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How to Replace RV Ceiling Panels (Plus 5 Alternative RV Ceiling Ideas)

Whether you just want to update the look of your RV or need to address some damage, you may find yourself looking for RV ceiling ideas. Today, we will look at why you might need to update your RV ceiling panels and a few of the options you have. 

How to Tell Your RV Ceiling Panels Need Replacing? 

If your RV ceiling panels are discoloring, are soft to the touch, or bowing in any way, you’ll likely need to replace your panels. Investigate the root cause of the damage first – you might have exterior repairs to take care of first! 

Replacing the panels without addressing the problem will just lead to further issues and wasted product and money. 

RV Water Damage Repair + Installing Ceiling Insulation/Paneling

What Are RV Ceiling Panels Made Of? 

Manufacturers usually use PVC and vinyl due to their lightweight and affordability. These options also prove to be durable and waterproof, which are both important for RVs. 

Replacing the ceiling panels on your RV can be tricky. Manufacturers typically install them on the roof before putting them on top of an RV. This means that the edges of the side panels are sandwiched between the roof and the sidewalls. 

Mounting them this way provides maximum support and stability as the RV travels down bumpy highways. However, this does make it more difficult when needing to replace a ceiling panel. While it is more complicated, it’s not an impossible task.

Wooden RV ceiling panels.
RV ceiling panels can completely change the appearance of your RV.

Steps to Replace Your RV Ceiling Panels

To replace your RV ceiling, start by removing the vinyl coverings that run along the seams of the panels. Cut the panels as close to the walls as possible and measure the size of the ones needing replacing. You’ll want to account for all of the cabinets, air conditioning vents, and doorways.

You can then use aluminum strips to join the edges of the paneling. This method will allow you to hide any rough edges and create a finished look. 

Secure the aluminum strips with screws with caps to enhance the look. To further create a finished look, you can install molding around the edges and paint to match the room.

Pro Tip: Your new ceiling deserves a beautiful ceiling fan as well. Why not install one of these 5 Best RV Ceiling Fans for Adding or Replacing in Your RV.

Man installing ceiling in RV.
Remove all panels currently in your RV before installing new RV ceiling panels.

5 Alternative RV Ceiling Ideas 

You can find many great options for RV ceiling panel replacements. While you could simply replace the panels with the same material that came with your RV, you also have other options. As with any RV renovation idea, be sure to consider the change in weight by switching materials and if it’ll push your camper over it’s RV weight limits.

Here are a few ways you can take this opportunity to add some personality to your rig. 

1. Wood Planks 

Wood planks are a great customizable option. You can choose everything from plywood to tongue-and-groove planks. You can adjust the type of wood used based on your style and budget preferences. 

Wood allows you to easily paint or stain it to fit in with the rest of your decor, but it also depends on your budget and level of carpentry skill. It looks especially great for those going for a natural look. 

Shiplap is an interior design fad that is sweeping houses and RVs! As long as you find lightweight enough boards, you can incorporate this feature into your RV ceiling.

Installing Light-Weight Shiplap In Our RV
Wooden ceiling panels add a natural, earthy look to an RV.

2. Metal Panels 

Metal panels are a very durable RV ceiling idea. These panels won’t rot or retain moisture which is essential in an RV. You can install them easily, making it an easy DIY project. 

Those seeking modern decor may like this design option. You can customize the metal with your favorite color of paint. As a bonus, you can clean metal panels with minimal effort.

3. Fabric Covering 

Fabric ceiling coverings provide many great benefits. You can easily install it with a strong adhesive. Fabric is a great additional layer of insulation to help keep your RV at a comfortable temperature. 

This option works well for those looking to update their look or cover imperfections without completely replacing the panels. 

As an added benefit, those that create podcasts, videos, or regularly participate in conference calls will appreciate the improved sound due to the fabric. It softens the sound and reduces echo.  

Fabric ceilings dampen noise and add insulation to your RV.

4. Stenciled Panels 

If your panels are in good structural shape but need a facelift, you might consider stenciling them. 

This highly customizable option allows you to get creative. Don’t write this option off just because you think you aren’t crafty enough. 

While you can freehand your work, you can choose from many stencils. Simply place it on the panel, roll on your paint and repeat the process until you’ve completed your ceiling design. 

Person painting on a stencil.
If your original panels are in good condition, use a stencil to customize your current RV ceiling panels.

5. Vinyl 

Those looking for a very durable option will appreciate vinyl or PVC tiles. This option is a popular choice due to its ability to withstand high humidity and large temperature swings. 

They make an excellent choice for areas such as bathrooms and kitchen areas. The smooth panels hold up well to paint, making them an easily customizable option. Additionally, you can clean them easily, and they have a long life span.

Man installing ceiling.
Consider your budget and RV ceiling when deciding what material is best for you.

Which Material Is Best for Your RV Ceiling Renovation Idea? 

No one material is the perfect fit for every situation. You can choose the RV ceiling idea and style that will fit your RV best. A good rule of thumb is to find the best quality product for your budget and within your weight restrictions. 

If you like the style and quality in your price range, that is the best option for you. 

Pro Tip: Need some renovation inspiration for your RV? Try these 9 Fabulous RV Renovation Ideas!

RV Renovation Continues! - Installing Our Cedar Plank Ceiling 😍 (Ep. 19)

Should You DIY or Hire Out Your RV Ceiling Panel Install?

This is a very doable project for those that are a little bit handy and don’t mind putting in the work. 

If you feel that you might get overwhelmed and are unsure of your abilities, there is no shame in hiring out the project. It is better to have a professional do it than to get in over your head. 

Have you replaced your RV ceiling panels? What did you choose to use at your replacement? Drop a comment below!

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About Cait Morton

Co-Founder, Logistics Queen, Business & Content Manager, and Animal Lover

An Upper Peninsula of Michigan native (aka a Yooper), Caitlin is the organization, big-picture, and content strategy queen of our operation. She keeps everything orderly and on track.

With a background in Business Management, she supports and helps channel Tom’s technical prowess into the helpful content our readers and viewers expect. That’s not to say you won’t find her turning wrenches and talking shop – RV life is a team effort. She keeps the business and the blog moving forward with a variety of topics and resources for our audience.

Believe it or not, she is rather camera shy, though she co-hosts the Mortons’ personal videos and The RVers TV show.

Caitlin’s passion lies in outdoor recreation and with animals. Some of her favorite things to do are hiking, biking, and getting out on the water via kayak, SUP, or boat.

She also loves the RV life due to the fact that you can bring your pets along. Sharing information about safely recreating outdoors with your whole family – pets included! – is very important to her. Because of this, Caitlin spearheaded the launch of HypePets in 2023.

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