WHEN REMOVING THE defunct space heater from our Elddis project caravan, I noticed that the rooflight was leaking because the mastic had dried out. Although I was dripped on, it was lucky, because moisture entering a van of this age can lead to more problems later on with the framework and flooring inside.

The unit itself had seen better days, so I set about removing it. I contacted Dometic and ordered a new Mini Heki Plus rooflight to replace the original. At £75, the new unit is not cheap, but its design means you’ll benefit from better ventilation and natural light. Thanks to V&G Caravans in Whittlesey (tel 01733 350 580)

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I covered the rooflight opening with a plastic bag stuck down with tape, which kept the worst of the elements out until the new rooflight arrived.

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The opening was only 360mm x 360mm but the new rooflight was 400mm x 400mm. I cut a cardboard template to the new size and used it to mark the position where the ceiling would be cut.

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The replacement Mini Heki Plus‚ which came with all fitting instructions and parts‚ comprised the outer and inner frames as well as a night blind and flyscreen.

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With the square marked out, I attached masking tape to prevent damaging the paintwork. I drilled two 3/8in holes for the jigsaw blade, and after enlarging the hole, used a powerfile to ease the frame into place .

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Enlarging the hole meant cutting through two of the original framing timbers. I removed enough insulation to allow me to replace them, which would prevent the rooflight from compressing the roof when screwing it in.

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After removing the masking tape, I thoroughly cleaned the area around the enlarged hole with turpentine substitute before running non-setting bedding mastic around the underside of the outer frame.

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I placed the outer frame through the hole and put the inner frame in place, securing it with the 12 screws included. I made sure to tighten them in a diametrically opposite manner to ensure an even pressure.

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The final part of the assembly was to fit the barbed clips to the night blind and flyscreen frame. Following that, I pressed it onto the inner frame to complete the installation. Finally I wiped the surplus mastic off the roof.

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The unit doesn’t just refresh the van’s interior. Its blinds and flyscreen are useful, too.

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