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A good customer of mine has presented me with a challenge: painting the interior of their "new" Airstream camper with winter approaching. The winter thing isn't a big deal so long as the heat in the camper works well.

Challenge 1: Lots of wood but ALSO lots of laminate. Doors, drawers, trim are all wood. Panels and tables are laminate. The tables are definitely NOT going to be painted and she is not sure about the laminate panels. The laminate looks to be in good shape but I worry about the tension of a finish coat pulling the laminate from the substrate, especially in an environment where the temps could fluctuate so dramatically (in central Virginia it could be 70 one day and 35 the next). What do you guys think? Best to recommend against painting the laminate?

The other thing is, if we DON'T paint the laminate, there is a lot of wood trim that borders laminate panels, so how would that look? I know it's not our job to tell the customer what to paint but I don't want them to spend a couple of grand and have it look stupid. For example, in the "bathroom" there is all that wood but there is a small laminate panel around the toilet paper roll. How dumb would that look to leave it unpainted? And the bread box looking thing (behind the range)…dare paint that?

Challenge 2: Paint Choice - Breakthrough is the first thing I'm thinking here since it's ridiculously flexible and the temp swings could be pretty dramatic. I'm not sure I would really trust an interior-only paint here. Thoughts? If I do go with Breakthrough, I'm tempted to just give a really good wash down, scuff and tack and skip priming. I used an old GLOSSY laminate table (you know the kind you used to find in classrooms) as a table to spray doors on and I CANNOT scratch the Breakthrough off of that unprepped, GLOSSY surface. Truly amazing.

Challenge 3: Spraying - I am not set up with a spray shop. Any time I have sprayed interior items, I just set up a spray tent. But I have never done it in colder temps and I have never had to deal with the number of items I will have this time. I would only be able to spray a few at time in a spray tent then I would have to move them to another spot to dry (preferably climate controlled). I suppose after I painted the boxes/trim and whatnot in the camper I could set it up as a drying area. Also an option, my father-in-law has a spray shop up in PA. If I use Breakthrough, what is the timeframe from the final application to being able to transport?

THANKS! Pics to follow in next post...
 

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From what you posted, I'm wondering if you're looking at two different types of laminate: high-pressure laminates (HPL), e.g Formica, Wilsonart, etc. and low-pressure laminates (LPL), e.g. melamine, photo-print paneling, etc..

The tables are most likely HPL and I think leaving them alone is a good plan. We've had good luck on LVL paneling with a bonding primer like 1,2,3. I was in a place we did a few years ago, where some of the space is unheated, so the temps fluctuate from 0-100F. No sign of lifting/rolling. The only time I've seen that on LPL is where there was obviously a manufacturing flaw: the entire laminate surface curled up on unpainted melamine-type shelving.
 

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I would go Breakthrough all way, laminate and all. A while back I painted a whole set of cabinets in a rental made from that cheap papery laminate. Half the doors were water damaged and it bad shape. Just a spruce up job. I was impressed with how well it did. No lifting of the paper or anything.

Doing that gave the courage to do a bathroom in the same manner. Had slick laminate panel walls, and another cheap laminate vanity. Did great. I even painted the counter top;)

Haven't experimented with Breakthrough much in cooler temps yet, just started using it this summer. As far as dry time to transport, overnight has always been fine for me.

I might just roll it all. Once you get the hang of Breakthrough with a mini microfiber, you can get a nice smooth film.

One thing about using it in such a small area, there will be a lingering odor for a few days. Ventilate as much as possible.
 

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I refinished a table and chair set for my son and his new wife in last
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Christmas. The Beyond Paint system was perfect! I used the light gray, did a small stencil and reupholstered the seats.
 

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Ahhh campers.. did one before doing one now. Actually doing a complete camper remodel on an 83’ literally everything. The older ones had a lot more real wood which is good/bad. But if I were you I would use breakthrough for sure, used it on the last one it even stuck to frp panels. Always do a test and discuss with your clients the realistic expectations about certain areas. In this case you can be straight forward with your concerns because they will also be the same concerns for anyone else professionally doing it.

some propane heaters would help, pre heat your material if it’s cold, but don’t go from too drastic temps between spraying and drying. Like a 70 degree tent to 40 degree camper instantly. In a controlled environment you could easily transport next day. I’ve sprayed and transported after a few hours with that stuff.. probably wouldn’t stack anything that quick though..
 

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Ahhh campers.. did one before doing one now. Actually doing a complete camper remodel on an 83’ literally everything. The older ones had a lot more real wood which is good/bad. But if I were you I would use breakthrough for sure, used it on the last one it even stuck to frp panels. Always do a test and discuss with your clients the realistic expectations about certain areas. In this case you can be straight forward with your concerns because they will also be the same concerns for anyone else professionally doing it.

some propane heaters would help, pre heat your material if it’s cold, but don’t go from too drastic temps between spraying and drying. Like a 70 degree tent to 40 degree camper instantly. In a controlled environment you could easily transport next day. I’ve sprayed and transported after a few hours with that stuff.. probably wouldn’t stack anything that quick though..
This post is from 2015. Pretty sure that job is over now. Just sayin..
 

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A good customer of mine has presented me with a challenge: painting the interior of their "new" Airstream camper with winter approaching. The winter thing isn't a big deal so long as the heat in the camper works well.

Challenge 1: Lots of wood but ALSO lots of laminate. Doors, drawers, trim are all wood. Panels and tables are laminate. The tables are definitely NOT going to be painted and she is not sure about the laminate panels. The laminate looks to be in good shape but I worry about the tension of a finish coat pulling the laminate from the substrate, especially in an environment where the temps could fluctuate so dramatically (in central Virginia it could be 70 one day and 35 the next). What do you guys think? Best to recommend against painting the laminate?

The other thing is, if we DON'T paint the laminate, there is a lot of wood trim that borders laminate panels, so how would that look? I know it's not our job to tell the customer what to paint but I don't want them to spend a couple of grand and have it look stupid. For example, in the "bathroom" there is all that wood but there is a small laminate panel around the toilet paper roll. How dumb would that look to leave it unpainted? And the bread box looking thing (behind the range)…dare paint that?

Challenge 2: Paint Choice - Breakthrough is the first thing I'm thinking here since it's ridiculously flexible and the temp swings could be pretty dramatic. I'm not sure I would really trust an interior-only paint here. Thoughts? If I do go with Breakthrough, I'm tempted to just give a really good wash down, scuff and tack and skip priming. I used an old GLOSSY laminate table (you know the kind you used to find in classrooms) as a table to spray doors on and I CANNOT scratch the Breakthrough off of that unprepped, GLOSSY surface. Truly amazing.

Challenge 3: Spraying - I am not set up with a spray shop. Any time I have sprayed interior items, I just set up a spray tent. But I have never done it in colder temps and I have never had to deal with the number of items I will have this time. I would only be able to spray a few at time in a spray tent then I would have to move them to another spot to dry (preferably climate controlled). I suppose after I painted the boxes/trim and whatnot in the camper I could set it up as a drying area. Also an option, my father-in-law has a spray shop up in PA. If I use Breakthrough, what is the timeframe from the final application to being able to transport?

THANKS! Pics to follow in next post...
That looks like a fun project. Lucky (if you can find a way to keep it warm while working (Infared Heaters are safe and efficient heat, if you need to supplement)

I hope you keep us informed with lots of pictures and updates.

There is a huge Airstream culture. Some people take it extremely serious.
Cant wait to see how yours turns out.
 

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I couldn't believe how easily everything went! I repainted a camper with Nuvo cabinet paint. Despite the fact that the cabinets aren't made of wood, I used a degloseer as recommended by others. We've used the camper three times since then, and despite the fact that I have two young children, it's still going strong! I just needed 2 cans of this to finish it. I would suggest using the roller as often as possible to achieve a smoother finish. Don't be afraid to use it thick! It will save you time and make you appear more professional.
 

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Normally I would think of a camper's interior as requiring interior paint. But I am wondering if all the flexing that goes on while travelling might need something more flexible like an outdoor type finish.

Not a recommendation, just ruminating.
 

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I couldn't believe how easily everything went! I repainted a camper with Nuvo cabinet paint. Despite the fact that the cabinets aren't made of wood, I used a deglosser as recommended by others. We've used the camper three times since then, and despite the fact that I have two young children, it's still going strong! I just needed 2 cans of this to finish it. I would suggest using the roller as often as possible to achieve a smoother finish. Don't be afraid to use it thick! It will save you time and make you appear more professional.
George. You sound a bit like a robotic infomercial. Please introduce yourself or be terminated.
 
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