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Old 09-03-2007, 05:47 PM   #1
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Painting fake wood

Hi all. This question may have been answered elsewhere but I couldn't find it. I am wondering if I can paint the fake wood surfaces in my 73 Overlander? I am beginning a restoration and would like to brighten it up a little. Even the fridge has a fake wood door which is horrible. Do they make stainless steel fridge doors that I could replace it with? Just a thought.

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Old 09-03-2007, 06:21 PM   #2
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My PO used a gel stain to recoat my trailer and give it a wood grain look - it resembles wood from across the trailer, and up close still looks ok. I think I could have done a better job with the stain, and you may too.
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Old 09-03-2007, 06:28 PM   #3
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Not a good idea...

If you search for "paint" and "fake wood" you may find several threads on the subject.. It may be possible to darken lighter colors, but lightening the dark "fake walnut" is usually a bad idea. The fake wood is really a vinly paper held on with adhesive, and the paint chemicals can cause the adhesive to fail even more than it usually does with age, resulting in a blotchy painted bubbly contact-paper look...

Options include doing real strip and then painting surface under fake wood, or applying new fake wood over cleaned sub-surface...
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Old 09-03-2007, 06:51 PM   #4
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They do make stainless steel finish fridge doors, unfortunately they come attached to refrigerators. Maybe you could put in some lighter trim, it would help.
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Old 09-03-2007, 07:52 PM   #5
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Ha-ha I guess that was a dumb question about the fridge door. Maybe I'll just replace the whole fridge one day, but it works fine so I guess I'll live with it for now. So it seems the consensus is not to paint over the fake wood, am I right? Maybe I'll try some new curtains and stuff first- I just find the overall look a bit boring at this point. And I hate fake wood. Ugly, ugly stuff!
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Old 09-03-2007, 08:38 PM   #6
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We too had fake wood on our 73 Dometic door. It was easy to upgrade with a piece of aluminum. I used a piece of Alcald I had left over from a project.

Took about an hour to prepare and install. I still need to paint the orange trim a charcoal grey. That may happen soon. It was worth the effort, a huge improvement.

Pic of fridge door... http://www.airforums.com/photos/show...500&userid=682
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Old 09-03-2007, 08:44 PM   #7
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Ooh! That looks great. I will have to try that. Thanks.

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Old 09-03-2007, 08:46 PM   #8
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For the fridge door you can have a piece of stainless laminate (from Formica or Nevamar or Wilsonart) cut to size and cover the old wood grain stuff. I haven't lloked at my fridge closely, but it may be a simple matter or removing the trim and removing the existing piece of laminate and replacing it with the new. If not, just use contact cement to adhere the new onto the old.

If you have a Windsor Plywood near you, they'll have these laminates. I think Rona carries them as well.

For covering the fake wood, it might be worth trying to prime and paint the stuff and see how ell it stands up. Perhaps a melamine paint would do the trick?
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Old 09-03-2007, 08:48 PM   #9
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Road Ruler,,, did you slip out the existing fake wood panels,, use them for a template,, and then what did you use for an adhesive?? i have a fake wood fridge also in the Safari,, would love to use copper or aluminum sheeting,, thanks,, great job,, looks wonderful,, donna
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Old 09-03-2007, 08:53 PM   #10
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I saw on one of the DIY shows that there is a stainless contact paper type of product that was used to cover the door on a refrigerator in a house they were "staging" to sell. Perhaps Lowes or Home Depot type stores would have it.
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Old 09-04-2007, 08:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dieterdog
Road Ruler,,, did you slip out the existing fake wood panels,, use them for a template,, and then what did you use for an adhesive?? i have a fake wood fridge also in the Safari,, would love to use copper or aluminum sheeting,, thanks,, great job,, looks wonderful,, donna
Yes Donna, The door trim is easy to remove with just a screw driver. Only need to remove a couple if I recall. We used the old panel as a template to cut the new aluminum to size.

George's idea will work too. We experimented with stick on aluminum mac tac on some areas in the trailer with favourable results. The real metal does look better though.

Of all the improvements we made with our unit this one gave us the biggest bang for the buck in the shortest amount of time.
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Old 09-04-2007, 09:29 AM   #12
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What about putting wallpaper over the fake wood walls?
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Old 09-04-2007, 10:42 AM   #13
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Absolutely paint that fake wood

I painted my fake wood in my '72 Safari and it made a huge difference. I also ripped out the bulkhead divider and had new fronts made for the cabinets out of nice birch. However, in part one of my renovation I even painted some of the tambours and that worked out find. The secret--which I learned here on the Forums-- is Sherwin Williams Bonding Primer. You can get paint to stick on wood with that stuff. I faux painted everything else including the walls and endcap....and yes the front of the fridge. I went to the Southwest Vintage Camper Association rally a couple of weeks ago and there was a woman from Texas who did some really nice stuff in her Airstream with wallpaper that was torn into kind of like large mosaic pieces that she put on her end cap. I know it sounds weird but it looked fantastic. Anyway, here's a picture of my interior:
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Old 09-04-2007, 11:37 AM   #14
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All great ideas, thanks, and your airstream looks great Susan. I was having a lot of trouble coming up with ideas, and now I have something to work with- this is a great forum! I really found all that dark fake wood made it claustrophobic. Now I can't wait to get going. Of course I have to finish sealing the outside first, but once that's done... I will have to wait until spring now to buff and polish, anyway, so will spend the winter on the inside.
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