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How to deal with water damage in old Franklin Regent caravan?

Finding My Feet

How to deal with water damage in old Franklin Regent caravan?








Hi, we are first time renovators and have ourselves an old Franklin Regent Caravan. It’s only a cute little thing but due to spending a lot of time stationary in the elements, it’s had a bit of water damage inside, and what I thought would be a cosmetic upgrade has turned into a bit more than that! 

It looks like some water damage has made its way in, and I’ve removed some of the lining due to what I suspect is mould? Some of the wooden structure was also completely rotten and I’ve removed that too. I honestly didn’t want to be replacing the walls and the project is starting to feel a bit overwhelming! If anyone can offer me so tips, tricks, advise, product suggestions etc  I would be greatly appreciative! 

I am also going to replace the kitchen, and all the interior cupboard doors as they were all crumbling too, yikes! 

Making a Splash

Re: Help me renovate this old Caravan!

Been there. We had a caravan that was supposed to only need a replacement taillight. Wall on one side was completely rotted out requiring a rebuild of that wall. In the end it needed complete stripping and starting over.


I ended up selling the thing because I didn’t have the time to complete it.


However, if you do have the time I’d recommend doing it properly. If you’ve worked out that it’s only in one area then great, just replace the framing with like for like. Generally it’s 1x1 framing so roughly 25mmx25mm.


Because I’d stripped everything back I went with fatter boards 76mmx18mm and half lapped them. This made it far stronger than  what it was. I also just used Selleys No More Nails to stick the frame to the sides. Make sure you get the version that will handle all sorts of temperatures.


If the rotting is only limited to that one area then you only need to build up that one area. Then it’s just a matter of getting 3mm ply. Most caravan places can source you proper caravan ply. Just take a scrap piece you’ve pulled off and they can get you the pattern to match.


It is a fun project but it can get away on you real fast.


Also, remember that much of the rigidity comes from the shelves and cupboards.

Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: Help me renovate this old Caravan!

Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community @ourvanbetty. It's brilliant to have you join us, and many thanks for your question about renovating a caravan.


It's wonderful to see that @woodenwookie has already provided some helpful advice. That's a lovely caravan you have there. It's about the size I'd love to reno myself.

You might like to start by reading through this three-part guide: How to renovate a caravan. Also, check out these 10 caravan renovations for inspiration.


We have quite a few experienced members who have completed their own caravan renovations, such as @twocutekelpies. If you have any questions they can assist with, please feel free to let them know. For now, I'd concentrate on completing the repairs you've started. Repair the structural damage so you can begin the renovation as planned.
Please let me know if you have any questions.


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Having an Impact

Re: How to deal with water damage in old Franklin Regent caravan?

Hi there. 

I have a very similar Franklin to yours which was in far worse condition. As woodenwookie said, much of the rigidity comes from the shelves and cupboards, even more so with this model as there is no framing in the walls! It's just stryofoam with thin aluminium and ply cladding either side. My franklin reno is posted here. I still haven't finished it because of house moves etc, but she's solid again. I replaced the framing with meranti 18x30mm with 12x30mm to get 30x30 frame to add rigidity across the front and back as my frame was completely gone. 


You may not need to go as far as I did (and I'm hoping you don't) but check the bottom of your walls as that's where most 70s Franklins rot out and fall off the chassis.


Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.


When I got herWhen I got her         bottom of wall and door frame rottedbottom of wall and door frame rotted
 reconstructingreconstructing          During house moveDuring house move

Instagram @twocutekelpies

Re: Help me renovate this old Caravan!

Thank you, it’s funny because after closer inspection I feel like I need to replace all the walls! Looks like they are all loose and crumbly around the windows. Only problem is, I don’t really have the space (time and patience) to be taking off the whole wall completely and replacing it. I was hoping to “rip off the old boards, slap up some new ones” however, the beautiful gold trim I was hoping to keep has been put on so that the roof sits on top of it. I physically can’t remove it without taking off a wall or the roof. Is the only way to really replace all the walls, taking them off completely down to the frame? My husbands going to kill me eek! 

Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: How to deal with water damage in old Franklin Regent caravan?

Hi @ourvanbetty 


This is definitely a question for @twocutekelpies. I can understand your reluctance to pull walls out, especially if they look like they are still in good condition. I only worry about the internal structure and framework. I'm afraid the only way to find out is to remove the fittings and have a look. 




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Re: Help me renovate this old Caravan!

I'm a huge fan of the gold trim as well, they are H joiners made from soft metal.  Mine had been painted over and were quite mangled in a few places so I couldn't re-use. I've attempted to re-create them by painting the 3mm joiners, corners and capping from the wet panels area at Bunnings(link to mouldings), I've used plastic primer and gold paint. Hopefully it will stand up ok to use, so far so good. 


I definitely couldn't have done mine without help from hubby, so much of what had to be done required 2 of us for lifting etc. Getting the walls back on required our neighbours as well! 


We chose to "flatpack" as the easiest option and I'd seen it done before however since we did that, a fellow renovator, Matt, has taken a different approach that might help you, his thread on "Dorothy" is quite detailed here.  You can find my thread here

Good luck with whichever way you go, it will definitely be a challenge. 😊  

Instagram @twocutekelpies

Re: Help me renovate this old Caravan!








Wow that thread was so informative @twocutekelpies and I’ve taken many screenshots for future reference! I decided that because I really can’t deconstruct the walls etc, I’m going to remove the lining and see what I’m working with underneath. If it’s rotten it’s going and I’ll replace it. Thankfully all the upper cupboards are in great condition, not mould or rot or damaged so I’m going to keep them all in place and work around it. It’s a bit of patchwork and not a whole redo which I would have loved to do, but it will have to do for now. So far I have removed the lining from the door side and wow, it was pretty bad under there! I can see that nothing was properly sealed or protected and water must have seemed in from the exterior screws. Looks like one culprit might have been the exterior awning thing, as they were drilled directly into the foam and the had all rusted. The electrical around the light switch was also rusted and the wood running alongside the door frame was all soft and rotten at the top too. I decided to remove the foam because it was quite gross in places, and I’ll do some new insulation here. I will replace the wood trims, and most like do an insulation sandwich with some ply, insulation, lining, so that any future things that might need screwing on from the outside, will go directly into the wood instead of the insulation. Safe to say my muscles are quite sore from this exercise! My goal for today is to clean up and inspect the the opposite side! 



Re: Help me renovate this old Caravan!

Wow @ourvanbetty you have been busy. 


The wall strength comes from the compression of the aluminium/styrofoam/ply to form the sandwich panel, without the styrofoam and ply, there is no strength left in that wall. Before you go any further, please prop up the ceiling to prevent that wall buckling/collapsing and definitely don't do the same to the other side. You will need to add timber framing in there now to restore the strength in that wall. 


Can you see the condition of the timber down the bottom, under the door? I refer to that timber as the bottom rail, it holds the body onto the chassis. 



Instagram @twocutekelpies

Re: Help me renovate this old Caravan!

Thanks Shelley, the upper cupboards and wardrobe are still all intact, I’m not removing those, just kind of replacing around it. I’ve removed the ply from the opposite wall but I’m leaving the styrofoam as it’s in fairly good condition. The mould on the ply was so bad, I’m glad I decided to replace it. Before I move on to the next section I’m going to replace the timber frame I removed and I’m excited to add in a bit of additional support. Off to Bunnings today! 

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