Our Cheap RV Living Tips: Paint Your RV Roof Vent And Covers

We had a successful, frugal experiment yesterday – we painted our rv roof vent cover – so we just had to share our cheap rv living tips with you! Wilbur, our 5th wheel, is a bright and sunny camper – which is quite delightful most of the day. However, in Montana during the summer, the sun sets late at night and rises very early. We needed to do something…

So this frugal couple (that would be us) decided a few weeks ago we had to finally address the issue – and we just got around to putting our plan in motion yesterday.

Here is the scoop…when we bought Wilbur, he came with three, WHITE roof vent covers by Maxxair installed over the normal camper vents…over our bed, in the bathroom and in the kitchen. Now from the outside, for those who like to be color coordinated, having matching white covers makes it look clean and tidy up there…but white lets all of the light in…and the one in the bedroom is a real problem. It is so bright in the morning that it is hard to sleep.

RVers know, however, that to “cover” these vents from the inside has a major flaw – you don’t get the ventilation! Yes, the idea of these is to be able to get air flow, even if it is raining. If you cover them up, then…well…remind me why we have these things again??

So long story short, we had two options:

  1. Spend $32.85 on a brand new, black Maxxair roof vent cover and swap it out with our white one
  2. Spend less than five bucks on a can of flat, black spray paint used for painting plastic.

We decided to go the spray paint route, because buying a new one seemed extremely wasteful. Frugal rv living means working with what you’ve got, so that’s what we decided to do. We figured that if we messed up the white one beyond repair, we would then surrender and purchase a new one.

This project took no time at all. On Maxxair vents, there are only 4 nuts that are easily unscrewed with a standard, household wrench. Got the cover down, the screen on front pops off with ease. Then we simply went to town spray painting the INSIDE of the cover. One can does the trick, with plenty left over. We also did inside of the ventilation slats. Took two coats and then a touch up. One of the most important tips is, when it is dry (only a few minutes in the sun) HOLD IT UP TO THE SUNLIGHT to find the lighter spots you didn’t cover well before mounting it back on the roof. At a glance, it all looks black…but in the sun, you will see some “light” areas that need additional spraying. Then we just screwed it back on and it was all done. Honestly, could get the job done in under 30 minutes, and most of that time is just making sure it is dry.


  • From the outside, it looks professional but is more of a gray color now, instead of white.
  • From the inside, it looks professional and jet black – and happy to report that it works great and kept our room dark!
  • If you’ve never bought a roof vent cover, you should consider it because you can keep your vents open all of the time, even driving down the highway.
  • Buy a dark one for your bedroom, if you’re buying brand new ones for the first time!
  • CAMCO offers them in black, silver, white, gray and champagne colors.
  • MAXXAIR has black, white and smoke colors.

Though we didn’t have to touch our basic rv vent lids, because our Maxxair roof vent cover goes over them, we’re assuming these cheap rv living tips would work on the lid, too. That plastic spray paint covers very well and dries fast, so you could transform a translucent one in the bedroom into a black one with little effort.


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2 Responses to Our Cheap RV Living Tips: Paint Your RV Roof Vent And Covers

  1. cozygirl says:

    Lv spray paints….on Mr. Jer mod list!
    Thx for articles…on my list. half in denial, half almost out of this months GB 🙂