One Ordinary Family on an Extraordinary Adventure

Painting the RV Walls | RV Remodeling

Painting the walls of the RV was a major ordeal, but the effort was worth it to complete our RV remodel. We did have some difficulty in the bedroom area. Painting the RV cabinets went a little better–I will try and detail that in a later post. Here is the story of the problems we faced with painting inside the RV.

RV standard decor: Brown, brown, and more brown.

RV standard decor: Brown, brown, and more brown.

When we bought our motor home, I looked at her with the eye of a woman who planned to make some changes. Naturally, this alarmed Brian, but he has a way of putting up with my ideas even if they don’t always seem as brilliant to him as they do to me.

One thing I wanted to do was paint, and I set out to researching how to paint in an RV. One of the problems we faced is that Queenie is “vintage.” She is a 1985 Travel Queen. I’m not sure if it was to our advantage or not, but she had been painted before, and the strange brown wallpaper-like stuff that coats RV walls had taken paint and held it. That was a good sign I thought.

However, years had gone by, and I thought Queenie needed a good facelift, so I started prepping the walls to paint. I had the idea that, since Brian was not excited about painting, I would just do it myself while he tackled more complicated jobs.

In the beginning, it worked. The kitchen came out perfectly, just as I had planned, but it was a small area. I was itching to tackle something more complex. I moved on to the bathroom. It needed some serious brightening, and again, it went just as planned. I washed the walls thoroughly, put on a coat of Kilz paint, and then painted the bathroom a pale yellow.

Then came the bedroom.

Prepping the RV wall for sanding.

Prepping the RV wall for sanding.

Apparently, at some point in time, there had been a leak around one of the windows. The water had come in and rotted a bit of the wood, so when my daughters and I started peeling old paint and sanding, we got a big surprise. Chunks of wall started falling off.

It was at this moment that I heard Brian’s voice in my head. It was replaying the part of the conversation in which he had mentioned that painting an old motor home was not going to be a simple process.

Lucky for me, he bailed me out, but he had to go above and beyond a simple paint job to solve the problem.

Peeling off the loose paint ended up tearing off parts of the wall.

Peeling off the loose paint ended up tearing off parts of the wall.

Because the gouges in the wall were deep, we knew they could not simply be filled with putty. The first time we drove and moved the motor home, the motion would dislodge the putty and we’d have the same mess all over again.

Brian went and got a sheet of luan and cut it to fit the entire lower wall. Then he got a little piece of trim to cover the seam. One coat of primer, some pale yellow paint, and suddenly the bad wall matched the rest of the room. It looked so good I wanted him to put some trim on the opposite wall, but he wasn’t that excited about the process, so his side of the room is trimless. He’s coping very well.

The short version: Painting the inside of an RV is very doable. As with any painting project, good preparation is most of the job. Because everything is such small scale, there is a lot of detail and trim work, but the entire process went by pretty quickly. Wash, tape, prime, paint—the steps are pretty much the same as for a regular house—just as long as you don’t peel off half a wall in the process.

RV bedroom wall.

RV bedroom wall.

I didn’t get a close up of the wall, just a general picture of this side of the bedroom. We were very pleased with the results, and now, a year later, the paint job is still in great shape.

Learning Across America

Learning Across America

Rose Godfrey is a speech pathologist and freelance writer. The Godfrey family (Brian, Rose, and the 7 kids who are still at home) crossed the USA in an RV then set out to see the world.
Learning Across America

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  1. D'ette Corona
    January 16, 2015    

    Hi Rose,

    We are trying to reach you regarding a story you submitted some time ago titled My Really Son. We want to include it in Chicken Soup for the Soul The Joy of Adoption. We are on a tight deadline and I need to get our permission form signed.

  2. Nan
    December 5, 2016    

    Hello, Did you use an interior paint? I was wondering if the freezing and hot temps would affect it. Would you use an exterior paint?

    • January 16, 2017    

      I don’t even remember. We usually get paint from the “oops” rack at the hardware store. :)

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