One thing we see all the time in our line of work is rotten timber frames on Caravans and motorhomes. Sometimes the owners are completely unaware until they come in for a hail damage re-sheet, or it has deteriorated significantly. This can be a devastating blow to owners and can make repairs more costly and take longer due to the massive undertaking of rebuilding the timber frame.
Rot in the caravan frame can be caused by a leak in the roof either via the roof sealer or corner moulds, leaks in windows, leaks around poorly fitted satellite systems, solar, traffic lights, hatches and air-conditioners. Sometimes the leak can be occurring from new without the owner being aware of it at all. A few things to look out for are any markings on the internal ply that might suggest a leak however it can be tricky to detect at times.
Here at Caravan Perfection we recommend having your caravan/motorhome serviced or inspected every year. One key element of our Caravan service (which also includes brakes and bearings, checking of suspension and all traffic lights etc) is inspecting the roof sealer. As mentioned above sometimes the roof sealer can be faulty from new or it can break down and go flakey quickly allowing the water to get in so its important to make sure it is checked regularly for any signs of deterioration in the sealer.
Another tip would be to keep your caravan/motorhome covered when not in use. Unfortunately for most of us we don’t get as much time as we would like using our caravans and it sits idle for most of the year. Keeping it undercover will assist in protecting from leaks as it also protects the roof sealer a little bit from the harsh sun, decreasing the chance of it deteriorating as quickly. Sometimes it is not possible to have a carport or shed in which to house our caravans/ motorhomes but even just a standard caravan cover will set you back a few hundred dollars and may be a little bit of a pain to put on but it might just save your loved caravan/motorhome from being damaged by a leak.
Its not all bad news as the timber frame can be repaired and bought back to new, however, more awareness around roof sealers on your caravan is a good start to ensure no rotten timber frame problems in the future. Another tip to prevent this is to always make sure any accessories (like solar/satellite etc) are fitted correctly to ensure the least amount of penetration to the roof as possible.
Happy camping everyone. – Caravan Perfection