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How We Made $200 DIY Vinyl RV Skirting for Winter

How We Made DIY RV Skirting from Billboard Vinyl hung with grommets and adhesive hooks for around $200
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Homemade DIY RV trailer skirting from billboard tarp vinyl for around $200 to get ready for cold weather winter camping

This was the second year we made our own RV skirting out of billboard tarp vinyl for a winter spent in living in our RV in cold weather, so I thought I would do a blog post to show how we made it.  (To read about other ways we prepare our RV for winter, click here.)

These are the supplies we used along with their cost:

  • Billboard tarp vinyl – enough to skirt our 38 fifth wheel, including the gooseneck and three of its four slides: $92.27  (We used 11 mil weight vinyl.)
  • Brass tarp grommets & grommet tool.  This set came with 500 grommets, and that was way more than enough.  Last year we didn’t use a grommet tool, just a tool and dye and hammer, and the task was much more difficult and time consuming.  This handheld grommet punch made this job one thousand percent faster and easier.  Both the grommets and grommet punch cost us $42.48
  • Steel tent stakes.  We ended up needing about 75, which cost around $30.
  • Clear adhesive hooks.  We used 65.  The best deal I have seen is this 40-pack, so to get enough for the project at the time we did it cost $37.98.
  • One garment bag (optional) – will explain later! – $10.72
  • Duct tape (I already had this)

Total for the project: $213.45

ETA 10/23/2018: I have bought this style of adhesive hook many times for various projects, but this particular 40-pack that I bought last year (and linked to above) included a few hooks that had the hard plastic part of the hook pop off the adhesive backing after several months of use.  This never happened to me with other brands, so now I avoid the hooks with a clover shaped plastic part and only buy ones with a round shape. I haven’t found any round ones at such a good price, but all of the round ones I bought 2 years ago are still holding strong.  You could also just take your chances with the economy pack and just replace any hooks that break.

Grommets, handheld grommet punch, adhesive hooks, and tent stakes used to make RV skirting from billboard tarp vinyl

We didn’t do as good a job of making the skirting last year as we did this year (we improved on our design this year), and by the end of the winter last year’s skirting was really worn and muddy, so we threw it away and planned to have professional skirting made for us this year.  I got a quote from a local guy for around $1,600.  If you’ve priced professionally made trailer skirting, you know this is a great deal.  But the more we got to thinking about it, the more we started thinking about how much money we would save if we made our own again, so we decided to give it one more try.  We are so glad we did, because our homemade skirting turned out so well that feel completely content with it and no longer wish we had professional skirting.

This is what the billboard vinyl looks like all laid out.  It literally used to be a billboard.  The black side is the back; the other side of this piece had a Cracker Barrel billboard printed on it.

Billboard tarp vinyl used to make RV skirting for cold weather and winter camping

The first thing we did was to cut the vinyl into the sizes we needed.  Calculate and measure carefully!  “Measure twice and cut once,” as they say.  Last year I made a few mistakes in my calculations and we ended up having to order more vinyl, which meant paying double in shipping charges.  The vinyl cuts easily with scissors.

Below you can see the adhesive hooks on our RV leftover from last year.  When we put them on I wasn’t thinking about how the ones on the sides of the slides would interfere with bringing the slides in.  We haven’t brought the slides in since we moved to this location, but when we do we will obviously need to remove those hooks.

Clear adhesive hooks used to hang RV skirting made from billboard tarp vinyl

A word about hook removal: These hooks are extremely sturdy.  At one point over the summer I thought I might as well remove all of the hooks since we were planning to get professional skirting (so glad I didn’t), and I had to use pliers to pull one off.  I was so difficult to remove I gave up on the project at that time.  However, once the hook was removed, there was no damage or residue left behind on the fiberglass part of the RV.  I haven’t yet pulled off any of the ones that were stuck to the decals or to the gold painted fender area, but since some duct tape we pulled off the gold area took some of the paint with it, I am afraid these hooks may do the same.  We don’t plan on pulling them off though.

If you’re thinking about doing this project but don’t like the idea of using hooks, I have seen some people who used heavy duty Velcro instead…but I don’t really see how that would be any better since it is also adhesive.  It is also more expensive than the hooks.  It does have the advantage of forming a seal all along the top of the skirting, whereas our skirting has small gaps at the top that may allow some of the warm air to escape – not an issue for us in Kansas City, but it might be for someone farther north.

ETA 10/4/18: I had an idea that I believe I will try next time we need to use skirting (not sure yet if we will use skirting this winter as we are currently in Texas).  Rather than stick adhesive hooks directly to the sides of our slides only to have to pry them off again next time we need to pull our slides in, I believe I will use acrylic mounting tape to stick the same hooks to the slides.  This tape stays put in cold weather (as I explained in this blog post) yet it is very easy to remove.  I might even suggest trying it for all of the hooks if you’re concerned about the hooks being difficult to remove later, especially since the clear hooks do turn yellow in the sunlight over time.


Some people have also made their own vinyl skirting and hung it with adhesive snaps.  That many snaps are kind of pricey (IMO), but that is an option, though not without some problems to anticipate.  I am thinking about ordering some adhesive snaps for the area covering our propane tank access doors, though.

Last year we originally tried hanging our skirting with heavy duty suction cups, but even with following all of the instructions for using them (cleaning the area, applying in temperatures above freezing, etc.) they wouldn’t stay stuck.  I was very glad to find the adhesive hooks we ended up using.

Suction cup used to hang RV skirting - didn't work.

This is why you don’t use duct tape on your RV, learned the hard way.  We used Gorilla duct tape for some of the tricky spots last year, and to tape foam board to the bottoms of our slides (which made a big difference in the temperature of our slide floors).  If I need to use tape on my RV in the future I will use foil HVAC tape as it can withstand any temperature and supposedly comes off cleanly.

Why you shouldn't stick duct tape to your RV

Here’s what the skirting looks like hung from the hooks with a grommet.  We folded the top of the vinyl over about four inches to make it sturdier and make it look neater.

Clear adhesive hooks and grommets used to hang RV skirting made from billboard tarp vinyl

Below is a photo of last year’s skirt-making process.  First we taped the skirting in place temporarily and marked the places where we needed holes, then we took it down and used a hammer to punch the holes using the small inexpensive tool that came with the grommets we purchased last year.  It took a long time, and that was only doing grommets along the top – we weighted down the skirting on the bottom last year instead of staking it down.  The weights we used weren’t very efficient, though, and we were constantly having to fix and adjust the skirting after a windy day.  Sometimes this new skirting still comes unhooked in a few places and has to be rehung after very strong winds, but it does a much better job of staying put.

Homemade DIY RV trailer skirting from billboard tarp vinyl for around $200 to get ready for cold weather winter camping

And here is my husband using the grommet punch this year.  It was so much easier as we were able to just go along punching holes as we hung it – no marking or measuring required.  I wondered if it would be hard for me to use the punch tool since my hands are smaller, but I have no problem using it; it doesn’t require more than a normal amount of hand strength.

Homemade DIY RV trailer skirting from billboard tarp vinyl for around $200 to get ready for cold weather winter camping

ETA Spring 2018: Over the course of this past winter, a few of the grommets pulled out of their holes and a few ripped the vinyl. 

Grommet ripped hole in vinyl

That didn’t happen the previous year, so I’m wondering if the handheld grommet punch didn’t always cut through as cleanly or close as tightly?  Anyway, most of them held up just fine, so to remedy the situation I plan to use black Gorilla duct tape to cover and reinforce the torn places and then redo those grommets.  To prevent this from happening, I would suggest that you really make sure your grommets are tight, and possibly reinforce the holes with a piece of black duct tape before you punch them.

After we got the skirting hung along the top, we went around the bottom punching holes and pounding in tent stakes.

Homemade DIY RV trailer skirting from billboard tarp vinyl for around $200 to get ready for cold weather winter camping

Homemade DIY RV trailer skirting from billboard tarp vinyl for around $200 to get ready for cold weather winter camping

We cut and folded the skirting to go around vents and other things we didn’t want to cover.

Homemade DIY RV trailer skirting from billboard tarp vinyl for around $200 to get ready for cold weather winter camping

Homemade DIY RV trailer skirting from billboard tarp vinyl for around $200 to get ready for cold weather winter camping

For the seams between pieces, this year we just overlapped them by several feet.  Last year we tried using Gorilla duct tape to tape the seams together and it did not stay.  It ended up coming untaped, blowing around in the wind, and making a sticky, dirty mess.  Overlapping it seems to work fine since it is fastened at the top and bottom, but if you are concerned about making a tight seal you may want to find a different way to join the seams.  I planned this particular seam to be at the spot where our sewer hose connects so that it can be easily unhooked if we need to access that area.

The part pictured below is kind of ugly. I forgot when I was measuring that there would be a white pipe sleeve along the edge, so I didn’t end up having enough to fold over for that short piece.

Homemade DIY RV trailer skirting from billboard tarp vinyl for around $200 to get ready for cold weather winter camping

The steps were kind of tricky.  I ended up going across the front underneath them, and then added a second piece to line the area behind the steps, hung from adhesive hooks from the steel frame.

Homemade DIY RV trailer skirting from billboard tarp vinyl for around $200 to get ready for cold weather winter camping

I actually decided to use a heavy duty clear shower curtain (which already had grommets!) weighted down with a few bricks instead of tarp vinyl to line the area behind the steps because our cat loves to play under the RV, and this lets a bit of light in.  He also likes having this little spot under the stairs as a place to jump in and hide if something scary like the garbage truck shows up.

He can slip underneath the RV there too, which I know means our skirting isn’t 100% sealed, but as I mentioned earlier this doesn’t matter too much in our climate; we mainly just need to block the wind.

Here’s what the front part looks like.

Homemade DIY RV trailer skirting from billboard tarp vinyl for around $200 to get ready for cold weather winter camping

To access the front storage area without having to remove the skirting, I decided to add a zipper (an idea I got from the EZ Snap skirting website).  Instead of buying an expensive long zipper, though, I decided to surgically remove the zipper from an inexpensive garment bag.  This is an extra long garment bag designed for wedding dresses.

Use a zipper from a garment bag to make a door in RV skirting

I ended up cutting more off the sides until I had about six inches of plastic on either side of the zipper.  I should have trimmed a bit more; I think about two inches on either side of the zipper would have looked better.  Just enough to have something to stick tape to.

Use a zipper from a garment bag to make a door in RV skirting

Then I taped the zipper to the back of the skirting using extra wide Gorilla duct tape.

Next I cut a hole in the front of the skirting over the zipper.

Zipper made from garment bag added to RV skirting

And now I have a zipper opening for my skirting.

Zipper made from garment bag added to RV skirting

ETA spring 2018: Unfortunately, the garment bag plastic didn’t hold up to cold weather.  It became brittle and tore to shreds.  To fix it, I plan to cut off all of the plastic and attach the fabric of the zipper directly to the billboard vinyl.

Here is my RV all ready for cold weather!

Homemade DIY RV trailer skirting from billboard tarp vinyl for around $200 to get ready for cold weather winter camping

Update: I came across an RV owner named Rob Dodd who used the adhesive hook and billboard vinyl skirting technique, and his skirting turned out so great that I wanted to include some of his photos, along with a few additional ideas he shared:

Idea #1: Rob used sandbags ordered from Amazon and filled with sand from a local supplier to weight down the skirting if you’re on a concrete pad and can’t use tent stakes.  He did this and says his skirting was able to withstand a wind gust recorded nearby at 52 mph without even budging!

DIY RV skirting made from billboard tarp vinyl, hung with adhesive hooks and weighted down with sandbags

by Rob Dodd

Idea #2: Rob used snaps and a snap tool to attach the skirting pieces to each other.  I love this idea and may do it to attach my front piece to my side pieces if the duct tape I used in one place ends up coming undone.  If you don’t mind screwing into your camper, you could also use screw-in snaps to hang the skirting…personally I was too afraid I would make a mistake and end up with a bunch of holes in the wrong places to try that.

Idea #3: Rob avoided the tricky issue of how to skirt around the steps by folding in his steps and covering them up and building these steps using free pallet wood instead.

RV porch made from free pallet wood

by Rob Dodd

I think Rob’s skirting looks really sharp!

DIY RV skirting made from billboard tarp vinyl, hung with adhesive hooks and weighted down with sandbags

by Rob Dodd

Another Update:

I just had to add this idea from fellow RV owner Guy Hoffman.   I actually wish I had made my skirting go up high enough to cover my storage bay doors and done something like this for access.

Use magnets to create a removable cover for access through RV skirting.

By Guy Hoffman

Click here to read about other ways we prepare our RV for winter!

If you have any questions for me about our skirting or any additional ideas to share, please leave a comment!

Homemade DIY RV trailer skirting from billboard tarp vinyl for around $200 to get ready for cold weather winter camping


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28 comments

  1. How We Prepare Our RV For Cold Weather Living | RV Inspiration 29 November, 2017 at 21:00 Reply

    […] I don’t know if we actually need skirting to keep our pipes and tanks from freezing, but we decided to go ahead and use it just to be safe, and it made a huge difference in keeping our RV warmer inside and preventing heat loss.  We made our own removable, reusable vinyl skirting out of recycled billboard vinyl for around $200.  You can read more about how we made our skirting in this blog post. […]

  2. Kermit 6 December, 2017 at 22:12 Reply

    Hello!!
    We are going into cold weather and I had the same idea with, used sign vinyl. Then my wife said this couple has alot of the same ideas you do…haha..its true!! Love your post!!! What millimeter did you get? 11? 15? 17? So glad it works!! Thanks again!
    -Kermit

    • Ashley Mann 7 December, 2017 at 13:16 Reply

      Hi! 🙂 We used the 9 oz. / 11 mil vinyl last year and again this year. There were a couple of places last year where the vinyl wore through because the wind blew it up against a sharp corner, but hopefully that won’t happen this year since the skirting is staked down unlike last year. If it does, though, I will probably just patch it with black Gorilla tape.

      I think a few people have used the 20 mil pond liner, but I think the 9 oz does its job of blocking wind and keeping heat from escaping just fine for us, at least in Kansas City where we are located. It’s still pretty heavy, and when I ordered a sample of one of the professional skirting brands, the weight was comparable.

      One other thing I will mention is that there are a few places where the grommet pulled partway out of the hole punched in the skirting where I staked it down because it was pulled so tight by the tent stake, but I think that may have been more due to the grommet not having been squeezed tight enough rather than the weight of the vinyl.

  3. Kate 9 December, 2017 at 03:39 Reply

    What size billboard tarp did you get? I see several different sizes and I’m unsure how to measure my travel trailer to know how much I need.

    • Ashley Mann 9 December, 2017 at 22:12 Reply

      I think you’re asking about the dimensions of the tarp I ordered rather than the weight, but just in case, we got the 9 oz / 11 mil weight. As for the dimensions, I ordered multiple pieces which I cut and spliced together. To figure out how much I needed, first I determined the height the skirting would need to be by measuring from the highest point, which for us was on the sides of our slides, and allowing a few inches to fold over on top and about a foot extra on the bottom to stake down. Instead of making it the same height all the way around (which many people do), we decided to make the skirting shorter where the cargo storage doors were located to avoid having to cut holes for access. Also I measured the piece for the gooseneck separately. After that I measured the length needed of each height by just walking around the RV with a tape measure. After I had the dimensions I needed, I looked for pieces to buy that had approximately double the height and half the length, planning to cut it in half lengthwise. Of course the exact dimensions will be different for each RV, but I find it helps to draw the tarp on a piece of paper and mark where it will be cut in order to figure out how much to buy without wasting too much. It can definitely make your brain hurt to figure it out. Hope that helps.

  4. Timothy Sunday 13 December, 2017 at 13:24 Reply

    Hey there! My wife and I are going to do this same thing as we have a friend who can hook us up with the billboard vinyl for free. Just wondering how much you used? How big was your billboard vinyl? We have a smaller camper than you guys at about 32′ so I would think whatever you all used would be sufficient for us. Thanks so much!

    • Ashley Mann 13 December, 2017 at 23:46 Reply

      This year I ordered two tarps, a 26’x10′ piece for the gooseneck, and a 47’x10′ piece which I cut into four pieces to make the rest. The dimensions of those four pieces were 47’x5′, 27’x5′, 10’x2.5′, and 10’x2.5′. The 10’x2.5 pieces were used for the front half (before the gooseneck) where we didn’t skirt up so high, but if you are in an extremely cold climate I might recommend going ahead and going up the full height because there is a bit of a gap along the bottom edge of our camper in that section that I’m sure allows some wind to get in.

      Last year I accidentally ordered too little skirting, and that is really frustrating, so I would suggest measuring to be sure you have enough. To determine how much you need, figure out how tall it needs to be at the highest point (don’t forget you might want to fold it over along the top edge and will want extra along the bottom), then measure the distance around the RV (including going around slides). I was able to find a piece to cut that was half the length and twice the height, plus a few extra feet for good measure.

      Good luck!

  5. Carl 23 December, 2017 at 14:25 Reply

    Ok folks, I would like to try this idea but no one gave the website or contact information on where to buy the billboard sign tarps.

  6. Natashan Duncan 27 December, 2017 at 09:16 Reply

    Oh I can’t thank you enough for the helpful diy. Skirting for our 33 foot tt was going to be well over $600. We ordered the supplies through your links today. We are a Kansas City full-time family as well. There are 6 of us, two dogs, and a turtle. We are so new at this (only 6 months in). You guys were warmth savers.

    • Ashley Mann 29 December, 2017 at 10:31 Reply

      That’s awesome to hear! It has been COLD this week in KC! Even with skirting and an enclosed underbelly our black tank gate valve froze. We are planning to put a space heater underneath the RV for a few hours today to try to thaw it so we can dump our tank. Looking forward to high temps being back up above freezing soon! Good luck with your skirting; hopefully we get a few days of warmer weather for you to put it up!

    • Ashley Mann 1 January, 2018 at 16:07 Reply

      I have not used snaps, but I know of two types of snaps used for this purpose. One type is the kind used by the EZ-Snap RV skirting company (but these can be purchased separately too I believe) and they are plastic and stick to the RV with 3M adhesive. I have heard of these coming unstuck in some places in high winds, but I’m not sure everyone has that problem. The other type of snaps are sold where heavy duty tarps are sold and are made of metal and are screwed into to the RV (or boat, which is what they are often used for).

  7. Susan 17 January, 2018 at 08:09 Reply

    Hi Ashley,
    Once the weather warms up, we are going to do this in preparation for next winter. We have had two weeks of harsh weather and temps down in the teens and my floor has been like ice. My question is: did you use the hooks for which you provided the link or different one. I think Command hooks might be a bit pricey for this undertaking but I want to be sure the ones you recommend will do the job.

    Also, I will insulate the underneath part of the slides as you did because this past week I have had to wrap up in a blanket because there does not seem to be a way of getting the chill out of that area.

    I love your site and have been implementing your suggestions.

  8. Kevin 4 October, 2018 at 06:36 Reply

    Thank you for all this great information. I’m trying this on our son’s fifth wheel this winter since our last winter use of foam board insulation didn’t work because of the wind blowing it apart. Anyway, I’ve read and re-read the website and might have missed it but what is the distance you put between the hooks on long stretches of the RV? In some pictures (thanks for those) I see you have different spacing but did you have a standard spacing for long stretches of areas? Or could you recommend a spacing? Sorry for all the questions but you all did a great job of trial and error over the years and I’m just trying to learn from your experience. Thanks again for the great information.

    • Ashley Mann 4 October, 2018 at 09:46 Reply

      Hi Kevin, we didn’t use a standard spacing but just tried to make it come out even on large areas. For example on the side of a slide we would put a hook on each end and one in the middle and then one or two more in between those, but it seems to have come out to about 20″ apart. The most important thing was making sure there was a hook at each point where the skirting would be going around a corner or edge. Also I am not sure what we will do about the side of the slides next time…we are in Texas right now so I don’t know if we’ll be skirting this winter or not, but I don’t want to put the heavy duty hooks back on the sides of the slides only to have to pry them off again next time we pull in our slides. I think what I might try though should the need arise would be to use the same hooks but adhere them with acrylic mounting tape instead of the adhesive that comes on them. The acrylic mounting tape is strong but easier to remove. I might even suggest trying that option for all of the hooks for anyone who is worried about removing the hooks later. Even though I haven’t tried using acrylic mounting tape with the hooks, I have used the tape on the exterior of my RV in winter and know it stays put in cold weather.

  9. Kayley 4 October, 2018 at 17:48 Reply

    This looks like a brilliant alternative to expensive skirting, and I plan to give it a try! Thank you! I’m curious about what you’d mentioned with the foam boards under your slides.. is that something you did behind your skirt? as in does it go from the trailer down to the ground like the skirt does? Or did you tape the entire board directly flush with the bottom of the slide? Does that make sense? My slides are already starting to feel so cold and I’m trying to figure out how to keep them warmer. Thanks!

    • Ashley Mann 4 October, 2018 at 20:59 Reply

      Glad you found the skirting idea helpful! Hope it works well for you! As for the foam boards, the board was taped to the bottom of the slide, parallel to the bottom of the slide and up against it to provide extra insulation under the floor. It made a huge difference – like 15-20 degrees when I set a thermometer indoors in the back corner of the floor of the slide. Hope that is clear – feel free to ask if you have more questions!

  10. Christopher Elia 16 October, 2018 at 20:05 Reply

    I wonder if the adhesive hooks will set/mount good in cold temps. I was going to back them with the acrylic adhesive tape if not. Just curious

    • Ashley Mann 17 October, 2018 at 08:23 Reply

      It might depend on how cold – but you could try an idea shared by another commenter who said she runs a hot, damp rag over the RV exterior while warming adhesive items inside her coat to warm the surface and the glue before sticking them. I would definitely use the hooks alone if you’re needing strength; I’d only try acrylic tape if you’re wanting them to be more easily removable, especially since I haven’t tested the acrylic tape for holding skirting and can’t promise that it will hold.

  11. CBurns 22 October, 2018 at 14:25 Reply

    Have you though of using Awning C Rail. It’s a permanent attachment and will not leave gaps. Then put a rope in the hem of your skirting material to slide through the rail.

    • Ashley Mann 22 October, 2018 at 14:40 Reply

      I hadn’t thought of that before, but that’s a great idea. I like the idea of it looking neater and creating a more perfect seal. Thanks for sharing; hopefully it will help someone else who is looking for a different solution for attaching their skirting!

  12. Kevin 22 October, 2018 at 15:01 Reply

    CBurns: I think that would be very good and I already looked up where to buy some and bookmarked it, but since I just got done with putting up the hooks I’ll have to wait, and hope, the hooks hold this winter. My only concern and not sure anyone would know if there is an answer; would the c-rail/c-channel come off easily should a person want to sell the RV or if one uses the c-rail/c-channel on a slide out would it come off to move the slide back in? Anyway, what drew me to the hooks was the statement about them coming off easily without much, if any, marks but I still have to hope they hold during a PA cold winter:-). If they don’t I’m definitely trying the c-rail:-).

  13. Christi Mulder 28 October, 2018 at 12:13 Reply

    I really like your idea and i am going to try it myself this year. However i am windering one thing. Where do i get the bilboard vinal that you used for this oroject?

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