DIY RV Skirting Ideas For Winter: A How-To Guide

DIY RV Skirting How To Guide 1

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Don’t leave for the winter if you don’t want to. Installing RV skirting is one of the most important ways to ensure you are warm and toasty. Here is everything you need to know about DIY RV skirting ideas for winter camping!

Many RVers migrate south for the winter months to stay warm. However, a massive population of RVers stays in place during the winter weather. These hearty folk have to take steps to ensure their RV can stay warm.

RVing in the winter season is possible and enjoyable. Winter camping has a lot to offer and many ways to keep your rig warm. Protecting your RV from the cold temperatures may seem overwhelming, but it is straightforward.

What is RV Skirting?

An RV skirt is a material placed around the bottom of a motorhome, fifth wheel, or trailer that acts as a barrier against extreme weather. Having an arctic package helps, but RV skirting can keep cold air and wind from getting under the camper, preventing water pipes and holding tanks from freezing.

Installing RV skirting creates an insulated space underneath your RV. A skirt will also trap warm air that escapes from the rig’s floor. This insulated space will help keep the inside of your RV warmer. This insulation helps reduce the cost of utilities to heat the RV.

How Does RV Skirting Work?

RV skirting is a barrier that prevents cold air from getting under your trailer or motorhome. In addition to keeping cold air out, it traps warm air in. Keeping warm air under your RV will ensure your tanks and any exposed pipes or water lines don’t freeze.

In addition to RV skirting, some people use a small electric heater underneath. A small heat source in the underbelly can add to the warmth under their rig. This additional heat source can reduce the cost of utilities needed to heat the RV. Additionally, adding a heat source can reduce cold floors in your RV during winter.

What Can I Use for RV Skirting?

There are many different RV skirting options. These options vary from manufactured skirting to DIY skirting. Every option provides a solution to unique RV skirting needs. Plenty of options allow you to choose the right RV skirting for your needs.

Airskirts

Airskirts

Airskirts are a unique option for RV skirting that are RV skirting made of inflatable tubes. They have kits in various sizes, fitting rigs of all sizes. These kits include tubes, an electric air pump, a storage bag, and a patch kit.

Airskirts are a very convenient skirting solution. Airskirts pricing starts at $1,899. They come in various sizes depending on your needs. Airskirts do not require drilling or adhesives and have an installation time of less than 30 minutes.

These skirts are very easy to install and break down. For this reason, Airskirts are an excellent option for frequent movers.

Airskirts come with a five-year warranty.

Airskirts.com

EZ Snap RV Skirts

EZ Snap RV Skirting

EZ Snap RV skirting is a high-quality skirting option for a more affordable price. These skirts come in various sizes that can meet your needs. The most common configuration is the 80-foot kit, which costs $925. Costs depend on the size of your rig.

EZ Snap RV skirting is Diamond Weave™ premium skirting vinyl. This durable material lasts approximately 6-8 years in harsh winter environments. EZ Snap Skirting has a -40-degree rating.

EZ Snap installation involves measuring and installing fasteners. The patented EZ “No-Drill” system features an extreme hold adhesive. EZ Snap provides tutorials and has several easy-to-follow videos online.

EZSnapdirect.com

Custom Skirting

Custom RV Skirting the skirting co

Custom RV Skirting is manufactured specifically for your rig. These skirts offer a precise fit and top-quality materials, usually heavy-duty vinyl. While they provide an excellent fit, the downside is the cost, ranging from $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the size of your rig and the number of slides.

A great custom skirt company is The Skirting Co. This particular company offers both standard and heavily insulated skirting materials. The Skirting Co. offers company installation as a purchase add-on if you are near Akron, Indiana. They provide a DIY Installation kit and video instructions if you are not.

Each kit from The Skirting Co includes heavy-duty vinyl skirting panels, a Keder track with 3M adhesive, cleaning and priming agents, track cutters, snaps, snap tools, Velcro, etc.

theskirtingco.com

RV Wind Skirt

RV windskirt

A budget-friendly option is offered by RV WindSkirt, with 9.5-foot skirts ranging from $100 to $120. Windskirts are a cost-effective option for RV skirting. These high-quality but lightweight skirts are easy to store and install, making them ideal for those on the move.

This skirting must be attached to a snapping system on the side of the RV. The WindSkirt panels have special pouches that hold water weight bags, sand, dirt, etc. These pouches ensure the WindSkirt panels are heavy enough to remain in place.

Many RVers use WindSkirts to cover and protect RV tires from the elements. The WindSkirt also allows RVers to conceal the area beneath their RV that they may use for storage.

rvwindskirt.com

DIY RV Skirting Options

There are several popular ways to build DIY RV skirting systems. The most popular building materials are as follows:

–         Vinyl

–         Foam Board

–         Wood

–         Straw Bales (Hay bales)

–         Snow

DIY RV Skirting Materials

If you prefer a DIY approach, several different materials are options for RV skirting:

Vinyl:

DIY vinyl RV skirting

Vinyl is a very popular DIY RV skirting material. RVers use billboard vinyl tarps to construct durable skirting. These can connect to your RV with grommets, adhesive hooks, adhesive, and snapping systems. Building your Vinyl RV Skirting is a budget-friendly option ideal for stationary RVs.

Some RVers use permanent skirting options, like vinyl siding. Vinyl siding doesn’t have as much insulation as the thicker billboard vinyl. Vinyl siding can be used to match colors with your RV.

DIY RV skirting vinyl siding

Foam Board:

DIY foam board rv skirting

Using Foam Board is an excellent option for DIY RV skirting. Foam board is lightweight, easy to work with, and inexpensive. Foam Board is fantastic at insulating, which makes it an excellent material for RV skirting.

The foam board can be attached with adhesive or secured with boards. While effective and cost-efficient, it’s best for stationary RVs.

Wood:

DIY RV skirting wood

Using wood is another option for DIY RV skirting. Plywood skirting requires a person who is handy enough to build it. Wood skirting is best for stationary RVs.

Wood skirting also risks getting saturated in wet and snowy weather. Water exposure contributes to rot and may result in a need to replace the skirting.

Straw Bale:

DIY RV Skirting Hay Bale

Using straw bale is an old-school way of skirting around an RV. Straw bale has excellent insulating properties and is an option for people in rural areas with access to hay. Hay is usually not recommended due to its tendency to attract pests looking for a warm place to burrow.

Using straw bale also increases the fire load around your RV. Because of these drawbacks, using straw bale may void your RV insurance. Always double-check with your RV insurance carrier before using straw bale.

Snow:

DIY RV Skirting Snow

Snow can be piled up around the base of the RV to provide natural skirting. This option requires lots of snow. This skirting solution is free and usually just requires time to scoop the snow.

The downside of using snow is melting. Cold weather regions are notorious for having a bitter cold and then a melt. These weather fluctuations in the colder months will result in a melting RV skirt. If your snow skirt melts and there isn’t another snow for a few weeks, you will be without an RV skirt.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to Skirt an RV?

The cost varies based on RV size, skirting material, and whether you install it yourself or hire a professional. DIY skirting costs $250 to $500 for a small RV, while professional kits range from $800 to over $3,000. Larger RVs can expect DIY costs of $500 to $1,000 and professional kits ranging from $1,500 to $3,000 or more.

How thick should RV Skirting be?

The thickness depends on the climate you’re in. For temperatures below freezing but above zero, 11 mil billboard tarp vinyl is sufficient. Thicker materials like insulated tarps or rigid foam boards may be necessary for more extreme cold.

Are RV skirts worth it?

RV skirts are a wise investment if you’re staying stationary in a cold climate over winter. They prevent freezing pipes, reduce propane use, and warm the interior. Consider your climate, your travel time, and whether your RV has an enclosed underbelly.

How difficult is it to do your RV skirting?

While not extremely easy, DIY RV skirting is manageable, especially with 2-3 people. Factors like the material used (vinyl, wood, foam board) influence the installation process. Measuring and building your DIY RV skirting may take 2-3 days.

DIY RV Skirting Step-by-step

What materials do you need for DIY RV skirting?

There are many different DIY skirting options. Selecting high-quality materials is a good idea. The type of material you choose can ensure you have the appropriate amount of extra insulation. The following material lists can be used to make your own DIY skirting kit:

Vinyl Skirting:

– Billboard vinyl tarp

– Alternative Option: Brass tarp grommets, grommet tool, clear adhesive hooks

– Velcro adhesive strips

– 3M HVAC tape

– Gorilla Tape that matches the color of the vinyl.

– Steel tent stakes or weights/sandbags

– Scissors

– Marker/Sharpie

– Tape measure

– Rubbing alcohol

– Garment bag (optional)

Wood Skirting:

– Plywood or particle board

– 2x4s

– Tape Measure

– Miter Saw

– Drill

– Marking pencils

– Screws

Rigid Foam Board Skirting:

– Insulated foam board 1-1.5″ thick

– Aluminum duct tape

– Tape measure

– Box Cutter

– Concrete blocks or bricks

How to Install DIY RV Skirting

Vinyl or Fabric Skirting:

  • Measure the length of the area you will be covering. Measure any slide-outs separately.
  • Ensure each section of vinyl has several inches of overlapping material.
  • Cut the material down to the appropriate size.

Hooks Option:

  • Prep the side of the RV with alcohol and then an adhesive primer.
  • Attach adhesive hooks on the side of the RV.
  • Start at one end of the RV and hold the vinyl up to see where your first hook will go.
  • Fold over the top of the vinyl for a cleaner look.
  • Locate where your hook will go and put a piece of gorilla tape over the front and back of the vinyl.
  • Use a grommet tool to punch a hole in the taped area of the tarp and install grommets.
  • Hang the tarp on the hooks as you go.

Tape Option:

  • Prep the side of the RV with alcohol and then an adhesive primer.
  • Start at one end of the RV and start attaching your vinyl to the RV using HVAC foil tape.
  • Leave overlap on the ends of each section of vinyl.
  • Once the vinyl is attached:
  • Secure the vinyl sections’ seams by creating openings with Velcro tape or a seal with HVAC foil tape.
  • Secure the bottom of the vinyl by installing grommets and using tent stakes OR folding under the bottom of the vinyl and securing it using bricks, sandbags, or weights.

Wood Skirting:

  • Measure the RV.
  • Dig out a small trench where the plywood will sit.
  • Remove the wheel well covers if at all possible.
  • Purchase plywood or particle board that is tall enough to fit behind the sides at the bottom of the RV.
  • Cut the plywood so it fits appropriately.
  • Butt the ends of the plywood together and screw a 2×4 or scrap piece of plywood to connect both pieces.
  • Install the plywood sections as you go.
  • Connect the corners of the RV skirting by making corner joints out of 2x4s.
  • Pack the earth back into the trenches around the plywood base and reattach the wheel well covers.

Foam Board RV Skirting:

  • Measure the RV.
  • Clean the RV with rubbing alcohol and adhesive primer.
  • Install the pieces and use a box cutter to shorten any pieces or to cut out any utility holes.
  • Attach each piece of the foam board and secure the base with bricks or concrete blocks to keep them secure.
  • Once all foam boards are in place, ensure they are tightly butting together.
  • Connect the foam boards by making seams out of Aluminum Foil Tape.
  • Secure the foam boards to the side of the RV using Aluminum Foil Tape.

Additional Cold Weather Considerations

Heating the Underbelly

Some RVers add a heating element to the underbelly of their RV. In addition to RV skirting, this supplemental warmth can help reduce propane costs and prevent frozen pipes and tanks. The following are a couple of ways to do this:

  • A small electric heater or oil radiator.
  • An agricultural use heat lamp
  • Run some duct work through the RV floor and tie it into your furnace’s existing ductwork.
  • Heating pads
  • Heat tape

Anything added to the underbelly of the RV can increase the electricity cost. It is wise to avoid heating the underbelly with any heaters that have exhaust or a flame.

WARNING: Heaters with an exhaust or a flame can introduce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide to the RV. In addition to carbon monoxide, these heaters can increase fire risk.

How to keep water hoses from freezing

Heating the underbelly only addresses water lines inside the perimeter of the RV. To protect your exterior water supply from freezing, you must also protect the exterior water hookups. There are different ways to do this, but the easiest ways are with heat tape or heated RV water hoses. Check out my comprehensive guide on heating your RV water hoses.

How do you know if your underbelly is warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing? The worst way to find out is by having the pipes freeze. An RV weather station is a great tool to have. You can install sensors in your underbelly to prevent costly damage before it happens. Check out my guide and reviews of RV weather stations.

This post may contain affiliate links. Check out our disclosure for more information.

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