When you’re fitting out your RV, you’ll want to make its interior as nice as possible. After all, you’re going to be living, sleeping, and eating in there, so you want it to look great!
However, as soon as you enter an RV you’ll notice that the panels that they use on the ceiling are very different to the panels that they use on the walls. How so?
Well, you’ll notice that the interior wall panels for an RV are typically made out of MDF or a thin type of plywood, though more expensive RVs might use vinyl paneling instead.
These are all good materials, and RV-owners will then apply wallpaper over them.
Meanwhile, the panels that are used on the RV interior’s ceiling are typically made out of PVC or FRP (fiber-reinforced plastic).
For FRP, those fibers are usually glass, carbon, or other materials. You’ll find that whichever type of panel they use for the ceiling, it’ll be lightweight and resistant to moisture.
This is essential, because condensation can build up easily in RVs, and it can lead to materials rotting or rusting – and also affect the health of the RV’s inhabitants.
In fact, mold is a big problem in RVs, and if you ever spot any on your interior paneling then it needs to be replaced quickly. But where can you buy RV paneling?
We’ve got the answers! In our handy guide below, we’ve got essential information on where you can buy RV paneling – for the ceiling or interior walls.
Whether your panels have got ruined by mold or rot, or perhaps you’ve damaged one and want to replace it, you’ll be able to find new RV panels with the help of our guide. Read on!
Where Can You Buy RV Paneling? (Ceiling Panels And Wall Panels)
When it comes to buying new RV paneling, whether it’s for your RV’s ceiling or its interior walls, then there are three key places you can look.
Your Local Hardware Store
Your hardware store is going to be a terrific place to look for some new RV paneling.
These are also great places for all your DIY needs, and they sell plenty of household hardware that will help you to do your home up.
By that basis, they’ll help you renovate your RV too, since it’s simply a home on wheels!
In terms of what they’re likely to sell, you should be able to find MDF boards or FRP boards to use on the ceiling.
Meanwhile, you should also be able to find some plywood that can be used for the wall panels, as well as MDF.
Hardware stores should sell thin plywood, about ⅛ inch thick, which will be good for the job, and it’ll be lightweight too.
In some hardware stores, you might even find that they only sell larger boards than you need.
However, some places will offer the service of cutting the panels down the size you need, allowing you to get exactly what you want.
Your Local Lumber Store
Similarly, your local lumber store is going to be a great place to find the materials you need for your RV’s ceiling or wall panels.
Lumber stores, or lumber yards, are where you can buy all sorts of different types of lumber and wood, allowing you to find exactly the type of wood you might need for your DIY project.
As a result, you should be able to find materials like MDF and plywood at a lumber yard, which will then be ideal for using for your RV interior panels.
Some lumber yards will even have planers, saws, and other handy machines to help you refine your wood to be how you want it to be.
On The Internet
Finally, you can always use the internet to buy your RV paneling.
However, this method has its positives and negatives, and it’s probably best that you try searching your local hardware stores and lumber yards beforehand.
In the event that they don’t have the paneling materials you need, looking online will suffice.
Benefits Of Online Buying
On the positive side, the internet can be really useful for finding RV paneling because it has such a wide range of available materials.
While a store will be limited in what it stocks there, the internet should have a wider range of materials on offer, from all kinds of different places.
On top of that, you might even find that big name hardware stores have websites of their own from which you can search for RV paneling, finding materials that they may not have had in stock in your local physical store.
For example, stores like Lowes and Home Depot have websites that offer an easy online shopping experience.
Downsides Of Online Buying
However, there are downsides to using the internet to source your RV paneling. For one thing, a lot of online retailers will have high shipping rates when sending the materials to you.
This is quite understandable, given that they’ll be shipping large and long boards to you.
However, it can significantly increase the cost of your paneling job, and not everybody will have the budget for those shipping fees.
Additionally, you won’t be seeing the materials until they arrive at your door.
It might sound obvious, but when you go to a hardware store or a lumber yard, you can see each physical board, which allows you to pick out exactly the one you want.
Further still, it allows you to pick out one that isn’t damaged.
While an online retailer should only ever ship materials that are in good condition, this doesn’t always happen, and so you could have a damaged or dented piece of MDF arriving at your door.
You could return it, but by then you’ve already been waiting for it to arrive, and you may not have time to wait longer for new RV paneling.
How Do You Install RV Paneling?
Once you’ve bought the materials for your new RV paneling, whether they’re for the ceiling or the interior walls, it’s time to install them. But how do you do this?
If you’ve never replaced your RV paneling before, you might find yourself confused as to how to install the fresh new materials you’ve just sourced. Thankfully, we’ve got the answers!
Stapling And Nailing
If you take a look at the paneling that your RV already has, you’ll notice that it’s not been put in with too much effort.
A lot of RV paneling will simply be stapled into the walls or onto the support beams that the ceiling has.
In some cases, the manufacturers will have gone one small step further and put putty on top of the staples, covering them up and deterring people from trying to prise them out.
As a result, this means installing new RV panels yourself will be a similarly simple job! You can attach your ceiling panels or wall panels to the RV with nails or staples.
Make sure that you’re careful when using these sharp tools, and also make sure that each of them is securely put in. After all, you don’t want the panels falling off, especially the ones on the ceiling.
After that, it’s a good idea to cover the staples or nails with putty yourself, because it’ll make your RV look a lot more presentable.
If staples are visible all along the ceiling and walls, it might look ramshackle.
If you’re planning to cover the RV’s pre-existing wood paneling with some decorative wallpaper, or perhaps you’ve got some fancy vinyl covering, then you can install these in much the same way – by stapling or nailing them into the studs.
Cutting It To Fit
Of course, the installation job isn’t going to be entirely plain-sailing, because you’ll need to cut some parts of the paneling in order to get it to fit.
For example, when you’re doing the wall paneling, you’ll need to cut it so that it goes around where all your cabinets and windows are.
Similarly, you might need to cut the ceiling panels so that they go around light fixtures and so on.
However, when cutting your RV paneling to fit, make sure that you don’t cut into any pipes or electrical wires that are in the walls or ceiling.
This would be dangerous – and would also damage your RV. As a result, be very careful when cutting your paneling, and be careful when you install it as well.
Are There Studs In RV Ceilings And Walls?
An important factor to take note of when installing your RV panels is the studs of the ceilings and walls.
If you’ve ever done DIY at home, you might be aware of studs, which are special framing members that go inside things like walls.
These studs can either help to bear the structural loads, or they can be non load-bearing.
Studs are also present in the walls and ceilings of your RV. The inner walls should have wooden studs, while the outer walls might have steel or aluminum studs instead.
Meanwhile, the studs in the ceiling will typically be made of wood, though you might occasionally find that they’re made of steel instead.
It’s important to keep the position of these studs in mind when you’re attaching the new RV paneling, and you should staple or nail them to the studs (or other ceiling supports).
How Do You Make Your RV Paneling Look Better?
Once you’ve installed your RV paneling, you might think that it could look a lot better.
While RV paneling will look perfectly fine on its own, in a functional way, it’s not going to be the most stylish addition to your RV.
Since you’ll probably want to spruce up the interior of your RV, as you’ll be spending a lot of time in there, it’s a good idea to give the new panels a makeover.
There are three different ways you can do this: wallpaper, paint, and vinyl.
Wallpaper is a great and easy way to liven up your RV paneling, allowing you to easily apply all sorts of colors and designs to the wall with minimal effort.
You can get wallpapers in practically any variety you want, with wallpaper available in every color, and with plenty of different designs on offer too.
Better still, you could even get a wallpaper that’s a bit more customized – for example, you could have one with artwork from a favorite TV show.
On the other hand, you can get wallpapers which have patterns on them that make them look like other types of wall.
For example, you can buy wallpaper that has brick patterns on it, or you can get wallpaper that looks like a different kind of wood panel.
These are a great way to make the inside of your RV look even classier, as if it’s got real brick walls inside it, and it adds an illusion of texture to the inside space too.
The possibilities are endless, and it takes little effort to paste the wallpaper over your paneling.
Painting your RV paneling will take a little more effort, but is worth all the extra time and energy.
Just as you would paint a wall in a house in order to liven a room up, you can paint the panels inside your RV in order to make the space more vibrant and exciting.
There’s room for plenty of customization too, because you can choose exactly the color (or colors!) you want to use, allowing you to make the inside of your RV a personal reflection of your tastes.
It’s likely a better idea to paint your panels before you install them. If you’re painting them after you’ve installed them, you could get paint splashes all over the rest of your RV.
Of course, you should put down some drop cloths and other covers on the floor, cabinets, and so on in order to protect them from the paint.
However, this does take extra effort, so it’s easier to just paint the panels before you install them!
Finally, you can cover your RV paneling in vinyl. This will be easy to apply, just like wallpaper, and it takes a lot less effort than painting.
Better still, you can get all kinds of exciting designs and colors that will definitely make your RV’s interior space stylish.
Whatever color you want, and whatever design takes your fancy, you should be able to find some vinyl covering that will be easily attached on top of your RV paneling.
Better still, you can even find “3D” vinyl coverings, where they have patterns that stick out from the covering.
For example, you might find one that has various interlocked circles as its pattern, and each of these patterns sticks out from the wall slightly.
This 3D aspect adds real texture and depth to your walls, making your RV’s interior even more exciting and interesting.
If your RV’s interior ceiling and wall panels have started to rot, or you just want to replace them, you’ll be able to buy new RV paneling from hardware stores, lumber yards, and the internet.
Attaching these new panels is easy, and you can liven them up by adding wallpaper, paint, or vinyl!
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