How To Apply Enclosed Trailer Paint And Sealing?


You may not want to have a professional paint and seal your enclosed trailer because of the added expenses. But the problem here is that you probably do not know how to properly paint your enclosed trailer, especially if your experience in painting or using any kind of paint is minimal. Of course, there is also the issue when it comes to leaks.

So, how do you apply enclosed trailer paint and sealing?

For the exterior of an enclosed trailer, protective enamel paint should be applied using a paint sprayer. Interior metal walls can be painted in the same way. Wood interior walls can take a variety of paint types, whereas wooden floors should have a water resistant, non-slip, textured finish.

It is very important for you to know how to properly apply paint and sealant to your enclosed trailer. This allows the enclosed trailer to last for a longer time and reduces repair costs. So, with that said, let’s dive in further to know how to best apply paint and sealant to your enclosed trailer.

Can You Paint An Enclosed Trailer?

Having an enclosed trailer can be great for a lot of different reasons, especially if you often haul anything from lawn equipment to livestock to the ‘King’ of hot rods, the Ford Model B. The fact that an enclosed trailer is actually enclosed will be very useful when it comes to keeping anything inside protected and out of sight.

Not only can you paint an enclosed trailer both inside and out, but it is advisable even on new trailers to add to the protection the they afford your cargo and for their own longevity. An epoxy paint is best on exterior and interior floors while interior walls can have a variety of finishes.

But while the enclosed trailer is there to protect whatever it is that is inside the trailer, one important aspect is the ability to protect the trailer itself. Enclosed trailers are often made of metals such as aluminum with it begin common to have wood floor decks inside.

Of course, even though aluminum may be durable, it can still wear down due to the effects of the elements such as rain and snow. This can also cause leaks to form which further compromise the structural integrity of the trailer.

So, when you want to make sure that your enclosed trailer is protected, what are the things that you can do to keep the exterior safe from the effects of the elements. Can you paint an enclosed trailer?

The good news for you is that, yes, you can paint an enclosed trailer. In fact, painting can protect both the enclosed trailer’s exterior and interior. The paint will act as a protective layer that will keep moisture away from the trailer’s exterior. As such, the chances of your trailer succumbing to rust will dramatically decrease if you paint it.

DIY Enclosed Trailer Painting

In most cases, enclosed trailer owners prefer to have a professional paint the trailers because it can take time, effort, and a bit of experience. But the problem here is that not everyone is willing to spend a lot of money to have an enclosed trailer painted. This is why it might be a good idea to learn how to paint an enclosed trailer yourself.

Here is what you need to do:

  • Get a bucket and then fill it with water and the soap in the same way you would prepare to wash your car. From there, clean the trailer using a hose so that you will remove any mud, dirt, or even loose rust on the surface of the trailer.
  • After that, use a sponge to make sure you get everything and that you remove any surface dirt that is on the enclosed trailer. Rinse the trailer thoroughly using a hose after cleaning it with the sponge.
  • We suggest that you also sand the trailer before you wash it to remove any surface rust. Use coarse sandpaper to remove any of the light surface rust that you can spot on your enclosed trailer. After sanding the trailer, rinse wash it with the sponge and hose to remove any of the remaining residues on the surface. You have to make sure that there is no residual rust on the trailer before painting it.
  • It is important to then let the interior and exterior completely dry before moving on to the next step.
  • It is best to use a paint sprayer to paint your enclosed trailer to get all of the different nooks and crannies while saving time and effort. These can be rented from your locate tool rental store. Foam rollers are an option, but they usually end up creating a less than optimal finish without expert level experience.
  • Primer is your first step with the sprayer if you are not using a paint specifically made to be a one step process. (I make recommendations in the next section.) Make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s direction in relation to the primer. Coat the entire enclosed trailer with the primer and allow it to dry for three or more hours before spraying the second coat.
  • After the second coat has completely dried, you can use a fine grit sandpaper to ensure that the primer is smooth. Try to feel the coat with your fingers to tell which surfaces need to be sanded.
  • Wash out the spray gun and make sure that it is completely dry before pouring automotive or other epoxy paint into it. Only choose these types of paint because this is what forms an protective barrier on the surface of your enclosed trailer to protect it from the effects of the elements. Think of it as something that is similar to the paint that is used on your car. (Note: clear coats like the one on your car if desired will have to be additionally applied. Most epoxy paints will suffice without a clear coat.)
  • Make sure that you spray the paint in thin, even coats so that your trailer’s paint looks smooth. Allow the first coat to completely dry before applying the second coat. And you have to make sure that the second coat has completely dried off before you use the trailer

It is very difficult to use brushes or rollers on surfaces like these due to streaks, uneven applications, and bubbling that can occur. If you are not confident in applying paint with a paint sprayer, it is advisable to contact a professional to get an estimate. Having to fix some mistakes could cost nearly as much as having it done right the first time.

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What Kind Of Paint Do You Use On A Trailer?

For the DIYer, it is best to go with a single application automotive paint or a known enamel brand like Rust-Oleum. The type is fairly common and can be found at most home improvement or auto part stores.

The best paint to use on an enclosed trailer is a simple gloss protective enamel or even a marine topside paint many use on their boats for their protective qualities. These finishes will not only protect your trailer, but will bond to the metal surfaces where other types of paint won’t.

If you choose the right paint, your job will not only go much easier, but will last longer in the end.

Here is the paint options I recommend for any exterior paint for enclosed trailers. They can even be used on the interior for the utmost in protection. (Amazon links)

How Do You Paint Enclosed Trailer Walls?

Here you have a few more options and depending on your use, varying ways you can apply the paint. With our mower enclosed trailer and box truck area, we weren’t so picky with the finished look. We simply wanted something that would last. So, how do you paint enclosed trailer walls?

Painting enclosed trailer walls can be done with either a paint sprayer or with rollers and brushes. There many more cheap options for interior paints that there are for metal surface exterior ones. There are even trailers with plywood clad interior walls that can take economy paints.

It is important to select the paint with the protective layer that will work for your use. If you are toting around that classic car you have been working on and babying for a decade, you will more than likely want the same level of quality as the exterior finish of the trailer.

Yet, if it is bags of mulch, seed, and gas cans along side your mowers that fill that space, a good Rust Oleum product will work great. There are even cheaper options for that type of scenario.

How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Cargo Trailer?

There are two issues here. When we are looking at the cost to paint an enclosed cargo trailer the DIY or the professional options need to be considered. So, in both cases, how much does it cost to paint an enclosed cargo trailer?

To paint an enclosed cargo trailer yourself the costs range from $150 to $200 with all materials included. To have it painted professionally, a well known company like MAACO charges between $350 and $550 to paint a trailer depending on its size. Other companies could charge more.

With the price of using some professional services only being a difference of a couple hundred dollars, for some this might be worth it to alleviate the time, stress, and hassle of doing it yourself. For others, the DIY path not only saves money, but offers the sense of accomplishment that comes every time they see their trailer.

How Do You Seal An Enclosed Trailer Floor?

Another thing that is important in relation to an enclosed trailer is sealing it. Even though an enclosed trailer has a roof and walls that will protect anything that is inside the trailer, it is vital to note that water and excess moisture can still seep through the tiny openings on the sides of the trailer’s roof and damage the floor.

Not to mention, the things we keep in these trailers can sometimes cause as much trouble as the elements we are trying to keep out. This is why you need to seal an enclosed trailer.

Here is how you do it:

  • When sealing an enclosed trailer floor, it is best to use an epoxy paint sealant because it tends to work well with the wooden floors that most enclosed trailers have.
  • Follow the instructions of the epoxy paint sealant. In most cases, this involves having to mix two different parts into one. Mix the two parts in a bigger bucket.
  • Another simpler option is a product like this Trailer Floor Coating that can be applied without mixing and using a foam roller.
  • Cover the sides of the floor as well as the hinges between the ramps with tape. This will ensure that you do not get paint on those parts of the enclosed trailer floor.
  • The best way to apply the paint on the floor is by using a long paint roller so that you do not have to duck to paint the enclosed trailer floor.
  • After that, all you need to do is to pour some of the paint on one area of the floor. Use the paint roller to spread everything out all over a certain area to cover it with a thin coat.
  • Simply do the same throughout the entire floor of the enclosed trailer paint while also including the ramp. Make sure that you wait for the paint to dry before you use the trailer, which could take up to 24 hours. You are also free to apply a second coat if you want, but it really is not necessary for you to do so if using the paint suggested above.

The Final Touches On Painting An Enclosed Cargo Trailer…

Not only can you paint the interior and exterior of your enclosed trailer, you in most cases should. Sure, most brand new trailers come with a standard level finish on the exterior. This can work well for years. But to have it last longer and most definitely for the longevity of the interior surfaces, additional painting is recommended.

Though you can wait a few years if your trailer is new, if you have used it for more than 2 or 3 years, it may be time to give it that protective coating.

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Resources:

https://www.hbfuller.com/ar/eimea/news-and-events/glue-talk-blog/2019/november/helping-you-prevent-cargo-trailer-roof-leaks-before-they-start

Mathew Booe

Mathew has worked in landscaping professionally for over 10 years. He is a grandpa and frequently interviews other experienced landscapers and lawn care experts who are also grandpas for these articles.

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