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Flat_at

Advice sought regarding doorway

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 I have just been out to give our 'van, Elddis xplore 302 2011, a  quick check over and have found a damp patch, I say damp, but the reading is off the scale at over 40% on my meter. It's a small patch below the door, partially hidden by the flyscreen. I believe that the trim "seal" around the door is at fault and have removed it for now, with the intention of opening the door every dry day in the hope that it has been caught early and the reading will start to go down soon. The trim just clips into place around the door frame and does not have any sealant on it. My intention is to let the trim dry out, give it a good clean and refit it with some sealant in the groove. Can anyone advise if this is the correct course of action and possibly recommend a sealant? Thanks for reading :)

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Be careful where you apply sealant, some of the gaps may well be deliberate drainage. Some water will inevitably get past the seals on a door and must be allowed to harmlessly drain away.

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5 minutes ago, Stevan said:

Be careful where you apply sealant, some of the gaps may well be deliberate drainage. Some water will inevitably get past the seals on a door and must be allowed to harmlessly drain away.

  Thanks for replying. There are no gaps in the door frame, the water appears to be draining through the "seal"  into the 'van. I'll post some pics when my camera batteries are charged.

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1 hour ago, Flat_at said:

  Thanks for replying. There are no gaps in the door frame, the water appears to be draining through the "seal"  into the 'van. I'll post some pics when my camera batteries are charged.

Any water that gets through the rubber seal should normally run down to the bottom of the frame and then outside, either through a purpose made hole or a deliberate gap in the seal.

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Ok, first pic is the door "seal" in place, second is the lip, goes all round the door frame with no gaps or holes, with the "seal" removed, third is the inside of the 'van  showing what is covered by the inside edge of the "seal". I put seal in inverted  commas because it doesn't at the moment :( Rainwater seems to be getting around the door and tracking down the inside of the "seal" instead of  running down the outside . Hope this makes sense. :blink:

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Posted (edited)

Silly question, but is the caravan still in warranty? If so it’s not your problem

 

Doh! Just fully read the OP. :unsure: 

 

sorry I can now see it’s a 2011 so clearly out of warranty 

 

Andy

Edited by Mr Plodd
  • Haha 2

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1 minute ago, Mr Plodd said:

Silly question, but is the caravan still in warranty? If so it’s not your problem

 

Andy

 The 'van is a 2011 Elddis xplore 302, 8 3/4 years old, so I'm afraid it is my problem ;)

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I did spot that and wasn’t quick enough to add the second comment! 

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1 minute ago, Mr Plodd said:

I did spot that and wasn’t quick enough to add the second comment! 

 Better luck next time :D

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I’m not sure what you are terming as “the seal” is intended as a seal, rather it’s just trim. 
there should be a rubber seal on the actual door. 
on the door frame (what your “seal” clips over) there should be drain holes or channels to let water out. 
 

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5 minutes ago, Lost in the wilderness said:

I’m not sure what you are terming as “the seal” is intended as a seal, rather it’s just trim. 
there should be a rubber seal on the actual door. 
on the door frame (what your “seal” clips over) there should be drain holes or channels to let water out. 
 

 :Thankyou: for the reply :), trim or not water is getting behind it. There is a rubber seal on the door, I'll have to check that tomorrow. ;)

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Maybe worthwhile having a good look at the mastic sealant that the door frame should be bedded in. It maybe it’s failed, and wet is getting behind. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Flat_at said:

 :Thankyou: for the reply :), trim or not water is getting behind it. There is a rubber seal on the door, I'll have to check that tomorrow. ;)

 

As Lost said,  that's just a trim to cover sharp  edges your seal will be on the door, some vans have it on the frame, and some have one on the frame and one on the door.

 

Have you got a photo of the door seal and one of the bottom of the frame ?

At 9 years old there is a chance that the seal is getting compressed, split, or hard preventing it from making good contact with the mating area on the frame.

 

If you examine the seal use a good light and compress the seal with your fingers, sometimes it may look OK till compressed.

 

It should seal by making a 100% waterproof contact all the way around the frame with no gaps, any water going over the top of the door or down the sides, where there is a gap, simply travels down the sealed gap between door and frame to the sill and either flows over the outer wall of the sill, some vans have drainage holes in the outside edge of the sill to allow drainage.

 

There are several ways to determine if the seal is making the correct contact, one is to use a narrow piece of thin flexible plastic strip laid across the seal to frame joint, shut the door, then carefully slide it around the door with a slight sawing action, taking care that the strip won't damage the seal, the effort to do this should be equal all round, if any area needs less effort this could be an area of poor contact, the problem with this method is that the dog leg, and , or, the design of the door and frame can make this difficult.

 

The next one may be better, wipe down and dry the whole of both the frame contact area and the seal contact area, when both are dry, lightly smear the contact area on the frame with Vaseline, then gently, this is important, close the door just till the lock clicks, as it would be when closed, too much pressure, as may be applied when normally closing the door, may misleadingly show contact all around the door, however when normally closed, the door will travel past its rest position, then move back to its rest position , after carefully closing the door, open it and with a good light examine the seal contact area, there should be a smear of Vaseline of equal width around the whole of the seal.

 

Next one may not show the source point of the leak, but may show the point of entry to the van interior and you can trace back from there.

Clean and dry the bottom of the frame, caravan wall and floor at the bottom of the door, extending up the frame and wall for about 6 inches, then lightly dust these areas with talcum powder.

Any point of water ingress will show as tracks in the talcum powder.

The problem with this one is that the water ingress may only occur under certain conditions, wind direction, caravan position, volume of water and may take a while for a result

 

Finally the most accurate is by using an ' ultrasonic sniffer ', not cheap at around £1,000 + for a decent one, number 2 son uses one in his garage for many things, one of them being finding the source of water leaks or wind noise in cars, for this function an ultrasonic transmitter is placed in the car, then a probe, the sniffer, is used around the vehicle, anywhere air or water could pass in into the vehicle the ultrasonic sound escapes.

 

Sorry if my post is long winded, but some bit, hopefully, may point you in the  right direction.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Silversurf

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Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm going to have breakfast and have a good, calm, look at all the points made. Silversurf I thank you for your comments and your post was not too long, no need to apologise. :)

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Might be worth checking to see if the door has 'slipped' down on it's adjustable hinges - ours did this and while not immediately obvious, it opening a gap at the top of the door.

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  Having had a closer look at door and frame, there is a rubber seal fitted to the door, in good condition, and the light coloured stuff is indeed a trim over the edge of the frame. I refitted the trim to the frame and had Mrs_at pour water above the door. There was no sign of any leakage inside the 'van until the door was opened and a puddle had formed in the bottom of the frame, outside of the trim, deep enough to reach the lower edge of said trim. There are no damp readings around the frame on the inside of the 'van, or anywhere else in there, apart from the inside wall below the door.

 I am now thinkinging that the water is tracking under the trim and into the wall below the door. Tomorrow, weather and my good lady permitting, I'm going to check what The road toad has suggested about the door dropping slightly and preventing the water draining from the bottom of the frame. Thanks for listening. ;)

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3 minutes ago, Flat_at said:

  Having had a closer look at door and frame, there is a rubber seal fitted to the door, in good condition, and the light coloured stuff is indeed a trim over the edge of the frame. I refitted the trim to the frame and had Mrs_at pour water above the door. There was no sign of any leakage inside the 'van until the door was opened and a puddle had formed in the bottom of the frame, outside of the trim, deep enough to reach the lower edge of said trim. There are no damp readings around the frame on the inside of the 'van, or anywhere else in there, apart from the inside wall below the door.

 I am now thinkinging that the water is tracking under the trim and into the wall below the door. Tomorrow, weather and my good lady permitting, I'm going to check what The road toad has suggested about the door dropping slightly and preventing the water draining from the bottom of the frame. Thanks for listening. ;)

There should be some method for that puddle to drain outside.

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A regular maintenance item seals, clean and lubricate with a silicon spray on a cloth wiped over regularly, this goes for door, window, and locker seals.

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9 minutes ago, Stevan said:

There should be some method for that puddle to drain outside.

 That's what exactly I was thinking and why I'll be checking that the door hasn't dropped. ;)

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   After a couple of days of inclement weather, I have spent this morning having another look at my problem. The door trim was removed from the frame and the puddle wiped out on Wednesday. This morning the puddle is back and the rubber seal at the bottom of the door was wet, however, despite the rain over the past few days the damp readings are now back on the damp meter scale at 35% (was over 45%) :). This tells me that the seal at the bottom of the door is holding some water back and that this water is tracking under the trim and soaking into the wallboard below the door. I'm going to raise the door a little to see if that allows the puddle to drain away under the door.

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 After completing Mrs_at's list of "small" jobs I have done a little more work to address my problem. The door has been raised by about 3mm and the door bottom seal now does not touch the frame. I have noticed that there is a lip of about 2mm on the outside edge of the door frame itself which has no way of allowing water to drain away. Would it be possible for some kind person to have a look at their door frame and check if there is some means of draining the water from there? The damp readings are still dropping, 30% now :)  Some photos below, apologies for the quality.

 

Pencil mark showing amount door has been raised.

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Lip on the outside of door frame (easier to see in the shadow).

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Trim temporarily refitted, water  pools against the bottom of the trim and is tracking under it.

PICT1815.thumb.JPG.8cc060bc95ed2e8a52521bcae790bd1b.JPG

 

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 After the rain of the last few days I have had another look at our 'van. The damp readings are still going down :) and the puddle is much smaller now that the door has been raised slightly, but is still deep enough to reach the bottom of the trim. I'm considering attacking carefully using a file on the lip  to make a drain gap, could someone, anyone,  please have a look at the bottom of their door frame to see if there is any way for the puddle to drain away ( with possibly a photo :blush:)? I thought that there would be a gap in the lip, along the outside edge of the frame, to allow water out. I have moved away from the idea of using sealant in the groove of the trim and am thinking of using something (don't know what yet) inside the groove to lift the bottom of the trim away from the puddle.  Thanks for reading.

Edited by Flat_at

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If the damp level is still going down despite this wet weather it might well be time to stop trying to fix what may no longer be broke!

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 Thanks for taking an interest Stevan, but the trim is still removed. If I were to refit it water would still be finding its way under ( by capillary action perhaps) or through it and into the wall below the door. 

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The trouble with water leaks is that where the water is pooling or evident is not necessarily the location of the leak! It can run or drip from several feet. Hope you find the source soon.

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