We had our RV custom painted. Here’s what the process was like…

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Before painting Coachman Aurora

By Nanci Dixon
Like many RVs with decal graphics, our motorhome had started to show signs of age after only four years. The decals were cracking and some were peeling. I was so proud of our still fairly new RV, that I just matched the paint and carefully painted in the cracks. That was NOT a good idea. Beyond being unbearably time-consuming, the rest of the decals continued to fade, crack and peel while my paint remained bright and shiny!

Rear view before painting Coachman Aurora

The decals were no longer available. The coach manufacturer had been sold and sold again. We hired our son to remove the decals. Now, at least we couldn’t see the decals cracking and peeling, but the process was not friendly to the exterior fiberglass. We debated our options and decided to have it repainted with full-body paint rather than buy another motorhome to begin our full-time journey.

Getting ideas

After that decision, we did a lot of walking around campgrounds snapping photos of designs we liked, going to sales lots to see what was current, and, of course, did tons of research online. We looked into body wraps, too, but considering we were planning to keep the motorhome for a long time, we didn’t want peeling and fading to happen with body wraps later. There was a limited guarantee.

Finding a paint shop

First, we Googled “RV custom paint” and that brought up a good-sized list. Turns out there are a number of places across the country that do full-body RV painting. The first thing we learned? This would not be cheap.

We began calling around and found that some shops had a year wait and some painted the RVs for manufacturers. Those were the easiest to decide on since we just needed to see the RVs that they had painted on the sales lots. That helped eliminate several based on quality and price point.

We also learned that some painted the sides of the slides while others didn’t. Some charged more for a second coat of clear coat. Some charged more for removing the old decals and some didn’t. Some replaced all the weatherstripping and slide seals and some did not. Some seemed to have an attitude and others were friendly and helpful. I actually made a spreadsheet with all the different options.

We decided on Precision Painting in Bremen, Indiana. They do the paint for Entegra as well as some of the Jayco line. Unfortunately, they no longer do many custom paint jobs, at least on older rigs. They are way too busy painting the new ones! We agreed on a ballpark price and set up a time to take it in. In the meantime, I “noodled” designs and things I liked over photos of our RV. It was really going to be a custom paint job!

The design

The day came and we drove the motorhome from Minnesota to Indiana and sat down with the designer. Unbeknownst to me, I had brought ideas that were too close to existing RVs. Apparently, every paint job is copyrighted and the designers can’t replicate them. She worked on her computer and started showing us designs over photos she had taken of our RV. I could say “swirl less” or “swirl more”, “I like that!” or “I don’t like that!” Note, my husband promptly fell asleep in the comfortable chair and the designer and I continued to work on the design.

Final painting design

When the design was complete from every angle, my husband woke up to help with paint colors. There were hundreds to choose from! We could look at some RVs in process of being painted and done. 

We went home and waited for the final plans. We received a digital image about a week later, made a few tweaks and both signed off on it.

Painting in progress

We were delighted that she sent photos in progress! Painting in ProgressSide painting in progress

Side, slide out painting in progress

Rear view painters in progress

Front View painting in progress

Painting complete in shop

Picking it up in a snowstorm!

Fast forward to our retirement on December 31st. We picked up our drop-dead beautiful motorhome in a snowstorm on January 2! We were what you’d call “happy campers!”

Final pick up in snowstorm front

Side view final in snow

Rear view final painting in snowstorm

Would we do it again?

Absolutely! We got compliment after compliment on it. Even though two years later we upgraded to diesel, I wouldn’t hesitate to have a rig custom painted. Did we recoup our investment? Only a part of it in resale, but we had the satisfaction of a beautiful eye-catching coach unlike anyone else’s.

##RVT973

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Phil Upham
6 days ago

Has anyone had their rig painted in Mexico, if so was it quality and a good price?

Tommy Molnar
15 days ago

The more I look at this article, the more I think about getting this done on our 2012 Arctic Fox 25Y. There will be some celebrating happening early next year, and this would be a perfect way to do that.

Rick
20 days ago

Had our 40ft 1996 mountain aire painted 4 colors and clear coated 10 yrs ago for $9K at a shop in Breman Indiana. Lasted a long time and still looked great when we sold her.

Kenneth Fuller
21 days ago

Nothing like full body paint if one can afford it. It sure is beautiful and I believe easier to maintain.

John Koenig
21 days ago

What was the FINAL COST of the job?

Neal Davis
21 days ago

Wow! That was one beautiful RV! Must have been more than a little sadness to see it go. 🙁

Ed K
21 days ago

If I ever had the money to get my 1995 Gulf Stream repainted, I would have the exact same layout that Gulf Stream put on from the factory, I do not like swirls and the new paint jobs coming from the factory’s, just to dark for my taste. I would change the color as I like Green a lot better than Blue for the trim and lower panels.

Anne M Pace
21 days ago

I would love to see your spreadsheet. Also, what is an average price including decal removal and seal replacement?

Marvin
21 days ago

We’re just beginning to think about possibly having our rig wrapped. It’s common on buses and other large vehicles. You can also have the design cover your windows with perf screen film. Not yet sure about price, but it has the added bonus that it’s removable, and I can build the wrap in Photoshop and send it as a design master. (Did you know that billboards are sometimes built from a letter-sized Photoshop or Illustrator file, and then scaled up?” Great big dots if you look at them up close.)

Tommy Molnar
21 days ago

We met a gentleman in a park near Grand Canyon who had had his motorhome repainted. It was gorgeous. He said he had it done in Mexico because shops here wanted way more than he was willing to pay. Can’t recall where he went for the job but I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to track down shops.

But THIS paint job in the article is fabulous. I would sit outside with my chair FACING the coach just so I could look at it nonstop – and drool . . .

PennyPA
21 days ago

So how much, in round numbers, did this paint job cost?

Peter McDonald
21 days ago

That is a beautiful job! It would be great to find a shop that does work that looks like yours.