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Damp - How To Know What To Do


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While servicing the dealer found damp in the back of our 1999 Swift. At the rear side by the toilet and it appears, a bit across the back. Same on the other side behind a cupboard - on the side and a bit around the rear. The readings were significant, up to 90%.

 

The dealer identified it as leaking at the awning rails and said it would be £1500-2k to have it properly fixed. That's way out of our price range unfortunately, but they also said that if we had the awning rails resealed then no more water would get in and it would effectively be okay without doing anything further. Since it's an older van and our first, we just want a few years out of it to see we're definitely into this caravanning malarky before buying something more recent.

 

The question is what do we do. If we have the awning rails resealed and just ignore the damp that's already in there what's likely to happen going forward. If it's important, the van is also stored outside where we can't get power to it.

 

As a secondary question, since there's damp in the rear does it post any risk to using the rear outside handles? We have to push the van up a slight hill to get it out of it's space and it's a lot of effort, I'm wondering what those handles are actually attached to inside and whether we risk some serious damage pushing at them.

Edited by Jonno57
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If the rails are sealed and the framework and interior panels are not dried out rot will continue. As the grab handles are fitted through to the frame work as it decays they will pull off. If you just have the rails sealed be prepared that as it deteriorates it you will probably have to scrap it when it gets to bad.

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Drying out that level of damp without some dismantling and lots of heat/dehumidifyers is almost impossible. With just resealing rot will continue and will probably eventually reach the back of the grab handles. Sadly the van is heading towards the inevitable. It may take a few seasons to get there, so enjoy it while it lasts.

 

A couple of words of caution though:-

 

The van will eventually rot to the point of being unroadworthy so keep an eye on it.

Visible black mould gives off invisible spores which can harm your health so keep an eye on it.

 

I have known people get up to 5 seasons out of vans that are beyond economic repair.

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This shows the importance of having a caravan cover fitted when the caravan is not in use and might have prevented the start of any damp.

 

It also demonstrates that every owner should have their own damp meter and to check the van for damp near the end of the year.

 

I concur with Birdman and Stevan comments. They say it all really however, I do NOT agree with :

 

 

Jonno57, on 02 Nov 2015 - 11:18 AM, said:Jonno57, on 02 Nov 2015 - 11:18 AM, said:Jonno57, on 02 Nov 2015 - 11:18 AM, said:Jonno57, on 02 Nov 2015 - 11:18 AM, said:Jonno57, on 02 Nov 2015 - 11:18 AM, said:

. .......................................... and it would effectively be okay without doing anything further.

 

 

That - in my book is complete rubbish. :angry: What a plank.

 

The existing damp problem must be sorted - sooner than later. All you want is for the rot to spread and then you WILL have a write off because no-one will want to buy the van. Do you want to go down this road?

 

I don't know if you want to attempt the repair yourself but have a look

 

HERE

 

and see how someone else is tackling their problem.

Edited by BOAC
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Sorry, I didn't choose my words very well. The repair place never suggested it would be good forever. I said I only needed 2-3 years out of the van and they said it should be fine for that as long as the leak was stopped. I don't feel it's worth spending £2k on, I'd be better putting that money towards a new van. I just want to get 2-3 years out of it first if possible.

 

 

This shows the importance of havting a caravan cover fitted when the caravan is not in use and might have prevented the start of any damp.

 

It also demonstrates that every owner should have their own damp meter and to check the van for damp near the end of the year.

 

I concur with Birdman and Stevan comments. They say it all really however, I do NOT agree with :

 

 

 

That - in my book is complete rubbish. :angry: What a plank.

 

The existing damp problem must be sorted - sooner than later. All you want is for the rot to spread and then you WILL have a write off because no-one will want to buy the van. Do you want to go down this road?

 

I don't know if you want to attempt the repair yourself but have a look

 

HERE

 

and see how someone else is tackling their problem.

Edited by Jonno57
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Sorry, I read that the wrong way.

 

In that case, plank comment withdrawn.

 

It seems a shame though, having to scrap the van a few years down the road for that will surely happen.

 

Cant you have a 'go' at it?

 

If I was faced with your situation I think I would white duct tape the areas of awning rail where you think the water in coming in. A temporary fix but an effective one.

 

I would then try to dry out as best you can, but that's another story.

Edited by BOAC
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I'm utterly useless at this sort of thing, the wife even only relented and let me have some power tools in very recent years ;) I honestly think that I'd likely make things worse with my ham fisted attempts, especially since I'm super-awful at anything joinery related. Plus where the van is stored has no power which makes it extra complex to do the actual drying.

 

I suppose a more complex question would be is there any way for me to do some of the prep work before passing it to the repair guys that might lessen the bill a bit. For instance, if I could get the wallboards off and dry the caravan and then give it to them to replace any batons and refit wallboard would it likely drop the price any or is it just much more complex than that?

 

Sorry, I read that the wrong way.

 

In that case, plank comment withdrawn.

 

It seems a shame though, having to scrap the van a few years down the road for that will surely happen.

 

Cant you have a 'go' at it?

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Sorry, I read that the wrong way.

 

In that case, plank comment withdrawn.

 

It seems a shame though, having to scrap the van a few years down the road for that will surely happen.

 

Cant you have a 'go' at it?

 

If I was faced with your situation I think I would white duct tape the areas of awning rail where you think the water in coming in. A temporary fix but an effective one.

 

I would then try to dry out as best you can, but that's another story.

 

As a matter of interest, how do you do that pete?

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The following addressed to Jonno and Lozzy.

 

I have to keep dashing off to look after the M. In Law and that is the reason I have to keep editing. Lets hope I have ten clear minutes now. Where was I? Oh yus.

 

Any work done will lessen the bill and there is an added bonus in that you will learn as you go. You might be useless at many things but then ALL people are useless until they learn how. The best way usually is to learn 'hands on' and in the case of the caravan Mr Lozzy wont be upset in case of something going wrong.

 

So - to answer your question Lozzy.

 

The duct taping is easy enough. Thoroughly clean the areas with Meths and stick the tape on. That's the first thing to do. You can buy it HERE.

 

I would tend to cover more area than is probably necessary because water creeps. You never really know where it is coming in.

 

I would tackle the drying in the following way.

 

The damp areas have to be exposed for them to dry out.

 

So, this means that a section of wallboard has to be removed. It might be a bit daunting at first but providing Mr Lozzy lets you spend out on the correct tools its easier - but time consuming - than you think.

I have, in the past, got a very stout metal Stanley knife and cut down the joints in the wall board to remove them. Its a case of scoring x 10. If there is no joint then carefully make your own with the knife tip. However, if it is messed up there is always a professional to fix it. They will find it easy enough.

 

I would advise you to think of what you are going to do before actually doing it. I think everyone will agree with me that a bit of thought before hand makes for an easier and better result.

 

If you can, buy a damp meter too. They are cheap enough and it will tell you how extensive the damp is but more importantly, you can discover the area you have to expose in order to dry it out.

 

Its a pity Jonno cant get a fan heater blowing on the damp area really, but at this stage the water has - hopefully - stopped coming in and its a matter of airing and letting the damaged area dry off naturally.

 

If anyone else can help I am sure Jonno and Lozzy would appreciate it. I might have missed something out too.

 

Gordon Bennet. Baggins dog wants his grub now.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Pete

Edited by BOAC
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I have to keep dashing off to look after the M. In Law and that is the reason I have to keep editing. Lets hope I have ten clear minutes now. Where was I? Oh yus.

 

Any work done will lessen the bill and there is an added bonus in that you will learn as you go. You might be useless at many things but then ALL people are useless until they learn how. The best way usually is to learn 'hands on' and in the case of the caravan Mr Lozzy wont be upset in case of something going wrong.

 

So - to answer your question Lozzy.

 

The duct taping is easy enough. Thoroughly clean the areas with Meths and stick the tape on. That's the first thing to do. You can buy it HERE.

 

I would tend to cover more area than is probably necessary because water creeps. You never really know where it is coming in.

 

I would tackle the drying in the following way.

 

The damp areas have to be exposed for them to dry out.

 

So, this means that a section of wallboard has to be removed. It might be a bit daunting at first but providing Mr Lozzy lets you spend out on the correct tools its easier - but time consuming - than you think.

I have, in the past, got a very stout metal Stanley knife and cut down the joints in the wall board to remove them. Its a case of scoring x 10. If there is no joint then carefully make your own with the knife tip. However, if it is messed up there is always a professional to fix it. They will find it easy enough.

 

I would advise you to think of what you are going to do before actually doing it. I think everyone will agree with me that a bit of thought before hand makes for an easier and better result.

 

If you can, buy a damp meter too. They are cheap enough and it will tell you how extensive the damp is but more importantly, you can discover the area you have to expose in order to dry it out.

 

Its a pity Jonno cant get a fan heater blowing on the damp area really, but at this stage the water has - hopefully - stopped coming in and its a matter of airing and letting the damaged area dry off naturally.

 

If anyone else can help I am sure Jonno and Lozzy would appreciate it. I might have missed something out too.

 

Gordon Bennet. Baggins dog wants his grub now.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Pete

. . . So you'd stick duct tape over an awning rail even though that sits proud of the van? ( I'm just thinking practicalities here ) won't the water still get in?? Especially if your going round a corner?. . . . I haven't got the problem but I may NEED to know down the line. . . . . .

. If when you strip back the wallboards to the frame and that's sodden, you dry it out and then do you treat it with something?

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Well Lozzy, you stick the duct tape horizontally to cover the jointed area, and not vertically. Where you encounter any kinking cut the tape into strips. Its important to have the tape lying flat.

 

I would ensure the wood is as dry as you can get it, and then I would treat it with Ronseal Wet Rot hardener.

 

I’ll send you the bill. :P

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Well Lozzy, you stick the duct tape horizontally to cover the jointed area, and not vertically. Where you encounter any kinking cut the tape into strips. Its important to have the tape lying flat.

 

I would ensure the wood is as dry as you can get it, and then I would treat it with Ronseal Wet Rot hardener.

 

Ill send you the bill. :P

I don't know much . . . But I know a man that does !!!!!😛😛
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