How to Update Old RV Ceiling Panels

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You may not notice them often, but your RV ceiling panels can play a significant role in the look of your rig.

Whether they’re damaged or just in need of a refresh, updating them can also be simple, affordable, and quick.

Read on to learn more about our best choices and techniques!

What Are RV Ceiling Panels Made Out Of? 

In most cases, RV ceiling panels don’t have much magic or fancy engineering. They typically consist of one-eighth-inch thick plywood wallpapered over or otherwise gently disguised.

Less commonly, they consist of fiberglass, vinyl, plastic, metal, or other substances. You can often find them in higher-end or updated rigs.  

How Long Do RV Ceiling Panels Last For? 

RV ceiling panels can last the life of your RV, meaning you’ll never need to replace them under ideal conditions.

However, most RVers know travel is rarely ideal! Things happen – water damage, peeling from the original wallpaper, stains from cooking, and damage from pets.

This means you may replace panels soon after you buy your rig, or potentially never in the entire time you own it!

rv ceiling panels with water damage

Is Replacing Your Ceiling Panels Expensive? 

Overall, replacing RV ceiling panels is a relatively inexpensive project as far as updates to your rig go.

Naturally, there will be various costs for replacing panels depending on the replacement method, procedure, and material.

For replacements required by damage or other non-cosmetic issues, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of fixing the underlying problem.

Keep in Mind: An RV ceiling fan is handy to have, but what if your RV doesn’t come with one? Can You Put a Ceiling Fan in an RV? Click the link to find out!

What Can I Use to Replace the Ceiling in My Camper?

There are many different options for exactly how to replace your camper ceiling panels. Here’s a look at some of the most popular, covering a diverse range of styles. 

Luan Board 

If water damage is the reason for your RV ceiling panel replacement, you’ll want to grab something like this utility board as the structural core of your new tiles.

You can find it at many home improvement stores and lumber suppliers. At just under $21 for a 4-foot by 8-foot sheet, it’s a budget-friendly source of material for panel replacement.

From here, you can paint them, stain them, cover them with wallpaper, or otherwise dress them up from other methods below. 

Plywood stacked in a hardware store

Shiplap Board 

Shiplap is one of the most popular design trends of recent years – so why not bring it to the ceiling of your rig?

Those interested in pursuing the look can buy shiplap board already made or make your own using the luan utility board above.

This material can be cut into strips and painted, creating a DIY version of this distinctive technique.

9/16 in. x 7-1/4 in. x 7 ft. Primed Wood Nickel Gap Ship Lap Board (6-Pieces Per Box)
  • Size is 9/16 in. x 7-1/4 in. x 7 ft. long
  • Primed and ready for paint

PVC Panels 

PVC is another common material for those who want to avoid typical wood panels. These panels will typically cost more than wooden ones.

However, they come in many more varieties of styles and colors, a major perk for those looking to add some flair to their RV. PVC is also popular, as it’s waterproof, lightweight, and fireproof. 

Art3d PVC 3D Wall Panel Interlocked Circles in Matt White Cover 32 Sq.ft, for Interior Ceiling and Wall Decor for Residential or Commerical
  • Classic interlocking circles design, stunning 3-dimensional, eye-catching
  • Waterproof, Fire-resistant, Lightweight, High-Impact, Elegant, Easy DIY

Faux Stamped Tin 

These faux stamped tin panels are undoubtedly the most expensive RV ceiling panel choice and the heaviest.

Still, it’s hard to deny the incredibly unique style they provide. Often simply glued onto the ceiling, they’ll create a look that’ll have all the neighbors talking. 

Wrought Iron-Faux Tin Ceiling Tile -Copper 25-Pack
  • Made of lightweight PVC to provide beautiful crisp design and stunning finish
  • Easily glues directly to most ceiling / wall substrates including popcorn ceiling, stucco, plywood, concrete and drywall
Interior shot of an RV with a stamped tin ceiling
A stamped-tin ceiling in the 2023 Riverstone 39RKFB. Source: Forest River

Peel and Stick Wallpaper 

For an ultra-quick and ultra-affordable way to provide a makeover to your current panels, opt for the peel-and-stick wallpaper.

At prices well under a dollar per square foot, you can cover an RV ceiling for just a few bucks.

Best yet, there’s no worrying about gluing or other hassles applying it. Just peel off the backing and stick it on your panel, directly over the current wallpaper if necessary.

Keep in Mind: While you’re at it, give life to a drab RV space with these 15 RV Renovation Ideas to Reinvent Your RV!

Coavas Light Grey Brick Wallpaper, 17.7x118.1 Inches, Peel and Stick, Removable, Self-Adhesive, Modern, Renter Friendly, Vintage, for Kitchen Backsplash, Bathroom, Laundry Room, Accent Walls
  • ——Installation Tips——: Starting at the top of the wallpaper, the brick pattern is the same every 12 rows. If you...
  • Brick Wallpaper--[Upgrade to Thicker Material]: Higher quality with the thicker, more environmentally friendly PVC...

Peel and Stick Wood Planks 

Peel and stick planks are one step up on the quality scale from peel and stick wallpaper.

These have the same easy application but provide a more substantial, sometimes textured look and feel.

This increase in quality will also require an increase in your budget but may be worth it for those looking for that natural look.

Colamo 10 Reclaimed Wood Planks Peel and Stick Shiplap Boards for Wall, Weathered Barn Wood Paneling Stick on Wooden RV Backsplash, 3D Self Stick Wood Wall Panels for Living Room Bed Room Accent Wall
  • 【Special Design】100% Reclaimed pine wooded wall planks with strong self-adhesive tape back strips. These natural...
  • 【Premium Features】Our sticky wood plank is formaldehyde-free and odor-free, no discoloration or fading. Great for...

Paint Old Panels 

One of the simplest and cheapest ways to freshen up your panels is to paint the ones you already have! This requires little more than a few hours and a can of paint.

You can also use your creativity here, picking eye-catching colors or painting unique patterns to style your ceiling. For obvious reasons, this won’t be an option for damaged panels.  

A small paint brush and roller with a container of black paint in an RV

Should You Hire a Professional to Work on Your RV Ceiling Panels?

Repairing your own RV ceiling panels is one of those tasks most moderately handy folks can accomplish independently. It’s a reasonably straightforward cosmetic process without the need to tinker with sensitive RV systems like your electric or plumbing. 

However, there are certain situations where a professional may be warranted. A great example would be RV ceiling panel replacements necessitated by water damage. It’s crucial to ensure any leaks are correctly and permanently sealed before replacing panels to avoid finding yourself in the same situation in the future.

In other cases, owners may be happy to spend the money on a professional for the peace of mind knowing the job’s done right – not to mention saving themselves time!

Give Your RV Interior a Facelift with New RV Ceiling Panels 

If you want to give your rig the facelift it so rightly deserves, look up! Your ceiling panels can be the easiest and most affordable way to change the look of your rig. With these many choices, you’ll never be short on options.

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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