What Are RV Interior Walls Made Of?

Are you looking to replace or repair your RV’s interior walls? Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we go over the basics of camper interior walls, including what they can be constructed of, the advantages and disadvantages of the different wall options, and how you can choose the right one for your needs and budget.

But before we begin, what are RV interior walls made of? The three most common types of RV wall materials are plywood, vinyl, and medium-density fiberboard. Which one will be best suited to you depends on a few factors, all of which we discuss below.

Types of RV Interior Wall Materials

As mentioned, the three most common types of RV interior walls are plywood, vinyl and medium-density fiberboard. As you can probably guess, all types come with certain benefits but drawbacks too.

Composite Plywood

Composite Plywood is a specific type of plywood commonly used for RV walls. It is made of several different types of wood pressed together to form a large sheet that can be cut down to size. Wood veneer forms are usually placed on the external part, while the inner layers of the plywood generally consist of cheaper wood.

While “cheap” and “durable” typically don’t go together, you’ll be pleased to hear that plywood is indeed very durable and that it doesn’t bend or break easily. Another plus for plywood is that you can easily paint or wallpaper over it – great if you’ve bought a used RV but are not a fan of the color of the walls.

The main downside of plywood is that it can easily get damaged if it gets wet. So, if in some unfortunate circumstance you get a roof leak, there is a very high chance it will damage your walls. In fact, if your plywood walls get wet even a little bit, we suggest immediately wiping them down with paper towels or cloth before any mold starts to form. You can also try applying heat to the area using a blow dryer.

PROS

  • Durable, not prone to bending or breaking
  • Looks great and natural, like real wood
  • Versatile, can be painted or wallpapered over

CONS

  • Sensitive to water
  • Prone to mold/rot

Vinyl

Vinyl is known as the most versatile plastic, so it’s no wonder it’s gotten so popular in recent years. This durable plastic is a great option for RV walls and floors as there is a huge variety of textures, colors and designs to choose from, plus the installation process is usually a breeze. For all those campers that are looking for a simple DIY project, vinyl is the way to go, since you won’t be needing any special tools –  a simple sharp utility knife will do. If you are on a budget, vinyl is one of the most affordable options, as it costs half the price of real plywood.

With that being said, vinyl is not particularly durable. In fact, it tends to crack rather easily so it won’t last that long (the typical lifespan of vinyl walls is about two to three years). But if you are someone who likes to change the decor of their RV often, you’ll like vinyl because it will allow you to try different styles on a budget.

PROS

  • Budget-friendly option
  • Lightweight and easy to install
  • Available in various designs and colors

CONS

  • Not as long-lasting as other materials

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) is made from sawdust that’s glued together and then pressed between several sheets of wood veneer. This is a cheap alternative to plywood, and probably the most affordable option out there. Several sheets of MDF will probably cost the same price as one piece of plywood, making this material the best choice if you’re on a really tight budget. Another good thing about MDF is that it’s super-lightweight so it won’t weigh your camper down.

Having said all this, MDF is far from perfect as it deteriorates pretty quickly. In fact, this material has the shortest lifespan of all and you’ll most likely have to change it within a year. And, unlike with plywood, paint won’t stick to MDF easily.

PROS

  • Very affordable, great for tight budgets
  • Lightweight, won’t weigh your RV down

CONS

  • Deteriorates within a year or so
  • Doesn’t take paint or wallpaper well

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Thick Are The Walls In An RV?

On most RVs, walls are around 2 to 2 and ½ inches thick. When compared to standard residential walls, this is pretty thin, making the material you use for your interior RV walls all the more important. Most folks like their inner walls to be around 1/8 to ¼ inches thick, however, some go up to ½ inch for extra insulation and soundproofing.

Can I Paint The Interior Walls Of My RV?

The answer to this question depends on the material of your interior RV walls. As we mentioned above, some materials take both paint and wallpaper very well while others do not. If your walls are constructed from plywood, you can definitely paint over them, just make sure you sand and degrease your old walls before you apply your primer and paint.

You can also paint over MDF walls but it’s a bit trickier as this material needs to be primed more thoroughly. We recommend applying several coats of good-quality paint over MDF as one coat is not likely to adhere properly to the walls. Of course, before you start painting, make sure you sand and clean (degrease) the material really well. Don’t forget a good coat of primer too – matter of fact, use more than one coat. Once the primer dries, start painting and don’t forget to lightly sand between coats.

Why are RV Interior Walls Important?

Aside from making the interior of your RV look great and perhaps holding important components, the inner walls of your RV also provide insulation and soundproofing. It’s always good to have an extra layer between your vehicle and the outdoors as it will not only keep you warmer during colder months and cooler in hot weather, but it will also ensure people outside cannot hear you and you cannot hear them.

3 Comments
  1. Your post is very detailed and easy to understand, it made me understand the wall of my RV better so I can find the right paint for it. Thank you for writing this post.

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