How Much to Paint a Camper Shell? The Essential Guide

Freshening up the paint on a camper shell can breathe new life into an old vehicle or add a sleek, uniform look to an existing truck. Painting a camper shell costs between $300 and $1,000, depending on several factors. The size and complexity of the task, existing damage, type of paint used, and whether the paint job is done professionally or through do-it-yourself methods all play a role in the final price.

A quality paint job will not only provide an aesthetic upgrade but also help preserve the shell’s durability.

How Much to Paint a Camper Shell? The Essential Guide


The Cost Of Painting A Camper Shell: Breaking It Down

Painting a camper shell not only enhances its appearance but also protects it from weather elements. However, the cost of painting a camper shell varies considerably based on certain factors, including the type and extent of work required.

Factors That Affect The Cost Of Painting A Camper Shell

Before you get into the process of painting a camper shell, it’s best to know about the different factors that can impact the cost. Here are a few that you must consider:

  • Condition of the camper shell: If the camper shell has been damaged, it may require extensive prep work before painting, which can add to the cost.
  • Camper shell size: The larger the camper shell, the more time it will require to paint, which will, in turn, increase the overall cost.
  • Paint quality: The price of paint can have a significant impact on the final cost. Higher quality paint will be more expensive.
  • Color: Some paints may require more coats than others, particularly if a lighter color is being painted over a darker original color.

Average Price Ranges For Camper Shell Painting

While the cost of painting a camper shell can vary depending on several factors, here are the average price ranges you can expect:

  • Basic paint job: $300-$900
  • Custom paint job: $800-$5,000

Hidden Costs To Consider

Apart from the cost of painting, there are a few hidden costs to keep in mind. These costs may not be upfront and could add up quickly, increasing the total cost of painting your camper shell:

  • Preparation: If your camper shell requires significant prep work, it could increase the labor cost of painting.
  • Additional repairs: If there is any damage to the shell, you may need repairs, which can increase the total cost.
  • Extras: Additional extras such as decals or airbrushing could add to the final cost.

Painting a camper shell can make it look brand new, but it can also be costly. It’s best to do your research and budget accordingly before diving into a project like this.

Diy Vs. Professional Camper Shell Painting: Which Is Best For You?

When it comes to updating a camper shell’s look, painting it is one of the most effective and affordable options. However, the big question is, should you hire a professional painter or take the diy route? Each option comes with its pros and cons.

In this section, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Diy Painting

Painting your camper shell yourself has many benefits, but it also comes with some downsides. Here are a few points to consider:


  • Cost-saving: Given that professional painting services can be quite expensive, painting your camper shell on your own can save you some money.
  • Creative freedom: You’ll have total control over the color and pattern of the camper shell. Plus, you can experiment as much as you want without having to compromise.
  • Self-satisfaction: Accomplishing a diy project can be fulfilling and boost your self-confidence.


  • Lack of professional expertise: Camper shell painting requires knowledge of sanding, priming, and painting techniques, and it can be tough if you lack professional expertise. You may end up with an uneven, botched paint job with peeling or chipping paint.
  • Time-consuming: Diy projects usually take additional time since you’ll have to prepare the camper shell, learn the right techniques, and perform the painting job meticulously.
  • Safety risks: Painting poses risks of toxic fumes if you don’t know how to do it correctly. Make sure you understand the safety aspects involved in painting your camper shell to avoid accidental poisoning or respiratory problems.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Professional Camper Shell Painting

Hiring a professional painter may appear more expensive, but for many people, the benefits outweigh the cons. Here’s what to consider:


  • Professional service: A team of experts with years of experience and expertise can ensure a premium paint job that boasts exceptional quality, a perfect finish, and coverage.
  • Time-saving: Professionals have the necessary tools, techniques, and experience. This means they can paint your camper shell efficiently, resulting in a quick turnaround.
  • Reduced chances of problems: Trusted and reliable professional painters typically offer a guarantee or warranty on their services. This assures you that any issues with the paint job will be addressed.


  • Cost: Hiring a professional painter can be expensive, with prices varying based on the scope of the project, the materials used, and the expertise of the painters.
  • Limited creative freedom: You won’t have total control over how your camper shell looks, which can be limiting if you’re looking to add eccentric patterns or unconventional colors. However, many professional painters offer customization options to address this issue.
  • Difficulty in finding a reliable painter: Not all professional painters are equal, so finding a reliable and competent one can be challenging. It’s essential to do your research, read reviews, and ask for references before hiring a painter.

Both diy and professional camper shell painting options come with their advantages and disadvantages. Whether to paint your camper shell yourself or to hire a professional should be based on your needs, capabilities, and budget.

How To Find The Right Camper Shell Painting Service Provider

Before choosing a service provider for your camper shell painting project, you should carefully research and review prospective providers. Here’s how:

  • Start by searching for camper shell painting service providers in your area on google or yelp.
  • Look for online reviews and ratings of the providers to get an idea of their reputation and past work quality.
  • Check their social media pages and website for evidence of previous work that they’ve done.
  • Get in touch with the service providers and ask for an estimate. An estimate should include not only their expected work rate but also details about the kinds of paints and materials they’ll use for the project.
  • You can also contact your local car dealerships to ask for their recommendations.

Communication And Consultation

Good communication is critical to ensuring that the service provider has a clear understanding of what you want, so take your time to communicate your ideas and needs to the service provider. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Schedule a consultation meeting with the service provider to discuss the project’s details, budget, and timeline.
  • Communicate your thoughts clearly, and ask any questions you may have concerning the project.
  • Specify the colors and any necessary customizations that you want.
  • Discuss the expected time frame for the project’s completion and ensure that both parties are on the same page.

Making The Final Decision

After reviewing the potential service providers and communicating with them, it’s time to make the final decision. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Choose a provider that has given you the best value for your money while taking into account the materials, timeline, and your budget.
  • Make sure that the service provider carries insurance and that you understand their policies.
  • Confirm that your service provider has the necessary licensing as required by law in your area.
  • Ask for a written agreement detailing the cost rates, project timeline, materials, and any necessary contingencies.

Choosing the right camper shell painting service provider requires some effort on your part. The crucial thing is to be thorough in your research, communicate your ideas and needs clearly, and choose the service provider that meets your expectations while offering the best value for your money.

Preparation And Process: A Step-By-Step Guide To Camper Shell Painting

Looking to give your camper shell a fresh coat of paint? Painting your camper shell is a cost-effective way of giving it a new lease of life. Before you dive into it, make sure to prepare your camper shell first.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to camper shell painting:

Preparing The Camper Shell

Before painting, you need to prepare your camper shell. Here are the key steps:

  • Wash the camper shell with water and soap
  • Remove any decals, adhesive or stickers
  • Sand down any rough spots or rust with sandpaper
  • Clean the surface with wax and grease remover
  • Mask off areas you don’t want painted with a painter’s tape

Painting The Camper Shell

Now that your camper shell is prepared, it’s time to start painting:

  • Shake the paint can well before use
  • Spray the paint evenly in one direction
  • Apply 2-4 coats of paint, depending on the color and type of paint you’re using
  • Wait for at least 20 minutes before applying the next coat

Post-Painting Care And Maintenance

Once you’ve painted your camper shell, protect your hard work and make it last by:

  • Let the paint dry completely before using your camper shell
  • Avoid washing or exposing your camper shell to extreme heat for the first two weeks
  • Regularly clean your camper shell with soap and water or a detailing spray

Troubleshooting And Common Problems

Despite your best efforts, unexpected problems could arise. Here’s a couple of troubleshooting tips for common problems:

  • If you see blistering or bubbling, sand down the area lightly and repaint it
  • If you notice cracks or flaking, remove the paint with paint stripper and start over
  • If the paint looks uneven or bumpy, lightly sand the areas with the problem and repaint

By following these simple steps, you can give your camper shell a fresh new look while also saving money. Happy painting!

Frequently Asked Questions Of How Much To Paint A Camper Shell

Can I Paint My Own Camper Shell?

Yes, you can paint your own camper shell with the right tools and equipment. Make sure to follow the proper steps for preparation, priming, and painting.

How Long Does It Take To Paint A Camper Shell?

The time it takes to paint a camper shell depends on the condition and size of the shell, as well as the type of paint used. Typically it takes 2-3 days.

What Type Of Paint Should I Use For My Camper Shell?

The type of paint you should use for your camper shell depends on personal preference, but most people use acrylic enamel or urethane paint for best results.

Can I Change The Color Of My Existing Camper Shell?

Yes, you can change the color of your existing camper shell. However, it will require proper preparation, sanding, priming, and painting to ensure a smooth and even finish.

Do I Need To Remove My Camper Shell To Paint It?

You do not necessarily need to remove your camper shell to paint it, but it may make the process easier. If you choose to paint it while it is attached, make sure to cover any surrounding areas to avoid overspray.


After examining the various factors involved in calculating the cost of painting a camper shell, it is evident that the price can vary widely. It ultimately depends on the size of the camper shell, its condition, the paint quality, and other related expenses.

While using high-quality paint and hiring a professional to do the job may increase the cost, it can also result in a stunning, long-lasting finish that is well worth the investment. On the other hand, opting for a cheap diy job may save you money in the short-term but may result in subpar results and the need for expensive touch-ups down the road.

Therefore, it is important to weigh the pros and cons carefully and make an informed decision based on your budget and needs. With proper preparation, research, and consideration, painting a camper shell can yield a beautiful and durable end-result.