Replacing RV Wall Paneling in 10 Steps (RV Wall Repair Tips)

RV paneling can be pretty. It is one of the influential factors that help you decide which RV to purchase. Yet the paneling inside your RV can get damaged through a variety of ways. Then you have to worry about replacing it.

Replacing RV Wall Paneling in 10 Steps: One way to replace the paneling is to use a pry bar and pry off the paneling. When you get to the interior you need to check for water damage. Replace wet insulation and let the structure studs dry completely before replacing the damaged paneling.

To learn all about replacing damaged or unappealing RV paneling, just keep reading our article. We give you the steps to follow as well as other information to make sure you do a quality job.

What is RV Paneling


It may surprise you to find out that the term paneling is also used to label the exterior panels of your RV. These outside panels come in aluminum and fiberglass. These are the two best construction materials and you won’t see many RVs with metal exterior paneling anymore.

It is easy for you to replace the aluminum version but with fiberglass, you may want to leave replacing it to the pros. It is a bit more difficult to work with. Interior wall paneling is used to also protect your frame and insulation but it also serves the purpose of making your RV look great.

This version of RV paneling comes in wood, vinyl, composite materials, and fiberglass. They are easy to replace and will take some time as you need to fit all the corners and bends that come with an RV.

How Thick is RV Paneling

The actual thickness of the paneling will depend on the construction material you will be using. Materials like vinyl and fiberglass are strong and do not require very great thicknesses to be used when making the paneling.

For wood, 1/8th or 1/4 inch thicknesses seem to be the standard thickness. Depending on the wood variety, as it can be made from MDF, hardwood, pine, particleboard and so on, you may get paneling 1/2 inch thick as well.

You should talk with your RV dealer to see what is the best thickness for your model of RV.

RV Paneling Replacement


Panel replacement is not that difficult. That is due largely in part to the wide accessibility you have to paneling. You do not have to use RV paneling either. You can swap it out for regular paneling if you cannot find the design or thickness you want.

Paneling an RV is like re-paneling your home. There is very little difference except that you may have more corners to cut into the panels in the RV than in your home. Also, the cost may be a bit cheaper as well as some RV paneling comes with an over $30 price tag per 4 by 8 foot sheet.

How to Replace RV Paneling

To get started, you should use either a nail puller or a crowbar to pry the nails or the old paneling out of the RV’s frame. Take your time as you may not want to damage the old paneling or cause damage to your interior cabinets, etc.

After you get the old paneling off, clear the staples or nails from the stud work, then check for water damage. You may have to replace the insulation or the wood studs. If not, make sure any wet studs dry completely before putting the new paneling on.

When you get to this stage, you will have to measure carefully noting all the little corners and edges you have to navigate around and make allowances for. Then once you have the panel ready, nail or staple the new paneling to the studs and replace any plastic edge trim.

How to Remove RV Paneling


Removing paneling from your RV is also the same as trying to remove it from your home. If you do not want a bunch of little pieces of damaged furniture, etc., then you go carefully.

A crowbar or nail puller is best to make sure you get the paneling free from the interior studding. Then carefully remove the paneling from the interior of your RV so you do not break a window or damage the doorway or door.

Removing RV Paneling Tips

If some of the studding underneath the paneling is damaged, you can fix it without too much trouble. All you have to do is nail in 1/4 inch wood strips to give you a new surface to nail into.

Old and damaged studs may not hold nails that well so it is important to add this nailed piece to make sure you get a secure and tight fit. Also, make sure the seams meet in the center of the studs.

When you have that done, you can add in interior trim to hide the seams. This trim can complement your new paneling making your RV look even better.

How to Install RV Paneling


Installing RV paneling will depend a lot on the construction material the panel is made of. For vinyl and fiberglass, glue is the best adhesive to use to make sure they finished product looks good.

When you are using wood paneling, finishing nails or good staples using a pneumatic nailing or stapling gun. The trim will go on the same way except staples may be the best option. Glue may get a little messy and not look so good when you are done.

To cover the seams, staples would also be better than finishing nails and when you use a pneumatic stapler, they can be placed out of sight.

RV Paneling and Trim

Generally, RV paneling comes in the same size as traditional house paneling. They measure 4 by 8 feet in size and cover a large amount of RV territory. Trim sizes are a little bit more varied and it would depend on the look you want inside your RV to get the trim you want.

The trim can come in 1-inch sizes and in 25, 50 and 100-foot lengths. RV trim is not like household trim. These come in rolls in a neat little package. There is a variety of colors and widths to choose from so you can meet your interior design demands without too much trouble.

The cost of the trim depends on the width and the length of the rolls but they are not that expensive.

RV Paneling Adhesive or Glue


One thing is for sure when you want to use glue to adhere your paneling to your RV, you are not going to have a shortage of kinds to select from. There are a lot of adhesives and glues on the market that will handle the job you have at hand.

Plus, there is an adhesive you can apply to your finishing nails or screws to make sure they do not work their way loose from the studding. Then if you are putting in drywall instead of other paneling options, there is an adhesive that will hold that construction material nice and tight to the studs.

You can click on this link and this link, to find the brand and style you want to use. Amazon and the big box stores should also carry a good supply of panel adhesives that will work with your selected RV paneling.

How to Repair RV Paneling

One of the issues you need to be wary of when you go to repair some damaged paneling inside your RV is that the walls were not constructed with future repairs in mind.

If you have a small hole or damaged area, you can cut the damaged part out of the paneling and then replace it with whatever materials you have on hand or can find. Then once you are done, you can paint over the panel and make it look like a professional did the repair work. When you measure make sure you cut a little longer than the shortest dimension of the hole and no wider than the widest width. Put a screw into the center and then work it into the existing hole.

Once you are done, remove it and place glue on the studs and then put the new piece back in. Use the center screw and a couple more to hold the piece in place while the glue dries.

RV Interior Wall Repair Tips


If you have thin paneling inside your RV, you can use what is called door skins to cover any hole or replace existing damaged pieces. These door skins cover the door you place in your home to make it look good and a little bit more sturdy.

Once you have put the patch in, you can use vinyl wallpaper to cover it so your RV looks just like new. A white latex thinned by water should be the right adhesive to use to secure the vinyl wallpaper.

To hide the seams, just wrap the trim in the same material and adhesive. Wait until it dries then use a staple gun to attach it to your wall. Or you can glue it into place but the staples may hold better and give you a cleaner look.

Can You Paint Over RV Paneling?

If you are using a wood-based RV or traditional house paneling to redo your RV’s interior, then painting over it is no problem. These types of paneling are made to be painted over when they start to show their age.

You can use a good satin or semi-gloss paint to handle the job. Just keep in mind that it will take some time to paint the paneling in your RV. The reason for that extra time is that the walls on your RV are not as free from clutter and obstacles as your home‘s walls are.

Because vinyl walls are a bit slicker than other paneling options, you need to make sure you get the right paint that will stick to the wall you are covering. The primer is the most important part and it should be designed to grab onto the vinyl and stay in place.

RV Paneling Wallpaper


Installing wallpaper in your RV will not be as simple as it is when you try to wallpaper a room in your home. The way to do this option correctly is to wallpaper the paneling outside of your RV.

That means if you are going to wallpaper your current paneling, you may be out of luck or in for a lot of time-consuming work. RV wall paneling may not come off smoothly and you may end up with a bunch of tiny little pieces forcing you to replace your current paneling with new pieces.

You can heat bond some varieties of RV wallpaper but this option is done outside of your RV as well. If you want to wallpaper, you may want to reconsider first and see if there is paneling out there you like instead.

RV Interior Wall Material

You have some choice in what type of paneling you place inside your RV. Besides the many wood varieties, you have several other options available. The thermoplastic wall panel construction material is water and stain resistant giving it a timeless design.

The vinyl option works on a variety of surfaces like pine, plastic, and hardwood. Plus, you can use a hot melt or regular adhesive to bond it to those surfaces. Two good features are this type of paneling comes in a variety of sizes and in a variety of colors.

Finally, if you want to be eco-friendly, there are panels made from plant fibers. Not only are they easy to cut to size, but they are also paintable as well. These panels are solid and come in a variety of colors.

Lightweight RV Paneling


Most RV panels are lightweight. The only exception may be the wood varieties. Construction materials like aluminum, fiberglass, and vinyl are not that heavy but remain strong.

The good news is that even if you are working with heavier RV paneling, you are cutting them down to size outside of your RV. This reduction of weight makes all RV paneling easy to manipulate and carry inside.

Just keep in mind that lighter is not always better. You need to consider the activity taking place inside before you select your paneling based on weight. If you really want to go with lightweight paneling, then you should look through the selection of composite paneling that is available now.

The only problem with composite paneling is that it is a little more expensive than the regular RV paneling options.

DIY RV Paneling

You do not have to take your RV to the shop or the dealer if you want to change the interior paneling. You may not have to do it for your exterior paneling either if you have aluminum exterior panels on your RV.

Redoing your paneling is not that difficult if you know what you are doing. You just need to follow that old adage, ‘measure twice cut once’. Then once you have the right size, just use a good stable gun or finishing nail nailer and install the panels.

You will save some money doing it yourself as labor costs alone at the shop or dealer are not that cheap. You should get a friend to help you though as you will need extra hands to hold the panel in place while you get enough staples into them.

Automotive HDF Board


Many of the different RV manufacturers have turned to this style of paneling as have quite a few carmakers like Ford and Chevrolet. What makes it so popular is that it is 5 times stronger than traditional types of paneling.

Also, it is a lot safer for you and your family as it is formaldehyde-free. That little exclusion is worth the time, trouble and expense to use this high-density fiberboard.

Plus, this paneling comes in the traditional 4 by 8 foot sheets.

Its costs may vary but one company has this paneling for $36 approx. The cost may be high but if it is 5 times stronger than other options, then you may get 5 times more use out of it. Color selection may be limited but ask your paneling dealer about that.

RV Paneling Ideas

Some ways that you can upgrade the interior look of your RV include creating accent walls. These walls get a different type of paneling or wallpaper helping them to stand out from the other walls.

Or you can leave one wall the way it is and paint the other ones. This gives you an accent wall without the expense. A gallon of paint should go a long way inside your RV. Then you can simply replace the paneling on one wall while leaving the rest or replace the rest with different but complementary type paneling or wallpaper.

You can let your creative juices flow here and see what innovative ideas you come up with. These suggestions are just to get yo on the right track.

Jayco RV Paneling


If you have a newer Jayco RV, it may not be that hard to find replacement paneling if for some reason your gets damaged. The trouble comes in when you are looking for matching paneling on an older Jayco RV.

The big box stores will not have it in stock and the only thing you can do is call Jayco to get the part number for the paneling and then go to a Jayco dealer to see if they have it in stock or if it can be ordered.

To get that part number you may have to give the last 5 digits of your VIN number. If you can’t replace that old paneling with the same materials, then you either have to replace it all or go to a big box or paneling store to find paneling that is similar in color and design and put it in your RV.

Keystone RV Paneling

The same problem may exist at Keystone as it does at Jayco. We found some product listings for paneling on their mega website but they were for ceiling tiles and there were only 4 options.

Older Keystone RV owners may not be able to find paneling to match their current style. But maybe with a little luck and research, they can find a Keystone dealer that has some lying around.

Do an internet search and call their head office to make sure you get the best leads possible.

Best RV Interior Paneling


It goes without saying, but we are going to say it anyway, the best RV paneling is the one that you like and are happy with. But if you are looking at materials, we would say that the best would be that automotive HDF paneling even though it costs a lot more than other options.

Next in line would be wood paneling and after that, it is up to your preference. Wood just adds a classy touch to your RV or any interior look and it is a look that is hard to beat.

The key is to get the paneling that will stand up to your RV lifestyle and that looks good in your RV.

Some Final Words

Putting new paneling on your RV will be a major undertaking. Not that it is difficult, but that it is time-consuming and can be frustrating if you measure wrong. Measuring correctly will be the key and will make the task a lot easier to do. Also, you should have a friend to help you just in case you need an extra hand or two.

Another key would be to make sure you check for any interior frame damage and replace the damaged parts before they cause you more problems. As for wallpaper. Just keep in mind it is not the same as wallpapering your home.

Upgrading your RV by replacing the paneling is a good way to extend the life of your RV and can save you a lot of money.

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