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After a run-in with any number of obstacles, you might wind up with a hole in your RV’s siding that needs attention. Whether it’s a small break or a gaping chasm, you will want to fix it ASAP. But what’s the right way to approach repairing a hole, and what kind of materials do you need to do it? We’ve found some great tips for fixing holes in your RV’s siding—and we’ll share all the details here.
When fixing a hole in your RV’s siding, your priority should be achieving a structurally sound job. Looks are important, too, but first, check these boxes:
- Determine the right material to suit your RV or trailer’s construction.
- Apply filler or replacement panel according to manufacturer directions. Use the right products and equipment to stay safe and avoid further damage.
- Sand, paint, and prime to complete the finish.
For most RVs, you need repair materials specific to either aluminum or fiberglass siding. You should follow material application and setting instructions—be patient throughout the process. Plus, avoid making the hole bigger or hurting yourself while you work.
Fairly general guidelines, right? You’ll need a different set of materials depending on whether your siding is fiberglass or aluminum. Keep reading for step-by-step instructions for repairing both types of RV siding.
Determine What Type of Siding Your Rig Has
If you have a newer motorhome, odds are, the siding is fiberglass. Fiberglass is a combination of plastic and glass fiber that became popular way back in 1880. The material is durable and helps insulate the vehicle, and it’s particularly safe for RVs since it doesn’t conduct electricity or attract magnets.
Aluminum siding is more common in older recreational vehicles—Airstream trailers especially. Aluminum is also non-magnetic, but its sheen usually gives away the fact that it’s not fiberglass. One drawback of this material is that dents are highly visible. We’ll discuss dents in aluminum siding later in this post.
Read more: RV fiberglass vs. aluminum siding
How Do You Fix a Hole in Aluminum Siding in an RV?
Small holes in aluminum siding require a simple patch job—no welding necessary. You can create an aluminum “patch” by cutting a piece of siding or aluminum sheet to fit over the damaged area. This material is commonly available in hardware stores and some RV parts shops.
Start with a clean surface—scraping off paint and smoothing the area before you begin. Use auto body filler to fill in any large holes. Then, apply your patch with caulking material.
For larger holes that affect an entire panel of aluminum siding, it’s often easier to replace the sheet rather than attempt to fill in multiple gaps. You can remove the screws from the existing siding, then pry off the sheet. Buy new aluminum sheets, tracing and cutting them to replace the damaged pieces.
How Do You Fix a Hole in Fiberglass Siding in an RV
Fiberglass siding can be messy—and dangerous—because of the tiny fibers that can wreak havoc on your lungs and skin. Putting on goggles, gloves, and a face covering are smart safety steps. Then, clean up the area, removing broken bits of fiberglass. You might need a knife to help clear the hole of debris.
If the hole is deep, you can use foam insulation (the kind that expands on contact) to fill it in. Applying auto body filler over the top seals the foam in. The next step is to use fiberglass—available in auto body repair kits—to smooth over the damaged area and blend in the edges.
Whether you have aluminum or fiberglass siding, following manufacturer instructions for each product is vital. After the product sets, you can sand, prime, and paint your siding to match your trailer’s original look.
How Do You Get Dents Out of Aluminum Siding?
Getting a dent out of aluminum siding is often easier than repairing a gaping hole. Still, you will need to drill a hole in the siding to pop out the dent. An easy way to remove dents is to drill a hole in the center. Then, attach a washer to a screw and drill the screw into the hole. Use a pair of pliers to pull on the washer, which will yank the screw up and pop out the indent.
Repairing a hole in an airstream can be helped by removing and then re-installing screws too -
How Do You Cover Small Holes in Walls?
Whether it’s your home’s walls or the interior of your home on wheels, you can use similar techniques to cover small holes in walls. Camper walls can use wood, metal, and other materials like composite, decorative panels. Aim to match the construction of your RV’s wall (check your user manual for construction details) for the best results.
Check out the filler aisle at your local hardware or RV supply store. You’ll find tubs of epoxy, spackle, plastic wood, fiberglass filler, and more. For larger holes, consider using drywall mesh to help keep the surface smooth. Small holes typically need a bit of filler, a good sanding, and then priming and painting.
Don’t Stress About Holes
No matter the size of the hole, damage to both the interior and exterior of your RV can be fixed! In most cases, a bit of elbow grease and a tub of an epoxy product can save the day. Of course, replacement panels are another way to get your RV looking its best again. And if you're not a DIY person, that's fine too. A minor issue shouldn't be too costly to repair at the shop.
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