The Semi-Adventurous Travellers

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Renovating a Vintage Trailer Ceiling

The Beginning

Who doesn’t want to renovate a vintage trailer? So we bought a 1973 14 foot Rambler about a year ago.  We made it livable for the first summer because we really wanted to go camping and I reaallllly did not want to be in a tent any more. But, this summer we decided to start putting some honest work into fixing it up.

Vintage Trailer
Painted and livable for the first year

What’s beneath a Vintage Trailer Ceiling?

Yuck, old insulation and bad wiring that’s what! So that had to be done first. So Jeff (my husband) is no electrician but he now the basics and can at the very least start pulling out old wiring.  Then we invited a friend who is an electrician over to offer some advice on where to start. Once that is done and light locations mapped out and wires ready for plus on the walls time to figure out what to do with the ceiling.

vintage trailer
Tearing it all out, this was the beginning of removing all walls and old ceiling

Material to renovate a vintage trailer

If you have ever seen a vintage camper most likely it has that MDF board as a ceiling. That is what we had and I hated it. So we looked around and considered everything from ceiling tiles to draping material. In the end we found this great plastic/fiberglass sheets at Lowes Canada.

It advertises a resistance to mold and mildew, perfect to renovate a trailer with. So they come in 4 X 8 sheets and cost $69.99 each. I know that’s expensive, we thought so too. But if I don’t have to replace it if there is a leak it’s worth it and it comes with a cool texture to hide imperfections. Because there is fiberglass I highly recommend wearing gloves when working with this material and even a mask.

vintage trailer
Not as easy as it looks but there is a lot of nails holding it up

A comedy show putting up the Trailer ceiling

First rule of thumb when you renovate a vintage trailer, make sure your marriage is strong or don’t do it with your spouse. Second rule of thumb when working with expensive material, measure three time cut once. We had one little boo boo with a wrong measurement but I think we covered it enough that once everything is back up it won’t even be noticeable.

So first thing we did was decide where we wanted the seams to be so that they were evenly spaced and we would not have uneven panels on the camper ceiling. Once that was done we started measuring. Now this material is very flexible so it was perfect for our rounded ends on the camper.

The only issue was we didn’t rebuild the frame so we were working with what was there. That meant that there wasn’t a lot of space for nailing. The entire camper was built with 1 X 1 or 2 X 2 pieces of wood.

OK here we go, time to actually carry it in to the trailer and put it up. OK so we didn’t think this through all the way. Two people needed to carry, two to hold it one to nail it? We were sort one person at least. We looked liked a comedy show, my arms over my head trying to hold it and Jeff trying to hold it and reach for the nail gun, but wait my side is slipping again. Hence the comedy show here. It took us until the very last piece to figure out how to hold up the sheet and nail it in straight. Hint: use a couple pieces of wood and build a makeshift scaffolding in the middle.

Vintage trailer ceiling
Finally figured out a way to hold it up

Final Result and finishing touches.

Well, I love the final result. I love the white and the design on the material. Of course you can’t get away with no seams at all so we do have some and a tome of nails but our plan is to hide them with some wood designed as cross beams to give the trailer a rustic look to it.

If you would like to follow along you can follow us on Facebook, as the Semi-Adventurous Travellers or on our blog here at Oh What A Journey.

Next post will be about our trailer walls, faux ship lap that was white washed first.

vintage trailer ceiling
This is facing the front of the trailer, waiting for a light fixture
vintage trailer ceiling
This is facing the back of the trailer.


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