Introduction to full van respray costs

Anyone with an older van such as the VW Transporter, Ford Transit and Mazda Bongos especially will be familiar with the twin perils of rust and of dull, faded paintwork.

Here we will look at typical full van respray cost in the UK as a DIY project vs professional paint job

Things you need to do a DIY respray

Rusty T4 arches needing full van respray
If you ignore van rust it can become uneconomical to respray

If your van has dents and other damage it becomes imperative to get it fixed as soon as possible to avoid further deterioration. A good quality respray can add significant resale value to a van.

Turning your vehicle into a shiny brand new van again will require time, money and some research.

Van wrapping as an alternative to paint

Van wrapping is a rapidly growing trend and usually works out much cheaper than a respray as it is easier to install as a DIY project. Wrapping also requires less specialist tools.

There are a lot of advantages to wrapping that are worth researching before you decide to head down a respray route. You can view our full guide to van wrapping below.

van wrap
A good quality two tone van wrap

Professional van respray

As with most things, you have the option to get a van repainted professionally or to do it all yourself.

In the former, you need to find the best available sprayer in your area who can do the job within your budget. The first thing they will do is to inspect the size and the condition of your van and assess the preparation needed.

Then they’ll give you a quote.

Professional full van respray stages

Depending on the amount of work to be done, a van respray job will usually take 2 to 5 days to complete. This typically involves the following steps:

  • Sanding down the existing colour and coat to the depth required. It could be down to the bare metal if there are a lot of chips or scratches.
  • Stripping the van of its parts like lights, side mirrors, door handles, window trims etc. if needed. A good quality paint job will include all areas of paint such as under the bonnet and inner doors etc.
  • Denting, rust treatment and other repair work. This could involve new arches or sills depending on damage. Minor rust can be sanded pout and filler applied.
  • Masking the parts you don’t want to paint. For large areas such as wheels and windows it is common to use black bin liners or sheets.
  • Applying the coats of primer. This could involve more than one coat.
  • Sanding with a fine wet and dry if required
  • Spraying the coats of paint. This will almost always involve more than one coat.
  • Sanding with a fine wet and dry if required
  • Applying final coat
  • Generally the more coats that are added, of primer and colour, the better the final finish and the longer it will last.
  • Adding the lacquer to protect the paint and give a wonderful glossy finish. Again, sometimes this could be more than one coat
  • Lots of buffing/polishing is usually needed to remove any “orange peel” effects.
  • Applying graphics (optional)
Low cost tools and materials for a full van respray

View costs for a DIY van respray

You can use the same steps to respray the van yourself which will vastly reduce the cost. You should do a lot of research before undertaking this, preparation and practice.

You can even buy pop up paint booths for home use (View on eBay here)

Finding a safe place is another important factor. Let us take you through the details of both processes to help you make an informed choice.

Cost for new van arches and sills

If there is significant rusting, thorough treatment will increase the cost of a respray significantly.

For the preparation work and welding of four new wheel arches and both sills at a UK garage you should budget roughly £500 per wing (that is before you even get to the respray cost).

A lot of garages will shy away from the work or price them selves high as it is so labour intensive. Don’t settle for your first quote if it is over £1.5-£2k shop around.

Van wheel arch and respray cost
This was our VW T4 having it’s arches done earlier this year

I have found independent welders to be better at this work than mechanics in many cases. Welding is a skilled job that not all vehicle mechanics are particularly good at.

Some areas of the UK will be cheaper than others, if you live in London for example it will be cheaper to shop further away. North of England is typically the cheapest place to get repair work carried out if you are prepared to travel.

VW Transporter respray cost

If you can weld your self then you can save your self some significant costs as the actual parts are very low cost.

Professional full van respray cost UK?

The size and condition of the van and the amount of masking needed are the key factors in the respraying cost.

Usually the service providers take all the details of your van before giving a quote. It is unlikely that they will quote without first seeing the van. If they do, be extremely cautious as no job is the same.

Full van respray costs start from £1,250 for a very basic spray at an independent garage and can go up to £5,000 if you go for a top quality finish and expensive paint etc. 

As an example,, the quote for sorting the front end of your van and blending it back in reflex silver could go to about £1500. 

Whatever the quote, it usually includes all the material like paints, thinners, masking windows etc. 

Last but not the least, the choice of colour can also impact the cost as some colours are expensive. Similarly the choice of matt or gloss and even glitter finish will have it’s own cost implication.

Professional van respray cost at home

Some sprayers will offer a respray service at your location, if you are having it conveniently done in this way, normally you should expect to add the travel cost of the sprayer. 

If you have a good straight van with little corrosion/rust it will require less preparation which is the labour intensive part and therefore the bulk of the cost.

How much does it cost to respray a small van (EG Caddy)

The quotes for respraying a Caddy start from £1,500 and can go up to £2,600.

VW Caddy respray cost
Small van respray cost in the UK

If you do the preparation like removing the stickers,  stripping the old colour and coat to the bare metal etc, it can  cost you a mere £1,000 or even less. However, in some cases, a good job with the long-lasting original factory paint can cost £3,000.

How much does it cost to respray a medium van (EG Transporter)

The cost to respray a VW Transporter or Transit sized vans generally costs a minimum of  £2,000. There will be extra cost for denting and fixing other damages.

Transporter respray cost
Medium sized van respray

How much does it cost to respray a Large van (EG Crafter or Sprinter)

Getting a crafter resprayed by professional can cost upwards of  £3,000 plus the travel cost of the sprayer if they are coming to you.

If your respray is been done at a professional garage, a large van like this will require a large paint booth which are actually quite sparse in the UK, your choice will be somewhat limited compared to the smaller vans.

To keep the costs down, it maybe worth exploring a van wrap as these don’t need as much space to apply and generally are a cheaper alternative.

VW Crafter respray
Large van respray costs

If you are getting a respray done from a well known vendor, a large van respray cost can go up to  £5,000.

If there is denting or rust removal treatment required, it will cost roughly another £300 per day. This includes all of the material like filler, fibreglass, sanding media etc.

Cost to respray your own van (DIY)

Respraying your van can be messy and time consuming but it can be great fun if you have your own garage or place. Allow yourself some practice before the real action.

All of the material including the primer, top coat, sand paper, lacquer etc  will cost about £550.

The compressor and spray gun typically costs another £100-£200 for a cheap option (but can go up to £1,000+).

Usually the cheaper options are good enough for a DIY project but if you are planning on doing a few vehicles then it is worth paying a little more for reliability and speed.

If you don’t have access to a garage you can buy pop up spray booths. If you are on a real budget and have shelter from heavy wind then something like this on eBay would work for less than £100.

Low cost Gazebo on eBay

This will give a controlled and safe environment for the job. Though it is completely optional. So the overall cost could be around £800.

Add to it your own labour cost and the opportunity cost if you like.

Tools needed for a respray

  • Spray Gun
  • Compressor
  • Dust extractor (optional) to keep the air free of dust

Material needed for respray

  • Wet Sandpaper
  • Thinners for the colour and for cleaning
  • Underbody protection
  • Clear coat (Lacquer)
  • Masking tape, paper or plastic
  • Face mask
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • A scrap piece of steel to practice spraying before you actually start
material cost to respray a van
Recommended materials for a DIY respray

Links to the materials needed

  • Wet and Dry sand paper : About £4
  • Body Filler : Needed in case of dents or other damage. Body fillers cost from £2 to £ 30 depending on pack size and quality.
  • Primer on eBay: A half a litre can usually comes under £10
  • Paint : eBay has a good range of paints for affordable prices.
  • Lacquer : eBay again and at the same price as that of paint. About £7
  • Masking tape: A 25 mm tape is good for the job. 12 rolls can cost over £10

How much paint is needed to respray a van

For a small- or medium-sized vehicle, you will need approximately one gallon of primer, three gallons of topcoat (Paint), and two to three gallons of lacquer.

Larger vehicles will require about one and a half gallons of primer, four gallons of topcoat, and three to four gallons of clear-coat lacquer.

VW Transporter respray cost

Given its medium size, a transporter will cost about £700 to £800 in DIY respraying or £350 to £450 if you already have all of the tools.

VW Crafter respray cost

The large sized crafter generally costs about £600- £700 if you want to respray yourself. If you already have all of the tools.

Is respraying a van hard?

Whilst respraying a vehicle is definitely a semi skilled job, given the time and a bit of practice you can get a fairly decent finish as an able DIYer.

how hard is DIY respray

The key is in the preparation before you start and then taking time between coats to address any issues as you go. Paint doesn’t cover up dents, chips or scratches. You have to thoroughly sand these out before you start.

The biggest challenge in respraying your van yourself is to find an appropriate place which doesn’t disturb the neighbours and gives you a dirt free space with a stable temperature throughout.

The next issue could be rust treatment and denting which might need professional help.

Apart from this you need to practice using a spray gun. Masking is easy. Do watch a lot of DIY videos and you should be good to go.

For a long lasting paint with professional finish, you need to give it 2 to 3 days and a methodical approach.

Advantages to respraying your own van

  • You can save a lot of money if you do it well
  • Do the job as and when needed. Budget sprayers are usually in high demand and booked far in advance. You can save the long waiting time in DIY spraying.
  • It’s a good learning experience and you are richer with a skill that you can use on other projects

Disadvantages to respraying your own van

  • You could put your health at risk by exposing yourself to the fumes without solid protection and precautions
  • The paint job can be patchy if you haven’t practiced enough.
  • If anything goes wrong it could cost you more for a professional to fix it.
  • You could create problems for your neighbours and in very extreme cases can be fined for air pollution

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