RV Decal Removal
Orange County

RV Decal Removal Orange County

Removing the decals from your RV is a decision that must not be taken lightly as there are many variables to consider. Having been in the professional auto detailing business for over two decades, my experience covers not only every area of auto detailing, but working on boats, planes, and RV's. For many RV owners, the decals on their RV's present a love/hate relationship; after just a few years it ends up being mostly "hate"!

rv decal removal orange county

Many RV Owners love the visual enhancement these vinyl graphics offer, but frustration sets in quickly as the vinyl decals age and weather very quickly and create an adverse effect visually.
Unfortunately removing the vinyl graphics or decals from your RV years down the road after the decals have begun to fade and crack is entirely different than making the decision to remove the decals from the beginning, when your RV is first new. As a professional who has removed the decals from boats, cars, and RV's, there is much to consider when making this decision. Let me help you break down the process so you can make an informed decision.

RV Decal Removal Orange County

The most common reasons people decide to remove the decals from their RV's can be reduced to (3) basic reasons:

  1. People want the "unbusy" look of an RV with no vinyl decals.
  2. People have experienced the frustration of aging and fading decals and are looking to eliminate this frustration from the beginning.
  3. People have gone through the hassle of removing the RV decals and replacing them with factory issued decals as a factory warranty issue, only to find themselves in the same position a year down the road.

RV Decal Removal Orange County
The "Cleaner" Look

rv decal removal orange county

For the same reason people choose to have their cars debadged, many people prefer what is considered the uncluttered, or "cleaner" appearance their RV takes on with all decals and other factory labels removed as the picture above shows. In order for you to make an informed decision, we need to get you informed first!

First Things First

The best advice I can offer is to have the decals removed, whether this be all of them or some of them, from the beginning. The longer the decals remain prior to removal, the more "Issues" you will be dealing with. Let's break these down one at time and discuss them individually.

Decal Shadow Effect

The shadow effect can come in (2) forms:

  1. Fading or discoloration of the gel coat/fiberglass around the decal that will show up once the decal has been removed.
  2. Discoloration of the gel coat/fiberglass underneath the decal, from the decal itself.

Fading Around Your Decal

This is the most obvious problem when people think about the shadow effect with regards to the unforeseen consequences of removing the decals form your RV, boat, or car. As your RV is exposed to natural sunlight, the gel coat/fiberglass will begin to oxidize and discolor from the original bright white it began life with, to an off white, discoloration. This becomes painfully apparent once the decals have been removed. The longer you allow the decals to remain, the more of an issue this type of shadow effect will be. I will go into possible solutions to this later down this page.

Discoloration Under the Decals

This is a problem that is a case by case, or a situational issue as all decals are not created equal, and I do not know the exact reason this happens. Experience has shown that the darker the decal is, the more of a shadow is created, or actually, the more discoloration of the underlying gel coat/fiberglass is created by the decal. My thought is that due to darker colors absorbing more heat from the sun, this causes the gel coat/fiberglass underneath to heat up and therefore subject to discoloration that seems unique to only dark colored decals. Typically, decals will be multiple colors made up of stripes and designs in varying degrees. Once the decals have been removed, it is interesting to see that the exact shadow or discoloration has been created only underneath the dark colored decals; or the darker parts of a single decal itself. Unlike the shadow effect as described above, this discoloration shows up as a yellowish-tinge.

Removing Decal Adhesive from your RV

rv decal removal orange countyRemoving decals form your RV is a process made up of multiple steps. The first step is the removal of the top layer of decal itself, while the second step is the removal of residual adhesive underneath the decal.
The picture to the right shows the residual adhesive that must be removed after the top layer has been removed.
This is an area where professional decal removers and Do-it-yourselfers alike get sloppy and lazy. Once again, there are many variables when removing the decals from your RV or anything for that matter. Material, colors of decals, age of decals, sun exposure, etc., will all have an effect on the removal process as well as the end result. Regardless of any of those variables, there will always be residual adhesive to be removed once the top layer of the decal has been removed.

To Do, or Not To Do?

I realize for many I have probably complicated a decision that seemed rather straight forward at a casual observation. But there are things to consider before looking to have the decals removed from your RV. I will take you through a checklist that will hopefully help you in the decision making process:

How Old is Your RV

Anything older than a year, and you will definitely be dealing with permanent discoloration and shadowing.

What is Your Budget

I realize that not only do RV's come in many shapes and sizes, but that the decals themselves vary as widely as RV configurations themselves. And since there are so many variables in dealing with the decal removal process, I cannot quote exact prices over the phone, but simply charge an hourly rate of $75.00 to $100.00 an hour for decal removal. This includes removal of the top layer and complete removal of any residual adhesive. This does not include polishing or waxing of the RV itself. Any other services will be quoted separately, or you can refer to my detailed RV Detailing page for descriptions and prices of various RV washing and detailing.

Why such a spread in pricing?

The simple answer is due to the endless variables that I come up against when performing RV decal removal. It is very labor intensive and there is a "healthy" amount of product cost involved with the numerous ways and processes involved with removal. One must also consider the cost associated with hiring the wrong company who lacks experience and proper techniques that results in damage that either cannot be fixed, or is costly to fix. As the saying goes, "It is always cheaper to pay to have it done right the first time, then to pay twice."

RV Polishing and Waxing

Many people will naturally be asking as to whether the shadow or discoloration can be polished away once the decals have been removed. The answer is a big frustrating yes and no. This once again depends on numerous factors; the biggest one being how much money are you willing to spend, and how critical of an eye do you have. Most people are willing to live with a certain level of shadow effect or discoloration for the benefit of having the decals removed. Polishing will certainly improve the effect left behind, but sanding the gel coat/fiberglass to remove the discolored layer would be necessary for a more thorough removal of any discoloration and shadow effect. Once enough material has been sanded away, then polishing will be the next step to remove sanding marks and to restore complete shine of the areas. For most people, this becomes unrealistic due to cost, and most people live with a certain level of shadow or discoloration. The good news is that this shadow or discoloration can usually only be seen in certain lighting which is the exception rather than the rule, and most people would have to be looking for it to recognize it. Any white fiberglass RV is rather blinding to look at in the direct sunlight to begin with.

RV Decal Removal Orange County

Before and After

rv decal removal orange countyrv decal removal orange county

The above pictures highlight the before and after front section of this RV decal removal job. The front end required extensive polishing to restore the shine and to lose as much of the shadowing effect as possible. As you can see from the picture, the shadow left behind cannot even be seen in this exact lighting and is the case with most of the lighting that your RV will be looked at.

RV Decal Removal Done Right

A big part of any detail job including RV decal removal is patience. Many Do-it-yourselfers and professionals alike lack the patience to see a job through and to get the details right. Many times RV's are decaled-up before complete assembly of vents, windows, door frames, etc. This means that assembly adhesives and caulking will be used to seal these various areas after the decals are already in place. So caution, care, and lots of patience is necessary when dealing with these sensitive areas of the decal removal process,. The pictures below highlight one such case.

rv decal removal orange countyrv decal removal orange county

The caulking needs to be carefully cut away for complete removal of decal, while at the same time leaving enough caulking behind to keep area sealed for weather tightness.

RV Decal Removal Orange County Pricing

As I said prior, due to so many variables with regards to decals, I work on a hourly basis of $75.00 to $100.00 per hour. I will ask you the following questions over the phone in order to assess you and your particular situation to see if it is realistic and appropriate to consider. As a frame of reference, the above 5th wheel was a 7 hour job start to finish that included the following:

  • Removal of all decals and factory labels.
  • Removal of all underlying adhesive.
  • Polishing and waxing both front and back ends.
  • Washing sides down to remove adhesive remover.

In this case, due to the RV being relatively new, the process only took 7 hours and cost $525.00, and the roof had not been washed, or the sides had not been polished or waxed. But hey, the RV does look pretty amazing and the customer was very happy despite some residual shadowing left behind.

rv decal removal orange county

If you look close enough, you can see some of the shadow effect left behind down the sides where the darker decals had been. But overall, the finished result looks terrific and certainly "cleans-up" this once busy looking design of decals!



Darren's Note

I no longer perform any gelcoat reforestation on these RV's either before or after the decals have been removed. I can blend in the areas pretty well using special cleaners and scrub pads, but the chore of restoring the gelcoat through extensive polishing and/or sanding is something I have chosen to no longer take on. I still perform the RV decal removal, but you can source out the polishing to another service if you decide to go down that road. I do have a professional opinion that might surprise you if you decide you want to investigate the alternatives and a simple phone call to me will answer any of your questions.
Years of experience has brought me to conclusions that I think are the winning balance between what is possible, and what is appropriate for these various types of RV's.
My phone number is at the top of every page in located in the header.



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You did an amazing job with our RV. I honestly cannot believe how great it looks. Seriously; it just looks so good!
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Foothill Ranch, CA


I'm somewhat of a car nut. Always have been and I don't mind it a bit. I also thought I had the very best detailer out there but boy did I blow that one. My son insisted I try Darren at Auto Fetish and I succumbed to the pressure and did. I did not realize what perfection looked like until Darren announced my car was completed. The depth of the shine, the attention to detail and the thoroughness of the work were well beyond any past experience. No question Darren really takes his work seriously and the customer reaps an enormous benefit. If you take pride in your wheels, Darren's the man!!
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Darren - Thank you for an honest quote over the phone, early arrival, and most importantly an outstanding detail job which restored my car back to excellent condition. The paint touch up looks great and my leather seats are super clean and sport a "new" conditioned look. Keep up the good work!
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Fullerton, CA


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I spent considerable time looking for the right person to detail my 2007 Porsche Cayman-S (Black). I was impressed with the recommendations and accolades Darren received on his website including the samples of cars he had detailed. I was even more delighted after he finished detailing my car. It looked amazing; inside, outside, the wheels, everything. I will be using Darren for my detailing needs and will recommend him to the folks in my Porsche club.
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Irvine, CA


I have been using Darren’s professional detail services, Auto Fetish Detail, for close to 15 years now and continue to do so. Darren has taught me and my staff just what real detailing is. Darren is incredibly meticulous and attentive to details. Whenever I have a customer who demands the best, I tell them to call Darren at Auto Fetish. I can always tell when Darren has detailed a car because the level of quality is like no other! He is not the cheapest guy in town, but you can’t beat the quality!
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President, Exclusive Motors
Placentia, CA


I have known and used Darren's services for 20+ years. I own Xlnt Tint of Anaheim inc. and see many cars every day. When we have a particular customer that needs top notch service, there is nobody else I would trust but Darren! He is very meticulous, and knowledgeable. If you are in need of someone who will take their time but most importantly bring over 20 years of hands on knowledge, this is the company for you.
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President, Xlnt Tint
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Rancho Santa Margarita, CA


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Samantha
Maxim Security Systems
Corona, CA


"We have seen the work of other detailers in removing various forms of vinyl car decals and vehicle wraps. Often we have to spend additional hours due to the incomplete removal of old graphics, before we can apply new graphics. Save yourself time and aggravation by calling Darren first and have it done right the first time around; this is the way it should be done!"
Tim Cecil
President, Sign Pros
Brea, CA


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Anaheim Hills, CA


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M. Poris
Playa Del Rey, CA


My initial conversation with Darren at Auto Fetish Detail consisted of what his services would provide. Darren did exactly what he described to me and more. Darren detailed parts of the car that never crossed my mind to clean. Darren was promptly at the time, place and date we had agreed upon. Darren’s professional service and meticulous efforts made my car look better than the day I took delivery from the dealer. It was a great experience to deal with Darren and his professional service and work ethics.
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President, Aquarian Drumheads
Anaheim Hills, CA


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Chandler E.
Yorba Linda, CA


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M. Goerlitz
Laguna Beach, CA


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Tanya B.
Yorba Linda, CA


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Theresa D.
Newport Coast, CA


I have generally used other mobile detail services in the past and continue to do so for what I call a normal detail job. But I met Darren through Exclusive Motors as we share the same building. My wife uses the Suburban to run our 3 kids around and it gets very dirty in the process. The carpeting and seating was extremely bad and I thought I was going to have to replace both the carpeting and seating. I told Darren the other detailers in the past were not able to get the carpet and leather very clean. I was floored when I saw the results Darren was able to get! I tell people all the time that I have never paid so much for a detail, but that I have never had such an amazing job either! I send Darren to all my customers who simply demand the best, as Darren is the best!
Craig Haller
President, Exclusive SUV
Placentia, CA


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Anaheim Hills, CA


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thank you!"

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San Clemente, CA


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Corona Del Mar, CA


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Placentia, CA


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Anaheim Hills, CA


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My Mustang has never looked better; you did a fabulous job!
My daughter noticed how much time you spent detailing the Mustang today (something she normally would never be aware of) and asked how much it costs, I told her it is expensive and said I use Darren because he is the best detailer I have ever used.
Darren you do exactly what you say you are going to do, and do so every time!
I use you Darren because you conduct business exactly as I do!
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D. Reilly
President - CSBA
Orange, CA


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you saved me a "bucket" of money by removing and not replacing
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and my truck looks new again!"

Steve G.
Anaheim, CA


Darren- I just wanted to call and let you know what a terrific job you did on my motorhome. I really appreciate the effort you put into all the many details of the job! It looks better than the day I picked it up brand new!
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Vice Chairman, Thompson National Properties, LLC
Irvine, CA


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Yale Smith
President-Maxim Security Systems
Corona, CA


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CEO-Simon Foundation for Education and Housing
Newport Beach, CA


Darren - Thanks again for the beautiful detailing... we appreciate your service
V. Minamyer
Irvine, CA


I used Darren to take off a vehicle wrap on a Ford Econoline van of ours. Darren showed up on time and did a great job removing not only the decals but all the residue that was left from the glue. If you need a vehicle wrap taken off, give Darren a call.
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Marketing/Product Development
Felt Bicycles
Irvine, CA