Your RV is supposed to be like your home while you are on an interstate road trip with the family, so it should at least feel like a real home, right? This is why if you have the opportunity, you should make it look and feel like home. In such a case, you should start with the interior walls.
Instead of leaving them drab, cold, and metallic, consider replacing them with other materials. Choosing something warm and cozy will be perfect. But the question is what are RV interior walls made of actually?
Can you use the same materials that you used in your home? All these questions and more will be answered in just a few moments.
Why are Interior Walls Important?
Before learning the specific materials used in constructing interior walls, let us learn about what makes them important. Here are just a few reasons why it is essential to have these interior walls installed in your home:
Provides proper insulation – If you just leave it to your RV’s external panels to protect you from the heat and cold of the great outdoors, then you might as well just sleep outdoors. The internal walls of your RV provide you with a lot of much-needed insulation so it stays relatively colder inside the RV during the hot days.
They also trap in the heat during the winter days. It will not be fun to stay inside an aluminum box during the summer or winter months. It will do nothing at all to protect you from extreme temperatures.
Contains soundproofing properties – This is the most important role of interior walls of RVs, especially if you will be parking your rig in a public park. As much as possible, you do not want the other campers to hear your private conversations and the other things that you do within your property.
Furthermore, you also do not want to hear all the noises that are coming from your neighbors. If you like to keep to yourself whenever you are camping and do not want to hear anything other than complete silence then you should pay close attention to the interior walls of your RV and what they are made of.
Improves aesthetics – You want your RV to feel as close to your home as much as possible. However, that would not be possible if you do not have interior wall paneling and just leave it bare metal.
Instead of feeling like home, this can make you feel as if you are trapped inside a shipping container. You need to use different kinds of wall paneling so that the interior of your RV feels warm and welcoming.
Different Types of RV Interior Materials
So you have your interior wall frames already set up and ready to go. Now comes the hard part: choosing which kind of wall paneling to use. There are so many different kinds of wall treatments to choose from that it can be overwhelming at times.
However, if you know what to look for, then finding the perfect one will be much easier. Here are some of the different types of walls that you can use to spruce up the interior of your RV:
1. Composite Plywood
This type of plywood is made by pressing together different kinds of wood to create a large sheet that can be cut to different sizes. Usually, cheap wood is used for the inner layers, and a wood veneer is placed on top.
The layers of wood are glued on top of one another with their grains running perpendicular to each other. This is done to provide strength and flexibility.
Strong and durable – Composite plywood will not tear or rip as easily. It is also harder to puncture.
Feels warm and natural – The wood grain makes you feel warm and cozy as opposed to the smooth yet cold feeling metals or plastics. If you are surrounded by walls made out of real wood, albeit in plywood form, you cannot help but feel warm.
Prone to water damage – If it so happens that there is a leak in the roof of your RV, the water will seep into your interior walls. When plywood gets wet, it first starts to swell up and then the adhesive holding the veneers together will deteriorate and come loose.
Prone to mold and rotting – When plywood gets wet even a little bit, all kinds of fungi will start growing. You should do your best not to let your plywood get wet. If it does, wipe it dry immediately.
This type of flooring and wall material is getting pretty popular in recent years. It is mainly because it is very cheap and comes in a wide range of colors and designs. It is also quick and easy to install, making it even more popular with the DIY crowd.
Affordable – You can buy vinyl in bulk for even more savings. You can cover your walls in vinyl for less than half the price of using real plywood.
Easy to shape and manipulate – You do not need any fancy tools to cut vinyl. All you need is just a sharp utility knife. Some vinyl sheets also have their own adhesives. Just peel back the plastic cover and stick the vinyl on the walls.
Can get brittle and cracks easily with age – If you are looking for a wall material that can last for many years, vinyl is not it. After two years or so, you will start noticing cracks forming on the edges of the vinyl. The good news here is that since it is cheap, you can replace it as many times as you like.
3. MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard)
Medium Density Fiberboard is a cheap alternative that you can use in place of plywood. However, it does not last quite as long. MDF is made by sandwiching glued together sawdust in between two sheets of wood veneer (sometimes even more). This results in a wood board that you can easily saw into different shapes and sizes.
Affordable – You can purchase several sheets of MDF for a fraction of the price of one, high-quality plywood sheet.
Lightweight – If you are worried about putting too much weight on your RV, this will not be a problem when you use MDF.
It deteriorates in just a year or so – The moment that the glue holding the sawdust inside the MDF planks start to deteriorate, the entire thing will start falling apart rapidly.
These are only a couple of materials that you can use for the interior walls of your RV. When choosing which one to use, take into consideration your carpentry skills (if you will be DIYing this project), the size of your RV, and most importantly, your budget.
Using Wallpaper or Paint?
You do not want to leave your RV’s interior walls bare, do you? Unless you use beautifully-grained plywood for the walls of your RV, you should put some wall treatments to make it feel cozier inside. The question now here is, would it be better to use wallpaper or paint the walls?
Here are some of the things that you need to take into consideration when making your decision:
Painting requires fewer preparations – You need to make lesser preparations for painting compared to wallpapering the walls. With wallpapers, you need to spackle and level the surface perfectly before you apply wallpaper.
Wallpapers last for more than ten years – You can also wash them now and then to refresh them a bit. You can also wash paints but they tend to fade and stain after a while.
Wallpaper tends to peel off in high-humidity areas – This is the reason why you have to take into consideration the area where you live and where you store your RV. On the other hand, when applied without proper preparation, paint also tends to blister and peel off at the same conditions.
Paint gives off noxious fumes – This often happens when you are applying it. With that in mind, set aside a couple of days for the walls to dry and fumes to disappear.
Prices for both wallpaper and paint can be subjective – Some wallpapers are affordable yet still look nice. However, lots of them are also quite expensive. You need to do your research to find the right paints and wallpapers to fit your budget.
Wallpaper can be tough to remove for replacement – You will need specialized scrapers. Furthermore, it might be necessary to use some chemicals to help them peel off easier.
If you still cannot decide on which wall treatment to give your RV, consider applying a combination of both. Contrasting paints and wallpapers can be quite beautiful when done correctly.
The interior of your RV needs to have the kind of aesthetics that you want since you will be spending most of your time inside it during your long RV trips. It is important to know what are RV interior walls made of so you can decide on the kind of treatment you will be giving your RV. When your RV’s walls make you feel warm and at home, your journeys will become even more enjoyable.
Hi, I am Dane Heldt, a full-time RVer since 2016. I am always passionate about building and joining an RV community where people share their love for RV lives. This blog is a dream of mine, as I can finally share my experiences to help people who want to start living differently. So, feel free to reach out to me!