I'm looking into building my own tiny house (8'x16'). The box will have aluminum framing, but I want to know if there is another exterior wall material to use other than aluminum sheets because of the high price. I know I can use fiberglass, but other than those are there any other materials that I could use that are relatively cheap, waterproof and somewhat sturdy?

Maybe some sort of composite material?

Thank you in advance.

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about RV construction, and not home DIY
    – Johnny
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 3:05
  • Is there an RV SE? This is for a tiny house (aka home ;) )
    – now_world
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 3:32
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    If you are building toward a tiny home not just a RV, I would re-write it as a tiny home question, as they can tend to be more under mobil and park model type homes, and offer other variations then just those of a RV/camper. Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 4:05
  • 2
    T-111 exterior plywood. Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 18:38

2 Answers 2


Looking at older type mobiles, park models and even some of the newer tiny homes I have seen built. A common out layer starts with a thin sheet of exterior plywood (really more like paneling or underlayment) sizing between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. Then skinned with tyvek or plastic and final covered with various exterior materials (aluminum, galvalume tin, fiberglass, or more wood). With this sandwich method the cheaper wood reduces the thickness of the out material saving costs.

The final outside depends on what your seeking for looks, for instance you can buy a Tuff-rib(tm) panel galvalume protected and painted or coated cheaper then aluminum but very nice to look at. Some go with wood look by using cedar panels again nice finish and durable if installed correctly, if you like a natural wood look. Fiberglass sheets are not to bad and can be painted or wrapped for finishing. I have even seen one trailered tiny on the road using pine shiplap siding (if installed properly a very cheap sturdy exterior).


When I've built outdoor structures in the past, we commonly used corrugated steel panels. It's very durable and cheap.

Never used it on a home, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. I think the biggest concern is making sure the finished installation is waterproof.

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    Dissimilar metals (steel and aluminum) in contact with each other, will corrode badly. Steel is also heavy. In the same rack at Home Depot/Lowes there will also be corrugated panels made of fiberglass, acrylic or polycarbonate. They don't cost much more, and are translucent, which can be used in clever ways to increase household light. Keeping them watertight is just a matter of good caulking and following manufacturer instructions and using recommended seals and gaskets. Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 4:48
  • What kind of fasteners would you use to attach the outer sheathing? I think steel screws into aluminum framing would corrode either the screws or the aluminum framing or both. Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 19:00
  • We used rubber washers between the materials and around the head of the fastener and we used coated fasteners. The panels we bought were always coated. So everything was coated.I always presumed it was for rust prevention, but it may have been just as much about electrolysis prevention. Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 17:43

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