Picking Paint for a Vintage Trailer

* This is part of our 2017 Renovation Series

Before New Paint

When we bought this Argosy, the previous owners told us they just recently had it professionally painted. It definitely had a nicer paint job than most. We even liked the colors with a strip of green at the bottom. There were two problems:  the paint started peeling off within six months and it doesn’t look like a traditional Argosy or Airstream.  All the charm seems to be missing.  With all the renovations inside, we knew we needed to repainted the outside.

Read about all of our 2017 Renovations and details for each project. ]

We considered wrapping it with our Company Logo and a golf scene but that would not give us any of the Airstream / Argosy charm either. Besides, we are wrapping our Argosy RV and didn’t need two wrapped camping vehicles. So, it is back to painting the outside.


Professional vs Do It Yourself 

I received three quotes from professional painters (one from National Camping Company, one from a local Camping Company and one from an auto type of place). The ranges of the estimates were between $8k to $5k. If we were rich (we are not), won the lottery (gotta play to win) or thought a wealthy Grand Old Aunt was leaving us all of her money (does not exist in our family), then I would have considered shelling out for a professional paint job. I guess I am too cheap so that makes me a DIY’er by default.

Read about our much different approach for our Aristocrat Travelier’s DIY Spray Can Paint Job. ]

After much research, trust me everyone has an opinion, we decided to try Sherwin Williams Sher-Cryl Performance paint.  It averages about $115 per gallon.  We read many positives reviews about this paint on vintage trailers, hot rods and other types of vehicles. We picked it mostly because it is recommended for aluminum, fast drying (to see where your streaks are!) and rust resistant.  The only problem was that every local Sherwin Williams store refused to tint the Sher Cryl to our colors. They said that the amount needed to add to the can wotld make it overflow. I seriously do not know how others painted their vintage trailer with Sher Cryl!!!

The sales lady strongly recommended their All Surface Enamel product. But we were not sold on it yet. We asked her to call Sherwin Williams product help desk to confirm the use and longevity of this paint for our application. I am not buying a porch house paint.

Per Sherwin Williams, All Surface Enamel is designed for use on interior and exterior wood, metal, drywall, and other surfaces. This high quality coating provides excellent resistance to weather and sunlight, maintaining its gloss and color. I am definitely NOT convinced.

We wanted to keep a green color as accents.  We are painting the bottom half of our Argosy “Iced Mocha”, the top will be “Touch of Sand” with a stripe of “Shamrock” green.  Keeping a lighter color on tip helps with during the heat of Summer.  The stripe around the middle will allow us change the color without much cost or time commitment if we chose to in the future.

[ Click here to read the details and instructions on the actual painting process. ]


Pinterest Us!


We made the decision to purchase Rustoleum’s Topside product from Amazon. It requires a lot more work and effort but the end results are a high gloss, rust resistant shine.  Several Argosy owners have painted with this paint and two years later still have a great looking trailer.  We didn’t go with this paint, originally, because it is temperamental and a long process to put on. Sand. Prime. Sand. Paint. Sand. Paint. Sand. Paint.  And maybe all over again. This paint is thick and dried very fast but is self leveling which is fantastic.

We start painting next week. Our first decision is whether we paint the window trim as it is now or exposed it.



We used 4 quarts of White Top Side and 1 quart of Mineral Spirits to thin.  No Hardener.  Wet Sand in between.  Buff after the 4th coat.

Want ALL the details and step-by-step instructions?  Click here!



We will NOT be using Sher-Cryl Performance Paint from Sherwin Williams since they refuse to sell it to us. Read ALL about it here. 

Rustoleum’s Topside Product. This product is only sold in quarts and can not be tinted but does come in a couple of colors. Thankfully, similar colors that we picked at Sherwin Williams.   Odd note:  Last week it was available at Home Depot. Six days later, it is only available online.

Nylon/Polyester Angle Paint Brush from Wooster Pro.

High Density Polyester roller from Wooster Pro.


NOTE: I am not paid or receive products for free to blog. Everything you see here, we paid for ourselves. 


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