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TOPIC: Help! We're new here and we have damp!

Help! We're new here and we have damp! 1 month 3 weeks ago #440197

  • JudithJourneys
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Good morning all,

I am new here and am posting for advice, hopefully reassurance or, failing that a hand hold and a large glass of wine!

This weekend after a long search we bought our first caravan from a private seller. We are not new to touring as we previously had a motorhome which we sold in March having had a little boy at Christmas and sadly she just wasn't big enough anymore.

We didn't consider ourselves naive buyers as we were when we bought our motorhome and then spent a large amount making her roadworthy before tackling the internals!!

So for six months we searched and read up on what to look for until finally finding our perfect van this weekend. She is immaculate inside and out despite being 16yrs old, everything works. Checked as best we could for damp around windows etc and all looks marvellous, no signs of damp (although we didnt test with a damp meter). She towed home lovely and just feels perfect. A second home already.

However, on giving her a spruce up yesterday I have found damp around the toilet. I am gutted and tearful and feel so stupid! It's clearly coming in from the dodgy seal in the toilet cassette locker but the wall is spongy and I'd say rotten and as is about 2in sq of the floor immediately below the damp bit which itselfis about 2in wide x 4in long but probably goes behind the toilet too. I am so angry for not having spotted this particularly as it's where our motorhome had a damp problem and am dreading the cost of putting it right. It's taken the shine and excitement right off our new purchase.

Does this sound as horrendous and expensive situation as I fear? Is it fixable? We don't have a lot of DIY skill to do it ourselves and nor do we really have the time. We had hoped she'd last us a good 5 years but now I'm thinking we've wasted our 'holiday home fund'.

I hope to hear stories of hope but fear the worst.

Many thanks.
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Help! We're new here and we have damp! 1 month 3 weeks ago #440198

  • jamestaylor18
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First off, don't panic and don't be disheartened. We bought a van privately, had 12 months out of it, and then had a service which showed 80% damp to both rear corners. I was wet behind the ears when I bought ours, didn't check for damp and got stung. The rear corner has soft wall board. Took it for a quote and ended up paying just shy of 2k to get it fixed. It turned out it was in both rear corners and the frame was rotten along with a section of the floor.

I weighed up part exchange vs getting it fixed. Px value was 2k for the van, with no damp and private sale I could easily get 4-5k, so worth getting it done. Now its done I am more than happy with the repair and back in love with the van again.

If its behind the cassette and like you say from the cassette door seal, i doubt it will over 1k to have done professionally. They can put a join in the wall and replace the section of soggy wall board. You could try DIY if its a relatively easy place to access, but ours was not so was not an option. Just be aware, if the floor or frame is damaged, that bumps up the price. I think the tip is act now or pay later when things get worse.

The company i used said they had newer vans than mine with much worse damp than mine, which was reassuring, and mine was pretty bad!
James :)
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Help! We're new here and we have damp! 1 month 3 weeks ago #440202

  • otherclive
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Sorry to hear of your damp problem. Every caravan we have owned has been affected by damp to some extent or other. Have a professional damp test carried out over the affected area and the rest of the unit as often damp is starting but gives no visible signs.
The test will tell you if you are likely to have serious degradation of wall board or wooden structure. If you don't have that then having the toilet compartment seal replaced may be all that's required and the unit should start to dry out even in winter. You may have other near sources of leak such as lights, reflectors, low level awning strip, toilet flush tank inlet. Have everthing checked. If there's no structural damage and the floor doesn't fully regain its original stiffness then there are resin injections that may improve it. But first of all you have to stop water ingress.
I know it's horse and stable door stuff but even buying privately I would recommend a damp test before buying. I have always had a damp test done before trading in a caravan or buying privately. Most other things can be fixed by DIY but damp is the unknown as it often is not visible or smell able until too late. Good luck for a successful outcome.
Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDi SE CR 170ps DSG 4x4 carrying two Springers, Sprite Musketeer TD 2013, and Vango 300 Icarus tent too.
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Help! We're new here and we have damp! 1 month 3 weeks ago #440204

  • Parksy
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It's a long shot I know, but have you considered contacting the person who sold the caravan to you?
Was it advertised as being free from damp, and what method of payment did you use?
The vendor has no legal obligation but they might do the right thing and if you don't ask you won't get.
If all else fails there is a wealth of technical advice available on this website.
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Help! We're new here and we have damp! 1 month 3 weeks ago #440208

  • JudithJourneys
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Thank you for your replies. We have it booked for a service in two weeks but that seems forever to hold our breath waiting for further news. I could just cry.

We paid cash for it. I don't think I could face calling them but the other half might. It was sold as damp free.
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Help! We're new here and we have damp! 1 month 3 weeks ago #440212

  • audiorob
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It is possible for the vendor not to have known about the damp in the toilet area - usually the problem has been there before any visible signs. The only way to be able to declare a caravan free from damp is for them to have had a damp check (often included in a service) which would produce a pictorial report with % damp marked in many places where checked with a meter. Best bet might be to contact vendor now with a view to further negotiation depending on the outcome of your own damp test and service. Good luck!
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Help! We're new here and we have damp! 1 month 3 weeks ago #440214

  • Parksy
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If the caravan was advertised publicly as being free from damp then the vendor has misrepresented the goods, knowingly or unknowingly.
I'm sure that forum members who know more about the subject than I do will be able to advise you, but I'd have thought that if goods are not described accurately and they are not up to the standard that was stated on the advert there ought to be some way of negotiating some compensation or cancelling the sale.
Did you buy from eBay?
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Last Edit: 1 month 3 weeks ago by Parksy. Reason: Typo
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Help! We're new here and we have damp! 1 month 3 weeks ago #440216

  • Jaydug
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The caravan I bought in 2011 also had damp around the toilet. Mine also had four years worth of service reports where the damp test was ticked and marked OK. I wrote an account of my repairs on my blog which you can see at jondogoescaravanning.com/modifications-additions-to-my-rialto/
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Help! We're new here and we have damp! 1 month 3 weeks ago #440218

  • Parksy
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I've found some further information via Google which might be of some use to you Judith.
Although you have fewer rights to protect you when you buy privately as opposed to from a dealership, this doesn't mean that you have no rights at all.
Any sale between private individuals represents a contract, so a lot depends on the terms under which this contract was agreed.
Did you ask the vendor if the caravan had any damp before you paid for it?
If you did ask the question and were informed that the caravan had no damp did the vendor provide any evidence to back up his claim that the caravan was damp free, such as evidence of regular servicing or a recent damp test?
If the vendor asserted (or advertised) that the caravan that he was selling to you was damp free (or any other term to suggest that no damp was present) the contract between you was agreed on that basis.
Click Here to read advice from the Which consumer rights organisation about different types of misrepresentation and what solutions are available to you.
It's entirely possible that the vendor had no knowledge of this damp issue, so I'd suggest a polite and civil discussion to set out the problem initially.
If the vendor has, in your opinion, misrepresented the terms of your mutual contract either negligently or innocently you have a good basis for negotiation, with the final sanction of a county court claim for you to use as a last resort if necessary.
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Help! We're new here and we have damp! 1 month 3 weeks ago #440241

  • welshti
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You are not alone, we did the same 2 months ago and as others have mentioned, things are not visable with the eye but everything can be fixed if you have a useful other half or handy at DIY. We had the same leak from the toilet filler housing and door seals >>> topic here <<<

Now all finished


3.6mm plywood, battern, pva glue, vinyl covering for all walls, solvent free grab adhesive for plywood and fixall extreme silicone for sealing outside. cost me about £75 - £80 if you decide to repair it yourselfs.
Pembrokeshire, South Wales
Last Edit: 1 month 3 weeks ago by welshti.
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