Hey everyone! We are a little behind in the posting process because we have been so busy between the camper renovation, preparing for the move, and work! My busy season for catering has officially snuck up on me, so I haven’t had a lot of time to help Judah recently. Luckily, he pitched in and wrote this post about how he replaced the water damaged walls in our fifth wheel camper.
Before purchasing our camper we knew we had quite a bit of water damage. It seemed only to be rotten on the slide outs and the rear of the camper where several window seals had failed. There are three slide outs… the wall behind the couch & dinette, the wall behind the entertainment center, fridge & oven, and the wall behind our bed, but luckily only certain areas needed replacing. After having my brother and a good friend help us haul the camper home, we started by taking out the couch, the sofa table behind it, all the window treatments and blinds, and everything else we could get out of there. Next we had to remove the wet insulation, lauan*, light fixtures, and most importantly fix the leaks so we would never have to do this again!
*Lauan is “Decorative plywood made from lauan trees” that is often found in campers, trailers and mobile homes.
I purchased self-leveling RV sealant for all of the seams and cracks on the slide outs, it comes in a tube similar to caulking. You apply it with a caulking gun in fairly warm weather. With the help of a ladder, I re-sealed all of the seams on all 3 of the slide outs from the exterior. Then we removed the light fixtures, any cabinets, and all of the windows that were in or near the wet areas. Our RV frame is aluminum so this was not affected by the water damage, which was a huge help for us. We removed all of the remaining insulation and lauan and then realized the fiberglass siding of the camper was only attached to the camper with glue and lauan. Once the lauan was removed the fiberglass siding was very loose, (just imagine flapping in the wind), it was not stable and it need to be secured to the RV frame. So my father and I took OSB plywood (Oriented Strand Board) and created a design cutout to attach our siding to the frame again. This consisted of taking a measurement between each of the studs on the slide out wall. We then cut 1/2″ plywood 1″ shorter than the width between the studs, screwed small strips of plywood to the larger piece of plywood to make a U shaped form. We then put construction adhesive on the back of the plywood and pressed it against the fiberglass, once the plywood was in place we screwed the plywood to the aluminum studs. This would allow us to maintain pressure between the plywood and the backside of the exterior fiberglass sheeting of the RV so the construction adhesive would cure. We cut many three sided plywood panels to place between each stud. Glued and screwed each panel and left it to sit for 12-24 hours. Once the construction adhesive had cured and had bonded to the fiberglass we loosened the screws and essentially pulled the flapping (now rigid) fiberglass wall back to its original position and once again screwed the plywood to each stud. This would completely fix our delaminated fiberglass RV wall. Now the wall is firm and solid.
I applied spray adhesive out of an aerosol can on all of the existing lauan and newly constructed OSB plywood wall panels. Immediately I split R-19 insulation in half and stuck it in between each stud on the wall and the roof. After insulating was complete I replaced the interior lauan with 1/4″ plywood, a much better and more rigid product than the flimsy lauan. We then mounted the plywood with sheetmetal screws and braid nails. We cut the plywood around each of the windows to ensure a close and proper fit. After the plywood was installed we reinstalled the windows with new glazing and silicone. The last item to complete before paint was using sheet rock mud to rill in the space between the plywood. That’s it folks!
What’s next? It’s time to paint! We are painting basically everything; walls, ceiling, cabinets, drawers, window frames, and even the fridge.
If you are doing a similar project and have questions about our process, let us know! Don’t forget to Follow Down Emory Lane so you never miss a post. Follow Us On Blog Lovin’