How Much Does It Cost To Renovate An RV?Anthony Day
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If you have an old RV that you are thinking about replacing, you may find that renovating the vehicle is much more affordable, but how much does it cost?
Over the years, RVs will get used and abused - externally and internally - which often results in owners selling them for scrap or to a new owner. While just about every RV will need to get replaced eventually, you would be amazed by how much life you can bring back to your camper by renovating it.
It costs roughly $500 to $5,000 to renovate an RV. The price can vary depending on the size and condition of your RV, as well as how far you want to take your renovations. In addition, you can greatly lower your renovation costs by doing the work yourself (DIY) - instead of hiring professionals.
Whether you have a dated RV parked in your driveway or if you have just picked up a used camper for your upcoming trip, renovating your vehicle is the ultimate way to make it feel homey before you hit the open road. These vehicles need to be maintained just like your home and your car, which is why you should give your RV the attention and care that it deserves. If you are assessing your old RV and finding that it looks drab, discolored, and has a funky smell that just won’t go away, a renovation project is the answer to getting your camper back in action. The cost of committing to a project like this can vary, as each RV is different. You also have so much creative freedom to take your RV renovations as far as you want based on the level of comfort that you want to achieve. To help you understand this further, we are going to take a closer look at how much it costs to renovate an RV in more detail.
After extensively researching RV restorations, I have been able to gather enough information to determine how much it costs to renovate a recreational vehicle. My research has indicated that the costs to renovate an RV can greatly vary depending on the condition of the vehicle, as well as whether you decide to do the work yourself or hire a professional.
RV Renovation Costs
If you want to make your old RV feel like new again, renovating the vehicle inside and out can be a game-changer. The cost to renovate an RV can be tricky to pinpoint, as each project is different and will require a specific approach. How much you ultimately end up paying will depend on what your end goal for the project is - with most renovations costing anywhere from $500 to $5,000+.
You should also keep in mind that RV renovations are considerably cheaper if you have a lot of the tools and materials on hand. With that said, before you start taking things apart, you should carefully assess the condition of your vehicle so that you can figure out exactly how you want to approach your renovation. You should assess the following for potential renovations:
- Mechanical components
Naturally, you should focus on renovating the aspects of your RV that need it the most. However, you may also want to revamp your vehicle by modernizing it and adding new features to make it feel even homier. The bottom line is that the more you want to get out of your RV, the more expensive your renovation costs.
Lastly, how much you end up spending will also be determined by the size of your vehicle. Large RVs will require more time, materials, and money - whereas small campers can cost a fraction of the price.
RV Exterior Renovation Costs
The first place that most people start when renovating their RVs is the exterior. The reason for this is that the exterior of your RV is what gets the most weathered and damaged quickly.
Most RV exterior renovations will cost around $300 to $2,500+, depending on the condition of the vehicle and what kind of features you want to add. Let’s break down some common exterior RV renovation costs.
Paint ($300 - $500)
If your RV is looking discolored from years of sun damage, scrapes, and scratches, a paint job can often reinvent the image of the entire vehicle. Upgrading the paint of an RV can cost anywhere from $300 to $500 - assuming that you do the work yourself.
Tires ($200 - $350 Per Tire)
Tires can vary in quality and characteristics, which implies that you could be paying a different price depending on the specs that you opt for. You can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $350 for a quality RV tire - with $800 to $1,400 being the average price for a full set.
Roof ($300 - $325 Per Linear Foot)
If your RV’s roof is in bad shape, you could be in for a costly and laborious restoration project. This is not an easy part of your vehicle to fix and you may even need to seek professional assistance if you are not up for the job.
Renovating an RV roof can cost upwards of $300 to $325 per linear foot. However, if you just need to handle a simple patch job, you may be able to get away with just using some caulk, which can cost $50 or less.
RV Interior Renovation Costs
You can maintain your RV to the best of your abilities, but over time, the interior will start to feel dated - or deteriorate completely. Whether you are dealing with moldy flooring, hideous furniture, or broken appliances - interior renovations will make your RV feel inviting to live in again. Let’s break down some common interior RV renovation costs.
Upholstery ($100 - $350)
The upholstery on RV interiors needs to be replaced every 10 to 20 years - depending on how well it was looked after. If you need to commit to changing the upholstery for the entire vehicle, then your costs can be as high as $350.
However, if you assessed the condition of the upholstery and are finding that you only need to target a specific area, you can mitigate your costs considerably.
Furniture ($100 - $1,000)
Depending on the type of RV that you have, there is likely more than one piece of furniture that you need to assess. The most common things that need to be renovated are couches and beds.
The cost to upgrade furniture can vary based on what needs to be replaced, as well as whether you buy used or new. If you opt for used furniture, you can save yourself a lot of money - with some RVers paying less than $100 to $300 for an RV furniture set.
Appliances ($100 - $500)
Whether you need a new mini fridge or a microwave, appliances also go into RV restorations. The amount that you need to pay can be hard to pinpoint, as you can decide to buy used or new appliances.
If you go with secondhand appliances, you can keep your costs below $100 to $300. However, new appliances can be considerably more pricey.
Flooring ($100 - $1,000)
Much like renovating an RV roof, flooring can also be a costly and painstaking procedure. You need to carefully evaluate the condition of your floor to determine your actual estimate, but you can count on it being at least $100 - with a full floor renovation costing $1,000+.
Decor ($20 - $500)
Once you have taken care of the essential renovations, you can start redecorating your RV to give it some flare. Whether it is adding in some better lighting or some artwork, the decor is the most flexible part of your renovation project.
Depending on what kind of decor you want to add to your RV, you can spend anywhere from $20 to $500+.
RV Mechanical Restoration Costs
Unless you are a professional mechanic, you may need to take your RV in for an inspection to determine its condition. The inspection alone can cost much as $150 to $1,200. However, if you can evaluate the mechanical components of the vehicle yourself, you can save quite a bit.
If the extent of your mechanical restorations is a simple tune-up, your costs will be quite low - with most people spending $150 to $300 for an RV engine tune-up. With that being said, if there is something wrong with your engine that requires additional parts and labor, your mechanical restoration costs can skyrocket.
Mechanical restorations can be challenging to quote, given that there can be so many different things wrong with a used RV. In addition, each RV is different and will require a specific evaluation based on its class and condition. Regardless, mechanical restorations can cost thousands if serious work needs to be done.
RV Plumbing Restoration Costs
Before you hit the road, you want to make sure that your RV’s plumbing is in working order. You should inspect the vehicle yourself for any leaks or cracks and double-check that all components of your RV’s plumbing are functioning properly.
If you decide to take your RV in for an inspection, this can end up costing you extra on top of your renovations - with most shops charging around $200. Common plumbing issues could be:
- Black & Graywater tank replacements
- Hose & Pipe replacements
You can fix a lot of basic leaks and cracks with caulk, which should not cost more than $50 to $100. And you can resolve a lot of clogs yourself by flushing your tanks and identifying the source.
However, if you need to replace the plumbing systems inside of your RV, this can significantly add to your restoration costs. Although the price of renovating an entire RV plumbing system can vary, you should expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000+.
DIY Renovations vs Professional Services
If you want to avoid expensive renovations, then you should highly consider doing the majority (or all) of the work yourself. All of the above-mentioned figures that we quoted are for handing renovations with a DIY approach.
Professional shops are going to charge you a lot more for the same work and you need to keep in mind that you are not only paying for parts and materials but labor as well. RV maintenance shops are going to charge you by the hour for their time and this can amount to thousands of dollars on top of your renovation costs.
Depending on the type of renovations that you want to commit to, you may find that the bulk of your budget goes towards the labor hours of an RV shop. If you are not comfortable with using tools and do not feel like you are up to doing the project yourself, hiring professionals is a great way to get quality assurance.
However, if you are on a budget and want to keep your costs low, DIY RV renovations are going to be essential. Unless there is something seriously wrong with your vehicle that requires professional attention, you should be able to take care of the majority of your RV’s restorations on your own. By taking the DIY approach with your RV renovations, you only need to calculate material costs, as well as any features that you want to add to your vehicle.