Before you head out on all your winter RV trips, take advantage of the mild fall weather with a smart DIY RV painting project. The exterior of your RV has likely taken a beating whether you’re a big fan of campgrounds or a true boondocking extraordinaire. Thankfully, it’s easy to rejuvenate if you have all the right tools and supplies – plus a little bit of know-how to help you out. Not sure how to get started? Just move through these steps to revitalize your RV from nose to tail.
1. Get Your Tools and Paint
Proper RV maintenance always starts with the right tools and supplies, and a DIY RV painting project is no exception. The project will go a lot smoother if you have everything on hand before you start, so don’t move forward until you have the following items. You will need:
- Power washer
- Body filler
- Sanding block
- Paintable caulk
- Dish soap
- Spray gun
- Air compressor
- Painter’s tape
On top of all that, you’ll want to go to the auto body store for automotive primer, paint, and clear coat. You can go with the original colours or mix it up a bit by selecting something altogether different. Also, pick up a jug of paint thinner, so you can properly dilute the paint enough to flow through the spray nozzle.
Always wear a respirator while sanding and spray painting. Goggles and gloves are a good idea as well.
2. Power Wash Before DIY RV Painting
You cannot paint over dirt and grime, or it will all flake off in no time flat. So, bring out the power washer and get your RV sparkling clean, including all the way up on the roof.
Then, scrub all the surfaces with dish soap to strip the wax, remove grease, and create a truly paintable surface. After rinsing, let the surfaces air dry completely.
3. Repair All the Imperfections
As you scrub your RV, look carefully for dings and other imperfections. If they’re smaller than a quarter, then you can use body filler to patch things up. Otherwise, you may need help pulling dents from an auto body professional before moving forward with your DIY RV maintenance project.
To use the body filler, mix as directed, and then firmly spread it over the imperfection with the spreader. Once it dries, sand the filler down until flush with the RV surface.
After that’s done, you’ll also want to renew all the caulk around the doors, windows, and vents. Wash the RV once more to remove the sanding dust and other debris.
4. Tape Off to Breeze Through It
Although taping off might seem like a big pain, it’s an important part of the DIY RV painting process. As you tape off around the windows, mirrors, trim, and more, your efforts protect all those surfaces from getting sprayed come paint time.
Use newspaper to cover the big areas, like the front windows and mirrors, to keep your tape usage to the bare minimum. Otherwise, just press the painter’s tape over the surfaces you want to protect.
5. Apply the RV Paint to Each Panel
Once your RV is fully taped off, mix one pint of paint thinner into a gallon of primer. Pour the mixture into your paint gun, and then set the compressor to 50 PSI.
You’ll then want to apply the primer to all the painted surfaces on your RV. Start at the top front of your RV and spray all the way down to the tail at a steady rate. Always start the spray off panel and then sweep it onto the surface to avoid drips. You’ll then move down to the next unpainted area, allowing the coats to overlap a little bit.
Once you’re done, let the primer dry for at least 24 hours. Clean out the spray gun between colours by spraying pure paint thinner through the nozzle. After that, repeat the painting process for the colour paint and clear coat.
6. Remove the Tape Before the Paint Dries
After finishing the last coat of clear, quickly remove all the tape before the paint dries. If you wait too long, the tape will pull back the paint as well.
7. Step Back and Admire Your DIY RV Maintenance
Upon pulling off the last bit of tape, take a big step back and admire your DIY RV painting efforts. Your commitment to excellent RV maintenance will shine through, inspiring you to go on even more RVing adventures.
Once you’re done with your DIY RV painting project, you’re likely ready to hit the road and show off your hard work. Before doing that, be sure to update your RV insurance coverage to best match your needs. Our team at Wayfarer Insurance Group is always available at 1-844-929-4768 to review your coverage levels and help you get set up. So, please feel free to give us a call anytime.