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Welly_59

Damp Fixing Mission - Cracked Front Panel With Damp

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I picked up a 1991 bailey pageant de ville but was distracted during purchase by having my 2 babies with me(babysitter let me down), so stupidly didnt check the exterior of the caravan thoroughly enough. So what ive got is a caravan with damp issues on the front panel and under the window on the near side.

 

The front panel has a number of cracks which must have been letting water in. Some of these have been siliconed but others have not and have movement between the edges of the split.

 

interior front panel has damp and so does the near-side front wall between the window and front of the caravan.

 

Is there any point me resealing any of the van before i sort out the damp inside?

 

What i plan to do:

1. remove seating and then remove front windows and interior panel.

2. assess the state of the wooden window frame, removing rotten wood.

3. fix cracks in front abs panel.

4. remove wall board below near-side window and assess damage behind. replace as neccesary.

5. cut new front interior panel and refit windows.

5. reseal near-side window and awning rail.

 

would any of you do this differently?

 

thanks in advance

 

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Sorry to hear about the damp problems.

 

My thoughts.

 

If the caravan has a cover then there is no hurry to fix the cracks. If it is not I would duct tape them straight away. It is waterproof and extremely easy to remove. You plan to strip out the interior so why not stop any possible moisture / water ingress immediately?

 

White duct tape can be found HERE

 

Whoever applied silicone or mastic did a shoddy job. There are two methods to fix the cracks. One is to use heat and an ABS stick.

 

The rest of your plans I cant fault but I would consider a cover in the future. I have a Protec cover and find it invaluable especially over the winter months.

 

I would also hire an electric dehumidifier and run it for a few days if you are planning on any delay on the required works.

 

I would also buy a damp meter to assess how far the damp has actually penetrated.

 

Out of interest, how wide are the cracks?

 

Pete

Edited by BOAC
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I must admit our old 1996 had 3 cracks in the front panel, one at the top rail, and one either side of the large window.

 

It never had any real / or known damp issues from these as it was stored under cover prior to me purchasing it.

 

The first thing i did was to put small strips of white duct tape over said cracks, i renewed said tape approx every 6 months and never had an issue in that area.

 

It wasn't really even noticeable with white tape.

 

So, its the first thing i would do to prevent any further damage.

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After ensuring that no more water gets in, preferrably by putting the van under cover or under a cover. I would remove all damp internal panels to assess all the potentially rotten wood. Then the worst is over! Nothing worse than thinking you are on the home straight before finding that what you thought was the worst bit wasn't.

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I would say widest crack is from the top rail and is about 3-4mms wide. There are a couple between the front window that are 2mm or closer and a couple of hairline cracks elsewhere.

 

I have been debating on getting a cover but don't know if it'll make completing the work a bit impractical?

 

I'll try and get some pics for you all today

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There is no way that you can do the work properly until it is dry inside, and that means either waiting for a long spell of dry weather or stopping damp getting in. Best option is to park it under cover such as a barn, failing that a soft cover. As a last resort, seal the cracks first perhaps with tape, then work inside when it is dry.

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Makes sense I suppose. So either put a cover on it or gaffer tape all rails and cracks which I think are leaking.

 

What's the best way of removing wallboard?

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There is no way that you can do the work properly until it is dry inside, and that means either waiting for a long spell of dry weather or stopping damp getting in.

 

NO - it doesn't make sense. The caravan might already be dry inside - if that's what you mean - its the wet behind the board that has to be properly dry. The boarding needs removing as soon as possible to dry out behind it before dry rot starts setting in and that's really bad.

 

I would consider it a priority to do this.

Edited by BOAC
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Makes sense I suppose. So either put a cover on it or gaffer tape all rails and cracks which I think are leaking.

 

What's the best way of removing wallboard?

 

The way I approached this was to assess the area of damp with a damp meter first. You are working in the dark without that information.

 

Once you have marked the area with a marker you know what you are faced with.

 

I had a damp panel about 5 square feet and I added another foot on either side.

 

I ran a blade over the wallpaper and peeled it off so I could glue it on to the new ply afterwards.

 

I then cut out the panel with a heavy duty Stanley knife which took time. Then I was faced with the drying off. This is the time for a dehumidifier.

 

Now is the stage where I could take my time to do repairs.

 

The spars were thoroughly wet and rotten and its relatively easy to replace them. Take your time and do the job to the best of your ability.

 

If you have to join a new spar to another use PVA glue and let it set for twenty four hours - AT LEAST.

 

Now - and as all instruction manuals say, "Assembly is a reversal of the disassembly procedure." :blink:

 

Pete

Edited by BOAC

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The whole front wallboard which contains the 3 front windows needs replacing for definite, and I'm presuming the frame underneath will be rotten and need replacing as well. So to get this board out I will need to remove the 3 front windows, this will also make it easier to fix the cracks in the abs front panel.

 

I'll get some pics up later on today

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Ye Gods. That is one big job. Good luck.

 

I will look forward to the pics.

 

Pete

Edited by BOAC

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That's pretty much what I did, we got royally ripped off with our second van, a '94 Fleetwood that had damp in the front due to cracks in the panel.

Just to complicate matters, the van was in storage on a farm with no electricity, and I work long hours full time so could only work at the weekends.

In the end, I removed all the front windows and the front panel, pulled out all the rotten timber and replaced with a frame made from tantalized timber secured with stainless steel screws and brackets. The front panel was repaired from behind with epoxy.

I just used a cover over the van to keep the water out whilst repairs were in progress, it took me about 6 weeks just working weekends and having absolutely no DIY abilities.

One of the timbers that runs down the offside was rotten where it joined the front panel, all I did was cut out the rotten wood, painted the rest with wood hardener, then filled the gap with epoxy.

It was a successful repair, and was still going strong when we sold the van recently, some 6 Years after doing it.

I think I still have some pictures somewhere if they're of any interest?

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Yes please pictures would be great. It sounds like exactly the same repair I will need to be carrying out.

 

Removing the Windows and putting them back will not be a problem.

 

Replacing any wood on the side doesn't sound like it will be too much of an issue.

 

It's the building of a new front frame and cutting the front wallboard to for the Windows which will be the most difficult part I think

Did you have the front windows removed while the cover was in place?

 

My van is also in storage, albeit with electricity. Just trying to work out the logistics of doing the repairs in my spare time with the Windows removed.

That's pretty much what I did, we got royally ripped off with our second van, a '94 Fleetwood that had damp in the front due to cracks in the panel.

Just to complicate matters, the van was in storage on a farm with no electricity, and I work long hours full time so could only work at the weekends.

In the end, I removed all the front windows and the front panel, pulled out all the rotten timber and replaced with a frame made from tantalized timber secured with stainless steel screws and brackets. The front panel was repaired from behind with epoxy.

I just used a cover over the van to keep the water out whilst repairs were in progress, it took me about 6 weeks just working weekends and having absolutely no DIY abilities.

One of the timbers that runs down the offside was rotten where it joined the front panel, all I did was cut out the rotten wood, painted the rest with wood hardener, then filled the gap with epoxy.

It was a successful repair, and was still going strong when we sold the van recently, some 6 Years after doing it.

I think I still have some pictures somewhere if they're of any interest?

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NO - it doesn't make sense. The caravan might already be dry inside - if that's what you mean - its the wet behind the board that has to be properly dry. The boarding needs removing as soon as possible to dry out behind it before dry rot starts setting in and that's really bad.

 

I would consider it a priority to do this.

As far as I am concerned the wallboard and wooden framing are all inside the outer, supposedly warertight barrier.

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Supposedly is the operative word. But when you have cracks on the abs panels the first thing the water reaches is the wooden frame. Same with a leaky rail.

 

As far as I am concerned the wallboard and wooden framing are all inside the outer, supposedly warertight barrier.

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Yes please pictures would be great. It sounds like exactly the same repair I will need to be carrying out.

 

Removing the Windows and putting them back will not be a problem.

 

Replacing any wood on the side doesn't sound like it will be too much of an issue.

 

It's the building of a new front frame and cutting the front wallboard to for the Windows which will be the most difficult part I think

Did you have the front windows removed while the cover was in place?

 

My van is also in storage, albeit with electricity. Just trying to work out the logistics of doing the repairs in my spare time with the Windows removed.

 

Yes, all the windows were removed under the cover, I stored them in the van. After each work session, the GRP panel was just rested back on the front of the van simply because I had no-where else to put it.

 

In my case, the most frustrating job was probably removing the awning rail. Each and every screw was badly corroded, so most had to be removed by cutting a slot in the top of them with a dremmel and then unscrewing them with a small flat head screwdriver. Others had to have the remains of the head drilled out and then unwound with molegrips, or just pulled out from the particularly rotten bits of timber.

 

Making the frame up was actually surprisingly straightforward. The only issue I had with that was because I'd used proper wood instead of batten, the window rubbers wouldn't fit because the frame was too wide. . The way I got around that was to hire a power plane to skim it down, and run a vast extension lead to the farmhouse to power it as my inverter couldn't cope with the draw (very kind of the farmer to let me do it!)

 

Cutting the wallboards was hugely difficult. I honestly don't have any DIY ability so I really struggled with that part.

The old wallboard was paper thin, and just mush in places so wasn't much use for a template.

I bought a thin panel of marine ply, did my best to cut it to a rough shape to fit (in 3 pieces) and then stapled it in place.

I'm sure that someone with a bit of ability could have made it far easier, but I did really struggle with that!

Afterwards, the ply was stained which actually matched the original interior well enough that it looked quite good. It was temporarily fixed in place, I drew the window cutouts on it from the outside, then removed it and jig sawed the shapes out (nowadays I would just use a router I think)

 

Only problem was that I never actually finished the job! There were gaps all around the wallboards (as per the original) but on the original, these were filled with plastic strips.

I've always planned to do something to cover them, but as we were so keen just to get on with using the van, the curtains covered all the joins, and it was solid and watertight. .. it never actually got finished off!

 

I'll dig the pictures out over the weekend for you. I don't know how much help they'll be, but there certainly are some on the laptop :)

Edited by Panter

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Yes, all the windows were removed under the cover, I stored them in the van. After each work session, the GRP panel was just rested back on the front of the van simply because I had no-where else to put it.

. .....

Making the frame up was actually surprisingly straightforward. The only issue I had with that was because I'd used proper wood instead of batten, the window rubbers wouldn't fit because the frame was too wide. . The way I got around that was to hire a power plane to skim it down, and run a vast extension lead to the farmhouse to power it as my inverter couldn't cope with the draw (very kind of the farmer to let me do it!)

 

Cutting the wallboards was hugely difficult. I honestly don't have any DIY ability so I really struggled with that part. .....

 

The old wallboard was paper thin, and just mush in places so wasn't much use for a template. .......

 

I bought a thin panel of marine ply, did my best to cut it to a rough shape to fit (in 3 pieces) and then stapled it in place.

 

So you totally removed the front panel from the van? I was thinking I could leave it attached tbh and that I would have enough access to repair cracks with the interior frame and wallboard removed.

 

I'll make sure I use correct size timber so I don't have to get anything planned down and the Windows fit.

 

So you made the front wallboard out of 3 separate pieces rather than one whole piece? I suppose that would make it easier to fit

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Excuse my lack of artistry but this is a representation until I can get pictures for you all later.

 

On the from the squigles represent cracks in the panel.

 

Shaded areas represent damppost-75149-0-54713200-1444991856_thumb.jpgpost-75149-0-81581600-1444991899_thumb.jpg

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So you totally removed the front panel from the van? I was thinking I could leave it attached tbh and that I would have enough access to repair cracks with the interior frame and wallboard removed.

 

I'll make sure I use correct size timber so I don't have to get anything planned down and the Windows fit.

 

So you made the front wallboard out of 3 separate pieces rather than one whole piece? I suppose that would make it easier to fit

 

Yes, that was the first step, to remove the entire panel. I can't quite remember why now, I think I was roughly following a blog of someone else who'd carried out the same repair. In any case, I wanted to remove and reseal the awning rail so once all the screws were out, it wasn't actually a big job just to cut away the mastic and remove the front panel. I'm sure, though, that you would have sufficient room to do it the other way around and leave the panel in place.

 

Yes, the wallboard was 3 separate pieces purely because the original was built that way.

It would probably have been easier to just use one large piece, although it then may have been a bit of a struggle getting it in.

I think, again, I was just copying the blog from somebody else who'd done it.

I honestly can't stress enough how poor my DIY skills are, so this was a huge project by my standards and any step by step pictures that I found on the internet were followed as closely as I could to minimise any input from my poor judgement!!

 

I don't think it would actually be that big a job to someone who's half competent at a bit of DIYing. The reason it took me so long was my lack of ability, and also weather restrictions being only able to work at weekends.

With all that said though, I did manage it, and it looked pretty good afterwards.

The other advantage was in knowing how I'd put it back together. The theory was that if damp did ever get back in, all I'd have to do is reseal the exterior and let the woodwork dry out as the internal construction was marine ply, tantalized timber, epoxy and stainless steel so was a lot more resistant to water than the original matchwood that I took out.

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Just to add to that, looking at your images, it looks as if you have a lot more to do than I had.

I've actually found the pictures I took, they're uploading to photobucket now so I'll try and get them on here this afternoon.

Looking back at them, I actually glass fibred the rear of the panel but I seem to remember I had to sand that virtually all back and seal the cracks with epoxy as it just made the panel too thick with the GRP patches in place.

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Thanks for that.

 

When I remove the rails I'll take a look at how the front is attached but I have seen some pictures where the front is tacked on to the sides and roof, if it is I will more likely leave it in place.

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Apologies, I spent some considerable time pasting all the links in from photobucket, only to be greeted with the message that I was trying to upload too many images!

 

If you pm me an email address, I'll email them over to you this evening.

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Try putting the pics straight on to CT from your computer.

 

Do them one at a time and edit the post adding another.

 

Pete

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allways interested in what others have done, but i seem to remember reading that using tanalized or treated timber is a no no

as it can cause problems where it comes into contact with the ally skin

I may be wrong but please research before you use tanalized or treated timber

 

good luck in your project

 

TD

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