Building the New Fit RV Shop – Part 6: Paint and Climate Control!

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If you’ve ever sided a barn – by yourself… manually, with a hammer… with 5 inch wide tongue and groove boards… you’ll understand why it’s taken me literally a month to get the walls of my shop done.  But at long last, they’re done, and I even got some bitchin’ (using Stef’s word here) climate control installed along the way.

Plus, I painted!  Check it out:


Getting the paneling done was just a “lather, rinse, repeat” of the last video, over and over again.  But once that was done, it was a little too… piney… in there for me. So I decided to change up the color of the wood on the walls.  If money were no object, I would have flown to Pennsylvania, had an old timey barn dismantled, and shipped the boards back to use in my shop instead of brand new pine.  But since I don’t have a billion dollars, I settled on $60 worth of stain.  lol.

The stain was actually a water-based semi-transparent deck stain.  Indoors and with no foot traffic, it should last basically forever.  I liked the semi-transparent thing, because you can still see the wood underneath, and the water based stain made it possible to still inhabit the shop while it dried.

And also not blow myself up.

The only real problem I had was picking a color, which took me about 30 sample boards and a couple weeks of testing.  I would still be out there tormented with indecision if Stef hadn’t finally just told me to pick one and quit whining.  I’m funny that way, I’ll spend thousands on some RV gadget without batting an eye, but I’ll agonize over if I should get the $27 stain or the $35 paint…  Go figure.

Along the way, I also dry-walled the inside of the closet for added mass to keep the sound down (I’ll eventually build doors for it).  I didn’t tape and mud, but I don’t think the air compressor will mind.  I also repaired and painted the wall (the drywall one) that separates the shop from the rest of the house.  But the biggest thing is…


That’s right!  I had a mini-split ductless heat pump installed.  It’s a Mitsubishi unit, and it totally rocks.  It might not be sufficient as a primary heating system in Barrow, Alaska.  But here in the desert Southwest, it’s just the ticket.

I did NOT install this unit myself.  I had it done by a local heating and air conditioning company.  The install was actually super quick – even with the subcontractors to drill the concrete and run the electrical, they were done in about half a day.  You can see a little bit of the install in the video.

This thing is the bomb.

Prior to installing it, even here, it would get uncomfortably cold in the shop.  So cold that I would repeatedly drop nails and stuff I was working with because my frozen hands couldn’t move fast enough.  Now – it’s perpetually comfortable in there.  I’m anticipating it will stay that way in the summer as well.  Besides the insulation you saw me install in the videos, there’s also 8 inches of concrete, a pile of earth, and a house to keep the temperature stable.

And a stable temperature means I can actually run experiments where I need the temperature to remain constant.  That should be fun.

But first, I have to unload a giant shipping container!  (Stef has no clue what she’s about to get roped into…)

James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.

    17 thoughts on “Building the New Fit RV Shop – Part 6: Paint and Climate Control!

    1. smiley

      Your AC contractor SHOULD of elivateted the Mitsubishi outdoor unit to above the snow line. When you go into heating mode and the unit defrosts you will ice up the coil when its buried by snow. I know I work for Mitsubishi, so if it snows hard just go outside and dig the snow out from around the unit. What size BTUH did you select. I have a 24 by 24 ft garage that I have a 15,000 btuh unit servicing my studio shop but I also have a gas furnace that dumps air into my garage. You picked the best product on the market too 🙂

      1. James - Post author

        We don’t get much for snow here in Southern Utah. Maybe an inch every 5 to 7 years (or so they tell me – haven’t seen any this year). But if it *does* snow… I’m prepared. Thanks for the tip!
        We went with an 18k BTU unit. It’s been rocking the heat. Time will tell if it can keep up during the summer…

      2. Geno

        I installed the same AC in my garage in Florida using Mitsubishi’s optional “CWMB1” brackets to attach it to the concrete outside wall of my garage. That keeps it off our wet and humid ground (or snow in other places). Brackets cost about $120. We need the same quality of AC for our RVs!

        Stef & James please keep up the great work. Hope the supply side of the RV business will pay more attention to your advice!!!

        1. James - Post author

          I asked about the wall brackets, but my installer wasn’t keen on them.
          There’s not much snow or moisture here, so we’ll see if this becomes a problem.

    2. Noel

      Wow, James, I didn’t know if you’d ever land on a stain color after the whole baking soda “incident.” But I have to say that not only is the shop looking mighty fine, you pulled an HGTV… your clothing matched the reveal! Smooth, buddy! They’ll be calling you any day now for a new show called Hunks with Hammers. 😉

      1. James - Post author

        I didn’t even realize that my clothing matched.
        I’m pretty much a “wear whatever is on top of the pile” kind of guy… (but you probably already guessed that)

    3. Bob Bedell

      Looking great, James! It does sound like an echo chamber in there. Like that suggestion on more acoustic material, maybe on ceiling, but agree on waiting. Once you bring in the machines, the lumber storage, etc. that may deaden that echo a bit.

      Watching you paint the walls and your comment of being sore made me think “Paint fence, UP, DOWN, UP, DOWN”. Mr. Miyagi would be proud.

    4. Mike Parkerson

      Not being a Mr. Fixit myself and being apparently somewhat older, I really enjoy watching you knock yourself out. Keep at it, bro!

    5. Dan

      You might do well to add some acoustic panels on the ceiling (or even some on the walls) to cut down on the echo factor.

      1. James - Post author

        Not a terrible idea – but the ceiling tends to be a cobweb magnet. At least with the plain metal up there, it will be easy to sweep clean.
        I’m waiting until I’ve got all my stuff back in there to break the space up before I make a final determination on noise levels.

    6. Jacqueline Milton

      I think you are such a good example because you are such a hard worker and you don’t have a lazy bone in your body. You really demonstrate excellence! You have head smarts and strive to do your best. Biking and fitness. You and Stef make a great team. Stef you are going to look young and healthy forever. I have a lot respect for the two of you. Thanks for sharing with us, your rv community.

      1. Stefany

        Jacqueline… we love you! You’re so kind thanks for making both of our days. (…although mom is this you writing under a false name? 😉 )
        Health and happiness to you, Jacqueline! xoxo


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