How Much Does It Cost To Paint An RV?Anthony Day
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Painting your RV is a great way to keep your vehicle looking good and polished for years to come, but how much does it actually cost?
When the camping season rolls in, you want to ensure that your vehicle is prepped inside and out - with paint jobs being easy to neglect. However, the cost to paint your RV can greatly vary depending on a number of different factors.
It costs roughly $5,000 to $10,000 to paint an RV. The price will vary depending on the class and size of your RV - with larger vehicles costing considerably more. In addition, fiberglass RV campers are more expensive to paint (compared to aluminum) and can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $13,000.
There is a lot that goes into maintaining your RV and although mechanical components are what you want to prioritize, having a clean, presentable, and eye-catching camper makes a huge difference in how you feel when you hit the road. If your RV has a drab, discolored, and faded appearance, you can rest assured that a fresh paint job is going to do wonders for your vehicle’s aesthetic. With that said, a lot of RV owners are often shocked when they find out how much it costs to re-paint their camper. RV paint jobs require a considerable amount of work and they are often too technical and laborious to do on your own, which is why hiring a professional to have it done properly is often the route that most owners take. To help you understand this further, we are going to take a closer look at how much it costs to paint an RV in more detail.
After extensively researching RV maintenance costs, I have been able to gather enough information to determine how much it costs to repaint a recreational vehicle. My research has indicated that the amount you end up paying will be determined based on the type of camper that you have, the material of its shell, as well as its overall size.
Cost to Paint an RV by Class & Size
Not all RVs are made equal and they can greatly vary in characteristics depending on their classification. RV manufacturers design a number of different vehicle models so that owners have more options to consider when picking out their perfect camper.
Your RV’s class and size will heavily influence how much you end up paying for your paint job. Let’s break down the costs of painting an RV based on class and size.
Cost to Paint a Class A, B, & C RV
The majority of RVs that we see on the road are classifieds as either A, B, or C. Each RV type comes in different specs and sizes. Naturally, you can expect the paint job for the RV to be greater the larger the vehicle.
More often than not, you can get these standard RV models painted for anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000. Unnecessary price increases can be avoided by keeping paint jobs standardized - with minimalistic detailing and customizations being advisable.
- Class A - $8,000 to $10,000
- Class B - $5,000 to $7,000
- Class C - $5,000 to $8,000
Given that Class A, B, & C RVs are the most common model variations that you see on the road, they are also the most straightforward to work with, which generally results in a more accurate quote from RV shops.
Cost to Paint a Fifth-Wheel RV
Fifth-Wheels are large RV campers that you can attach to the back of a truck via a hitch. Although they are technically classified as ‘trailers’, these are some of the biggest RVs on the market.
This results in Fifth-Wheels being particularly costly to paint. Depending on the type of Fifth-Wheel that you own, your paint job could end up setting you back as much as $10,000. Most of the Fifth-Wheels on the road are around 35 ft long - with some being upwards of 40 ft. These are the biggest options out there and they can easily cost $8,000 - $10,000.
However, there are smaller Fifth-Wheel models as well, which are 25 to 30 ft long. A paint job for a Fifth-Wheel RV of this size is roughly $5,000 to $7,500. You should keep in mind that this is for a standard Fifth-Wheel paint upgrade that does not include customizations.
Cost to Paint a Travel Trailer
Travel trailers are the toughest to estimate, as they can vary greatly in size. The average travel trailers are around 25 ft long, but they can range from 15 ft to 35 ft. With these figures in mind, you can expect the costs of the paint job to fluctuate quite a bit.
- 15ft - $5,000
- 25ft - $6,500
- 35ft - $8,000
If you want to find an approximate quote for your travel trailer paint job before taking it to an RV shop, the best way to do this is to figure out exactly how large your vehicle is. If your travel trailer has additional features such as a pop-out side, this will also add to the final price tag.
Cost to Paint a Small Pop-Up Trailer
If you own a pop-up trailer, you are going to enjoy having considerably lower maintenance costs with your RV camper - which includes paint jobs. Given that a pop-up trailer is the smallest type of RV that you can buy, they are also a lot cheaper to paint.
A paint job for a pop-up trailer costs around $5,000 in most cases. The average size of a pop-up trailer is just 10 ft to 12 ft - with some being as tiny as 7 ft. A camper of this size requires less labor, upkeep, and paint.
If you have a small pop-up camper, your painting costs can be even lower than this, as a 7 ft camper should not be more than $3,500.
Cost to Paint an Aluminum vs Fiber Glass RV
While the size of your RV will often dictate your paint job costs more than anything, an important factor to keep in mind is the material that your RV’s shell is made out of. Two of the most common materials used are aluminum and fiberglass.
When it comes to durability, fiberglass tends to be a crowd favorite amongst RVers. However, fiberglass is trickier to deal with for paint jobs. This material requires a lot more labor to re-paint, which greatly adds to your final costs.
While the amount of money that you will need to pay to paint your fiberglass RV will also be influenced based on its size, you should count on an increased price tag of $8,000 to $13,000 for the work.
On the other hand, aluminum-shelled RVs are easier to deal with and do not need as much work. On average, you should not pay more than $3,500 to $10,000 for your aluminum RV paint job (depending on the size of the vehicle).
How to Save Money on RV Paint Jobs
If you are cringing at the throughout of paying upwards of $10,000 for your RV paint job, you are not alone. Upgrading the paint on your RV camper is not a cheap financial venture and a lot of people are stunned when they discover how much cash they have to dish out for the work.
This can be particularly frustrating when you consider that painting an entire house can be a fraction of the cost of painting an RV. While some of the expenses that go into painting your RV are unavoidable, you can mitigate your costs by taking certain measures. Let’s explore your options.
DIY RV Paint Jobs
The bottom line is that the more work that you put in on your RV’s paint job, the less you are going to spend. Whether you paint your vehicle from start to finish or if you decide on doing partial work - putting in a little elbow grease can ultimately save you thousands of dollars.
With that said, painting an RV requires quite a bit of labor. This is more technical than painting a house and you will need to follow the process carefully to ensure that the paint job sticks and looks presentable when it’s all said and done.
A DIY RV paint job requires 25 to 30 hours of work. However, if you put in the time to do it yourself, the cost of doing so can be as little as $300.
Prep Your RV
The DIY approach from start to finish can be labor intensive and a lot of owners cannot be bothered to go through the entire process. This can be particularly problematic if you bite off more than you can chew and sabotage the project halfway through.
If you are not confident in your ability to paint your RV yourself, you can still save a lot of money by doing the prep work. One of the biggest costs associated with painting an RV is not the actual painting but simply the preparation of getting the vehicle ready.
There is a lot that goes into preparing an RV for a paint job and the more that you do, the less you will pay down the line. Prep work is relatively straightforward and does not require technical skill in the same way that painting does. Consider prepping the following on your RV:
- Clean the vehicle
- Tape off areas
- Caulk exterior joints
- Lightly sand
With labor costs being the most expensive aspect of your RV painting, you can cut your price tag in half by taking care of some of the basic prep work yourself.
Interior vs Exterior RV Paint Jobs
When you get a quote on your RV paint job, most shops will give you an estimate for the interior and exterior. While it is nice to perform a full paint job on your RV camper to have it look polished inside and out, it’s not always necessary.
Depending on the condition of your recreational vehicle, you may only need to paint the exterior of the camper. RVs get used and abused much more on their exterior than interior, which is why a lot of people only decide to paint the outside of their vehicles.
Over the years, scuff marks, scratches, and sun damage will become more noticeable on the outer shell of your camper and you may find that your interior is in solid shape. If that is the case, do not bother committing to a full RV paint job and just opt for the exterior, as this can considerably cut your costs.
Avoid Custom Graphics
You have likely seen some pretty cool-looking RVs on the road that have flashy custom graphics on the exterior. Although these undeniably add a nice aesthetic to the vehicle, they also raise the price of the paint job.
Custom graphics are all add-ons to your painting costs and if you are on a budget, you should keep things simple. The amount that you save will depend on the custom graphic, as they can vary - with some adding thousands to the final price tag.