How to Paint the Exterior of a Travel Trailer

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Travel trailer owners take pride in the appearance of their trailers. For travelers who rely on their trailer to serve as their home away from home, the way their trailer looks can determine how relaxing their trip is. One simple job that keeps the trailer looking good while protecting its exterior from the elements is to paint it. Taking care to prepare the trailer properly and paint it carefully will result in a successful paint job that can last for a decade or more.

Things You'll Need

  • Oil-based metal priming paint
  • Acrylic latex exterior house paint
  • Newspapers
  • Masking tape
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paint sprayer
  • Broom
  • Pail
  • Soap powder
  • Turpentine

Clean off the trailer exterior. Sand any rusty patches and then wash it with a high-quality powdered soap product (available in home centers). Follow the directions to mix the soap powder in water and wash the trailer using an old broom. The trailer must dry thoroughly before it's painted.

Cover all windows with newspaper and tape it around the window and door frames.

Let the trailer dry for several days. Prepare to prime and paint on days that are not windy. Park the travel trailer in the shade. Sun and wind will disturb the mechanical and chemical bond that the primer and paint will need to dry slowly.

Paint a vinyl siding travel trailer with thinned-down oil-based metal priming paint (thinned down with turpentine to about half its strength). Paint corners, edges and around frames with a paintbrush while other areas can be spray-painted with a sprayer. Purchase the paint, paintbrush and sprayer at a home center.

Paint the trailer no more than two days after applying the priming paint. Now, use the sprayer and paintbrushes to paint the trailer. Use 100 percent acrylic latex exterior house paint with a high volume of acrylic paint resin for the trailer paint. This is usually the most expensive paint, but the paint job will last longer.

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