Painting the "Faux" Wood in our Airstream

I've never met a cabinet I didn't want to paint; it's quite possibly an addiction (much to the dismay of The Utility Man).  I wanted to be able to live with the cabinets in Annie but I just knew I wouldn't be happy with the fake wood look so I went for it.  We owned a pop-up camper before the Airstream; I painted those cabinets and loved them.

Our Airstream cabinets were relatively clean and in good condition. I started by removing all the doors and drawers and brought them from our storage unit home so that I could paint them in the garage.  For a 25 foot trailer, it's amazing how many parts there are to remove. I did not have enough room in my garage for all of it, so I had to paint in three separate groups.

I removed the hardware and lightly sanded the laminate with 150 grit sandpaper. I then wiped the cabinets clean. For the priming and painting within the trailer, I used blue painters tape and brown craft paper to mask off any areas of the trailer I was concerned about getting paint on. I cleaned and sanded the laminate in the interior of the trailer in the same fashion. 

This is a project I only wanted to do one time, so trying to skip priming or taking shortcuts was not an option I was willing to risk.  I primed everything using Zinsser's Oil Based Primer, cutting in with a brush around the necessary edges and then rolling the remaining larger areas with a small smooth roller. Spray painting wasn't an option for us because we have very limited space. Since oil-based products are more challenging to clean, I opted for disposable brushes and rollers for the primed coat. They also have a strong odor, so make sure you take the appropriate precautions. Once the primer fully dried, I lightly sanded all the primed laminate before applying the next two coats of paint. For the top coat, I used Behr Marquee from Home Depot, Subtle Touch in a semi-gloss. It is white with a hint of silvery grey and looks pretty with our aluminum interior.  

We removed the fabric from underneath the couch and dinette. Below that fabric is white melamine. (See my post on removing that fabric.) Because we thought that area could take a little more abuse we chose a darker color below;  we painted them with Behr Marquee in Shadow Grey semi-gloss.

Ensuring the paint job held up over time was really important to us. So, we let the primed coat dry 24 hours before applying paint, and allowed 8-12 hours between painted coats. It was a plus that we didn't have any trips planned so we could let everything cure for several weeks before utilizing them. 

This project is not for the faint of heart. It certainly isn't complicated, but there will definitely be times you ask yourself what you were thinking. But, for us, as we started putting everything back together and saw how light and bright it all was, we couldn't be happier that we invested the time and energy to make it happen.