Van Paint: A How To Guide for The Mobile Catering Industry

Catering Van Paint

If you are looking at how to start food van business, one of the first outlays you need is a van. This blog post will hopefully help customers looking for food van ideas starting with food van paint. When it comes to coatings, Promain are second to none for our knowledge on paint. If you are looking for van paint look no further.

To get your food van project off the ground we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions below. We have purely focused on ensuring your van stands out from the crowd. Whether this is with van painting or food van tips on cosmetic repair.

Below we have a list of the types of catering vans our paint products below are suitable for:

Food van Food truck Vintage catering van
Street food van Food car Sandwich van
Hot dog car Street food Pizza van
Kebab van Mobile food van Street food van
Fast food van New catering vans Wedding food van
Donut van Snack van Festival food van

Q: What Is The Best Paint For A Van Body?

Before you decide which paint to use to paint your van body, you need to decide if you will use a brush and roller or a sprayer. We would suggest using a brush and mini roller if you intend on using a solvent based paint. If you intend on using a sprayer, you can use either water based or solvent based coatings.

Rustoleum Combicolor
Rustoleum Combicolor

You may have heard of people painting a van with Hammerite. We however would recommend Rustoleum CombiColor. This is as it is a more flexible coating and will cope with movement and expansion. Also, CombiColor unlike Hammerite can be easily recoated in the future.

We can mix Rustoleum CombiColor to over 50,000 colours via our in house tinting machine. We can tint to RAL and BS shades however, not to vehicle manufacturer shades.

The eco friendly option for painting your van trailer is Centrecoat Mobile Home and Caravan Paint. You can apply this water based paint directly to the existing paint following abrasion and thorough cleaning. We recommend cleaning with Centrecoat R04 BG Hard Landscape Cleaner. You do not normally require a primer, unless there are areas of rust. You can treat the rust with Flag Rust Converter. This is before applying a rust inhibiting primer such as Rustoleum 769/780. For a water based alternative rust inhibiting primer, why not try Teamac W201 All Metals Primer.

Q: Should I Paint My Van With A Roller?

Owatrol Oil Van Paint Conditioner
Owatrol Oil

If you go down the route to paint your van with a roller, we suggest a 2-3 coats. Allow 3 to 4 days between coats for the paint not only to dry but to harden also. To get the smoothest effect, a microfibre roller or a foam roller helps.

Always sand with wet and dry paper between coats. For your final coat we would recommend adding 5-10% of Owatrol Oil. Owatrol Oil will help give you a smoother finish.

Q: What Is The Best Roof Paint For A Van?

Rustoleum Peganox Van Paint
Rustoleum Peganox

The best paint for the roof of a van is an elastomeric coating. The reason this is, is due to stresses and strains on the vehicle body during use. Also, heat expansion and contraction is an important factor when it comes to choosing the best van paint. We recommend the use of a brilliant water based product that is easy to use and is at least 200% elastomeric. The product we recommend as a van roof paint is Rustoleum Peganox.

Firstly, clean with a suitable cleaner such as Centrecoat R04 BG Hard Landscape Cleaner. Afterwards, lightly abrade with a Scotchbrite and apply 2 coats of Peganox, diluting the first coat with 25% fresh water.

Q: How Do I Touch Up My Van Paint?

If you are trying to perform a van paint touch up and match an original manufacturers colour, the best solution is to purchase an aerosol from a motor factors such as Halfords. We however, recommend you repaint the whole vehicle body.

Q: What Is The Best Paint As A Van Liner?

ProtectaKote Van PaintA: We recommend the use of Protecta-Kote as a van liner paint. This paint is regularly specified for use as a paint for van floors. This is due to it’s rubber like coating that provides an anti slip finish. Safety on the floor of the van is important when working in a tight area while preparing food.

Have a look at this industrial trailer paint here.


Q: How Can I Make My Bumpers Look New?

A: Fading from age and from being outside 24/7 is a big problem for plastic bumpers. If your catering van has black plastic bumpers that have faded there is no need to worry. Owatrol Polytrol is an innovative colour revitaliser that can easily make your bumpers look new. You can apply Polytrol either using a brush or a lint free cloth, working the liquid into the surface. Think of Polytrol to plastic as shoe polish to leather boots!

To test if Polytrol is good for your black bumpers, dab a small amount of cooking oil on the bumper. If it immediately looks brighter, Polytrol will work. Don’t coat your whole bumper in cooking oil though…it just won’t soak in or work!

What’s even better you can use Polytrol on plastic composite front doors, rubber boats, in fact most plastics that suffer for UV degradation.

Watch our video here of how we used Polytrol to spark some life back into a plastic postbox:

If however you require van bumper paint for your vehicle, we can tint to thousands of colours to match your bodywork. However, paint will fade or settle over time. This will be apparent if you do not paint the whole body around the same time.

Q: What Tyre Paint Should I Use On My Vintage Catering Van?

Whitewall Tyre
The Quintessential White Wall Tyre

A: Using white paint on the outer rim of tyres was popular in the early 1950’s at the height of the Cadillac. During the 1970’s, whitewall tyres were the pinnacle of luxury – though the full wall had been diminished to a single 1 inch strip.

Fact For The Day: The last car available in the United Kingdom with whitewall tires was the Kia Pride!

If you are looking to whitewall your tyres with wheel paint, preparation is key. Rubber is a difficult material to paint. The best van wheel paint we recommend is ProtectaKote UVR in White Smooth. This product provides a highly UV resistant wheel paint you can be proud of.

Q: What Colour Should I Paint My Camper Van?

If you are looking for inspiration for painting your van look no further. Below we have a short list of some of the most popular VW van colours from 1974. We have separated the colours out to narrow your search of van paint jobs and options.

However, if you are looking for van paint colours not listed fret not. With our in house facilities we can tint to whichever van paint code you require. Alternatively, you can have your own unique van paint colour match by supplying a sample swatch in the post.

We can mix Rustoleum CombiColor – our paint of choice to over 50,000 colours. We can tint to RAL and BS shades however, not to vehicle manufacturer shades.

1974 VW Van Colours Comparison

Tropical Shades
Ideal for street food vehicles selling cocktails, reggae chicken and smoothies!

Original Colour

Rallye Yellow
Rallye Green
African Red
Saturn Yellow
Ravenna Green

Similar To

RAL 1018
Zinc Yellow
RAL 6018
Yellow Green
RAL 1016
Sulphur Yellow
S 2050 G50Y

Seaside Shades
Think a fish and chip van, ice cream trucks and more.

Original Colour

Atalas White
Sahara Beige
Lake Blue
Ocean Green

Similar To

RAL 1013
Oyster White
RAL 1019
Grey Beige
RAL 5024
Pastel Blue
RAL 160 50 20
Juniper Green
RAL 5003
Sapphire Blue

Need more inspiration? Visit If you are looking for Ford transit paint colours contact our tinting team directly.

Catering Van Paint

Q: How Much Will It Cost To Paint My Custom Van?

Obviously, if you pay a professional van paint shop it can rack up the costs especially if this is a new business venture. Hopefully Promain can help you reduce the van paint job cost by doing the job yourself.

Typically, after repairs and preparation, you would be looking at anywhere from the below:

  • If you use Rustoleum CombiColor it will cost around £1.25+VAT per m2 per coat. That’s a bargain by anyone’s standards!
  • For Centrecoat Mobile Home and Caravan Paint – £1.34+VAT per m2 per coat.

This is obviously dependant on the size of your van and the condition it is in. You can imagine how much a professional body shop would charge!


As the UK’s favourite supplier of industrial paints and coatings, Promain Paints technical team have a vast array of knowledge ready to share with the public. As your preferred van paint suppliers, we can answer all your questions via email or phone.

Contact our technical team today on 01462 421333 or email [email protected] to discuss your requirements.

You may have found this page if you were looking for:

  • Food van for wedding
  • Rustoleum trailer paint
  • Vintage paint
  • food van for hire
  • food van for rent
  • VW van paint
  • Camper van paint
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