6 Tips for Decreasing the Cost of Painting an RV

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  • 4-15 hours
  • Advanced
  • 500-5,000

Painting an RV can be a costly decision. Still, there are times when it is necessary to refresh the paint. There are several options that can help keep the cost to a minimum while giving you an updated look.

1. Think Fiberglass

While many RV owners say fiberglass is more work, with proper care it can last a lifetime. Fiberglass finishes are more resistant to the elements and are much more inexpensive to have done. The fiberglass won't absorb heat in the summer, making it easier to keep the inside temperature of the RV regulated. The fiberglass will need to be waxed regularly, and only special types of cleaning agents can be used to avoid a dulling of the finish. Choosing fiberglass over a full paint job can save as much as $5000.

2. Forgo Graphics


Adding graphics to the paint job will increase the overall cost by quite a bit. Even if you have an airbrushed design, it's still going to cost more out of your pocket. If you must have graphics on your RV, look for a high quality vinyl that can be applied yourself. These may need to be changed every so often to keep them looking great, but a custom vinyl graphic as opposed to custom painted graphics can be thousands less.

3. Custom Finishes

While everyone wants to make their RV their own, choosing a custom finish can be very costly. Not only will the custom finish cost you more upfront, but maintaining it will be a large out of pocket expense as well. Many times if a custom finish is scratched or becomes chipped, the only way to fix it is by repainting a very large area. You can customize the look after the fact on your own. Try to opt for a single color you like, and then upgrade the look later with pinstriping or other vinyl pieces instead of a custom finish to save money.

4. Have Existing Damage Repaired First

Motorhome driving down the road

Most shops are willing to fix minor damage to the body at the same time as they paint. If you plan ahead however, you can save money by shopping around. Find a shop that will fix any body damage before you settle on a shop for the paint. If the shop you've chosen for the paint won't match the estimate for the body damage, you can save money by having the damage repaired first, then sending the RV in for a paint job.

5. Multiple Colors

A five-color paint job is going to cost thousands more than a two-color paint job. Go online and find some simple paint designs you like, and use those as a reference. Using less color won't give you an inferior look, just more money in your wallet at the end of the day.

6. You Get What You Pay For

Many people will try to shave money off the cost by using an inferior painting service. While this may be cheaper up front, you will find you may need to repaint more frequently. Spend a few extra dollars in the beginning to save money over time.