Let’s face it; many RVs suffer from dated kitchen designs. The good news? Upgrading and modernizing your RV’s kitchen doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. If you’re willing to put in the time (and a little elbow grease), you can transform your kitchen rather inexpensively. One of the most effective ways to refresh an RV kitchen is to repaint your dated cabinets.
Interested in tackling a DIY RV cabinet painting project? We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to walk you through the entire process. We’ll also include some tips on when it may be worth it to hire a professional for cabinet painting or refinishing.
How to Paint Your RV Cabinets
While the exact process for painting your RV cabinets will vary a bit based on the material your existing cabinets are made from, the same general steps will likely apply. Many RV kitchens have cabinets that are made out of wood, but laminate and veneer are also quite common. The following steps are based on wooden kitchen cabinets that have not been previously refinished.
Remove and Label Cabinet Doors
Begin by carefully removing all of your cabinet doors and hardware. It’s a good idea to number each cabinet/door with a pencil so that you know exactly where to reinstall each door when you’re done painting. If you’ll be reusing your cabinet hardware, be sure to set each knob or handle aside in a safe place (such as a resealable plastic bag). However, if your hardware is dated, this is a great time to upgrade it.
Start With a Thorough Cleaning
Successful painting of your RV’s cabinets will begin with a thorough cleaning. Removing any food grease or other buildup from your cabinet doors is a must to achieve proper paint adhesion. One of the best ways to remove grease from cabinet doors is to simply use rubbing alcohol; just be sure to work in a properly ventilated space so as to reduce exposure to fumes.
Sand With the Grain
Once your cabinets are clean, it’s time to give them a good sanding. This will help to remove any existing finish while also preparing the cabinet’s surface to accept a primer and paint. If you have an electric sander, this will make your job a lot easier. Just be sure to sand with the grain of the wood (if you’re working with wooden cabinets) rather than against it.
Don’t Forget to Prime
Your RV cabinets likely encounter a lot of wear and tear, so you need to make sure your paint job is properly primed. This will help your paint stick to your cabinets better and reduce the chances of scratches or other damage over time. Apply at least one coat of primer that is specifically designed for the surface on which you’re painting (wood, laminate, etc.). Then, make sure to allow plenty of time for the primer to dry and set before moving onto the next step.
Paint and Protect
Last but not least, it’s time for the fun part! Your cabinets will probably need two coats of paint for the best results. You’ll also want to decide between a gloss or high-gloss finish, depending on the look you’re going for. Generally, a combination of smaller paint brushes and foam rollers will be your best bet for applying paint evenly. However, if you have a paint sprayer and are confident using it, this can save you a lot of time.
Once your cabinets are painted and dried, applying a clear coat is a great way to seal your paint job and add some extra shine to your finish.
When to Call a Professional
Painting RV cabinets is doable as a DIY project—but only if you have the time and patience to do it correctly. If you’re short on time or if you have a lot of cabinets to paint, you may be better off hiring a professional instead. Of course, you should expect to spend a lot more if you go this route, as this is a labour-intensive project.
Enjoy Your Upgraded RV Kitchen!
You might be surprised at just what a difference a fresh coat of paint can make when it comes to your RV’s kitchen cabinets. This is just one of many RV maintenance and improvement tasks that you can likely handle yourself. For more information and guidance on DIY RV maintenance, be sure to keep an eye on the Wayfarer Insurance Group blog!