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    Obsessing About Damp!

    Following the writing-off of my Elddis recently due to a serious leak I am now getting obsessed about damp levels in caravans!

    This morning I rather cheekily went back to Highbridge Caravans, asked if I could borrow their damp meter and checked the Bailey Ranger I'm buying from them. There has been some very heavy rainfall here for the past few days and I needed to reassure myself the Bailey wasn't going to do an 'Ethel' on me and develop a terminal leak!

    Phew! She was bone dry - except for a tiny patch near the offside wheel arch, just above the water pipes. Ah ha! I hear you say, it's picking up the water from the pipes, but the sign on the window saying 'The water system has been drained' leads me to believe the pipes should be dry. There is only a tiny area that threw the damp meter into overdrive; red light flashing, alarm sounding, the works. Strangely the reading on the floor under the pipes is completely dry.

    When I took the meter back to the office I was told I'd have to wait for the salesman I dealt with last week to come back from his hols and speak to him about my concerns.

    I have been amazed to learn, since the 'Ethel incident', about the number of caravans that seem to have problems with damp and water ingress. - Some with caravans much younger than mine! I feel as though I shan't dare go on holiday without a trusty bottle of bathroom sealant and/or a tarpaulin!

    The only time I've ever got wet when camping was when I used to use a Caranex on the back of my estate car. The Caranex is a single skin nylon annexe, with no liner, so when it rains hard you get very wet! You sort of expect it with that level of equipment but I'd be pretty miffed if I had water trickling onto my bed in a unit I'd spent thousands on, and yes, some unfortunate folks have undergone this horror story, in a caravan three years old or less. Aaaaaaargh!

    Below is a link to a video published by the insurers Caravan Guard which I found very useful and interesting, about damp in caravans.

    https://www.caravanguard.co.uk/news/...5&activityID=3
    Cynthia.

    #2
    We had a Safari caravan in the 1980's. It was ten years old when we bought it so didn't come with any warranty. I awoke one morning when a drip landed on my face. I looked up and saw a gob of chewing gum some toe rag had stuck behind the pelmet above my bed. I pinged it off and thought that's funny, it's more like a mushroom than chewing gum. We were with a club, camping in a forest and one member was a naturist. Or should that be 'naturalist?'. He knew about plants and trees and birds, that sort of thing. I asked him what this mysterious gob was - mushroom or chewing gum? It was mushroom so we took the van back to the dealer. The end result was that it had a complete new front frame, going down the sides to the windows. We had to pay a bit towards it but the dealer took the brunt of the considerable cost and we got a lovely rebuilt caravan out of it. That was Pearman Briggs of Gloucester and I am pleased to see they are still trading.
    Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding. Proverbs 3

    Comment


      #3
      Cynthia, caravans (well most makes of caravan) and damp seem to go together - a bit like "horse and carriage", the same applies to coachbuilt motorcaravans.

      If you watch a caravan being built you will see they have a mass of joints - this is a video of building a Swift in 2008 so 10 years younger than your van.

      https://youtu.be/6uZU7bHp1kw


      The exception is when the van or body is made of Fibreglass - especially when it is moulded fibreglass. Someone will correct me, but in my limited knowledge there were only 2 volume manufacturers of Fibreglass caravans - Romahome (sadly out of production) and the Polish Freedoms (still manufactured) https://freedomcaravans.com/

      Jon

      Comment


        #4
        Those Swift guys are slow. Here's GlobeCar converting a panel van to camper in 6 mins 23 seconds:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhzJNYaLiBg

        And this Bailey video shows why there is no problem if water gets in - there is no wood in the construction. It's very impressive.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_x8bDuOVO0
        Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding. Proverbs 3

        Comment


          #5
          I don't know of any caravan owner who hasn't suffered water ingress/damp problems, including ourselves. Even our beloved Herbert leaked eventually, though thankfully, was just a case of resealing the window frames so an easy job and we caught it before any lasting damage was done.
          Better a rainy day on the hill than a sunny day in the office!

          Comment


            #6
            My caravan has sprung several leaks, I'm now almost an expert on sorting them out. I've actually lost count of the times my little bucket has sprung leaks. The darling thing.

            Duct tape or gorilla tape, sealant, and strangely, blu tack are always with me in the caravan! I always used to take a tarp as well! it came in handy on a few occasions!

            CyberCynth If the place above the water pipes has previously been wet (for example, a spill when draining the system) then a good damp meter will pick it up, even if it looks dry. I don't think you have anything to worry about with your new purchase. A damp meter at this time of the year (with condensation collecting up in corners/underneath sinks, etc., and the general dampness of the air at this time of year) will often give out a false reading. Worry not.
            Last edited by jayjay; 23-01-2018, 10:28.

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks guys, Jon, kernowjon while the Freedoms don't get the problems with water ingress common to many conventionally built caravans, apparently they have their own set of problems, usually with the roof lining, due to condensation. I don't know whether the Freedom has insufficient air vents, which would help prevent this? But it seems you pays yer money and you takes yer choice! I wonder why it is the Freedoms don't tend to hold their value quite so well as they get older? Is it poor build quality in general?

              Andrew gasgas , I think the video probably refers to more modern 'vans than mine! (Mine is a 1997 model) Thanks for posting though. Interesting to watch the construction process.

              I suppose I must have just been very lucky in the past that I have never had a problem with damp or water ingress in any of my caravans.

              A local carpenter has just visited, to measure up and quote for a timber-framed car port. He was very thorough and spent a lot of time weighing up the different options, but I have had to abandon that idea as my driveway is just too narrow, and because my property is a bungalow there is insufficient height at the front end to make this a viable option.

              Still, as emmerson pointed out, caravans are supposed to be 'creatures of the outdoors' and as such, shouldn't need to be covered. And as my caravanning neighbour pointed out, if a caravan is dry-stored and static for any length of time, as soon as it's taken out and bounced about on Britain's lovely bumpy roads, any worn, old or brittle sealant is likely to crack Or the caravan joints shift slightly, leaving the caravan vulnerable to water ingress.

              Well, fingers crossed the Bailey will prove to be water tight. However the 'Ethel incident' has taught me I must keep a very close eye out for damp in future. in order to catch any problems before too much damage is caused. Makes mental note: add damp meter to shopping list....

              jayjay only just seen your post - thanks for your thoughts my lovely!

              Cynthia.
              Last edited by CyberCynth; 23-01-2018, 11:00. Reason: Edit following a further post

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by jayjay View Post

                CyberCynth If the place above the water pipes has previously been wet (for example, a spill when draining the system) then a good damp meter will pick it up, even if it looks dry. I don't think you have anything to worry about with your new purchase. A damp meter at this time of the year (with condensation collecting up in corners/underneath sinks, etc., and the general dampness of the air at this time of year) will often give out a false reading. Worry not.
                Also it is possible that even after a drain down, sections of piping could still contain water.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I don't get houses surveyed when I buy them, having seen what happened to my brother: Survey paid for, nothing to report so he bought the place. Then extensive dry rot was found when he fell through the floor, and the surveyor denied any responsibility. So why pay them then? I bought this huge sea front hotel on the Isle of Man and bought a damp meter to poke about the loft with. I climbed up into the loft and when I saw the size of the timbers I just put it back in my pocket. They were enormous - it was a Victorian hotel. Even if they were 3/4 rotten they would still have been strong enough. I put the damp meter probes on my dry palm, and guess what? It showed a dangerous level of damp. No wonder my bones ache!
                  Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding. Proverbs 3

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I visited the Caravan Centre at Blaenavon this morning to see when they want my van in. They were inspecting a 1998 Elddis Whirlwind which had just come in as an insurance write off because of a hole in the side panel. It was actually less damage than my Royale suffered last year, and I could not understand why it was being scrapped, as the van was beautiful. Obviously someone had loved and cherished this van; there wasn't a mark on the upholstery, the shower was like new, and I would quite happily gone off on holiday in it.
                    Then the experts pointed out its problems. Behind almost every interior panel it wasn't just damp, it was wet! The floor was spongy and the ceiling was beginning to sag in the bathroom. It was unbelievable. Apparently the owner was utterly shocked when the loss adjuster wrote it off.
                    The lads in the workshop will turn their hand to almost anything, but even they agreed that it was only fit for parts. I'd have been heart-broken if it was mine!
                    The Caravan Centre workshop can be a revelation at times, with the modern/newish vans in there suffering from rotten woodwork.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      emmerson That's a sad tale about the Whirlwind in the Caravan Centre. Poor owner, he must have been absolutely gutted when all that damp was discovered. Surely it hadn't all got in via the hole in the side panel? That's a scary story, as that Elddis is a year younger than the Bailey I'm buying from Highbridge! I'm glad I went round it with the damp meter yesterday.

                      So, with a car port not possible it looks as though I will have to trust that the Bailey won't suddenly spring any leaks. Perhaps once I've got it home I'll get my mobile service engineer to come and plaster it with fresh sealant around every joint!
                      Cynthia

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by CyberCynth View Post
                        emmerson

                        So, with a car port not possible it looks as though I will have to trust that the Bailey won't suddenly spring any leaks. Perhaps once I've got it home I'll get my mobile service engineer to come and plaster it with fresh sealant around every joint!
                        Cynthia
                        I don't think that's possible without taking out all the old sealant first, then replacing with new sealant, Cynthia. If you want to do a 'proper' job. The general consensus is to leave it alone if it's not leaking. Of course, if you, at some future point, found a bit of sealant that had shrunk, due to weathering, etc., then putting new sealant at that spot would make sense. I did that when a window seal started leaking, and you could clearly see where the sealant had shrunk away from the rubber seal. It's been fine since.Touch wood. Your mobile engineer will probably tell you the same thing!

                        Shame a car port won't work. They do keep the worst of the weather off over the winter. Same here with that one, not possible as not enough room at the side of my bungalow.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by CyberCynth View Post
                          emmerson That's a sad tale about the Whirlwind in the Caravan Centre. Poor owner, he must have been absolutely gutted when all that damp was discovered. Surely it hadn't all got in via the hole in the side panel? That's a scary story, as that Elddis is a year younger than the Bailey I'm buying from Highbridge! I'm glad I went round it with the damp meter yesterday.

                          So, with a car port not possible it looks as though I will have to trust that the Bailey won't suddenly spring any leaks. Perhaps once I've got it home I'll get my mobile service engineer to come and plaster it with fresh sealant around every joint!
                          Cynthia
                          No Cynthia, the damp was nothing to do with the hole. It was all through the van.Don't worry about the fact that it was an Elddis; their workshop probably has had every make under the sun in for damp at some time!
                          Oh, and this fierce rain we're having here at the moment has even found it's way into the windscreen of Anne's Guinevere this morning!
                          Is nothing sacred? She will be livid when she finds out!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            No, I'm not worried about the Whirlwind being the same make as mine as, having now exchanged it for a Bailey it's no longer an issue.

                            I hope Guinevere's leak can soon be sorted! So, that's you two grounded for now, with the Royale also awaiting repairs.
                            Cynthia.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by CyberCynth View Post
                              No, I'm not worried about the Whirlwind being the same make as mine as, having now exchanged it for a Bailey it's no longer an issue.

                              I hope Guinevere's leak can soon be sorted! So, that's you two grounded for now, with the Royale also awaiting repairs.
                              Cynthia.
                              Cynthia, I had forgotten that you'd changed! Senility or senior moment? Guinevere's leak isn't serious, so it won't stop our travels. In fact, as the weather is so bad that I can't do anything outside, I'm sat here planning our Winter tour, starting Feb 20th at Stratford and ending at the Kingsbury meet, taking in Wrightington, Penrith , Pickering, Retford and Quorn in between. When we get back from Kingsbury, it'll be time to start packing the caravan for France!

                              Comment

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