The Worst Part of Renovating an RV

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A person on the roof of their RV working on a renovation project

Pinterest makes everyone’s home, classroom, RV, and life look better than yours, right? RV renovations also look amazing when shown on social media.

You can’t help but want to change out your RV furniture for stylish couches from IKEA or remove the booth dinette and build your own office space. 

But renovations are hard. Renovations are expensive. If you want to copy that perfect Pinterest photo in your own space, you might want to know the worst parts of renovating an RV before you begin.

Renovating RVs Is on the Rise 

With RV prices increasing, renovations have become even more popular. Instead of trading in that old trailer or motorhome, owners choose to make some updates. 

Also, because of all the available resources, anyone can find how-to videos or blogs to help them remodel. 

Making a space personal, adding cute decor, and brightening up small RV interiors can make any RV feel like home.

Is It Difficult to Renovate an RV?

Depending on the complexity of the renovation, you can easily make a few simple changes or do a complete overhaul. Changing out a few cabinet handles or putting up a subway tile backsplash isn’t going to take weeks. 

But repainting all of the cabinetry, putting up peel-and-stick wallpaper, and gutting the living room could end up being a month-long process.

It also depends on your skills. If you’re a handyman or interior designer, renovating an RV likely won’t take as long as it will for someone who doesn’t know how. Gathering friends or family members with varying skills like carpentry and plumbing will help make the process much easier.

A man using a drill for an RV renovation project

How Do I Start an RV Renovation? 

There’s nothing more important than planning when you want to start an RV renovation. From the budget to the timeline and everything in between, it’s imperative to do your homework. 

You can get inspired on Pinterest, but those designers likely didn’t do the dirty work. Use those pictures to help you decide on a theme or design style but then sit down and figure out what you need and how you’ll do it.

Choosing the right products is crucial to an RV renovation. You don’t want to waste time or money. Do your homework to learn about the best primers and paints for different materials. 

Read reviews about peel-and-stick wallpaper, so you don’t find it on the floor the next morning.

Once you’ve read blog posts, watched videos, and planned the changes you want to make, you’re ready to get started. But don’t skip this part and rush into an RV renovation without thinking through the process.

The Worst Part of Renovating an RV

Although Instagram and TikTok make renovations look chic and glamorous, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Renovations can take a ton of time if you want to do a complete gut job. 

And if you’re completing a renovation while also traveling or working a full-time job, it can be quite stressful. So here are some of the worst parts of renovating an RV.

There Are Unexpected Projects, No Matter How Well You Plan

One of the worst parts (and most expensive parts) of renovating is finding those unexpected projects. You might rip out cabinetry and find an electrical issue. You might remove appliances and find hidden leaks. 

No matter how thorough your planning is, you’ll find other problems to address. You also might end up redoing parts you said you wouldn’t.

For example, after you’ve painted the kitchen a clean white, you might look at your spouse and say, “I think we should continue this into the hallway.” 

Even though you agreed that the kitchen was the only location in the RV you were going to update, after looking at how much brighter the space is, you might add more projects to tackle.

The Steep Learning Curve 

If you start an RV renovation with no previous experience, it’ll take much longer and probably cost a lot more than you anticipate.

Without the skills and expertise of professional laborers like electricians, plumbers, carpenters, etc., you’ll need to learn on the spot.

You might discover the type of paint you chose isn’t good for RV cabinets. So after spending a couple of days painting, you might need to buy another type of paint and spend additional days painting again. 

Or you might have to spend several hours scouring YouTube and blog posts to learn how to rewire an electrical outlet.

Keep in Mind: If you don’t want to spend a lot of time renovating your RV, you need to see these 20 Easy RV Upgrades You’ll Actually Love

A person renovating their RV by painting it

You’ll Practically Be Living at Home Improvement Big Box Stores 

If you don’t know your way around Lowe’s or Home Depot, you will after an RV renovation. It might seem like you have to go back every day to buy something else or return something that didn’t work.

From lumber to paint to light fixtures, these home improvement stores will become your best friend or worst enemy.

Hard to Find Replacement Parts

Many RV owners don’t want to spend money on a new RV. Instead, they’d rather update and renovate their current model. However, older RVs have parts that may be obsolete. You might have trouble finding replacement parts. 

If you find such parts, it’ll probably cost a lot more money than you expected. And you’ll have spent way more time than you planned to search.

A man working on renovating his RV kitchen

Underestimating the Cost and Time a Renovation Will Take 

Finally, probably the biggest problem with renovating an RV is underestimating the cost and time. If you do it yourself with no previous experience, it’s hard to know just how much the renovation will cost and how long it will take you to complete each task. 

Reading a professional DIY interior designer’s blog about her latest RV renovation isn’t compatible. If it took her two weeks, it might take you two months. 

And as you add on additional projects that you didn’t intend on completing and find problems, the time it takes just keeps going up.

Does Renovating an RV Increase Value? 

If you’re looking to sell your renovated RV, updated features will certainly help your cause. Potential buyers love to see a clean, modern interior, even if the RV is 20 years old.

However, an RV dealership won’t be interested in a renovated RV. Dealerships want original features.

Flipping RVs has become increasingly popular. If you can get a good deal on an outdated RV, you could potentially earn a living flipping RVs just like other people do with flipping houses. 

But this takes more than just a keen eye for interior decorating. You must also be a savvy business person to make a good deal from the beginning.

Keep in Mind: Looking for reputable RV renovation companies? Here’s Where to Find them!

Is Renovating an RV Worth It?

If your RV drains your energy rather than brings you life, it might be time for some changes. You can easily change out those 1980s dinette cushions for something more cozy. 

Adding an accent wall with a bright color will liven the place up and create positive vibes. You can do small renovations that won’t break the bank or take weeks to complete. 

So if you don’t want a complete overhaul, consider what small changes you can make to help your RV feel more homey.

However, if you’re ready to undertake the challenge of a renovation, it’s important to prepare yourself mentally. It’s not just a laundry list of physical tasks you need to complete. 

A renovation can be exhausting, challenge relationships, and will probably lead to discovering unseen problems. If you’re ready for the entire experience, an RV renovation could completely change your camping experience.

Are you willing to take on the worst parts of renovating so you can enjoy the best parts later?

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