10 Ways To Upgrade Your RV Bathroom
Looking at upgrades on your RV? Making those changes in your RV bathroom first is a great place to start. Whether you are a full-time RVer or a weekend warrior, these are some great ways to improve your RV bathroom.
1. Upgrade your RV sink
RV sinks come in plastic, acrylic, and stainless steel. The sink is plumbed in the RV with PVC or flexible pipes and is typically sized to fit into a smaller space than a normal sink.
Your RV might have a plastic sink, depending on the cost of your rig. Plastic sinks range from $12-$30. These are lightweight and inexpensive and can be easily replaced to give your RV an updated look.
Metal RV sinks, such as stainless steel and brushed nickel, are stain-resistant. They are easy to polish but can scratch and dent. The price for these ranges from $40-$150 and will need some special care to keep clean and shining.
Acrylic RV sinks simulate solid surfaces and are heat-molded and backed with fiberglass. These are priced in the $40-$150 range depending on the size and style. This option is a little more expensive but can be folded when not in use to save space.
2. Replace your RV bathroom fixtures
There is nothing like the ahhh feeling you get with a good showerhead. Some can even increase water pressure while using less water. This can be a great feature if you like to boondock. These can easily be switched out in most rigs. You might also want to make sure you have a good water pressure regulator.
You can also change your faucet. Nearly any faucet can be retrofitted to fit your RV bathroom sink. Choose one that is lightweight and easy to clean.
Read more about the best types of RV showerheads in this Do It Yourself RV article.
3. Get a new RV toilet
Like sinks and fixtures, RV toilets come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Some conserve water by offering a dry-flush option or you can purchase a residential toilet.
To replace your RV toilet with a residential toilet, you would have to have to replumb the outlet directly to the sewer line connection and replace the RV toilet mounting flange with a standard residential mounting flange. A standard toilet uses 3-4 gallons per flush. A typical RV toilet uses less than a half a gallon per flush.
Most standard RV holes are around 3 inches and can be as small as one inch. Make sure you know all the specifications of your RV bathroom before making your purchase.
Another option is to replace it with a water-saving composting toilet. Learn more about composting toilets in our previous article here. You may also want to check out these Two Waterless RV Toilets For Easier Waste Management.
4. Replace your RV tub and shower pan
Typically, the tub and shower in your RV bathroom are made of fiberglass or plastic. This may be a more difficult upgrade, but one that can turn around a blah bathroom into a relaxing mobile spa.
Replacing the pan or tub will require taking off the surround supports, which can crack if not done properly. If the tub is not installed properly, it can crack when weight is put on it. Improperly installed drains can cause flooding. If you are unsure of your ability for this project, it might be beneficial to hire a professional.
5. Install cabinets and storage organizers
This could be one of the most fun RV bathroom upgrades. A full replacement of your RV bathroom cabinets could be in your ability and budget. This can upgrade your bathroom from the typical RV look to one that is more modern or makes the space your own.
6. Add a backsplash
Some would agree that adding a backsplash in your RV bathroom is probably a luxury. After all, that small space is somewhere that you spend very little time. If that is the case then you might as well just shut the door and don’t do any of the recommendations found here.
Still, it’s simple to do, relatively inexpensive, and the materials come in a variety of styles, colors, and types of material including wallpaper, faux stone or brick, or simple peel-and-stick tiles.
This Do It Yourself RV article shares all the details on installing a new backsplash in your RV bathroom. Author Amanda Watson says,
“So far, the stick-on backsplash has been holding up very nicely, and I’m thrilled by how easy it is to wipe clean. I love my new bathroom!”
7. Paint the bathroom
Here’s another simple way to freshen and upgrade your RV bathroom. A simple coat of paint can do wonders for this small space.
Before you start painting, remove the cabinet doors, drawers, and hardware. These are easier to paint when not attached. Also, make sure all the doors, cabinets, and drawers are clean. Then give them a thorough sanding to remove any old paint. This will also give your new paint and primer something to stick to. Once you have sanded, don’t forget the primer.
Once it’s time to paint, use a roller when possible to avoid brush strokes. A paint spray gun will work well too. A small brush might be needed around frames and watch out to avoid drips. Once the first coat is complete, allow plenty of dry time and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the application of the second coat. Another sanding might be needed between the two coats.
Once your paint is thoroughly dry, you can start putting on the hardware. Consider using felt pads on cabinet doors to avoid banging and chipping paint.
8. Upgrade to a tankless hot water heater
If you plan to upgrade your RV bathroom, you might want to take into consideration a tankless hot water heater. They never run out of hot water. Most standard water heaters hold either 6 gallons or 10 gallons, which is usually an upgrade. Even two people can use 6 gallons up quickly. Also, a standard hot water heater takes about an hour for the water to heat up.
A tankless water heater will cost around $1,000, compared to $800 for a standard 10-gallon tank. Overall, tankless hot water heaters also use less propane and are generally lighter weight than standard tanks. Because they don’t hold water, they also do not need to be winterized. They come in electric and propane units.
As always, check all measurements for appropriate sizes and adjustments.
9. Use a water pressure regulator
The purchase of a water pressure regulator is probably not considered an upgrade but really is a necessity. The water coming out of a connection at a campground isn’t likely to be monitored which means the water pressure can vary. Either high or low pressure can lead to problems.
If the water pressure is too low, it can be an annoyance, particularly when showering. If the water pressure is too high, it can damage your RV which can lead to leaks and water damage. A water pressure regulator stops that from happening by lowering the pressure before it reaches your hose.
Most experts recommend a PSI between 40-50 as an ideal for many RVs. Consult your owner’s manual for specific guidelines for your rig.
You can purchase an adjustable water pressure regulator or a non-adjustable one. Adjustable regulators allow you to set the water pressure and the gauge allows you see what the PSI is.
10. Add insulation
Proper insulation is a must if you plan on camping in extreme heat or cold. It can mean the difference between frozen or broken pipes or trying to stay comfortable in a brutal summer climate.
Minimum insulation in your RV bathroom will cause plastic showers to become brittle and crack in a cold environment.
Insulation materials include fiberglass, rigid foam boards, cellulose, and natural fibers. If you plan to upgrade your bathroom, adding insulation is a must to prevent the loss of heat or cold. Foam insulation can also provide soundproofing. Insulation also helps to decrease the heating and cooling demand on your RV furnace and air conditioners.
For more RV bathroom renovation tips, check out this video from Joint Movement DPTS:
Whatever your abilities might be, there a number of RV bathroom upgrades that can be done easily. Jump in, have fun, and don’t forget to make it your own.
For more tips, check out these great resources:
- 8 Easy Ways To Organize Your RV Bathroom Storage
- 10 RV Storage Solutions That Cost Less Than $10
- 7 Ways To Optimize Space In Your New RV
Terri and her husband, Todd, are full time RVers and work campers. They have been living full time in their RV for nearly two years with their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Newton, and currently reside in South Texas on the Gulf Coast. They hope to head west for the summer season. Writing is Terri’s passion but she also loves hiking, kayaking and anything she can do outside.