Painting a camper van

by Barry Kaplin


I am converting a panel van to a camper van which will be used in the Mediterranean. My main priority is to keep heat out of the van and I am thinking of coating the interior of the van with white elastomeric paint with a ceramic additive to provide additional thermal resistance. I am also thinking of applying this paint to the exterior of the roof and the interior as the roof will be exposed to the sunlight and will be absorbing a great deal of heat.

I know this is not the usual decorating query, but do you have any advice to offer on this. There is a bewildering choice of insulating materials and methods available and a great deal of conflicting information and opinions. But coating materials have improved especially ceramic additives and it seems to me they are ideally suitable for camper van applications especially in terms of weight and insulation qualities.

Thank you

Comments for Painting a camper van

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Nov 19, 2016
My experience with UV reflective paint
by: JPremo

hey there,

I'm from southern California and frequently drive my camper van out to the desert. When I got it the roof was in dire shape. Tons of rust, no paint in some spots, etc. I sanded it down to bare metal in some spots, used Rustoleum primer (rattle can), applied roof emulsion, Henry's UV reflective roof paint and then a top coat of Rustoleum semi gloss white (rattle can). With the windows up parked on a 90 degree day it dropped the internal temps of the van from 160-170 to 105-110. HUGE difference in temps.

The paint was a sort of textured orange peal type look, similar to rhino liner due to the thickness and roller type needed. I think it looks cool on the roof. Not sure how it would look on the sides. But again it was a huge difference and glad I did it.

Hope this helps

May 12, 2016
Painting a camper van
by: Shawn

Hi Barry,

I am no expert on painting camper vans but I'll give it my best shot.

My first concern would be the movement of the van cracking the paint. Even so, when the roof of campers are painted, elastomeric is normally the paint of choice, due mostly to its flexibility. Adding the ceramic may cause the elastomeric to be somewhat more rigid though which may cause the cracking that I mention.

My other issue would be with having an elastomeric barrier on the campers ceiling and also one on the roof. The two barriers may cause trapped moisture under the paint or a humidity problem in the camper itself. Then again, it may not, it would depend of course on the type of camper that's being painted.

I apologize that I haven't been much help and would suggest contacting (by email) a couple of paint manufacturers as they might be able to give you a little better advice. I say at least two because they don't always answer online emails. You could also try going to your local paint store but I would ask for a contact at their paint manufacturers so as to get the most expert advice.

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