How to Clad a Caravan

by Rachel Murdock
Installing siding on a carvan or travel trailer requires heavy physical labor.

Installing siding on a carvan or travel trailer requires heavy physical labor.

A caravan is a small house trailer that is commonly called a travel trailer or a camper in North America. Cladding, or siding, for a caravan typically is made of wood, aluminum or fiberglass, and can be installed by the caravan owner. It may come in large sheets, more common with fiberglass or Filon siding, or in strips similar to vinyl or aluminum siding for homes. Installing caravan cladding takes physical effort and attention to detail, but can usually be completed by those with some experience with house siding.

1. Begin with the framed trailer, covered with 1/2-inch plywood over the entire frame. If you are building a trailer by hand, finish framing it, and then cover the frame in plywood. If you are repairing damaged siding or replacing siding, remove the damaged or old siding down to the wood.

2. Once the trailer is prepared, get the siding sheets ready to install by drilling holes for any wiring that needs to run through the siding.

3. Screw a level 2-by-4 on the bottom of the rig wall, to help support and guide the installation of the siding. Check and level the board.

4. Roll contact cement onto the plywood in the area to be covered by the siding sheet.

5. With the assistance of others, lift the siding sheet and rest it on the 2-by-4. One person should climb a ladder while the others hold the siding steady.

6. Pull any wires through the siding, then signal those at the bottom to press the siding firmly against the contact cement. Start pressing firmly at the bottom of the siding, and work your way up to the top. Cover windows and doors at this stage. Use a brad tack gun to secure the edges of the siding at approximately 8-inch intervals. Continue until the whole trailer is sided.

7. Remove the protective plastic on the siding, and use a router to trim out openings for windows and doors.

8. Finish the siding job by adding trim to the edges of the siding sheets, decorative accents and graphics, if desired.

Items you will need

  • Trailer cladding in Filon
  • Brad tacks and nailer
  • Contact cement
  • Router with heavy-duty trim bit
  • 2-by-4 inch wood

About the Author

Rachel Murdock published her first article in "The Asheville Citizen Times" in 1982. Her work has been published in the "American Fork Citizen" and "Cincinnati Enquirer" as well as on corporate websites and in other online publications. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism at Brigham Young University and a Master of Arts in mass communication at Miami University of Ohio.

Photo Credits

  • John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images