Can you paint the RV fabric ceiling? (a great alternative)

In this article, we will discuss: Can you paint the RV fabric ceiling? We will help you make your RV fabric ceiling look like any and explain why you don’t need to paint your RV ceiling at all. 

Can you paint the RV fabric ceiling?

You can try to paint the RV fabric ceiling, but it is not really recommended. If your RV ceiling is old and stained, you should give it a good wash first! If the situation is really bad even after a thorough scrubbing, you could apply a thin coat of paint using a consistent amount of pressure. 

This being said, here are your three option:

  1. In general, it is impossible to paint an RV fabric ceiling due to its flexibility and fragility. Some people have tried glycerol and a paint gun, but they were not satisfied with the results. Remember to use a thick coat of paint!
  1. Instead of painting the RV fabric ceiling, it is better to try to clean the ceiling with chamois leather. You just have to immerse this rag in a little water so as not to damage all the paint on the ceiling. 
  1. From an aesthetic point of view, however, it is better to have a clean fabric ceiling installed. It can be more expensive than painting, but before making a choice, you should first ask for a decoration estimate and think about the different advantages that the replacement can bring.

A fabric RV ceiling is a synthetic fabric that is stretched with a spatula in invisible profiles attached to the walls. The fabric ceiling is installed under the existing ceiling. 

There are two types of fabric ceilings: polyester ceiling and PVC ceiling. The PVC stretch ceilings we install are anti-static, do not attract dust and are not porous. So it’s not a good idea to paint them. The polyester version can in principle be painted, but the result often leaves much to be desired. This is because they are often not stable enough to apply an even coat of paint.

Why you don’t need to paint your RV fabric ceiling

Often the ceiling is painted because it is yellowing or because it is stained. However, as we mentioned above, it can be quite difficult to paint over the fabric and to get good results. 

It is best to remove dirt from the ceiling by rubbing gently with a soft cloth and a little water. Follow our tips to learn how to clean your RV fabric ceiling and make it look like (almost) new!

How to make your RV fabric ceiling look like new

For a good professional cleaning of your RV fabric ceiling, you need the right tools and the right products:

  • 1 all-purpose cleaner (such as Invisible super cleaner by Chemical Guys) or 1 carpet and fabric cleaner
  • 1 carpet and fabric brush
  • 1 brush with fibre bristles for delicate areas
  • 1 microfiber cloth
  • Cleaning a task on the headliner

There are 3 things you should keep in mind:

  1. Do not over-saturate the fabric, as this can soften the glue and peel the fabric
  2. Do not use excessive heat, as it may melt the glue
  3. Do not use excessive force, as it may damage the glue

For so-called normal stains, a microfiber towel and a few squirts of your favourite interior cleaner should suffice. Always spray the product on the microfiber and not directly on the headliner.

If that doesn’t work or for any other task, using the soft bristle brush (or paintbrush) is a good way to start. As we often remind you, the less you do, the better. If the brush is enough, look no further.

Spray a cleaning product directly into the bristles of the brush from the end. Make light circles on the stain to lift the dirt, the product should foam and you can then wipe it off with your microfiber cloth.

Warning: do not rub hard with your microfiber cloth, but prefer to press down by making small rotations, because sometimes the fabric of the headliner is much more fragile than the fabric of the seats. Again, less is more!

Always work as precisely as possible on a headliner, so as to close as possible to the task at hand.

As with cleaning a stain, spray a cleaning product such as APC (All Purpose Cleaner) or special fabric and carpet cleaner directly on the bristles of a fabric brush. Lather the product, then wipe with a clean microfiber cloth. Always with lightness.

You can use your steamer, but do not bring the nozzle too close to the surface for too long. Using a steam cleaner should be a last resort in your mind.

The Larry Kosilla Method for cleaning the RV fabric ceiling

Another very effective technique to clean an RV fabric cleaner is to use your polisher with a microfiber pad such as the Meguiars Cutting Pad.

You spray cleaning foam using a manual pump sprayer like the IK Foam 1.5 and run the polisher at low speed (2 to 3). The foam dries up and you can clean the ceiling without risking damage to the glue now.

This method is very effective if you have large portions to clean. You can also take the opportunity to run the polisher over the sun visors.

Never spray the cleaner directly on the ceiling! Indeed, this is why the detailing pros (and you now) spray the product directly on the bristles of their brushes to clean the ceiling because the product could damage the glue that fixes the ceiling to the sky roof. 

The bottom line

Painting an RV fabric ceiling can be a quite difficult task. Our recommendation would be to call for a specialist. But before you do anything, try giving the ceiling a good wash! You may be surprised by the results and let go of the idea of painting it in the first place!

Please let us know if you have any comments, tips, or questions about this content. 

FAQ on Can you paint RV fabric ceiling?

Are the RVs spray or roller painted?

Rvs can be both spayed or roller painter, if you know how to use the spray gun, go ahead since the paint is the best, but it is more frequent if you do it at home with a roller.

Is any roller suitable for painting an RV?

Not any roller is suitable for painting an RV. It has to be lacquer or velour roller of about 20 or 25 cm in length, although it can also be used smaller.

Is it mandatory to paint the RV white?

No, it is not mandatory to paint the RV white. Paint your RV whatever colour you want!

How to paint the interior of a trailer?

Apply one or more coats of primer using a roller. You can use a primer designed for exterior and interior for its properties resistant to temperature changes. Some surfaces require an alkyd-based primer.

How to paint the interior of a motorhome?

The solution then involves “home staging” adapted to the motorhome. This is what GSDI offers, by applying a plastic film to all or part of the furniture or bodywork. For this transformation, we keep the furniture and rather than repaint it, but we apply a new decoration.

What wallpaper for a caravan?

You can use non-woven paper, with ad-hoc glue. The advantage of the latter is that it suffers less from the pangs of humidity.


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