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How to Paint an Enclosed Trailer

Painting an enclosed trailer doesn't have to be such a daunting task.
red horse trailer image by studio vision1 from Fotolia.com

Having an enclosed trailer repainted by professionals can be very expensive. Painting it yourself is relatively simple to do if you have the time and the patience, and it can save you several hundred dollars. You can paint your trailer to match the vehicle it will be pulled by. Applying new coats of paint to an older enclosed trailer will help to prevent it from rusting as well.

Fill a bucket with water and car wash soap. Hose off the trailer to make sure that it is free from loose dirt, mud and rust on the surface. Wash using a sponge by submerging the sponge into the water and rubbing in side-to-side motion on the trailer body. Rinse the trailer thoroughly using a hose. Dry both the inside and outside of the enclosed trailer with wash rags or towels.

Sand the surface of the trailer with coarse sandpaper or by using a sanding block. Sanding removes light surface rust and takes off the coat of the original paint. It is important that the original paint is stripped off before repainting to ensure that the primer adheres to the surface properly. Rinse the trailer again by hosing off to remove the entire residue from the sanding. Any residual or severe rust must be completely removed before you can paint over it, or your paint job will suffer.

Fill your spray paint gun with primer according to manufacturer directions and begin spraying the front of the trailer. Use a left-to-right motion. Move on to the sides and to the rear portion of the trailer. Allow this primer coat to dry for at least three hours, then spray a second coat, which you should let dry for two hours. If needed, spray a third coat after the second has dried.

Wash out the spray paint gun by pouring a drop of car wash detergent and water into it. Shake it thoroughly. Rinse with water until no bubbles appear. Lay it upside down to dry.

Make sure the primer is completely dry. Sand the trailer once again using a sanding block and stroking in a left-to-right motion. Be sure to sand evenly to ensure a smooth paint job. Once the trailer is completely sanded, rinse the residue off. Dry completely using rags.

Pour automotive paint into the spray painter. Start at the front of the trailer, then move on to the sides and then the rear. Spray in thin, even coats for a smoother finish. Once the first coat dries, apply a second coat. Make sure that the first coat is completely dry before applying the second coat. Dry the second coat completely before using the trailer.

Things You'll Need:

  • Car wash soap
  • Wash rags
  • Water
  • Sandpaper
  • Spray gun
  • Air compressor
  • Primer
  • Automotive paint in desired color


Spray the primer on by coats, as spraying it on too thick will cause the primer to run. Thin, even coats are best to make the paint job look really good.

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