I went to a RV show recently with a friend that had little knowledge of the RV industry. He asked an extremely valid question. Why are travel trailers priced so differently? The answer to this question should be known before making a buying decision.
While there are many factors that influence the price, this article is going to address only two of them. When looking at a united travel trailer, you will notice that the exterior is most likely aluminum or fiberglass. The aluminum sided units are often called stick and tin units. The fiberglass sided units are usually a laminated unit.
A “stick and tin” unit is built with a wooden frame, insulated with fiberglass insulation, and sided with aluminum. Thus, comes the name “stick and tin”. This unit is built similarly to your home. It starts with the frame, which is like the foundation on your home. On top of the frame, side and end walls are built. Then trusses are put on top of the side walls. Insulation is placed in between the studs in the wall, the floor joist, and the trusses. The end and side walls are then covered with aluminum siding.
The laminated unit has an external layer of fiberglass on top of an aluminum frame. Then in between the aluminum framing, they put styrofoam, then a layer of interior paneling. There is a bonding agent used on both layers and then run through a large press. The wall then becomes one solid piece. This is the basic explanation. I do not want to take anything away from this construction. I am just trying to put it in laymen terms.
The two different types of construction are a determining factor in price. One must remember that it is far from all the factors that sets a travel trailer price. Another thing to remember is that, sometimes, a stick and tin unit can be more expensive than a laminated side wall unit. This would be the exception, and not the rule.
Size, quality of products used, brand name, floor plan, among other things are determining factors of pricing a camper. When shopping for your perfect RV, you should know that a few travel trailers that are built with a wooden frame has a fiberglass exterior. This unit will have a hung fiberglass, and not laminated. If you are not sure, just ask the dealer that is trying to sell you the unit. If it is a person, you can check with your local RV dealer, or the manufacturer of the unit to verify what construction was used.
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