Setbacks, progress and several design solutions for the walls and wall treatments in our RV renovation project. No need to settle for the manufactured solutions! Video included.
I went out on a limb and posted a not-so-pinterest-perfect image on my Instagram feed, showing the progress we’ve made on the RV. To my surprise, it was more than welcomed! Even though I am more of a before/after gal, I am more than happy to oblige and take you all along for more of this RV renovation process.
Would you like that too? What other things would you be curious to see? Let me know in the comments below.
I hope the little glimpses will help you catch my vision rather than question my decisions!
Today you’ll see the good, bad, and lots of ugly as we discovered water damage, and made slow progress towards making the “TIDBITS mobile” our tiny home on wheels while we build our next home.
I would love to have you also follow me along on Instagram and in my Instagram stories to catch the current and most up to date progress as we continue on this journey. It is a lot easier to share quick changes there.
The whole process began by accessing the walls and the changes we wanted to make for the shell of the RV. Watch this video I made on a whim to show you the varying wall treatments we’ve done to improve this outdated and poorly treated RV. You can also go back and read my announcement and plans for this RV, if you haven’t done so already.
I’d love to have you read on as I detail our process and design plans for renovating the RV walls.
WATER DAMAGE IN RV WALLS
As we began to dive into the walls – the first order of business – we discovered the front and back walls felt a bit squishy and suspected wood rot. Now, ideally this is something you should inspect before purchasing an RV. We bought this baby for a steal and “as is”, and figured there may be issues we would have to address. But it was all we could afford to buy if we wanted to make drastic and fun updates to an RV.
The scene was pretty nasty and set us back about 2 weeks, which was not good for our timeline (we have to be moved out by March 31!). But my wonderful Mr. TIDBITS stayed positive through it all and did what had to be done.
The whole entire back had to be removed and rebuilt, and most of the side walls on the front end. He found the spots where the water was leaking in (for who knows how long) and sealed up what he could.
The worst spots were on top and we couldn’t use the sealant in below freezing temperatures. We have placed a tarp over the top and plan to seal it well when the weather is warm enough. But for now, we must proceed.
Before we covered it back up, we sprayed it with a bleach/water solutions, and we painted the whole damaged insides with KILZ Max, to seal and block any odor or kill any mildew that may have survived.
Then he replaced it with new insulation and wood and patched up the walls.
PREPPING AND REPAIRING THE WALLS
We opted to remove a lot of the RV manufactured cabinets, which left a lot of damage to the surface of the walls. You’ll understand more why we went this drastic when we wrap up this project. I am sure this “gut job” will prove a huge improvement and leave us with a very unique RV better suited to our needs.
My husband carefully patched any holes and sanded the walls to a smooth surface, preparatory for the many wall treatments ahead.
PAINTING THE RV WALLS
Before painting any surface, we sprayed every surface with primer. We have the most knowledgable and helpful local paint store, and they highly recommended to layer all the cheap wood, new wood, and manufactured wallpaper surfaces with Porter Paint’s Stain Blocking Primer Finish. We’ve used this stuff so many times, and it never disappoints.
Then most of the painted surfaces were covered with tinted varieties of Porter Paints Hi-Hide, another paint we use frequently.
When I share the reveal, I’ll be sure to share all the paint colors when you can see them better, but most of the RV is a cool white, Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore.
There was not a whole lot of surfaces that were going to be paint only, but we quickly discovered the challenges of working in such tight quarters. We’ve been moaning about our backs for weeks!
And yes, you absolutely can paint right over the RV manufactured wallpaper. Don’t even try to remove it! It is pretty permanent. Borders come off easily, but the rest is better covered with wallpaper or primed and then painted.
CUSTOM RV WALL TREATMENTS AND DETAILS
There were a few awkward nooks and crannies in this RV that I felt would work better and look better if we rebuilt and redesigned. Actually . . . that was the case for most of it. I’m most excited about our hidden storage compartments and the new look of what I am calling our “entertainment walls”.
Be sure to check out the video above, as I was able to take you through the details of this spot much better.
We also started working on the wall surfaces in the tiny bathroom. We purchased an upgraded faux marble shower surround, which is a huge improvement to this space. We also added some heat and humidity proof Smart Tiles to the the tub front. The marble peel and stick is a piece of cake to install and looks so good! Both of these items were sourced for us by my friends at Dyers Online, an incredible resource for RV parts and they have been a huge help for me during this project.
RV WALLPAPER SOLUTIONS
Admittedly, the thoughts of wallpaper usually make me shudder. However, I found a variety of wallpaper that proved to be the perfect solution to hide unsightly walls, add detail and provide loads of character to our RV.
We’ve used 3 different types of wallpaper throughout the RV:
- Pre-Pasted Wallpaper
- Paste Wallpaper
- Peel and Stick Wallpaper
Our favorite has been the pre-pasted. It is easy to wet and apply, and still allows for maneuvering and readjusting once you get it on the wall. The peel and stick is super sticky and can be challenging to reposition if needed. The paste is just kind of messy.
Paintable beadboard wallpaper covers most of the wall surfaces, which I felt was a stroke of genius on my part (so humble 🙂 ) It has given a nice cottage vibe to the RV, and has still allowed me the pleasure of choosing my own paint colors without too much color and pattern (because too much color and pattern stress me out . . . apparently).
Better yet, it hides any wall flaws perfectly.
This pre-pasted paintable beadboard wallpaper came from Home Depot, and was so easy to wet and apply.
We simply filled a tub with some water, slowly un-rolled the wallpaper out of the water, and then folded it into itself while we brought it out to the RV. This is called “booking”.
Then you can stick it up and wiggle it around to the exact spot you want it. We found it best to overlap in the corners and edges and then come around later after it has dried, and with a scraper and blade trim the edges. We were sure to scrape out any bubbles as well. Once it is dry, you can paint right over the wallpaper!
Working around windows and outlets makes the job a bit trickier, but can be done with care.
We applied 3 different varieties of wallpaper to the little bunk bed spots, which my kids helped me pick out to their liking.
Installing in those tiny places was no easy task! (Too old for this stuff!)
Hands down, my favorite wallpaper is this faux distressed concrete wallpaper. I wanted this spot to serve as a tiny accent wall, and help me achieve a bit of cottage romance style for our home on wheels.
It’s all in the details!
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing our process so far! There is much work to do and little time to do it! The blog posts will probably trickle out slower than the work, but I’ll do my best to keep you up to date. Again, follow me along on Instagram to see more recent updates and changes.
I’ve begun to set up an RV Shop page with all my resources for this project. Hopefully that will help direct your questions clearly. Just click the graphic when you see it!
I’d LOVE to hear what you think! Who here thinks we are crazy for doing this much work and change in an RV? Who thinks we are crazy for trying to live in and RV with 4 kids? I’ve got both my hands up! 😉
Thanks for reading and following along, my friends!