8 Tips For A Successful 5th Wheel Remodel
Buying an RV is a big investment. For this reason, many people decide to go with older, used units in order to save a few bucks. Others still have their fifth wheel trailers from years ago. Whatever your reason for traveling in an older rig, you probably don’t want to be stuck with the drab, brown, and outdated interior that so many of those older units have. Fortunately, you don’t have to be, if you’re willing to do a 5th wheel remodel.
A whole 5th wheel remodel might seem like a huge undertaking, but in reality it doesn’t have to be. As long as you go in with some know-how and you do things right the first time, things should go pretty smoothly, and your work will pay off for years to come.
Ready to make your older RV feel more like home? Follow these tips to make sure you carry out a successful 5th wheel remodel that you will adore.
1. Start with a good fifth wheel
Our first and possibly most important tip is to make sure you’re starting with a good, solid unit. If you’re shopping for a used RV, inspect prospective rigs carefully before agreeing to buy. Look for water damage, which can be incredibly expensive and difficult to fix, and watch out for frame, wheel, and axle damage.
In the vast majority of cases, we recommend hiring an RV inspector before buying a used RV, even if you’re planning a 5th wheel remodel as soon as you get it home.
2. Set a budget
Once you have your RV, the next step is to set a fifth wheel remodel budget. It can be easy to go crazy changing everything and letting your emotions dictate what you’ll buy rather than using logic and keeping your spending under control.
Setting a hard and fast budget, and then carefully planning what you will need and what you will spend on each item, will help ensure your remodel doesn’t cost you a small fortune. This is something your bank account is sure to appreciate.
3. Know your needs
Understanding what you want and need out of your RV is an important part of planning a remodel. You might need to take the trailer camping a few times before your 5th wheel remodel in order to get a good grasp on exactly what that is.
Does the current floor plan work well for you, or do you need to rearrange some things? Do you need more storage space? Do you feel you need to paint or change the flooring, or will some accent wallpaper and rugs do the trick?
Really think about these things and make a solid plan for what you do (and do not) want to change, and how you want to go about it before diving in.
4. Consider weight
While making your plans and picking new furniture and storage solutions, really consider weight. Keep in mind that all RVs (even the biggest 5th wheels) have weight limits that need to be strictly adhered to. Because traditional furniture typically weighs more than RV furniture, this might mean sacrificing weight in other areas in order to have that new dining table or couch.
Not only is your weight capacity important, the weight inside the trailer must also be distributed properly for safe towing. To do this, ensure the weight of the trailer is relatively even from side to side, and that about 60% of your load is placed in front of the axles.
Finally, you must consider the towing capacity of your vehicle and ensure that whatever you put into the rig during your 5th wheel remodel won’t cause your RV to surpass that capacity.
5. Measure, measure, measure
It’s no secret that RVs are smaller than houses. This means that finding replacement furniture to fit properly can be tricky. Make sure you measure your space multiple times and in every direction possible before going out shopping for new RV furniture. Once you find things you like and think might work, measure those in every direction as well.
In addition to the measurements of the furniture and the space it’s going into, you’ll also want to consider the width of your door. RV doors are smaller than doors on traditional buildings, and many furniture items won’t fit through. For this reason, furniture items you assemble yourself (such as the products from IKEA) are very popular with many who choose to do a 5th wheel remodel.
6. Follow the proper painting procedure
Are you hoping to paint your walls or cabinets to brighten up your space? This makes total sense, and can look really amazing. That said, you will definitely want to make sure you do it correctly the first time in order to avoid paint peeling down the line.
Because RV walls and cabinets are so slick, you will need to sand everything well that you intend to paint. On top of that, a good quality primer must be put down before the actual paint. Finally, plan on at least three coats of paint in order to fully cover your walls or cabinets. Many people also like to use some sort of sealer to protect their hard work.
7. Bolt things down
Nobody wants their brand new furniture tipping and sliding all over the RV while they move from one campground to the next. For this reason, it’s a good idea to bolt everything down before you hit the road. This can be done very simply with L brackets. That said, you will want to make sure you avoid screw mishaps by having a solid understanding of where your trailer’s wiring and water lines run. After all, you don’t want to screw right into something you shouldn’t.
8. Remember the details
Last but not least, remember to put thought into the small details. Even something as simple as new cabinet handles and drawer pulls can make an enormous difference, adding life to your tiny home-on-wheels. If you’re on a tight budget or have very little time, finding a few of these smaller projects to take on can be very rewarding.
On the other hand, even those who do choose to put down new flooring, do some painting, and replace the RV furniture will likely be pleased with the results if they just take the time to look at and spruce up the little things.
Ready to take on your 5th wheel remodel? Use these tips along the way and we’re sure your project will be a successful one that you and your family will appreciate for a long time to come.
For some 5th wheel remodel inspiration, check out this video tour from The Gray Adventures:
One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and much more.