I hope this is the right place to pose a question.  We have an older pull behind trailer.  It is aluminum outer walls.  I have a few projects that need done to it on the inside, discover some leak issues around or near the roof A/C unit, one area at the front wall, seal the tub/shower area as well as remove chipping paint.  That being said in the way of a basic description of my issues, now to the question.

The front window cover appears to be fiberglass, that in my best description, in need of a touch up / paint job.  Is there anything I need to do to it before applying paint other than some sanding?  How about primer - what do I use?  What about the final coat - what kind of paint?

Next the aluminum sides - there are "decoration" panels that need help as well.  That paint is starting to peel and looks like it has several colors below the top coat.  Should I just lightly sand to get the flaking off and then prime and paint?  Again, what kind of primer?  What kind of Paint?  

I thought I would tackle these items first, then move into the wood working and bathroom / shower area.  I would assume the paint I use on the exterior would work in the "wet" shower environment as well.  Please correct me if I am wrong.  

Ok, that is enough -- any help would be very appreciated.

Paul Meinke

Views: 555

Tags: Aluminum, Exterior, Fiberglass, Painting, Painting.


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Comment by Dale and Lynne Park on January 6, 2013 at 4:51pm

We painted the alum. portion of our 1977 Dodge Brougham Class C about 2 years ago.  It had only the original paint which in many areas was worn off down to the metal.  We took the refrigerator panel off and used it to match the paint since we wanted to keep the same color scheme.  We did the following prep - Washed with TSP.  Green padded top to bottom.  Rinsed with vinegar.  Rinsed with water and let dry for about a week in hot weather.  Applied 2 coats of Behr Premium Plus Exterior Satin All-In-One Paint/Primer with a small roller.  We used Frogtape to mask off the stripes, etc.  We got a very, very good result, even better than we hoped for and after a couple of very hot summers and cold icy winters it looks great.  My husband's car dude buddies can't believe we did it by hand.  The cab portion is automotive paint and we won't be tackling that ourselves. When the budget permits it will go into the body shop for the cab.  We knew about Nick The Greeks vinegar tip from a contractor friend.  Whatever you do, the best hint I can give is to be patient and take your time.  It is much harder to undo booboos than to slow down and get it right the first time.  I learned that the hard way!

Comment by Nick Thegreek on January 6, 2013 at 3:11pm

Just a note on painting aluminum. In the Navy I was an aircraft structural mechanic and pitning aircraft was one of our jobs. WE were taught in school that aluminum needs to be etched before any primer will stick. There are many commercial primers for aluminum but the best thing I ever used was straight strenght vinegar then rinse with lots of water!

Comment by Paul G. Meinke on May 9, 2012 at 9:26pm

Thanks Jan, that gives me some options to consider.  Paul 

Comment by Jan P. Wier on May 9, 2012 at 8:54pm

I got an Argosy that i have been working on for a couple of years, the inside is about done and now its time to paint the trailer, when i got the trailer someone had painted the trailer with waterbase paint and they put it on with a roller. Right now i am sanding, after the sanding is done i think i'm going to use an oilbase enamel (from Ace hardware) its called rust stop enamel, then i'm going to spray the trailer with air compressor & spray gun. Thats my plan.

Comment by Paul G. Meinke on May 7, 2012 at 6:31am

Thanks Stu, I appreciate the $0.02 worth.  That makes sense about the mixing and matching, same company same formula I would think.  Paul 

Comment by Angel on May 6, 2012 at 10:49pm

Hey Paul,

My $0.02 worth.  I use, have used, plan on using marine paint - specifically, Interlux - the final type is your choice (one part or two part, etc).

The reason is simple - boats and RV's are subjected to the same wear and tear and are largely made of similar materials.  Marine paints are somewhat more expensive, but they last, don't require specialized equipment to apply and are easy to touch up.

I can do a "roll and tip" (no spraying) application with Interlux Brightside one part paint that you could see yourself well enough to shave and will last 10 years (with appropriate care).  It's all about the prep, and not mixing and matching different brands -  primer of this brand and a paint of that brand.

For areas that are just dull, you can try the Lowe's Red Max Plus to bring shine and gloss to faded fiberglass and aluminum.  The stuff works miracles - but the surface must be VERY CLEAN!!! - even cleaner than that....

Good luck,




Comment by Pat Daly on May 4, 2012 at 9:23am
Paul, do a Search good old RVs and you will find about 30 posts on painting. Let us know what YOU decide to do.



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