How do you order new aluminum siding?

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Senda

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Hi. I am completely overhauling my 1995 Dutchmen, 23 foot, Class C RV. It is the camper that is the photo of my profile picture. The siding that came on it is some sort of corrugated fiberglass reinforced plastic and it is very damaged. The interior walls are severely water damaged. So, in order to make the walls sound again I am gutting the entire camper and more or less rebuilding the whole thing. I am going to build the walls in as close to as similar a fashion as they were constructed with (stated from interior to exterior) luan interior, foam insulation board, luan, aluminum siding. I plan on ordering the aluminum siding from All Rite who has a facility in Conyers, GA. I am near Asheville, NC so I can go pick it up instead of having to pay freight and risk damage. Fortunately I have access to a friend's 24 foot enclosed auto trailer to go get it. That all being said...

The aluminum siding is sold in up to 48" widths, and as long as you want it. You can have it cut shorter than the 48 inches, too. It is $8/ sq foot, so this is where my question for how to go about ordering it comes in. I want to be as cost effect as possible, without having unnecessary seams. The longest section would obviously be the from the cabover all the way to the back and that would be about 20 feet. Is it best to get that piece only in the width that would cover the cabover (but that would extend all the way to the back)? It may be confusing to use the term "width" in this instance, because I am referring to the top to bottom measurement of the cabover, but the manufacturing process refers to that dimension as width, since you can get it in any "length". Sorry if I am stating the obvious. Or, would it be better to go with the 48" width and have to trim the section that goes over the cab, in an effort to run in down as low as possible on the main body?

Then, the door comes into consideration. Is it better to run the top longest piece in the width that comes to above the door? Then there are the windows to contend with. I keep going in circles as to how to do this. By not ordering material to cover the door (it doesn't need it, as it is filon or something), I would be saving 6 feet by 2 feet...12 sq feet...at $8/sq foot that is $96. So when I think of all the windows and stuff that won't need siding, I get confused as the best way to order it without wasting a bunch of money, but without having horizontal seems. Has anyone done this before that can advise me?

And one other question. Since I am rebuilding this from scratch, should I frame the walls and leave off the exterior layer of luan and just do luan interior and framing and insulation? And staple the aluminum siding to the framing? I see that is how a lot of trailers are done. But it makes more sense to me to have the exterior wood layer for some reason (other than that it is more weight and more money), so if I shouldn't have that or don't need it, please advise.

Thank yoU!

 

HueyPilotVN

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Maybe it would make sense for you to visit one of the RV manufacturers and watch how they install siding.

There are a lot of them in Indiana but there might be some closer to you also.

By the way you do need to install the siding in a horizonal direction and the seams interlock.

Welcome to the RV Forum.
 

Roy M

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I had to search for a local dealer that had leftovers in the lengths I needed, it wasn't easy. They only brought in what they needed for each job. Fortunately one rv dealer had some preformed panels but they were not cheap. However, that was my only option.
The other problem is finding a way to transport long panels without damaging them unless you have a long flat deck truck or trailer available.
 

Senda

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By the way you do need to install the siding in a horizonal direction and the seams interlock.

Thanks, yeah...I've watched several youtube videos of people installing the siding. I understand how it is done and how to cut it. The wording of "width" makes it a little confusing to explain, since you order it by the width (which ends up being the height, vertically on the coach), and length (which is the as long as you want it to be which covers the "width" of the coach). I need help with how to order the pieces lengths x widths as I work my way from top to bottom on each side, so to not pay for a lot of extra that I don't need.

The other problem is finding a way to transport long panels without damaging them unless you have a long flat deck truck or trailer available.

I'd love to go see how some are made, just to watch the whole process in person...but I have watched a lot of youtube so I have an understanding of how it is done and how to install it. And yeah, I have access to the trailer to pick them up myself. Ordering full lengths for me is not a problem, and I can pick them up without having to pay freight.

Thanks!

 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I'm not clear what help you are asking. Each RV wall layout is different, so you have to take detailed measurements of your specific RV and experiment (on paper) with how you might apply panels most effectively.  Frankly, I don't think you are going to get many (if any) really long panels - there is something that breaks up almost every run from front to back.

Can you use the panels you removed as a pattern?
 

Senda

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Can you use the panels you removed as a pattern?

I can't unfortunately. The original factory panels are a different material and were installed in larger/different dimmension sheets than the 48" widths that you order the aluminum siding in.

Each RV wall layout is different, so you have to take detailed measurements of your specific RV and experiment (on paper) with how you might apply panels most effectively.

Yes! This is the part I am asking for help with. Maybe it isn't possible to get this sort of help through a forum. This is not something that is a normal part of how I think, so I was hoping for some guidance.

I'm not clear what help you are asking.

It's ok. I don't know how else to ask this question. I figured someone who had been through this ordering process would know what I am talking about. Since you can order it in any width up to 48" (top to bottom dimension once installed) and any length. I figure there is a most economical way to go about it, while having the least amount of unnecessary vertical seams. Since I have to order each piece that I need for the entire coach, I would think there is some smarter than other way to go about it.
 

Old_Crow

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If it was me:
Looks like you could do one side with 3 runs.  Two runs 48" wide and the third whatever is left over.  Attach it to the sides and then cut out for the windows and other openings, just like they do a house.
For the top run of the side, I'd measure m/h length at the bottom of the over-cab section(longest dimension on the side).  Order one piece that length plus a couple or three inches to allow trimming.
For the remaining runs on the side I'd measure behind the front door to rear of coach, order one that length 48" wide and another that length and however wide it needs to be to finish the side.  I'd fudge a couple  of inches on the width of the bottom piece also to account for any lines that aren't exactly parallel or straight(figure a couple inches overlap top and bottom and end to end).

As far as the rear wall of the coach, same thing.  Measure the coach, add a couple of inches anywhere you might need to cut and Bob's your Uncle.

No way I'd try to order the pieces cut to the exact lengths.  Plenty of guys on here can tell you that their RV's came from the factory with siding cut short in places.  I wouldn't want my job to duplicate that, even at the expense of a few extra inches of material.
 

Senda

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Apr 6, 2018
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Old_Crow said:
If it was me:
Looks like you could do one side with 3 runs.  Two runs 48" wide and the third whatever is left over.  Attach it to the sides and then cut out for the windows and other openings, just like they do a house.
For the top run of the side, I'd measure m/h length at the bottom of the over-cab section(longest dimension on the side).  Order one piece that length plus a couple or three inches to allow trimming.
For the remaining runs on the side I'd measure behind the front door to rear of coach, order one that length 48" wide and another that length and however wide it needs to be to finish the side.  I'd fudge a couple  of inches on the width of the bottom piece also to account for any lines that aren't exactly parallel or straight(figure a couple inches overlap top and bottom and end to end).

As far as the rear wall of the coach, same thing.  Measure the coach, add a couple of inches anywhere you might need to cut and Bob's your Uncle.

No way I'd try to order the pieces cut to the exact lengths.  Plenty of guys on here can tell you that their RV's came from the factory with siding cut short in places.  I wouldn't want my job to duplicate that, even at the expense of a few extra inches of material.

Thank you for your response and insight, Old_Crow! So you think it is better to go with the full 48 inch "heights" instead of having them cut down shorter? It doesn't cost any more to have the pieces be shorter. I'm sure there are some pros and cons to either way. One thought is that if I do the 48" heights and mess up a cut or the sheet gets a kink in it...it is a lot more waste/cost than if it were a smaller piece. On youtube I've seen it done mostly with shorter heights ("widths").

Your explanations were superb...thank you!
 

hedhunter9

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Feb 13, 2015
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Northern Indiana
At $8 a square foot, you are paying WAAAAYYYYYYY too much... Wow..
of course, we are only 3 miles from Elkhart Indiana, so I guess I am used to getting
stuff a lot cheaper, but I have bought sheets of 4 x 6 x .040 thick aluminum for as low as
$15 bucks ea.

Bob
 

Old_Crow

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Senda said:
Thank you for your response and insight, Old_Crow! So you think it is better to go with the full 48 inch "heights" instead of having them cut down shorter? It doesn't cost any more to have the pieces be shorter. I'm sure there are some pros and cons to either way. One thought is that if I do the 48" heights and mess up a cut or the sheet gets a kink in it...it is a lot more waste/cost than if it were a smaller piece. On youtube I've seen it done mostly with shorter heights ("widths").

Your explanations were superb...thank you!

I looked at the pic again(kinda small, but I get the idea).  I think I'd do the top run so it extended below the overhang a few inches, and size the middle piece so that the lower seam would be above any openings.

How had you planned on doing the locking seam on the panels?  It's sort of an "S" shaped, double folded channel on the upper piece that the lower piece slips into, locking both pieces together and making a waterproof seam.
Here's a good video that actually shows the seam.  In fact, you might contact the guy in the video, he can do specific patterns on the sheets as well as the lock seams. 
I don't know him, but I did  use to live in Hemet.  Surprised me when the sign came up at the beginning of the video.
 

Senda

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Apr 6, 2018
Posts
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How had you planned on doing the locking seam on the panels?  It's sort of an "S" shaped, double folded channel on the upper piece that the lower piece slips into, locking both pieces together and making a waterproof seam.
Here's a good video that actually shows the seam.  In fact, you might contact the guy in the video, he can do specific patterns on the sheets as well as the lock seams. 
I don't know him, but I did  use to live in Hemet.  Surprised me when the sign came up at the beginning of the video.

I am planning on the S-lock seams. The don't bulge like the Pittsburg edge. I don't see the link you are referring to, but I am aware of Hemet Valley. A lot of people order from them. I wish I could as they seem like very helpful, friendly and honest people. But they are in CA and I am in NC and the crating and freight costs are really high. I am only two hours from All-Rite in Conyers, GA so I am going to have mine made there and I will go pick it up in an enclosed auto trailer. They have been very unfriendly and unhelpful on the phone (which is why I came to this forum to ask for help). They would give zero assistance when I ask for suggestions in how to order my pieces, and were even rude when I asked to explain the shrinkage amounts a second time, since I didn't hear clearly the first time. If I had another local option I would gladly go elsewhere! Anyway, thank you for your help!
 

72cougarxr7

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Watertown NY
The large width vs short width is a double edge sword.
On one hand, the wider stuff will go up fast and have less seams, so less potential leaks. It will be large and bulky to handle and put up though.
On the other hand, the narrower widths will be easier to handle and put up, but will go slower and have more seams.

 

tc tom

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I used .024 aluminum coil. A lot less expensive, easy to move and unroll. I over lapped the joint 3'' and bedded it with polymer caulk. Rivets were use like an Airstream to secure the lapped steams. Check out Air streams assembly video. The only thing they do different is to also seal the joints on the inside. I did not do that because I thought my 3'' bedded over lap would be water tight. After roof, outside skin, doors and windows were installed and before starting the inside I water tested the trailer with 2800 psi pressure washer. No leaks. I found it quicker and easier to just cover all the openings and then go back and just rout them out.
Hope this helps, just food for thought.

Good luck and have fun with your rebuild. Tom
 

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Senda

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Apr 6, 2018
Posts
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The large width vs short width is a double edge sword.
On one hand, the wider stuff will go up fast and have less seams, so less potential leaks. It will be large and bulky to handle and put up though.
On the other hand, the narrower widths will be easier to handle and put up, but will go slower and have more seams.

Hey Tom, Thank you for the photos and insight! After some more research I have decided to use filon siding. When I was first given a quote for it, it was $100/linear foot, so I thought aluminum was going to be the most affordable option. But now I have found excellent pricing on filon through rec pro on line. I will be able to do the two sides for less than the cost of one side of aluminum. I will still have to deal with the unwieldy aspects of the big piece, but with a few helpers, I think it will be ok. It was difficult to find filon installation information online, since it is best done with the vacuum seal at the factory, but I finally found a very well documented blog from guy who built a teardrop. Much small rig, but at least I now know how to put it on.

Anyway, thank you for your info and your good luck wishes. I need it! (especially with the winds of Hurricane Florence approaching now that I have the windows out and one of the sides half off, and a tarp over the rig!)
 

tc tom

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Senda, glad you have your siding figured out. Some times just figuring this stuff out is the hardest part. Keep us up dated!

Tom
 

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