In the winter months, you're most likely searching for ways to keep up with RV maintenance. Additionally, you might be searching for items that can help with maintaining the temperature inside the RV. In your search, you might have come across RV skirting. Does it help at all in the winter months? If that's what you'd like to know, we've researched the matter for you!
One of the more exposed spots in the RV is the underbelly. In that area, it holds the wastewater tanks and leaves the inner floors susceptible to temperature changes. Without any protection, there's a risk of the pipes and tanks freezing. So, RV skirting can help maintain suitable temperatures in the underbelly. It creates a barrier that leaves the bottom less exposed.
Now that you know the purpose of the RV skirting, you might also want to know if it's an absolute must to own one. Is it a complicated process to skirt an RV? What about summers? Does it help with the summer heat? These are some of the questions we'll cover if you keep reading ahead.
Is an RV Skirt Necessary?
The essential question you may be asking is if an RV skirt is necessary. To answer that, we'll have to go over what happens when you don't use one. In the winter seasons, it becomes harder to keep the inside temperature warm.
Additionally, you might have experienced frozen plumbing and tanks. You might have used a heat lamp or heat tape to keep the water moving freely throughout the pipes and tanks. Still, it might feel like there's still something lacking. It has less of a chance to freeze, but it still freezes in some cases.
If this sounds familiar to you, an RV skirt can limit cold air exposure while keeping the warm air inside. You can think of it as a barrier between the underbelly of the RV and the outside. After all, what's the point of trying to keep the plumbing running with a heat source if it still has direct exposure to the freezing temperatures?
You need additional help to keep the warm air around. Thus, that's the essential task of an RV skirt. It acts as an insulator and protector against cold breeze. Heat and air conditioning escape through the floorboards. If you want to save costs, trapping the air with an RV skirt will reduce the chances that you'll need to turn up the heat or air conditioning.
Is it necessary? If you're camping in your RV for the winter months, yes, it's a good supplement to a heating lamp and tape. Though, you might run into some trouble regarding when you can use one.
Another added benefit of using an RV skirt is more protection for your tires. As you might already know, tires degrade over time from UV light and exposure to the elements. Since tires are not supposed to sit still for long periods, protecting them from external damages would extend their lifespan.
In this sense, they can double as RV tire covers. If you're planning to stay around for a while, they're a great addition to the RV.
Can You Use RV Skirting Anywhere?
Depending on the campground, you might not get permission to install RV skirting. You will rarely need it for the summers. But, it will be more convenient for the winter months. There is a heavy emphasis on months.
That reason is that it wouldn't make sense to install RV skirting if you're only planning to stay in an area for a couple of days or a week at most. It takes a good amount of time. And, it's not space-friendly.
So, if you own a smaller RV, skirting is an option if you're planning to stay on a campground for a few months. Otherwise, it's a pain to travel with because of the space it takes.
Before you set off to a campground, make sure you look into the equipment they allow. Campgrounds that are open year-round and that have full-time are some of the exceptions. Otherwise, you might run into trouble. Some forum users have had this experience. As one user complained, the county had called for the removal of all skirting and decks.
How Do You Skirt an RV for the Winter?
Now that you know of the benefits it can bring, you might be curious as to how you install one. That would depend on what material you choose to go with. There are three options that you can choose from:
- Professional Skirting
- Inflatable Skirting
- DIY Skirting (Plywood/Foam Board/Hay Bale/Making your own vinyl skirt)
Custom vinyl skirting will typically be done by a professional. So, you won't have to do any of the work. As the name implies, the skirting will be a custom fit.
A professional will use velcro, boat snaps, turn buttons, adhesive snaps, or their own custom attachment system. Some options will require holes in your RV - which may not seem enticing in any way. The other options, like adhesive hooks, can vary in experience. At worst, you'll run the risk of damaging the paint of your RV.
Skirting an RV Using Pressure (Inflatable Skirting)
As the name implies, inflatable RV skirting doesn't need any tools to hold it up. It stays in place with pressure against the bottom of your RV. You will lay down inflatable pieces and fill them up with an air pump. Here's a YouTube video demonstrating how it works:
Making Your Own Vinyl Skirting/Installing the Skirting Yourself
DIY skirting is the more laborious option of the bunch. You can order vinyl and make your own RV skirt. You also have the option of going with plywood, foam boards, or hay bales. Regardless of the option you choose, it will require measuring, cutting, and much more. Plywood skirting will require nails to hold it up.
Installing the vinyl skirting yourself is the slightly more affordable option. You won't have to hire a professional to do the work for you. Instead, the manufacturer will send you the materials that you will need for installation. While it might seem like the better deal, it depends on how much you trust your own skills.
If you'd like to have an idea of how that would go, you can check out our post - How To Install Skirting Around RV (5 Simple Steps)
How Much Does It Cost To Skirt an RV?
Now we move on to the pricing. Customs skirts are the costlier option. It will vary depending on the provider.
They can start at around $2,000. Depending on the size of your RV, it can range anywhere between $3,500-$5,000. Thus, the idea of DIY skirting might seem like a better idea.
Making your own vinyl skirting will be cheaper. You might spend a little more because of incorrect measurements. Nevertheless, it's the more cost-efficient option.
Still, you'll have to accommodate for other aspects like adding grommets to the tarp. Otherwise, you can choose to purchase quality vinyl tarps that already have this. In general, you can expect it to cost around the hundreds. It will more or less depend on your experience doing DIY projects.
Inflatable skirts are the in-between option. It will cost more than a DIY project - but cost less than custom-made skirting. It starts at $1,899 for tiny RVs. The bigger your RV is, the more it will cost.
The DIY option comes at the cheapest. Although it might not look the best, it will cost around $175-$300 for plywood skirting. Foam board skirting comes as the cheapest option. In one RV owner's experience, it cost $25 to install around the RV. All it took was a bit of creativity on how to hold it up.
How Do I Keep My RV Cool in the Summer?
It can get absurdly hot in the summers. RV skirts can help fight against by protecting the ground underneath your RV from the summer heat. However, there are still more ways to combat the heat. If you want to keep the inside cool, the best option would be to insulate your walls.
- Blocking your vents
- Sealing all storage compartments
- Sealing windows and doors
- Keeping up with AC maintenance
- Avoid cooking inside
Best RV Skirting Material
The best RV skirting material will depend on your budget. If you're not afraid to spend, vinyl is one of the best materials you can buy. You can also use billboard and canvas.
If you want to go the cheaper route, foam board is usually the DIY-enthusiasts go-to option. It's light on the pockets and efficient. Plywood could also go in that category. But, it's more of a permanent solution. So, if you're planning to stay for more than a month, plywood might sound better than foam board skirting.
While it might not seem like a worthwhile investment because of the cost, RV skirting does bring in some benefits. It could potentially save you environmental damage to your plumbing. Of course, you don't have to go with the professional options. But, the DIY route will take more effort and time. So, if you're planning on getting RV skirting, choose wisely.
Before you go, do you want more tips on how to prevent your pipes and tanks from freezing? We can give you some ideas! To learn more, check out our post - How Do I Stop My RV Pipes and Tanks From Freezing?
Do you need some destination ideas? We can also help you in that regard. If you'd like to learn more, check out our post - 23 Best RV Destinations In The West
Until next time - safe travels!