How to Paint a Travel Trailer

by Ryn Gargulinski

You love trekking about the country with your travel trailer in tow, but you've begun to hate how it looks. After years in the elements, your trailer looks less like a sporty addition and more like a hunk of junk. The interior is fine, but the outside has seen better days. Rather than covering your trailer with a million stickers hoping no one will notice its shoddiness, you can paint a travel trailer with a few simple steps.

Figure out what your trailer is made of. You cannot paint it properly unless you pick the right paint. Many trailers have aluminum siding, while others are made from fiberglass or metal. Some may have a combination of exterior materials.

Pick your paint. Any paint used on a travel trailer should be exterior paint. If you use more than one color, pick the same brand for best results. Exterior paints for fiberglass, aluminum, metal and other materials are available at hardware and home stores. You can also see a selection in Resources.

Watch the weather. Of course, do not try to paint your trailer outside in the pouring rain. Heavy winds can stir up dust and debris that will stick to your new paint job. Extremely hot or cold temperatures will screw up the paint job, as well. Try to pick a calm day between 50 and 80 degrees and park your trailer in a shady spot.

Clean and prepare the trailer. Wash the outside thoroughly to remove any dirt, debris and anything else that may be stuck to it. Once it's dry, cover all areas you don't want to paint--like windows and metal door frames--with a heavy-duty painter's tape. Sand off any rust with a durable sandpaper.

Paint away. Use thick, durable brushes for siding and rollers for flat surfaces. A paint sprayer will give you fast results and even distribution. Spray paints are good for smaller areas or trailers, but will prove costly on larger units. Use a contrasting paint for the small details. Use smaller brushes or a sponge brush to fit into small crevices. (A variety of paint sprayers appear in Resources.)


  • check Get jazzy. Paint your trailer with stripes and designs, or turn it into a giant cat, like the vehicle pictured.

Items you will need

About the Author

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Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Photo by Ryn Gargulinski