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Replacing RV decals: From cracked and faded to fabulous for under $150

By Cheri Sicard
When it comes to replacing RV decals, a lot of people think this is a job that would be impossible to do yourself. This video will show you otherwise.

Is your RV looking dated, frumpy, and just plain old?

Peeling, cracked, and faded decals are often the culprit in aging the appearance of many otherwise perfectly solid motorhomes, fifth wheels, and trailers.

In the video from Jack of All, Master of None, the host transforms the exterior of his 1995 Shasta Class C motorhome. The goal was to make the old-looking RV look new again WITHOUT spending a lot of money.

How to do it?

Remove all the old peeling, cracking, faded, outdated-looking decals and striping and replace them with a new graphics package (which, by the way, does not have to match your old graphics package).

How much does replacing RV decals cost?

You could spend thousands of dollars paying someone to do a job like this for you. It would be quicker and easier than doing it yourself; but if you have some time and can spare a little bit of elbow grease, this is a project that most people can accomplish.

The new graphics package shown in the video cost less than $150. But it easily took 10 years or more off the RV’s exterior appearance. (If only I could get a new graphics package for my face!)

In addition to the new decals, you might need to pick up a few tools and supplies if you don’t already have them:

  • Paint thinner
  • Masking tape
  • Razor blades
  • A “stripe off wheel” for your drill (if you don’t have a drill, add that to the list too)

Taking off the old decals and the glue that held them in place for years is by far the most labor-intensive and tedious part of the project.

When it comes to applying the new decals, the video demonstrates the “hinge method” of application. That means you take care and time to get everything exactly into place before removing any backing and actually applying any graphics.

They also talk about bubbles, the biggest frustration when applying new decals. Spoiler: They’re not that hard to deal with.

Watch the video and see!

##RVDT1941

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DW/ND
1 month ago

I replaced the graphics on my Class A. I removed the originals with a hair dryer and an old fashion hand held razor blade windshield scraper. Worked perfectly and quickly – far better than the power tools used in this video. Just be careful to hold the blade at a steep angle to avoid marring the fiberglass and gently,slowly pull the decal off. (A thin blade putty knife will also work for wider stripes etc).

Member
Roger Marble(@roger)
1 month ago

When I had to remove some failed decals I found that “Plastic Razor Blades” worked well and were less likely to damage the fiberglass “Gel-Coat” surface. They are available from Amazon

Kasey
29 days ago
Reply to  Roger Marble

Me too! They’re great!

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago

When we bought our trailer new in 2012, we noticed “ghosting” already where the mfg had taken off the first set of graphics and replaced them with a whole different scheme. We think maybe we got a “prototype” that was the first ‘tester’ off the line. It shows it was built in 2011 but sold as a 2012. Now we’re thinking of having it painted and again, upgrading the graphics. Spendy I know but as they say, “You can’t take it with you”.

I’m too old to do any of this myself, but these guys did a fabulous job. I’m impressed!

Ken
1 month ago

There’s no mention in the article about the “ghosting effect” left behind on the walls of the rig by the original decals. I know because of decals that were removed after only 3 years. Granted you don’t see any in the photos attached to the article, but under most lighting, they will be there. It’s only reasonable because the surface under the original decals was not “weathered” by sun and rain etc.
However, from a distance……it looks much newer. It’s called the “farfrum” effect…

Far from good, good from far!

Kasey
1 month ago
Reply to  Ken

1000% Ken. I just gave our 2008 a facelift because she was looking pretty dreary. The graphics package was by far the easiest and quickest part of the project. I wish I would have had the wherewithal to video document the work. Peeling old decals with a heat gun (the eraser wheel just made a smeary mess with our old sun baked graphics), then trying everything to remove ghosting: varying products, stripping, wet sanding, nothing did the trick to my satisfaction. I ended up painting ours using a special primer and then high quality exterior paint. Still the “farfrum” effect, but she’s looking good from 3-4 feet and is back to a consistent white with a consistent finish. Way better than she was! But the whole project took the majority of my weekends for almost 2 months. And the cost, while way cheaper than a professional full body paint job or a professional wrap, came in at about $1000 by the time I bought the supplies and tools and scaffolding. I’m happy I did it, though!