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Nick England

Wall and floor panel replacement advice

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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.

 

My question is, the panels look like they're 3/4 inch thick foam core with a 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?

 

Cheers,

 

Nick

 

 

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A few more damage pictures. 

 

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.

 

 

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Both floor and wall seem to be made up of the same foam core/plywood veneer.

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I think you have a major job doing this up so presume you think it is worthwhile. To me it is close to a goner.

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I’m with Wispman on this. It looks like pretty extensive, and widespread damp and, by the looks of it, you have not yet got to the main timber framework of the sidewalls. I wouldn’t mind betting they are going to be pretty rotten! 

 

Caveat pre Emptor  indeed !! I reckon you have bought yourself a pile of (expensive to fix) grief. Damp is like an iceberg, you can only see the tip of it! 

 

Andy

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That is hugely damaged, I have repaired similar in the past but not as extensive by any means. 

 

My advice would be to seal the outside as best as you can, even if it looks awful, dry the wallboard out as best as possible and rip out any rotten and replace timbers underneath. Replace with 6mm ply and paint with magnolia emulsion. 

 

Then go and enjoy the van. :-) 

 

It won’t look great inside or out but it doesn’t matter, it won’t leak and will be usable for as long as possible. 

 

You do really need to make sure of the extent of the damage though in case it has structurally affected the van. 

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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

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Sad to say, but the crumbly and blistered appearance of the aluminium skin suggests that it has suffered long term damp from the inside out before the impact damage, and the wooden framework and floor  is likely to be in a bad way.

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Another here with Wispy.

 

Nick, a less obvious problem is that some timbers when wet will leach out acids which can attack aluminium and weaken it than as panels flex strange surface contours appear.

 

Had this with a caravan some years back which created small holes in a panel from the inside to out.

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