Damp Abbey

Feb 10, 2019
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Good afternoon all,
Hoping to pick up lots of help and advice, words of wisdom and good information as I set upon my latest adventure. My partner who is a budding photographer had the wonderful idea of turning an old caravan into a photo booth caravan. Which roughly translated means I am going to be very busy! We scoured the internet and found a 1988 Abbey 360 executive nearby for £400. The van looked fairly solid, owners had revamped all the interior giving it a vintage look which was perfect, thought it would cut out half the workload. So we bought it and got it home where it has sat since November. So far I have removed and resealed the leaky skylights and not had time to do anything else. Feeling bad that it is sat neglected I thought we could revamp the window seal inserts as they were brown and brittle instead of cream and flexible as they were intended. This is where my problems begin. Whilst removing the window catches on the front and left side window I have discovered damp and lots of it!! To put it bluntly the entire front and side up to just past the side window is rotten through. New paint and wallpaper really did obscure this well. I have today stripped the wallpaper crumbling away most of the wall boards in the process revealing in places the outer skin it is so bad. Now I'm not scared or put off, I enjoy a bit of woodwork and renovation so this has just given me something to fix.
The question I have seen as I'm not familiar with caravans nor the structural integrity of them. Whilst I remove all the units and rot to replace should I be bracing the walls/roof in any way to prevent it collapsing should we get any strong winds etc or will it be ok? Sorry if this is a stupid question. I'm happy to cut wood out and put new wood in fairly competently as a diyer but as for structural knowledge I'd rather ask someone who knows best. Huge thanks in advance.

Richard

P.S I have pictures but not sure how to upload them at the minute
 

Mel

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Mar 17, 2007
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Welcome to the forum. I am no use to you for advice but there are lots of folks on here who can help. There is a sticky that tells you how to do photos, but if you wait, someone cleverer than me will post a link
Good luck.
Mel
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello 123speed.

Generally speaking you will need to replace all the wooden bits that have any sign at all of damp or rot and a little bit more to be certain you have removed the probability of it re establishing. Most caravans were constructed using soft woods and I suspect it wasn't treated timber, so consider using tenalised or other rot resistant woods.

You need to be aware that the walls and roof of a caravan have relatively little rigidity, and its the internal furniture that adds considerable bracing. so if its been gutted you do need to consider some form of additional bracing to keep the structure sound.
 
Feb 10, 2019
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Perfect, that's exactly what I thought regarding the bracing. I'll put some tempory struts in first thing tomorrow. If I don't used tanalized I'll at the very least double coat with wood preserve anything going back in. I don't intend to be doing the job more than once!
 

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