Why You Shouldn’t Paint Your RV Yourself

Summer is here, and what sounds better than hitting the open road with family and friends? It’s time to get the RV up and running, ready to go. If part of getting prepared involves more than just dusting off the cobwebs that gathered over the winter, stop a minute before you head to the nearest DIY home store.

You’ve painted your house before, so what could be so hard about painting an RV? You have a lot of things to consider, aside from the type of paint. Here’s a general breakdown of what painting an RV entails.

Types of Paint

Fiberglass and metal — usually aluminum because it’s lightweight — are the two most common materials on RV exteriors. Both of these surfaces require exterior paint for weatherproofing and should be acrylic, polyurethane, polyester, or epoxy. These are not the same as exterior paint for houses and require more than just water for cleanup.

Number of Steps

Painting an RV involves much more than painting. The process contains multiple steps, and they go something like this:

  1. Sanding
  2. Crack and chip repair (fiberglass)
  3. Sanding
  4. Filler application
  5. Sanding
  6. Cleanup of sanding dust
  7. Four coats of primer (no sanding between coats)
  8. Sanding post-primer
  9. Cleanup
  10. Sealer application
  11. Basecoat application
  12. Clear coat application

That’s a lot of work for a DIYer, considering that the average RV is the size of a bus. You’ll need ladders and a lot of elbow grease, at the minimum.

Paint Application

While you can, technically, paint an RV with a roller or brush, it will likely end up looking like you did. RVs are huge, and not only is covering the whole thing by hand very time-consuming but getting a smooth, attractive surface without using a paint sprayer is also almost impossible.

Unless you have an enclosed area large enough to fit your RV, you will have to deal with dust and bugs flying around, messing up all your hard work. The enclosure will also keep the overspray — the fine droplets of paint that land everywhere except the target — from getting on your house, other vehicles, and, worst of all, the neighbor’s property.

Leave It to the Experts

What we’ve detailed here is just a small peek into what’s involved with painting an RV. It’s intimidating, but the fine folks at Interstate Autobody & Truck have all the right tools to get your RV in fine form for making summer memories. Their 60-foot-long spray booth is the biggest in the Wenatchee Valley, and for them, “there is no project too large to paint or too distorted to fix.”


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