With spring on the way and caravanning season on the horizon, some of you might be wanting to give your caravan a brand new look. I regularly get asked what paint to use on the outside of a caravan and in this post, I give you my tips on what I think is the best caravan paint and the cheapest and easiest way I’ve found to paint a caravan exterior.
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The Best Paint for a Caravan Exterior
Without question, my favourite paint to use on the outside of a caravan is coach paint — or Tekaloid.
It’s tried and tested and has been around for donkey’s years. It’s what buses, lorries and trains used to be hand-painted with, before the arrival of modern spray-paint.
It has great credentials including:
- Excellent water resistance
- It’s flexible — with good exterior durability and toughness
- Coach-paint is available in a wide colour range
I have seen so many articles (on Instagram particularly), with people painting their caravans with eggshell and gloss paints that have been formulated for exterior or outside use. And even — more recently — French Chic paint.
And whilst I haven’t used these paints on a caravan; what I will say is, although the finish may look good initially, a caravan exterior will flex and move and you’ll need a paint that is flexible.
My favourite all cover primer paint is 123 by Zinsser — but I categorically wouldn’t use it on the outside of my caravan!
Coach paint was formulated for vehicles and is really durable.
It won’t crack or peel and will give a long lasting, glossy finish.
How Much Paint Do You Need for a Caravan Exterior
This depends on the size of your van — how many coats you’re going to do — and also on the paint you’re using.
All paint manufactures will let you know the approximate coverage of their paint.
According to the Paintman site, Coach Enamel covers around 7sqm per litre (one coat) when using a brush or roller.
To give you an example, on both Dolly 1 and Dolly 2, I used two litres of colour and one of white. And that gave two coats.
Painting a Caravan Exterior with a Roller
I have always painted my caravan exterior with a roller and brush. You don’t need fancy, expensive equipment — or an indoor space.
I have written another post, explaining my methods. It gives full details of what I used, including the tools and the process.
Can You Spray Paint the Outside of a Caravan?
Spray paint will give a much slicker, higher quality finish than hand painting the outside of a caravan. You can do it yourself; using an electric paint sprayer. Or call in the professionals.
I’ve been asked many times why I don’t spray paint the exterior of our caravans.
There’s no mystery! The simple fact is, we don’t have anywhere suitable to do it.
We have always painted our vans on the road near to our house — or on a friend’s driveway. In both instances, I wouldn’t be happy to be wielding a loaded spray gun near other vehicles or houses!
If you have a large secluded area — either indoor or outdoor — that you could use to safely spray the exterior of your caravan, go for it! I’d advise practicing on large pieces of card before you go ahead and spray the outside of a caravan , as spraying isn’t quite as simple as it looks.
You’ll need to prepare the bodywork really well before you begin, and spend a good amount of time masking off too.
There’s a reason why the professionals charge so much for this service ;)
Caravan Exterior Paint Colours
Finally, do you just give your van a refresh? Stick with white paint?
Or give your caravan a totally new look?
Retro or Modern Caravan Paint Colours
Gone are the days of standard black, British racing green and cherry red. You can now buy Coach Paint in every colour under the sun. From bubblegum pink to zesty orange. Just think of a colour!
Match To Chart
Best of all, you can have your favourite colour mixed up to suit. Choose a shade from the RAL colour chart and get your paint mixed up.
There are a total of 2,530 RAL colours — so you’re sure to find your perfect shade.
For both of my caravan makeover projects, I chose a colour from my Pantone chart and got them mixed up to match.
And whilst a lemon yellow or baby blue caravan may not be to everyone’s taste, it’s certainly mine!
My Caravan Makeover Projects
I’ve done two caravan makeover projects so far and Dolly 3 is due to get her makeover this spring.
I’ve already bought the paint and we’re just waiting for the weather to pick up so we can make a start.
Hopefully this post will give you confidence when it comes to choosing the paint to use on the outside of your caravan. And the methods to apply it too.
I love seeing your caravan makeovers. If you do go ahead and paint the outside of your caravan, please send me a pic!
Caro Davies is a former art-director turned writer and content-creator, and editor behind UK lifestyle blog The Listed Home. She writes about home-related topics, from interiors and DIY to food and craft. The Listed Home has been featured in various publications, including Ideal Home, Grazia, and Homes & Antiques magazines.