Best RV Ceiling Panel Replacement Materials to Make Your Camper Feel Like Home

Are you thinking about installing new ceiling panels in your RV? If so, choosing the best possible replacement material for your RV will go a long way towards ensuring it maximizes its value, while minimizing future problems. 

Of course, adding or replacing ceiling panels isn’t just about making your RV stronger.

They also can do other things like adding insulation value, protecting or repairing water leaks and making the RVs interior more durable.

There is a log of different RV ceiling panels to choose from. Some enhance the interior aesthetics, add soundproofing, some add insulation, and some cover-up the lingering stains left behind by water leaks. 

We tried to take all these things into account while compiling a list of the best RV ceiling panel materials to choose from. 

5 Best Materials For RV Ceiling Panel Replacements

You will be happy to hear that there are several options to consider in replacing your RV’s ceiling.

Some are panels or ceiling tiles. Though it is also possible to simply use sheet materials to replace a larger section of the ceiling. 

1. Wood Sheeting

Wood Sheeting

Veneer manufacturing technology has helped reinvent plywood. Thin sheets of a quarter or perhaps half-inch plywood is skinned with veneered wood made from a tree that has a lot of character in the grain pattern.

It can then be sanded and stained to match your RV’s updated décor. 

Tongue & Groove Wood Boards

Tongue & groove boards or planks are coming back into fashion for cabins and RV interiors.

They are relatively easy to install and can be stained to match your RV’s interior décor.

They also add a lot of character, and if one does get damaged, or you make an incorrect cut near a cabinet or a corner, you only have to replace one board, instead of an entire sheet of expensive plywood. 

The Benefits Of A Wood Replacement Ceiling In An RV

There are a few benefits that might make plywood or tongue and groove lumber the ideal material for replacing your RVs ceiling. 

  • Visual Aesthetics – The look and feel of natural wood, as well as the ability to stain it to match your RV’s interior décor has an unmatched warmth. It is a great way to make your RV feel like a cabin. 
  • Installation – Wood ceilings tend to be relatively easy to install. Especially if you are going with tongue & groove. 
  • Cost – Depending on how the lumber market prices are going, you can usually source veneered plywood for relatively cheap. 

The Drawbacks Of A Wood Replacement Ceiling In An RV

There are a few drawbacks to keep in mind before you decide to invest in plywood or tongue and groove wood for your RV’s replacement ceiling. 

  • Water Leak Repairs – Wood and water do not get along. You will need to make sure that all water leaks are 100% repaired and stay repaired. If water again invades your ceiling and affects the wood, it could lead to a major mold problem. 
  • Plywood Installation – Depending on the size of the ceiling, the size of your RV’s door, and the dimensions of your cabinetry, it can be challenging to install a plywood replacement ceiling in some RVs. Not to mention the major hassle that could happen if you get one of your cuts wrong. 
  • Weight – Tongue, and groove are usually half to three-quarters of an inch thick. If you have a larger ceiling in your RV, this could add a lot of weight, which you will have to account for in your gross vehicle weight rating. It could take weight away from your payload cargo capacity. 

2. Vinyl or PVC Tiles

Vinyl or PVC Tiles

Vinyl and PVC have enjoyed a vigorous reinvention thanks to modern manufacturing technology.

It is now available in sheets as well as tiles. Best of all it tends to be waterproof, as well as easy to install. 

Benefits of A Vinyl Or PVC Tile Replacement Ceiling In An RV

There are several benefits to using vinyl or PVC tiles to replace your RV’s interior ceiling. 

  • Durability – Both vinyl and PVC tiles are very durable. Once installed, you likely won’t be replacing the ceiling again in the life of the RV. 
  • Impervious to Humidity – PVC tiles in particular are very popular for replacing RV bathroom ceilings. They won’t absorb humidity like wood and other materials, while also being completely waterproof.
  • Flame Retardant–Vinyl and PVC ceiling materials are flame retardant, and won’t burn, which makes them a great option to replace the ceiling in your RVs kitchen as well. 
  • Easy To Clean – If you do get something on vinyl or PVC tile ceiling, such as food spatters from a toddler tantrum or smoke from a short-lived grease fire in the kitchen, they are easy to clean. 

Drawbacks Of Vinyl Or PVC Tile Replacement Ceiling In An RV

There are a few potential drawbacks to keep in mind before investing in replacing your RV’s ceiling with vinyl or PVC tiles. 

  • Cost – Vinyl and PVC tiles tend to cost more per square foot than plywood or other inexpensive replacement ceiling materials. 
  • Hide Water Leaks – If your RV develops a water leak in the roof, it might not show up for quite some time on a vinyl or PVC tile ceiling. Since they are waterproof any invading moisture tends to flow away, which makes it hard to find the initial leak from the inside. Even once you do, there’s usually a fair amount of installing that needs to be done. 

3. Metal Tiles

Metal Tiles

Metal tiles have an antique quality to them that harkens back to the turn of the 20th century.

Many have ornate patterns and special-colored finishes to match your RV’s interior décor.

Most metal tiles are designed to overlap each other to hide the fasteners at the seams. 

The Benefits of a Metal Tile For Replacing An RV Ceiling

There are several benefits to using metal tiles to replace the ceiling in your RV.

  • Fireproof – Metal does not burn, though flame from something like an accidental grease fire in the kitchen could affect the finish.
  • Aesthetics – Metal tiles can be ornate and have a colored finish applied to them to enhance the look and feel of your RV’s interior.
  • Accent Lighting – The mild reflectivity of metal tiles also helps boost the interior lighting of an RV, which can be handy in the evening hours. 
  • Easy To Install & Replace – Most metal tile ceilings have 12” X 12” tiles. If you miscut one or one gets damaged, you can replace the individual tile, without having to do a major remodel of your RV’s interior. 
  • Lightweight – Metal tiles are very thin, which makes them easy to put up, easy to install, and won’t take away from the available payload weight of our RV’s GVWR. 

The Drawbacks of a Metal Tile For Replacing An RV Ceiling

Metal tiles aren’t perfect for every RV or every RV renovation budget. You should consider some of the potential drawbacks of using metal tiles in your RV ceiling renovation. 

  • Cost – Metal tiles tend to have a higher per square foot cost than plywood or PVC tiles.
  • Structural Needs – While they are easy to install, metal tiles need a fair amount of solid structure to attach to. If you don’t have wood underlayment to nail them into, you will have to use a special adhesive. This can be messy and drive up the cost per square foot. 
  • Glare – In bright conditions, the reflective finish on metal tiles can cause an unnatural glare on the ceiling. This can also be an issue if you are watching TV at night with the rest of the RV’s lights off. 

4. Fabric Ceiling Tiles

Fabric Ceiling Tiles

Fabric tiles have come a long way in recent years. They are lightweight, easy to install, and available in a staggering array of colors and patterns.

Many people who use fabric ceiling tiles in their RV use them as cover-ups for an existing ceiling after repairing an exterior water leak. 

The Benefits of a Fabric Tile Replacement Ceiling In An RV

There are a few benefits to fabric tiles that might make them the ideal material for replacing or simply covering up your old RV ceiling.

  • Stylish – Fabric tiles are available in a staggering array of colors and patterns to match or even enhance your RV’s interior. 
  • Easy Installation – Most fabric tiles can be glued into place on the underlayment of a ceiling or over an existing ceiling with water spots leftover after a necessary roof repair. 
  • Lightweight – Fabric tiles won’t impact the weight of your RV like other materials might. 

The Drawbacks of a fabric Tile Replacement Ceiling In An RV

Fabric tiles might not be ideal for replacement ceiling panels in an RV. You should take into account some of the following drawbacks before investing in fabric ceiling panels. 

  • Short Lifespan – Fabric tiles have a short lifespan compared to other rigid, and less porous materials. When they do need to be replaced, you have to leverage the adhesive. 
  • Not For Bathrooms & Kitchens – The fabric material can dull with time, collect dust,and also stains easily. Not to mention being prone to absorbing humidity. All these factors make fabric tiles a poor replacement material in an RV’s kitchen or bathroom. 
  • Difficult To Remove – The strong adhesive used to attach fabric tiles to an RV ceiling can also make it hard to peel them away when it comes time to replace them. This often mars the underlying surface with residual adhesive. 
  • Vulnerable To Mold – Water leaks, moisture, and high, persistent humidity can stain and even lead to mold problems on an RV ceiling. 

How Do I Prevent Water Leaks In My RVs Ceiling?

Water leaks are the number one reason why people replace their RV ceilings.

Covering the exterior of your RV’s roof with a skin of Rubber EPDM or Rubber TPO will prevent future water leaks from affecting your replacement ceiling.

Can I Use Drop Tiles To Replace My RV’s Ceiling?

The drop tiles that you see being used in a lot of modern offices and suites don’t really take well to RVs.

Their loose fit makes it easy for them to fall down. They also rob you of 12 or more inches of vertical space to account for all the hardware and components needed to hang the track.

This is precious space, that brings the RV’s ceiling down too low for most people’s liking. 

Will A Replacement Ceiling Affect The Weight Of My RV?

Wood is the only material on this list of RV ceiling materials that could affect the payload or GVWR of your RV in the real world.

Tongue and groove lumber can add as much as 450-pounds to cover a 250 square foot area.

At the same time, a 4’ X 8’ sheet of half-inch-thick plywood with a veneer layer weighs around 60 to 65-pounds. 

Conclusion

There as several important factors to consider when choosing the best RV ceiling panel replacement materials.

This includes things like weight, ease of installation, and durability. Not to mention costs, and how they can affect the interior aesthetics of your RV. 

If you want a rustic feel, and your RV has a lot of available payload capacity or GVWR, then you might lean toward veneered plywood or tongue & groove lumber as the best material for replacing your RV’s ceiling. 

If you are looking for a vintage look, and you also prioritize lightweight, then a metal tile replacement ceiling might be the best option for your RV. It is ornate and available in a wide range of colors and finishes.

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