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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers  >  General Q&A

 > Painting travel trailer white to reduce heat in summer?

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OregonMan

Oregon

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Posted: 06/08/22 12:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi guys I've heard over the years that painting a building white can significantly reduce the heat absorption and energy bill of the building. Do you think this applies to travel trailers also? I was hoping to spend some time in Arizona this summer but it sure gets hot there in the summer. It seems like painting the trailer white would help reflect some of that Arizona sun, but maybe someone has experience with this and painting the trailer white doesn't make a big enough difference to make it worth it to go through the hassle? Thanks for any info.

Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 06/08/22 01:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a 26ft TT which is painted white, still turns into a sweltering hot box in the deep south with 90F+ temps.

Don't bother slathering white paint on your rig unless the existing paint is worn out, just not going to notice the difference and will cost you more in paint that it is worth.

RVs just simply do not have enough insulation (R3 or a bit less), they have dark single pane windows which also does not help the cause one bit.

Best you can hope for is a few trees to park it under for some shade, you would be surprised at the cooling effect trees have on objects located under them..

valhalla360

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Posted: 06/08/22 01:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The roof is generally already white.

Unless it's a junker, a low quality paint job is likely going to diminish the resale value way to much to justify.


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Sandia Man

Rio Rancho, NM

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Posted: 06/08/22 01:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As stated above, our TT is white and gets plenty hot, we are from the Valley of the Sun and I would not under any circumstances do any RVing during the summer in the lower deserts of AZ. Now in the high country like Flagstaff and the White Mountains area of AZ would be fine for summer camping, although RV sites in those areas come at a premium if there are any available.

Skibane

San Antonio, TX

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Posted: 06/08/22 01:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Typically, shade (i.e., a sunlight-blocker with an air gap behind it) is a lot more effective.

The air gap is important, because it prevents the portion of heat being absorbed by the shade from being transferred to the walls and roof of the RV.

Grit dog

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Posted: 06/08/22 02:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not even sure how to respond.....for so many reasons.


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stickdog

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Posted: 06/08/22 03:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Our first rv was white. After a month of traveling mid April to mid May we settled in to our first volunteer camp hosting position. It was a well shaded site 50amp FHU. It was a a hot humid summer along the river but our 5er stayed cool. Cool enough that the exterior was covered with condensation.
Like to say that was always true but 104 temp in Arizona and little humidity mid 80s were the best we could do. Not the temp as much as not a bit of shade.


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Trackrig

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Posted: 06/08/22 03:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You should put your money into a second A/C and a larger generator if you're going to AZ for the summer. The winters there are plenty warm for me, I always leave in March.

Bill


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Grit dog

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Posted: 06/08/22 06:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ok, gotta ask, since you lobbed over a very vague question, albeit directed at the benefit of being white (hope that doesn't come off as racist, lol), and not necessarily the process it would take to get it white.

What is the camper, what color is it now, what is the siding made of and what type of paint/how do you plan on "re-painting" it?

Asking because, 99% of campers, especially older than say the last 5-10 years ARE white in color. (obviously yours isn't)
Most campers that aren't white, aren't a very dark color. Typical shades are beige or grey.
Most darker colors on campers are not paint but rather decals.
Lets talk paint. You talkin a paint brush, roller and some Rust oleum? Or a good single stage or 2 stage urethane auto paint? And what is your level of experience painting vehicles? This is the main reason that your thought sounds like the effort will not be worth the gain.
I'm middle aged and with experience in autobody and painting and quick thoughts, IF I had the time to work full time on something like this, would be "about" 2 weeks worth of full time work. And probably $1000 min in paint materials assuming you have all the tools, gun, big compressor AND an indoor place to paint it, or at least out of the sun. (outdoor paint jobs in the summer are another whole discussion)
Back to materials, that $1000 is bargain priced paints. Double that if going for long lasting quality (you are in fact planning on exposing the camper to the worst possible conditions for paint for extended periods of time....or why would you go through all this effort for 1 or 2 months trip)


In short, need to hear your thoughts on what and how you would accomplish this, to decide whether it's simply not feasible or super ridiculous to attempt.



And to the original question, I've lived in AZ in the summer, and not sure if the color lowered the temp from say 140deg to 125 deg, it would make a discernable difference. Being in the shade would, as would, not trying to air condition a canned ham in a convection oven.

JIMNLIN

Oklahoma

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Posted: 06/09/22 05:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My 1st 5th wheel rv trailer was a 26' new 1984 Aljo by Skyline which had the typical mill finish aluminum roof. Man was it ever hot.
I used 2 coats KoolSeal white Elastomeric roof coating. It made the trailer much cooler when we had to camp in direct sun and 110 degree heat here in OK.

But being a camper with 2" thick walls and probably R7 insulating value all around it was still hot.

That was years ago and not being youngsters we don't camp in that kind of heat anymore.


"good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment" ............ Will Rogers

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