One thing I like to do with our blog at Coach Specialists of Texas is to pick out actual customer quote requests and answer them for RV’ers such as yourself who are possibly facing the same situation.
There is a lot of information on the internet about RV repairs and a lot of forum posts, but most RV forums offer conflicting information, and most RV blog posts do very little to answer actual questions with real answers, especially pricing questions.
RV paint work is one of those areas with a lot of conflicting information. It is also a question that comes up very regularly because like all investment pieces, we want to keep our RV’s in the best condition possible. Because of the RV’s size, very few people have the garage space or height required to protect properly their RV from the elements. Therefore RV’s tend to age and deteriorate quickly from long-term exposure to heat, seasonal changes and the sun. The two areas that age the most rapidly are the roof and tires because they are rubber, and the paint or gel coat on the RV.
Paint matching orphan RVs
With proper maintenance, any RV owner can get many decades worth of use out of their RV, motorhome, coach or travel trailer. Sometimes these motor homes and RV’s will long outlive their manufacturer. In the RV world, any RV that was built by a manufacturer who is no longer doing business is called an Orphan. We often get customers inquiring about painting orphans because they feel that can not take their RV back to the dealer for repair, or simply are fed up with dealing with their RV. Many owners believe that if the RV manufacturer is out of business, they will not be able to get a paint match. This is simply not the case. We can repaint any RV whether or not the manufacturer is still in business.
Take for example the following customer quote request:
Terry Travel Trailer/Fleetwood
Size of Vehicle- 26 foot
Insurance Company-Self pay
Tell us a little bit about the damage-
Our orphan is 15 years old, and paint is fading. Everything still works so we’ll keep her a few more years.
We would like to replace the awning as well as it has a tear that is about a foot long. The hardware works well the canvas will not last too long.
The truth about RV repainting costs
As we said earlier, at Coach Specialists, we are capable of repainting any RV regardless of size, year, make or model. However, it can be very costly to repaint an entire RV and to repaint an RV of this size could cost anywhere from $12,000 to $30,000. Obviously that is a lot of money to have to pay out of pocket.
In order to refinish an RV of this vintage, we would need to strip off any of the failed paint, repair any damaged areas, reseal the RV, prime, sand, mask and paint the RV. That is a lot of labor. Typically repainting makes sense when we are performing collision repair to an RV, or concentrating on one area.
Alternatives to RV repainting
Our recommendation to this particular customer, and the same recommendation we would probably make for your RV is to have us polish the existing paint work. Polishing an entire RV may run between $1500- $3500 depending on condition, size, and other factors. While polishing does not always remove all defects, it can make a substantial difference in the luster and overall appearance of the exterior of the coach.
We can also replace graphics after polishing the paint. On a 15-year-old RV like this 2000 Terry Travel Trailer, a polish job is a very appropriate solution to a repaint.