Can You Paint Your RV’s Exterior?

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The hand of a person using a paint sprayer on the outside of an RV with red and blue decals

If your RV looks a bit run down and faded, you might just need paint. A DIY RV paint job can transform your rig’s appearance, although it’s a daunting task that takes time and dedication. But when the paint is chipping and the color starts to resemble dishwater, the need for a new paint job is undeniable. 

Now the question is: Should you paint it yourself or hire someone for the job? Where do you even start? 

Hopefully, this article helps you feel a little more prepared, so you know just what you’re getting yourself into. 

Can You Paint the Outside of Your RV?

Painting the exterior of your RV is not only doable; it’s possible without hiring anyone. It might take trial and error to determine what works best, especially when deciding what paint to use. Different paints work better for certain materials, i.e. fiberglass or aluminum. 

Also, keep in mind that you can’t paint over decals. You can either tape over them and paint around them or just remove them altogether.

Pro Tip: If exterior painting is part of an RV renovation list, you need to read these RV reno regrets before you start!

A woman fans out four paint swatches in the blue color familiy.

What Tools Do You Need to Paint Your RV?

Painting your RV’s exterior requires many of the same tools as painting the interior. You’ll need cleaning and sanding supplies, as well as tape, primer, paint, and gloss. 

Acetone is an effective cleaning tool to get those walls as smooth as possible before sanding. If you want to remove any decals, you can use a heat gun to peel them off in one piece with no smudges left behind. 

Before painting, use caulk to seal off any cracks or holes. Not only will you have a better-looking paint job, but you’ll also have an RV that’s ready for winter

It’s easier to use a paint sprayer on exterior walls; just make sure it’s not too windy outside before you start. 

What Kind of RV Exterior Paint Should You Buy?

The type of paint you buy depends on the material you’re painting. If you’re painting aluminum, use acrylic-latex paint, whereas if you’re painting fiberglass, you can use any exterior paint. Some even prefer marine deck paint.

It just depends on the finish and durability you want to achieve when you paint your RV exterior. The important thing is that you use paint specifically for outdoor use to survive any weather. 

Close up of a small detail paint brush balanced on top of an open paint can with cream colored paint inside.

Should You D.I.Y. or Hire a Professional?

Doing it yourself will always be cheaper, but it’ll be more complex and time-consuming. If you’d rather just pay a professional than take the time to figure out precisely what you want and how to do it, then by all means: Spend the extra money and save yourself a headache. 

However, if you feel confident in your ability to paint or even just learn a new skill, have at it. Painting the RV on your own could take up to a week or two, instead of hiring someone who can get it done in a couple of days. 

It just comes down to time, money, and patience.    

How To Paint a RV | Exterior RV Painting

How Much Does It Cost to Paint Your RV Exterior?

A professional painting job for a standard RV can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $15,000. It depends on how big your RV is, how many colors you’re using, and if you want specialty paint. 

It’ll be on the cheaper end if you paint the RV yourself, of course. Some have claimed to paint their campers for as little as $100. So if you’re planning on that, all you’d spend is the cost of paint and supplies. 

However, it’ll probably cost more than $100—plan on spending a few hundred dollars if you need to buy all new paint and supplies.

Pro Tip: Paint is also a great way to freshen up the interior of your rig. Here’s everything you need to know about painting RV cabinets.

A family of three painting a wall with rollers and a ladder with supplies next to them.

Should You Paint Your RV Exterior?

Painting your RV may seem pointless when it’ll just get faded and dirty again. But we can see a clear difference when people paint the outside of their houses, so why should RVs be any different? 

Also, if you’ve been turned away from RV parks because of the “10-year rule,” painting your RV could help. Sometimes, RV parks with this rule will look the other way when an older RV arrives as long as the outside looks great. 

Everything looks better with a fresh coat of paint. And if you want your RV to be your home away from home, it helps if you make it a welcome sight. 

Overall, painting your RV exterior is usually worth it, but it depends on how much time and money you want to invest. On the one hand, it can feel overwhelming to tackle this task, whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring a professional. On the other, it can make your RV much more comfortable and contribute to a longer-lasting rig. 

Whether you’re still high off buying your first (used) RV that needs a little pick-me-up, or you want to fix up the motorhome that’s taken you on so many adventures, a little paint never hurt anyone. 

Have you painted your rig? What was your experience?

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