prep rv walls for paint

How to Prep and Paint RV Walls and Cabinets

When we decided to take on this RV travel trailer renovation, I knew exactly how I wanted it to look. Well, mostly how I wanted it to look. One thing I knew for sure? I wanted it white.

How to Prep and Paint RV Walls and Cabinets

No offense to all you RV manufacturers out there, but the old school brown interiors are dark, drab and suffocating to me.

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2007 Sunset Creek 298BH main area

I enjoy bright and airy. White interiors seem to make the small space feel larger.

Is it tougher to keep clean? Perhaps?

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But, people thought I was crazy for going with white kitchen cabinets in my home when we built it too, but here we are three and a half years later and they still look great!

Paint RV Walls

So, we went all in and started prepping the travel trailer to be painted white. Top to bottom pretty much.

During the demo of the trailer, we also began scrubbing and sanding the walls. We were already removing sticky residue from the wallpaper border, so went a step further to scrub everything.

scrubbing rv bunkhouse walls

The walls had grime caked on from years of use and that all had to come off.

After we washed them, we had to sand them all to help the paint adhere, and then wash them again to get the sanding dust off.

It’s a process, but absolutely necessary if you want to ensure the paint sticks and the walls are smooth-ish.

prep rv walls for paint

Not to mention, this was also the prime time to repair any damages to the walls.

Remember all those cabinets and other fixtures we removed on demo day? All those staples? Yeah. We had to repair all of those.

rv stretch sealant

Not to mention, since the caulk was 12 years old, it needed a fresh seal too.


Remember that weight and flexibility matter everywhere in an RV travel trailer. We used DAP EXTREME STRETCH because of its ability to stretch over 600%.

All of that was done during the prep stage. And then we finished off prepping by putting painter’s tape over window frames, appliances, and other things we would be painting around.

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Next, it was time to actually start painting.

when painting becomes a game

Where, at this time, it felt like that was all we did. We painted morning, noon and night for days. Weeks even.

painters tape before painting

When we thought we were done, we found something that was either (a) missed the first time or (b) required another coat.

painting at home to finish faster

We took off cabinet doors and the refrigerator door sections and took them home to paint.

more painting in travel trailer

We got everyone involved. Even our grand baby (pretended) to help.

second coat of rv wall paint

The slide out walls were the easiest to paint.

painted rv slide out

Besides the windows, it was easy to step in and roll the walls without much in the way.

painting rv kitchen cabinets

Plus, because we were putting in all new vinyl plank flooring, we didn’t have to worry about paint getting on the floor.

more painting at home

We just had to paint.

everyone painting

And paint.

painting rv bunkhouse

And paint some more.

paint an rv kitchen renovation

Overall, most of the surfaces used two to three coats of paints. Some areas seemed to suck up more paint than others, no matter how much we prepped it.

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We used a Behr Paint & Primer in One that I saw recommended by other RV renovators so were sure we used a good paint. The surfaces were just incredibly porous I guess.

Overall, it wasn’t too bad; it just seemed to never end.

paintable wallpaper in rv bathroom

It probably didn’t help that we then decided to add paintable wallpaper to the bathroom (note the paintable part)…

painting rv kitchen countertop

And then decided to forego the original plan for marble wallpaper on the kitchen counter and chose to paint it black instead…

painting rv interior door

And finally, painted all three of the interior doors. Plus, the dinette table. Each project presented itself as a fresh, new project.

Each one had to be prepped and sanded in order to take the paint.

painting RV dinette table

Plus, we covered all of the cabinets and doors, as well as the table top and counter, with a couple coats of clear Polycrylic to help safeguard against scuff marks and dings.

Y’all, we pushed through with every brush stroke and we did it!

travel trailer remodel

And if I must say, we’re pretty proud of the work we put in and the finished project!

RV Travel Trailer Remodel __ Before and After

Take a look at all of the before + after pictures of the travel trailer remodel here!

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