Should You Paint or Replace Your RV Kitchen Cabinets?

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View of an RV kitchen with freshly painted RV kitchen cabinets

If you’re tired of the stale and boring RV kitchen cabinets that came with your rig, you might be able to do something about it.

Upgrading the kitchen cabinets in your RV can radically change the look and feel of your rig.

However, one decision many RVers face is whether they should paint or replace their RV kitchen cabinets.

Today, we’ll walk you through the advantages and disadvantages of both options and provide some tips to get the best results.

Let’s dive in!

What Are the Cabinets in An RV Made Of?

There are several cabinet types in RVs, mainly depending on the age and manufacturer.

Most RV manufacturers use engineered wood like plywood and MDF on older, less expensive RVs.

This helps reduce costs and saves weight, but it’s not nearly as durable as actual wood.

On modern, higher-end RVs, you will likely find cabinets made from solid wood. These are sturdier cabinets but weigh slightly more.

The result is a more residential look for RV kitchen cabinets. They last substantially longer and are easier to paint if you decide you don’t like how they look.

Pros Of Replacing Cabinets in An RV

You might consider replacing the cabinets in your RV for several reasons.

Replacing your RV kitchen cabinets allows you the opportunity to pick the look and feel of your cabinets.

Choose cabinets that meet your needs if you want more drawers or storage space. 

Another advantage of replacing cabinets in an RV is that you can change the layout of your RV.

You can add an island, more counter space, or even turn a cabinet to face a different direction to make it more functional for you and your family.

However, don’t forget to consider slides opening and closing when you change the layout.

You don’t want to go through the effort of creating a new design in your kitchen and discover it prevents you from using your slides.

Cons of Replacing Cabinets in An RV

One of the most significant cons of replacing cabinets in an RV is the physical labor required.

However, just because something is hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider doing it.

You may not be physically capable of replacing your cabinets, so you might pay someone to do it for you.

If you want to replace your cabinets, just know that the walls may not be perfectly straight or strong enough to hold up heavy cabinetry if it wasn’t built for it.

Another con of replacing your RV kitchen cabinets is the potential for voiding warranties.

Most manufacturers frown upon RV owners making significant modifications to their rigs.

If your RV has a warranty, you’ll want to check with the provider before making any effective modifications.

You could cost yourself thousands of dollars for a repair that a warranty would have covered without the changes.

RV cabinets that were custom built to replace existing cabinents

Pros of Painting RV Kitchen Cabinets

Many RVers opt to paint their RV kitchen cabinets instead of replacing them.

This helps avoid adding extra weight to the rig or voiding any warranties.

Painting is something that almost anyone can do well if they take their time.

You can find the perfect color to create whatever look or feel you want inside your rig.

Painting your RV kitchen cabinets is appealing because it provides a tremendous bang for your buck.

For less than $100, you can radically transform the living space in your RV.

A fresh coat of paint on the cabinets can brighten up the room and make it look new.

For a great finish and to ensure that the paint sticks, make sure to not skip the sanding (with 120 grit) and priming step!

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Cons of Painting RV Kitchen Cabinets

While painting your RV kitchen cabinets has many advantages, it also has disadvantages.

If you want the final results to look excellent, painting your cabinets can take time. You’ll need to clean and prepare the surfaces, tape off any areas you don’t want to paint and do the actual painting.

When you’ve finished painting, you must clean all the materials and properly store your tools.

Many people vastly underestimate how much time this project will take.

Once you start, there’s no turning back. You can’t quit with half your cabinets painted.

There’s always the temptation to rush to get it done, but the final results will likely be worse than if you had not started painting in the first place.

Only begin this project if you have the time, energy, and determination to complete it.

Rae painting the cabinets in our RV

Keep in Mind: Make the most out of your kitchen space with these RV Storage Ideas for the Kitchen!

Can I Use Chalk Paint on RV Cabinets?

Chalk paint is an excellent option for painting your RV cabinets, especially if you have kids.

This type of paint is usually thicker, which allows it to adhere to the surfaces of the cabinets more efficiently.

You likely won’t need to sand or use a primer to get fantastic results.

You can find chalk paint in many colors, and it’s often readily available at your favorite big-box hardware store.

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Can You Spray Paint Camper Cabinets?

A paint sprayer helps ensure a smooth, even finish on camper cabinets.

However, spray paint is very different from a paint sprayer. Spray paint comes in an aerosol can and can be very difficult to control, especially if you don’t have experience using it.

Many RVers will remove the hardware from their camper cabinets and use spray paint to give them new life.

You can technically use spray paint to paint your camper cabinets, but it’s not something we recommend.

A paint sprayer is a good option but will require you to tape off and protect any areas where you don’t want it.

However, the final results can look professional when you do it right.

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Things to Consider When Deciding to Paint Or Replace RV Kitchen Cabinets 

When deciding to paint or replace your RV kitchen cabinets, you must consider some things.

It’s not a project anybody should jump into without thinking through the entire process.

You can quickly find yourself in over your head if you don’t prepare. 

The Current Condition of Your Cabinets

One of the most crucial things to consider is the condition of your current cabinets. Are they salvageable?

If not, why are they in an unsatisfactory condition? Water damage can destroy RV kitchen cabinets, forcing you to replace them.

However, before you replace the cabinets, you’ll want to find the source of the water damage.

Whether it’s a leak in the roof or the plumbing, you must fix it first.

If your cabinets are in decent condition, it might not be worth replacing them.

A fresh coat of paint and upgrading the hardware can make an impact.

There’s no need to make more work or expenses for yourself than necessary. 

Your Budget

You should never start any project without considering your budget.

You’ll want to know how much the project will cost before you start ripping out and destroying your current cabinets. You don’t want to discover that you can’t afford them.

Shop around to avoid making a costly mistake. Price everything out and ensure the project can easily stay within your budget.

Your Handyman Skills

It may seem obvious, but you need to consider your handyman skills. Painting or replacing your RV kitchen cabinets doesn’t require you to be an expert DIYer.

However, it requires you to have the tools and some knowledge to use them. If you expect professional results but don’t have the skills, you may want to hire a professional.

Making upgrades to your RV isn’t nearly as complicated as you might think.

Once you start replacing things, you’ll notice that some RV manufacturers don’t have the expertise you might expect.

You’re not the first to tackle this project, and you won’t be the last.

You can find many videos on YouTube that help walk you through the process and provide helpful tips to ensure you’re happy with the results.

Keep in Mind: Thinking about renovating your RV? Make sure you read these RV renovation regrets before starting demo!

Should You Paint Or Replace Your RV Kitchen Cabinets?

When deciding whether to paint or replace your RV kitchen cabinets, it depends on your situation.

If your cabinets are old and crumbling, you will have no choice but to replace them.

On the other hand, if your cabinets are salvageable, we’d strongly recommend taking your time to prepare and paint them.

Replacing hardware can go a long way and requires you to know how to use tools.

Which do you think will work best for your RV kitchen cabinet project?

Last update on 2022-09-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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