Which is The Best Material for RV Ceiling Panels?

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When you buy a used recreational vehicle (RV), there could be many reasons for changing the ceiling. It could be extremely dirty, there could be leaks, or the previous owner might not have used the right material. What could be the best material for RV ceiling when you need a renovation?

Once done right, the RV ceiling can not only protect from sun and rain but also regulate the interior temperature to create a comfortable environment. Doing it wrong may require you to replace it sometime soon.

RV Ceiling Ideas: Best Material for RV Ceiling

If you need to replace the ceiling of your RV, you should have good knowledge about the popular choices for camper ceiling material.

We’ve rounded up a list of the best material for RV ceiling along with a discussion on what benefits they offer. It will help you with picking up the best choice for your particular needs.

What are the best materials for RV ceiling:

1# Wood

Wooden material does not refer to solid wood planks in this case but thin pine or cedar boards. Also known as plywood, the material is inexpensive and can be cut to any size and painted to any color you want.

camper ceiling material
Wood brings warmth in your motorhome.

A wooden finish brings warmth to the interiors and you can match the plywood boards to any decor style by setting the board in any patterns—horizontal, vertical, diagonal, or square. You can choose decorated boards or add crown moldings or frames for a better aesthetic.

A wooden ceiling does not let the interior to become extremely hot in summer days. However, plywood is non-water-resistant and prone to leaks. Also, any kind of wood is a fire hazard so you have to be extra careful in dry seasons.


  • Beautiful finishes and design
  • Cool in hot days
  • Inexpensive


  • Not water-resistant
  • Fire hazard

2# Vinyl/PVC

Using Vinyl or PVC tiles seems to be the most practical choice for covering the interior roof. Why? Because they are resistant to water and fire, and cleaning them is a cinch, taking just a few minutes. It is arguably the best material for RV ceiling.

best material for rv ceiling
Vinyl tiles seem to be the best option for RV ceiling. (Credit: Morland Shop)

As these tiles resist odors and moisture, they are particularly good for highly humid areas such as the kitchen and bathrooms, and even better if you can get them mold and mildew treated.

However, vinyl can be responsible for a toxic out-gassing, can turn yellowish with age, and is hard to repair. Not being biodegradable causes ecological hazards too.


  • Moisture, odor, and water-resistant
  • Easy cleaning
  • Low maintenance
  • Inexpensive


  • Off-gassing
  • Hard to repair
  • Stains over time
  • Non biodegradable

3# Metal

Not as popular as vinyl and wood, but this material is gaining popularity. Metal blocks have almost similar perks of vinyl tiles, except for the price. These are more expensive but last for many years and, easy to install, and a breeze to clean.

rv ceiling ideas
Metal ceiling could be a good option.

Also, matching these blocks to your RV’s decoration is no hassle since you can use a colored paint. They seem to be a great camper ceiling material except for their superior heat-conducting capacity. You have to use insulation; otherwise, your motorhome will feel like a refrigerator in the winter and an oven in summer.


  • Easy to install and clean
  • Durable
  • Great for matching decor


  • Needs insulation
  • Expensive

4# Fabric

Fabric is less familiar and popular but you can call it the best material for RV ceiling if you are all up for aesthetic. Offering a quick installation, a fabric ceiling instantly uplifts the look of a room without being too aggressive or vying for attention. The style is more inviting and cozy instead of being lively and vivacious.

rv ceiling material
Fabric on the ceiling looks aesthetic.

However, maintaining a fabric ceiling could be a nightmare. It is extremely difficult to clean and absorbs all kinds of fumes, odors, and dirt that come across its way. Also, using fabric in the kitchen and bathroom is not a good idea as it blots up moisture pretty fast.

Recently, there are some upgraded fabric ceiling products that you can clean easily.


  • Looks beautiful
  • Available in different styles
  • Quick installation


  • Absorbs odors and moisture
  • Difficult to clean


Things to Consider When Choosing RV Ceiling Material

How do you know which option is the right choice for your RV? After all, each material has its unique benefits and downsides. Well, here are some points to consider that will help you choose the best material for RV ceiling:


Considering this aspect alone, nothing can beat vinyl and metal. They outlive any other RV ceiling options. Fabric and plywood are also durable but will never last as long as these two materials.

Water and Fire Resistance

No matter wherever you are, safety should always come first. With that in mind, any material that resists fire appears to be the best choice for your motorhome. Vinyl or PVC is a naturally fire-resistant polymer. While heavy timber and metals like steel and aluminum are not full-proof fire-resistant, they are better than thin plywood boards and other flimsy options.

Also, a waterproof option for bathroom and kitchen makes more sense. Al least, the ceiling material should have a waterproof finish so that it does not suck up any odor or moisture.

Easy to Install and Clean

These two combinations are hard to find in one package but vinyl and metal will again exceed your expectations. Both are easy to install and a cinch to clean. Especially, you should never compromise with the cleaning aspect since the ceiling is the place where you will be looking at every day several times.

The Final Words

It seems that vinyl stands out to be the best material for RV ceiling considering that it is waterproof, fire-resistant, easy to clean, and durable.

However, the choice ultimately depends on personal tastes. Also, you can use fabric or wood on the bedroom and living room ceiling since their only major disadvantage is the inability to deflect odors and moisture.

About Chris Coleman

Chris Coleman is an interesting travel blogger and outdoor photographer with a great sense of humor. He owns an RV Accessories shop in New York City so he has the knowledge necessary to provide thorough reviews and give advice on how to choose the right products for RV travel. He puts all that RV knowledge and experience to good use in his sharing posts. Besides product buying guides/reviews, Chris also writes informative articles, how-to articles and RV camping guides in his own interesting viewpoint. Chris’s blog is one of the most reliable information sources for RV campers no matter if you're an expert or a determined beginner.

2 thoughts on “Which is The Best Material for RV Ceiling Panels?”

  1. Your ideas and opinions matter to us! Thank you for sharing them for those of us who are long-time campers and others who are just now discovering the joy of camping. I am 69 and looking to buy my first drivable RV – I’m Montana & Wyoming bound!


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