The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Types of skirting for a trailer

Trailer skirting choicesWith cold weather setting in with a vengeance and an influx of cash from selling the Kubota, we decided it was finally time to make a decision on what kind of skirting to use. There are three main options, ranging in price from moderately expensive to really expensive --- vinyl, metal, and Reil rock (the last being plastic panels that are made to look like stone).

Vinyl, while cheap, comes with serious downsides. Foremost is fragility --- even a good whack with a weedeater will cut through this thin barrier in no time. Since I tend to be rough on my surroundings, I regretfully decided to give vinyl a pass despite the lowest price tag of the bunch --- about $600 for a kit to enclose a 14x70 singlewide.

Metal is much more resilient for only a few extra dollars, with the downside that you have to build a frame out of lumber rather than relying on a kit's built-in rails. Reil rock is quite a bit more pricey --- $1,300 for 14x70 singlewide, with lumber and any insulation added on top.

What did we choose? We opted to think outside the box and make our own metal skirting out of painted roofing metal, 1-inch rigid insulation panels, and treated lumber. Cost of the basic supplies came to about $1,300 delivered before Mark's veteran's discount. I suspect the project will be closer to $1,500 once we add on four vents, screws, plus sufficient hardware to create a pair of access doors. But hopefully the finished product will protect our pipes!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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The quality is remembered, long after the price is forgotten. And if you get to save your pipes from bursting every year, then $1,500 is a cheap price tag. It's hard to save a big chunk of money, but it saves you money too, from having to replace pipes every year. So very worth doing properly. It sounds like you're doing just that. The extra insulation adds another layer of protection.
Comment by Chris in Oz Thu Dec 28 18:39:18 2017
Based on context, it sounds like the skirting has insulting value. So why the vents? Moisture? Does that negate the insulating effect?
Comment by Jennifer Thu Dec 28 21:14:30 2017

I lived in a trailer growing up. We had the metal skirting, still have the scar on my foot from running a corner of it into my arch. But anyway I don't remember our pipes ever freezing in the winter. So despite the price you've probably gone with the best option and over the years it will more than likely save you in the long run. JenW~

Comment by bleueaugust Sat Dec 30 03:10:45 2017
Keep in mind that the ground will freeze and lift the bottom skirt support, expansion area is required.
Comment by Zimmy Sat Dec 30 21:10:40 2017
Consider installing some 6mil black plastic underneath before totally enclosing the underbelly. It will help keep humidity levels down inside and makes maintenance tasks more tolerable. Just did mine (with skirting already installed, what a pain) and really appreciate not rolling in muck while installing some heat tape on exposed water lines.
Comment by BillF Sun Dec 31 18:25:19 2017

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