RV’s have paint jobs just like your car. However unless you own a Corvette, your RV is not made of the same material as as your car. Also unlike a car, your RV is much larger with long flat slab sided sections. Temperature, travel vibrations and even some particular RV makes and models are prone to causing paint problems. We love our RV’s and we spend lots of time in them, near them, and maintaining them, and we want our RV’s to always look their best.
That is why we get so many customers and questions regarding RV paint issues.
One common issue we see is a spider-webbing or cracking of the paint. Typically we see these on Winnebago’s but it can be found on non-Winnie’s as well. In most cases it can be traced back to a defect in the fiberglass material, which Winnebago, Fleetwood, National RV and others bought from a subsidiary of Dow Corning glass. If you were to call your warranty claims department from your particular manufacturer, you will hear that it is termed a “cosmetic defect” and therefore the surface is still waterproof. The problem normally only occurs under dark colors, because those tend to get extra hot when in the sun.
No manufacturer is doing free repairs on this once the warranty period is over. The fix is to completely replace the sidewall with a new composite material and re-paint. Depending on the size of your RV this could be a nearly $30,000 repair.
In some cases, your RV body repair shop can try grinding down the existing surface, then fill, sand and re-paint, but experience has shown that the tiny cracks will re-appear after a few years. If you were looking to sell or trade in your RV in the near future, this repair could get you by for awhile, though, and I know of at least one owner who had no further problems after doing that. Cost should be much less, maybe $10,000 or so.
One customer had some issues recently with their Itasca Reyo. We, as the RV body shop, did a great job getting out the spider cracks in the paint job/gel coating in the rear. The issue with the spider webbing or cracks stems from a manufacturer defect. The panel isn’t sufficiently supported, allowing it to wobble causing the paint or gelcoat to crack. Even though we made the repair, there is no guarantee that it won’t happen again. The customer is planning on going back to the Winnebago factory to see if they can get the warranty extended and have repairs done and have the rear panel looked at as well. The customer lost a hubcap on their last trip. It whacked the wheel well when it flew off, and we the a repainted the area, and replaced the hubcap replaced.
Some Alfa RV’s colors are prone to cracking such as the Alfa Gold with the blistering issue,. A full repair could run you about $15,000.
Sometimes something as simple and innocuous as a hit from some road debris or a stone chip can cause blistering, then large sections of paint peeling from your RV. Sometimes we find that this is an issue with the gelcoat manufacturer, and sometimes it is a bad paint prep job from the factory. Or it could be a poorly prepped previous repair. Regardless of the root cause, to repair it we would need to fix the entire issue. Depending on the size of that issue, it might make sense to strip and repaint the entire RV. The price to do that could be over $10,000.
Your best bet is to bring the RV into a qualified RV repair shop for a thorough inspection and price quote.