.  Not good either.

Our order just came in for replacement snaps and pipe clams.  Sounds like bad news and it sorta is.

We’ve had some wind since we’ve had the skirting up.  Some of our snaps have broken or popped off and caused the skirting to fall.  Our 5th wheel enclosure seems intent on coming down.

Ah….the joys of figuring this all out.

The 5th Wheel Enclosure

We were pretty adamant about having the 5th wheel portion skirted.

We could make it work still, I’m sure.  But of the 20-some RVs that are parked here for the winter, only a few are fully skirted.  So we’re going to admit defeat as far as that portion goes.

We could have saved $200 by NOT ordering the enclosure and we’re regretting that money spent.  We’re keeping the enclosure vinyl and may put it up again depending on how cold it gets in our room and what our heating costs are this next month.

The Problems

From what we can figure, this is what we’ve come up with…

  • The 5th wheel end takes the brunt of the wind force.
  • Snaps were placed at 10 inches but needed to be spaced even closer because of the wind.
  • Our skirting was weighted down with sandbags but that may have been too tightly wedged, causing extra pull on the snaps.
  • Because of the tightness, there is even more pressure on the skirting when the wind gets to blowing.  So much pressure, in fact, that the skirting ended up looking like this.

  • It is highly possible we rushed putting the skirting up.  Um, actually we did for sure and ignored the recommended wait time.  After attaching the 3M base, it’s important to wait on putting the vinyl up, which ensures the maximum bond strength of the 3m snap base.
  • We needed to distribute the pressure evenly on the snaps, which would have been possible with a pipe clamp system rather than sandbags.

Lots of lessons learned on this one!

I contacted EZ Snap Direct to see their thoughts on where we went wrong or if there was some sort of faulty materials involved.  They were very helpful and quick to respond to our questions and suggested some of the fixes below

Our Fixes

  • More snaps, quite a few more.  Since we are in a high-wind area the snaps need to be closer than 10 inches.  From EZ Snap,

For extra windy locations, we recommend placing the studs more like every 8″ to 6″ apart. If you use this spacing you will need to order extra fastener sets with your order.

  • The snaps need to be allowed to cure.  We are leaving them on for a week, even though that length of time isn’t necessary.  Call us paranoid but we want to make sure they are really stuck on this time.
  • We put the new snaps on when we had a warm day and it was near 60 degrees. We’re hoping it’s close enough to the recommended temperature to be effective.
  • We are going to move the sandbags back and use them to stop the skirting from moving too much.  This will allow some movement though, rather than wedging them allowing pressure to build up.
  • PVC pipe clamps were ordered with the extra snaps.  We’ll use them to clamp the skirting down to PVC pipes and more evenly distribute the weight and pressure.  The sandbags will stop any flapping.
  • Our contact at EZ Snap Direct recommended we superglue any snaps that separated (leaving the adhesive back on the camper)

Conclusion

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.

As far as the vinyl skirting is concerned, here are our conclusions.

Pipe Clamp System.  We should have read about and used the pipe clamp system especially given our windy location.

Snap Spacing.  If we had paid attention to the windy area tips, it would not have cost us so much in the long run in added shipping.

Snap Curing Time.  We rushed it.  Plain and simple, we didn’t wait the recommended time.

5th Wheel Enclosure.  As it looks right now, it’s not necessary and is really an added cost.  We have our electric and propane costs for November.  Of course, weather changes and fluctuates but we’ll see how our bill changes for the month of December without the 5th wheel enclosed.

EZ Snap was great to work with and their product does seem to be high quality.  I just wonder if this type of skirting is not the best for windy locations.

We’ll update on how our modifications work after the next blustery day.

DIY Vinyl Skirting for Winter RVing

We’ve already covered the skirting options and supplies needed to do vinyl skirting for the RV.

Today is our simple step by step.

The Plan

When we planned out our skirting, we decided it would be best to piece the vinyl since it is sold by the yard at 61″ width.  Measuring the height around our camper, the most we’d need for width would be 48.”  The most.

At that width, there is still enough vinyl to tuck under and ensure there are no gaps between the ground and the skirting.

We decided to join our pieces of vinyl with vinyl cement.  Only, we didn’t order enough of the cement and ended up running out towards the end of the piecing.

Attaching the Snaps

The first thing we did was measure and mark where all the snaps would be placed on the RV.  The snaps are suppose to be placed no less than 10 inches from each other and on smooth (non-textured) surfaces, if possible.

After measuring and marking, we had to prep the surface since we ordered the 3M Snaps, (to make sure there was no residue and we’d get proper adhesion).  To prep, we just wiped the spots where the snaps would be placed with alcohol wipes.

Next we peeled the sticky back paper and placed the base piece of the snaps.

After the sticky back base of the snap, there is a pointy cap that needs to be pressed onto the base, have fun.  Your fingers will feel like they are being ripped raw.

Attaching the 5th Wheel Enclosure

I have to say, this part was tricky for us.  Our 5th wheel end is curved and the wind was blowing like 300 mph that day!  But still, we got it attached with the help of L. She stood inside the enclosure to help stop the vinyl from being blown under the camper.  She was a trooper.

So we plugged away at it and started unrolling the vinyl all the while pressing the vinyl through the pointy caps.  Once the vinyl was all pressed on, we placed the top cap on to clip the cap in place.  *I don’t think you are suppose to, but I took a hammer and slightly tapped the top cap on since my fingers were so sore from the pointy caps)*

Attaching & Gluing the Remaining Vinyl

Next, we cut 4 foot lengths of the 61″ vinyl, so we ended up with 4′ by 5′ pieces.

We brushed the vinyl glue onto the seams, which were overlapped by 1″.  Those puppies dried in like .001 seconds so we were ables to move quickly.

We got about 25 feet of vinyl cut and glued and then worked on getting that section up.

For the stairs, we folded them up and cut slits to workaround the metal that comes down.

Make sure your height allows for the ups and downs that go with working around access doors and the height of the slides. Once the snap caps are on, it’s perminent so you can make adjustments if you need to, just be sure you do so before the cap.

We continued to cut and attach sections until we go to the back.  There we decided to velcro the piece instead of using vinyl cement.  This was done so we could avoid having one humongous piece of vinyl to store and mess with trying to reattach next winter.

Problems

This is where I discovered my mistake in ordering.  We meant to get sticky back velcro, but I got non-sticky back (is that even a word?).  We tried using the vinyl cement to attach the velcro but it didn’t work so we went to the sewing machine to attach it.

We continued to cut and cement strips of vinyl, until the cement ran out.

Problem # 2.

We had to postpone finishing the skirting for a couple of days while we tried to find more vinyl cement locally.  We tried Menards but no luck. Hobby Lobby had something similar but they it was really expensive, (especially for the amount that we were going to need).

Since we had to sew the velcro on with the sewing machine anyway, I convinced Mark that we should just sew the remaining 4 pieces of vinyl.

Sewing Vinyl

Sewing vinyl is slippery and the feed dogs (for you sewers) doesn’t properly grab the vinyl.  Basically we ended up pulling the vinyl through.  It’s a two man job, so Mark held the heavy vinyl up while I sewed.  I cannot say that the job was pretty but it was effective.  We sewed the vinyl so the seam would be hidden (sewing right sides together and the ugly seam to the inside of  the camper when attached to the snaps.

Lastly, we trimmed the vinyl that was overhanging.

How it has Handled the Wind

Once we got the skirting all up, we got another blustery day and the skirting was flapping in the wind.  It is unbelievably windy here at times and some the skirting actually popped off.

Mark got some sandbags and tucked the vinyl under them.  Before we had used 2X4s and some of our stowed gym weights.  But that proved to be so ineffective against this wind.

Over all, we’re ver happy with the skirting.

We can see all the mistakes that were made. Some snaps are placed in an uneven pattern but like I said, once you place the 3M part of the snap on, there is NO turning back.  I may or may not have placed some in the wrong spot.

The skirting is still not completely tidy, and I think that is something we’ll have to accept these winter months.

So Has it Helped?

Most definitely.  The bench dinette area (which is over a slide) is much warmer and the overall floor doesn’t feel near as chilly.  Before it was mighty cold in that area.

There you have it, our take on Vinyl Skirting the RV.  I’d estimate overall, it took us about 6 hours to do the skirting.

**UPDATE**  We have had some added issues with our skirting which we address, here.