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50% damp found. Is it worth repair?


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Having just bought a damp meter ready to winterise our supposedly dry (as tested last september) 18 year old sterling Europa I was horrified to get a reading on the rear offside corner of 50% which is the maximum reading of the device in the bathroom wall half way up about 1 meter off the ground. It measures that in around a 4” squared patch and then around 30%  Towards the bottom of the floor and then around 30% on the floor immediately underneath. The interior wallboards are not yet spongy but there is a slight smell of damp.

 

getting up on a ladder I can see the offside rail  has a decent gap where the sealant has dried up almost directly above where the leak is just as the roof starts sloping down towards the back. Picture attached. I’m almost certain this is where the leak is but inside the van if I measure towards directly where the leak is it’s showing 15% so is it possible the water is dripping straight down about a meter and catching on a baton there?

 

The van is dry showing 15% everywhere else but I do need to replace 2 roof vents. Question is will it be worth taking this to local workshop and getting the damage repaired and the whole rail replaced? What kind of ballmark figure am I looking at. Being an 18 year old van I don’t want to sink good money into it that could go towards a newer van especially if my wall now has significant damage., just after opinions Really. For now  I have gaffs tape running down the whole rail from the leak on that side and have now put the specialised cover on. I hope to get it outside the house in the next few days and get a dehumidifier on it too.

 

any suggestions welcome....

 

Adam

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Edited by Pembssurfer
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Eternabond tape if you are not wanting to invest in a proper repair. After reading this forum others recommended it and claim it is a permanent fix. Really wide tape that completely covers the roof join. I did it on mine. Just really clean that part of the roof then do it again with meths before application. 
 

ah sorry. The photo did not appear when I wrote this. I don’t know if it will help for the awning rail only the roof strap. 

Edited by halifaxdan
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As long as you have found it before rot gets a hold fixing the leak and drying out should give you a few more seasons.

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10 hours ago, Pembssurfer said:

.......What kind of ballmark figure am I looking at.......

 

More or less the same scenario where our previous Buccaneer showed damp readings of similar levels within the rear O/S overhead locker and wardrobe and at points up to 50% where the wallboard was soft.

 

This occurred between two services and ultimately required the complete area to be stripped out, dried then re-boarded along with some framework replacement.

 

It was later also found that due to the reaction of the wet wood against the aluminium that there was some pin hole corrosion in the roof which required corrective work.

 

The problem originated from a breached awning rail seal, gap similar to the one in your pic and in our case cost just over £2,000 to put it right although I did have the other three rails removed (four in total) and also resealed.

 

Unless the area is vented in some way or the wallboard removed, it is unlikely it will dry out sufficiently before the local framework deteriorates and requires replacement.

 

The pic below is what ours looked like with the wallboard removed.

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Stay safe - Griff.  :ph34r:

Wheels at the front - Discovery 4. Wheels at the back - Bessacarr 845.

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A proper repair involves removing the awning rail and replacing any rot as Griff has outlined above.  This can be a varying amount of work depending what is found.  A less permanent fix is to scrupulously clean the area, dig out as much old/cracked sealant as you can and then mask up the  awning rail and roof extending a good way past the problem area and apply a bead of polyurethane sealant along the joint, working it into the gap with your fingers, smooth it off and remove the masking tape.  Polyurethane adhesive is a lot more resiliant than typical bathroom silicone sealant.

 

This won't fix any rot BUT it should make the area watertight for a couple of years.  This really is a temporary bodge but can give a bit more life to a tired caravan without embarking on a full blown (expensive) restoration, but it should only be done if you're confident the structural strength isn't compromised.

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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The cost of repair must make doing this debatable. You would need a quote for the work to see what it will cost and if borderline then presumably you would have to decide what to do. I suspect that if the damp is as bad as you say, a lot of costly work will be needed, but the alternative is to sell it and that you would get very little, if anything doing that.

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The age and value of the vehicle should be an indication, but there is also an emotional value to owning a caravan.  So, how important is it to you?  Can you buy another one if you scrap or sell this one, and if you sell you should absolutely tell the new prospective owner about the damp so the price will be less.

The best way to make that decision is to speak to a local Approved Workshop Scheme approved workshop to find one go to www.approvedworkshops.co.uk.  A fixed or larger workshop will tell you the cost to repair and can they reduce the existing damp back down to acceptible levels so you can keep your Caravan and overall save money..

Martyn Raybould MD

Engineer Aftercare Warranty an official partner with CaravanTalk. 

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Thanks for the advice. My feeling is this has happened since the cover was removed on May 3rd this year. That being the case the water ingress would be from June onwards when it started raining. With that in mind I am going to dry it out as of tonight and re-seal the awning rail properly and fingers crossed it gets us through another year of use by which point we will be able to get a much newer van next autumn.

 

With that said ,what non-setting sealant is recommenced for the rail? If W4 mastic ribbon then what width  do I need is is sikaflex the better option on a old van?. I’m also attempting replacing the roof vents at the same time. 
 

I’m not comfortable with £1000 plus repairs so would rather have a stab at it myself being young and naive I have read a few posts and it seems relatively easy if not time consuming. Would it be realistic to get one rail done over the course of a weekend inc removal, cleaning and re-beading? 
 

Last question is how do I remove the wallboard as currently the shower and toilet are both in the way.
 

Thanks for the advice so far.

Edited by Pembssurfer
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Ok update. Rail currently taped up and winter cover over the van. Dehumidifier has been on and locked in bathroom area with door and vent shuts with heater on and drawn out about 3 litres of moisture so far. 
 

In an effort to help the wall breath I have now punctured loads of holes in the wallboard areas with the highest readings (I will worry about tidying this up later. 
 

I have also removed an area of trim that was hiding water pipe work near the offside corner floor area below the worst affected part and have proceeded toCut a small section into the wallboard and plywood to reveal the insulation. As you can see in the photo the plywood skin was dry but you can just catch the corner vertical timber that is obviously stained from water. It shows 45% damp with the meter placed on it but crucially it looks as though no major rot has set in yet and is still relatively firm.  That said my plan is to now leave this dry out and hopefully with a 3” x 3” gap cut behind the trim panel that will be easily hidden when the trim is replaced and with the holes up top in the worst affected area I can dry most of the damp out without removing and cutting out the whole wall board.

 

Interestingly if you measure the area immediately above the worst effected area by a couple of inches it only measures 17% reading.

 

does this sound like a sensible plan?

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1 hour ago, Pembssurfer said:

 

 

Interestingly if you measure the area immediately above the worst effected area by a couple of inches it only measures 17% reading.

 

does this sound like a sensible plan?

 

 

 

Water tends to obey the law of gravity, it can track down the outer skin until it encounters wood, then spread sideways, both across to the inner skin and along the wall.

Spreading upwards by capillary action is much slower. By the sound of it you have caught it in time and are treating it correctly. 

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Well first job complete. Thanks to the advice on here I de used to have a stab at replacing one of my MPK roof vents after the workshop wanted close to £400. 2 and a half hours and much scraping of old sealant later job done. BaSic beige 400x400 MPK rooflight with flynet for £40 off eBay and W4 non-setting mastic. 
 

Providing Iv done this properly and it doesn’t leak the. Next stop kitchen roof vent and once the cans dried out inside then il tackle the rail early on October. If that goes well il look at resealing other rail and areas of concern. There’s life in the ol girl yet!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just come back from a long weekend in Brecon and with winter on the way from Wednesday I decided to have a crack at the middle roof vent replacement. Used a foam swell board with a concave shape upside down to spread my weight on the roof while I was up there. The only thing that made this one a pain, and I’m still not convinced it’s a great seal is the fact my roof skin is very flexing in the middle of the roofline with the W4 mastic strip having to very much conform to the bend in the roof. If I had my time again I would have lay a second layer strip on the side with the big dip jay to make sure but oh well, we will see.  Also the 4 clamps that pull the outer section into the inside of the ceiling were not able to be reused, instead I had to use 4 extra screws to bring the inside sandwich section into the outer section so it would fit flush. Anyway enough rambling  that’s almost £800 worth of work done in 2 afternoons (2 hours each) according to the workshop I was considering using they quoted 4 hours per vent.

 

Next stop will be to reseal side awning rails and front and rear joining strips.

 

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So as my front joining roof/front panel rail also needed doing I though I would try this first before the rail as it looked simpler and obviously a much smaller area. What a Shi** of a job, started at 8:30 this morning and only just finished now and I still have to replace the rail plastic insert and and some CT1 into a couple of screw holes and over the heads. Anyway pics below from before through the job to after,  slight issue was the fact my W4 tape was only JUST wide enough so I had to tap along with a rubber mallet when it was complete to make sure I got a right fitting and to see mastic press out of either side.

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