Mar 8, 2020
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Hi I’m looking for some advice and help. We have an old Abbey GTS caravan in need of some serious tlc. When we bought it a few years ago we updated the interior and made it all pretty inside (much to my husbands disgust!!) We have recently decided to remodel the inside as the layout no longer fits in with our family. After removing cupboards & wardrobe etc we have found some serious damp and rot right through to the polystyrene behind the walls. Everything seems to look whole and intact but obviously there’s water getting in. Any ideas as to what this could be or things to rule out? We really don’t want to give up on it as we love our little caravan but it looks far worse than we had thought!!
 

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Apr 20, 2009
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Hi Kirsty, welcome to the forum.
First the bad news, you say you are re-modeling the van by removing cupboards and wardrobe etc, are you putting them back in the same locations as the interior is designed as part of the structural build of the van, so by removing those said items if you tow the van it may well fall apart!!!
Secondly, the good news is the damp can be repaired, I did an Abbey Stratford a few years back and it looked similar to yours, the old forum had pictures which were lost due to the hosting site closing it down, I will see if I can find them on an old lap top.
I would suspect your external awning rails are the cause of the water ingress, mine was. You would be advised to start outside and take them off very carefully and you can re-use them (other's will say you cant) I did it.
You can source the polystyrene and wall boards so all is not lost.
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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Oh dear!

Judging from the pictures the source of the damp, is quite likely to the roof joints or gutter rails. These would have been sealed with some sort of mastic orgionaly, but over time the mastic has dried out and become porous.

These need to be removed, the all mastic removed and refitted with a modern alternative. However, the damage has been done, and there would be no point is refitting them without repairing the structure that's been affected.

ALL the affected material must be removed, and replaced. I'd suggest using a treated rot resistant timber for the framing. The insulation will also probably need to be replaced as will the inside wall board.

As you have already uncovered most of the affected area, the scale of the job can be better assessed, but I do repeat it is essential all the affected material must be removed, and the remaining areas properly cleaned to remove any mould spoors.

There have been many people who have successfully done this type of repair as a DIY project, and that is obviously going to be the most cost effect solution.

If you'd prefer to have the work carried out for you, then you might be best seeking the advice of a local mobile caravan engineer.
 
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Hi Kirsty, welcome to the forum.
First the bad news, you say you are re-modeling the van by removing cupboards and wardrobe etc, are you putting them back in the same locations as the interior is designed as part of the structural build of the van, so by removing those said items if you tow the van it may well fall apart!!!
Secondly, the good news is the damp can be repaired, I did an Abbey Stratford a few years back and it looked similar to yours, the old forum had pictures which were lost due to the hosting site closing it down, I will see if I can find them on an old lap top.
I would suspect your external awning rails are the cause of the water ingress, mine was. You would be advised to start outside and take them off very carefully and you can re-use them (other's will say you cant) I did it.
You can source the polystyrene and wall boards so all is not lost.
A good tip when removing awning rails is to get hold of some 2 by1 timber to support the awning rail this hopefully will stop it bending or kinking, supporting the awning rail at both bottom ends with one length of 2x1 is a starting point,
 
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Mar 8, 2020
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Hi Kirsty, welcome to the forum.
First the bad news, you say you are re-modeling the van by removing cupboards and wardrobe etc, are you putting them back in the same locations as the interior is designed as part of the structural build of the van, so by removing those said items if you tow the van it may well fall apart!!!
Secondly, the good news is the damp can be repaired, I did an Abbey Stratford a few years back and it looked similar to yours, the old forum had pictures which were lost due to the hosting site closing it down, I will see if I can find them on an old lap top.
I would suspect your external awning rails are the cause of the water ingress, mine was. You would be advised to start outside and take them off very carefully and you can re-use them (other's will say you cant) I did it.
You can source the polystyrene and wall boards so all is not lost.
Hi Gagakev, thank you so much for your reply. Yes we are putting the same/similar items back so as to keep the structure as it should be. We had no idea the damp was so bad, one of the small overhead cupboards had wee bits of damp sawdust in it every so often which the started to spread to one of the strips joining the ceiling but really had no idea how bad it was and how far it had spread. It's very diss-heartening but I'm really loathed to give up on our little caravan just yet! I'm thinking that your suggestion of the awning rails sounds about right as the worst parts of the damp seem to be on both the left and right hand side ceiling corners. Are there any tutorials/advice on re-sealing them? Thanks so much for your help, it's really much appreciated.
 
Mar 8, 2020
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0
10
Visit site
Oh dear!

Judging from the pictures the source of the damp, is quite likely to the roof joints or gutter rails. These would have been sealed with some sort of mastic orgionaly, but over time the mastic has dried out and become porous.

These need to be removed, the all mastic removed and refitted with a modern alternative. However, the damage has been done, and there would be no point is refitting them without repairing the structure that's been affected.

ALL the affected material must be removed, and replaced. I'd suggest using a treated rot resistant timber for the framing. The insulation will also probably need to be replaced as will the inside wall board.

As you have already uncovered most of the affected area, the scale of the job can be better assessed, but I do repeat it is essential all the affected material must be removed, and the remaining areas properly cleaned to remove any mould spoors.

There have been many people who have successfully done this type of repair as a DIY project, and that is obviously going to be the most cost effect solution.

If you'd prefer to have the work carried out for you, then you might be best seeking the advice of a local mobile caravan engineer.
ProfJohnL, thanks so much for your response.
We've dug quite far to find all the affected areas, with none of the wooden farming salvageable so it will all be removed anyway. Between yourself and another helper on this forum it would seem that it's the awning rails/roof joins that need to re-sealed so will look in to getting that done. We are pretty handy with DIY so hoping it's something we can do ourselves. I'm really reluctant to just scrap it (much to my husband's dissapointent!!) but it's served us so well over the last few years and we had so many plans for it this year with my daughter that are on hold for the mo. Thanks so much for your help - it's really much appreciated.
 
Apr 20, 2009
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Hi Gagakev, thank you so much for your reply. Yes we are putting the same/similar items back so as to keep the structure as it should be. We had no idea the damp was so bad, one of the small overhead cupboards had wee bits of damp sawdust in it every so often which the started to spread to one of the strips joining the ceiling but really had no idea how bad it was and how far it had spread. It's very diss-heartening but I'm really loathed to give up on our little caravan just yet! I'm thinking that your suggestion of the awning rails sounds about right as the worst parts of the damp seem to be on both the left and right hand side ceiling corners. Are there any tutorials/advice on re-sealing them? Thanks so much for your help, it's really much appreciated.
Hi Kirsty, after carefully removing the rails, they will be screwed in under the cover strip, preferably with at least two people and you may try Camels suggestion as well.
Lay the rails carefully onto the ground, they will bend if not careful but you can do it!
You then need to clean every bit of the old mastic off both the rails and the van, this can take hours and hours, use a plastic scraper to get the worst off, then use either a solvent cleaner/remover to clean both area,s or use white spirit, after this the white spirit will leave a residue on the surfaces, clean again with a soft clean cloth and methalayted spirit.
If you are replacing some of the top frame work timber from the inside then this is the time to do
You are now ready to put it all back together, there are a few options for the new mastic, I used sikaflex 512 and also a W4 roll mastic (which was overkill really), I also sourced stainless steel screws which were a size bigger than the one,s which I took out, but I suspect you will be replacing some of the top timber's so make a pilot hole in the new timber first.
I will try and find the piccys in next couple of days and that will help with the inside as well.
 
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Oct 17, 2010
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I found that taking photo's, lots of them, and maybe a cardboard template of any curved timber that needs replacing. My preference was to use normal silicone sealant, when bedding the awning rails in, easier to remove later, if needs be. Sikaflex 512 is a must have, when fitting new framing and insulation inside.
Maybe not exactly the same as yours but, some brilliant advise, below, all the same.


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ia_g1mh5P24
 
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