Rotting wall and floor - Advice needed

Jul 20, 2019
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So, we've bought a second hand caravan for a pretty low price. Caveat emptor and all that.

Looked ok, smelt ok inside, and apparently doesn't leak. We noticed a ding on the side, and on further investigation, noticed some water ingress and a damaged wall panel. For the price, we weren't going to quibble.

Once we really got down to looking at the caravan today, I've noticed a little more damage than initially thought, but am hoping it's a simple case of cutting out the damaged panels and replacing.

Damage pics attached. The outside is a little worse now as I started poking around with it. Nearside kerb front of the caravan, wall and floor. Not widespread.

What are the round bolt looking things on the floor? This isn't the main supporting floor, and the undersides are fine.

My question is, the panels look like they're 3/4 inch thick foam core with a plywood veneer. Both floor and wall seem to be made up of the same foam core/plywood veneer.

Where can I get these from?

I presume it's a simple case of cutting out the damage and replacing it with new paneling

Epoxy resin for the outside to seal it?

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Cheers,

Nick
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Sandfish,

Oh dear!

Rather like an iceberg, by the time you see visible damage from damp, there's a very real danger the problem is far more widespread than the appearance may suggest. The reason is both teh inner and outer walls are impervious, so trapped water will go far and the original wood may have been wet for a long time before the evidence actually makes it through the paneling.

Most damp problems can be repaired, and we have seen people who have attempted it an been successful in curing the problem and repairing the mechanical damage but getting it back to a condition that does not show evidence of a repair is much harder.

Its not clear from the pictures what the construction is, it might be aluminium skin with wooden frame and loose fitted insulation, or it might be a similar construction but where the wall is actually a bonded assembly with the insulation actually sticking to both outer and inner walls.

Either way you must strip back and remove all wood that has been damp and replace it, as I have suggested it might be a lot more than you think. The wood you use is best if its treated against rot.

I do not know where to find reliable sources of the materials, but you could try local caravan repairers to see if they will supply.
 
Oct 17, 2010
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Have a look at this video Not the same area as yours, but it shows the work involved. How to obtain the materials and the techniques used to remove, replace.them. The outside bottom rail needs to be removed and the old alloy needs to be covered with an alloy strip.
You keep taking pics as you dismantle for reference when you come to assemble the frame. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ia_g1mh5P24
 

Damian

Moderator
Mar 14, 2005
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Well, you have a real lot of trouble there.

First of all the age of the van looking at the external view would indicate that the makeup is aluminium outer skin, 25m polystyrene insulation(held in place with the old "dot and dab" use of adhesive) and 3mm internal ply .

The bolts you mention are the bolts that secure the floor to the chassis, if they had no washer under the head they would be for the corner steadies.

The only option you have, if you decide its worth it, is to source the individual items, such as plywood from a timber supplier, polystyrene block from the likes of B&Q and cut to size and of course new timbers where required and of suitable size.

Using treated timber can be problematical as some adhesives will not stick to it.

The outside would need a new side panel but you would not get that now due to caravan age, so it would be a case of using aluminium sheet cut to size and stuck in place, but to effect that kind of repair will need the awning rail removal and if damaged it is unlikely to obtain replacement the same.

As for internal wallboard, Magnum Motorhomes stock a variety of wallboards , one of which may be a close match.

All said though, it will cost a lot of money and will never be able to pay back that investment should you try and sell it, .
 
Jul 20, 2019
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

It's a 1994 Sprite Europa 500L. Looks like it's an aluminium skin with the composite panels stuck in place.

I'm going to go to a caravan repair shop on the way to work today, and ask about the paneling supplies and other bits.

I'll definitely need to replace the wall panel. I don't want to start cocking around with floor bolts, so potentially some wood hardener on that. It's not a massive area that's damaged, and the surrounding areas are all hard when tapped.

It's going in for a brake and lights check early next week once we can move it. Will get them to give it a once over for any other issues.

The chassis and underfloor are all fine, so it's not going to fall to pieces once we start towing it, and let's face it, we got it for next to nothing. A basic repair and enjoy it for a year or so before scrapping it is what's going to happen here.

Will keep you updated.

Cheers,

Nick
 

Mel

Mar 17, 2007
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Good luck with the project sandfish. My daughter’s FiL bought a van for £300 from his mate. Soggy as anything around the front locker. (The van not his mate) He sealed the leak, dried it out and patched the worst bits. all cheap DIY . Then had holidays for 4 years before trading it in for another van and getting more than he paid for it.
Mel
 

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