How to Build RV Cabinets – These Secrets Will Make Your Job Easy

Last Updated on September 10, 2020 by Michael J. Branco

Do you love to travel with recreational vehicles? As you may already know, a well-managed and customized RV can provide your family or friends with the best travel experience. If you are also planning to make your next trip in the RV, the storage requirements of the vehicle should be prioritized. Thus, it will be a great choice to build a cabinet that can work according to your needs and requirements in your recreational vehicle. In this article, you will learn how to build RV cabinets. 

These cabinets will easily convert your RV into a suitable home, and in addition to saving your RV space, these storage units also enhance the beauty of the interior. Does your camper have no cabinets? Don’t worry; you can add a few units by learning how to build an RV cabinet. 

Furthermore, when building kitchen cabinets for RV, you are faced with two choices: You can buy cabinets for the camper, or you can build them according to the size of the RV. However, building a DIY RV cabinet will help you save money and also make you proud. Do you know how much popular RV camping has become day by day? Check these statistics for this.

Read Related Post: How Does an RV Furnace Work

Different Types of RV Cabinets

Before learning the techniques of the building or rebuilding RV cabinets, you must have a clear idea concerning the types of cabinet. You can build two types of cabinets for a campervan:

Skinned and Framed Cabinets

When working on how to build RV cabinets, you can make use of aluminium, steel or even solid wood to build the frame of the box. These are lightweight cabinets for campers because their sides are made of lighter weight materials. According to the design, the frame of these units can provide the required maximum strength.

Integral Cabinets

There is no framework for this type. You can construct it by connecting its sides to the top, bottom, and back. The sides of the unit constitute the box. Since it is made of heavy materials, it can enhance the strength of the RV. These cabinets are also easy to make. Note: The general concept is that the integral cabinets are heavier than that of the frame and skin. However, the weight depends completely on the material from which they are made. If the same material is used, there will be a minimum weight difference between them.

How to Build RV Cabinets

RV Cabinet Building Materials

You’ve got many options to choose from while building camper cabinets. Here are two materials commonly used and the advantages of using them:

Wood

You will see that many RV cabinets use wood as the main material. In addition to being a stable and affordable choice, wood is also easy to use. Installing the wood also requires a small number of tools. If you are willing to buy something lighter, you can choose softwood. Plywood is usually used for wooden cabinets. Although authentic wood has high quality, it is also subject to drawbacks such as weight, cost and warping. On the other hand, plywood has a lightweight, and it lasts long. It also comes in large and flat sheets that can withstand moisture and warping. Moisture resistance is a key point to consider before placing the cabinet in a humid environment.

Also, wooden cabinets are very popular today. It would help if you used original plywood in place of any other low-quality boards as cheaper alternatives such as particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and oriented strand board (OSB) can be found in the market. If you only consider lightweight construction materials for RV, skip these. Other disadvantages of these plywood substitutes include the release of gas from the glue and water absorption.

Aluminum

This may be another option for the cabinet for the camper. However, this will be quite expensive compared to other materials. But if money isn’t a problem, go for it. The extruded aluminium channel has a lightweight and is a durable material when building lightweight RV cabinets. It also works great when setting up RV overhead cabinets. You can fill the gaps between the aluminium rails with wood, fibre, or plastic panels.

How to Build RV Cabinets: A Comprehensive DIY Guide

Knowing how to build RV cabinets will give you the confidence to begin the DIY project. However, be aware that in this case, accuracy is a must, because a properly constructed storage will enable better performance and incident-free service. When you desire to know how to build RV cabinets for your vehicle, you don’t have to seek any professional help. You can learn more about it yourself. It will be an easy and clear process to construct the cabinet in the recreational vehicle according to your needs as well. Thus, you will get a lot of help through the following guidelines:

Make proper measurements and planning

First and foremost, you must measure and plan everything in the right way to build the cabinets your RV needs. As you know, when you embark on your next camping trip with your family or group, you never desire to compromise on the space in the vehicle. Therefore, you must first make plans for the storage requirements of the camper cabinets before you start construction. It is as well crucial to maintain the correct weight of the cabinet so that it can be efficient for the vehicle when you travel. After completing the planning section, you need to provide the following:

  • Building square
  • Level
  • 5/8-inch plywood
  • Two 1-by-2-inch boards
  • Doors
  • Cabinet face
  • Hinges
modular cabinets for rv

Once all these items are gotten, you are ready to learn how to build RV cabinets to suit your needs. You need to make use of these steps:

Measurement of the outside dimensions

When working on how to build RV cabinets, it is required that you measure the external dimensions of the cabinets to be made. The size depends on the available space and your requirements. You also need to identify all the cabinets needed in a single unit. In each unit, you can easily select two to three cabinet sections. If you build an oversized cabinet, you will encounter difficulties during the installation. Therefore, you should pay attention to its size through proper measurement.

how to build travel trailer cabinets

Make the frame for the cabinet with 5/8-inch plywood

Next, you need to use 5/8 inch plywood to prepare the frame for the cabinet. Then, connect the side panels and dividers to the bottom panel. You can make use of screws or nails. You can also use building squares to make sure that the cabinets are even. It needs to add wood glue to secure the connections fully. After that, you will need to add two pieces of 1 x 2-inch wood to increase the strength of the cabinet frame. One of these wood parts will mount flush with the top, and the other part will mount flush with the bottom.

lightweight cabinets for campers

Attach the cabinet to the RV wall

After that, you need to mount the cabinet frame on the RV wall with the use of mounting brackets. When you want to attach the cabinet frame, a level will be needed for that. After that, you need to choose the face wood for your cabinet and then connect the sides with the help of the finishing nails. The door opening also has to be cut from the front side of the cabinet.

modular cabinets for rv

Installation of the doors

When working on how to build RV cabinets, you also need to fix a hinge on the cabinet door. When installing hinges, it is very important to measure the cabinets and doors. After that, these hinges need to be drilled into the cabinet surface. You also need to check if the door is at the proper height and is working effectively. Knobs can be added to the doors after that has been checked.

How to build RV cabinets: Additional Tips

The RV cabinet is a good storage solution for recreational vehicles. To avoid making mistakes of any kind, you should focus on the following techniques: 

  • You can startup the construction of the RV cabinets only if you have some carpentry experience. A camper is a costly vehicle, and you don’t want to destroy it using failed trials at building an RV cabinet. In the absence of experience, buying cabinets or calling a carpenter is a better choice. 
  • Squares and levels must be used in each step of this process to avoid any construction-related errors.
  • When creating a design for a cabinet, you should consider all the items to be stored in the cabinet and choose the appropriate size based on it. Increasing the size is not always a good thing, because it can mess up the things in your RV. 
  • Safety latches should also be put on cabinet doors to keep them closed when you are travelling. 
  • If you want to store heavy objects in the cabinet, it is best to use additional brackets for installation.

Last Words

Based on these tips, you will be able to find the best experience on how to build RV cabinets. Furthermore, depending on your storage requirements, you will find it very useful. You can also find some high-quality plywood designs on the market, and you can decide the choice of colour and texture according to the internal theme of the RV. It will take a few hours to construct an RV cabinet, but you will surely find it excellent in quality and quite easy to use in a vehicle.

Also, the RV cabinet construction process is very simple, but the actual work is in precision. Therefore, it is quite important to measure and plan all aspects of the cabinet before starting construction. It is as well important that the cabinets are not too heavy to maintain a reasonable vehicle weight. You can build cabinets and remodel camper in a modern and beautiful way, but to facilitate camping, they should have good structure and function efficiently. It is also advisable to build RV cabinets in winter to prepare for summer camping. Hope you understand how to build RV cabinets.

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