What's the process for repairing severe damp in a motorhome roof?

Jul 27, 2013
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This is not exactly a hypothetical question but at this stage I don't want to give too much detail online.:cautious:
I've seen this quoted:
Reading (31 % and above) structural damage is occurring, deterioration inevitable. a full stripdown of the affected area is required.
I've quoted that figure as it is relevant and the motorhome would need to be returned to the converter.
I'm not too sure what a "full stripdown entails". Is it simply a question of undoing some bolts and removing a panel or two or is such a roof repair more involved?

The damp is now visually evident in the form of a small patch of light blue staining and the start of rippling in the ceiling. I don't know why the staining should be blue, I assume it's something they use in the manufacture.
The point of water ingress is through a joint in the roof and the staining is immediately underneath this area.
 

pappajohn

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The roof exterior panel is one piece so the whole roof needs to come off.
The outer skin is bonded to the foam core, which in turn is bonded to the inner ceiling board.

The outer roof skin is glued to the walls via a wooden framework, which may also be water damaged.
I doubt very much a major repair job would be worth it and a whoe new roof would be a far easier and cheaper option.

Not a DIY job thats for sure and as for expense......it could, and probably will, run into many thousands of pounds.

All the above depends on the exact extent of the water ingress and severity of the damp.
 
Feb 16, 2013
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If it's a proper joint in the roof , can't see the whole roof having to come off, can't you just re seal the joint , how old is the mh , is it under any warranty , if so I'd leave it to them if not it would be worth getting a ceiling board down and having a look cause if you are going to have it repaired it will have to come off anyway, or if it's really old just seal the roof and leave it as it is.
 

pappajohn

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If it's a proper joint in the roof , can't see the whole roof having to come off, can't you just re seal the joint , how old is the mh , is it under any warranty , if so I'd leave it to them if not it would be worth getting a ceiling board down and having a look cause if you are going to have it repaired it will have to come off anyway, or if it's really old just seal the roof and leave it as it is.
One piece roof skin or not, the roof panel is still bonded to the foam core and wooden frame.

If it wasnt, the roof skin would vibrate when travelling and would have little strength.
 
OP
Mack100
Jul 27, 2013
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Thanks for the replies.
The motorhome is 11 months old so still under warranty. The highest level of damp measured is 55%.
 
Feb 16, 2013
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No question then let them get it sorted, or even go for a new one
 

Sidney

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11 months old - with a reading of 55% it's been leaking since it was built!
 
OP
Mack100
Jul 27, 2013
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11 months old - with a reading of 55% it's been leaking since it was built!
You're absolutely right!

No question then let them get it sorted, or even go for a new one
That's the nub of the matter and reason I asked the question about what needs to be done.
Do I really want a motorhome that's essentially been de-constructed and then re-constructed? I suppose you could argue what a fantastic "new" motorhome that would be then, but we don't really expect to buy something like this new and be happy with it being virtually taken apart to make it "proper" during it's first year.
I'd love it be replaced by a new one but have I any real grounds for expecting this?

I don't have an issue with the brand, I still like it and my relationship with the converter and dealer is still good, however it's taken over my life these past few months.
 

TheBig1

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Nov 27, 2011
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many many years! since I was a kid
a 55% reading isnt damp, its wet!

you can get a high reading if the water has just started to get through, especially after heavy rain.

its likely repairable, but will need the ceiling boards stripped to dry the core and then replace after curing the leak. i know of a few vans have had repeated leaks from roof seams repaired. so long as its done quickly and properly it should all work out ok

if its been leaking from new, it will need timber and insulation replacing and a bigger job
 

Terry

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IF you have both the dealer and manufacturer onside then that's a good point --Try asking about a replacement and see what is said,before going into name and shame/legal,rejection mode:)
I personally would not accept a repair if it was avoidable but it may be your only course of action,unless you go down a long winded legal route to reject the van --without knowing the make of van it's hard to second guess what can be done but I imagine complete roof off dried out and a new one on:eek:Then again I also envisage damp going down the sides and all sorts of problems stored up for the future -damp into electrics,things shorting out /not working the list is endless--I bought a known to me damp van and ended up ripping everything out after fitting a new roof on it -the wet (not damp:))got into everything --ask yourself will the dealer or maker simply strip out the roof or keep going until all the damp is gone?IF POSSIBLE see the reaction when you ask to reject the van;)
terry
 
Feb 16, 2013
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Must be terrible to be in this position, as many more on here have been, you have spent a considerable amount of money on something that you can't use and will never be like you wanted, if it was me I'd be gutted, and really would be wanting a new one like I had paid for, feel for you mate but can't suggest how to go about it I'm afraid , if you go to law and lose you are further in debt for something that's is no fault of yours , maybe the petrol and match idea ain't a bad one:(
 
Nov 18, 2011
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55% hand the manufacturer a box of marches and a gallon of petrol and don't let the warranty run out it's probably to damp to burn
bill
 
OP
Mack100
Jul 27, 2013
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Thanks for the replies people.
I shan't be naming and shaming because I have no cause to and it would be counter-productive. As far as legal costs go I've discovered that we have legal costs up to £50,000 provided by our home insurers but I haven't yet instructed them, just had a conversation.
In a nutshell what I really want is a new replacement, as I said, I still have confidence in the manufacturer. If I ask the dealer for this myself there is a high probability that I will be ignored, hoping I'll get tired and go away although a softly softly approach may reap benefits with dealer and converter not getting adverse publicity.

On the other hand a guns blazing approach with a solicitors letter to kick off with may be the way to go.
 

jhorsf

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SWIFT things must be done as its 11months old get things in writing and recorded delivery do not rely on talking to anyone you need it in writing
 
OP
Mack100
Jul 27, 2013
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SWIFT things must be done as its 11months old get things in writing and recorded delivery do not rely on talking to anyone you need it in writing
All correspondence has been sent special delivery at £6.40 a pop!
 

tambo

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Problem with a leak is that it spreads like cancer even with a replaced roof there will have been water in the side walls etc

On an older van it kind of goes with the territory few vans never have a leak but 55% reading is soaking my old 94 euro mobil had warped side walls etc from previous leaks yet only had 34% reading

It was an 8 grand van so not that big a deal but at 11 months old yours is obviously worth an awful lot more than that but really the only way to fully put right is to remove every part with a trace of water which they probably won't do and would you ever really trust that they had? ......i fixed a leaking skylight on mine when I bought it and 10 months later im still paranoid when it rains ......if it's not been caused by anything you've done and been leaking from new then they've sold faulty goods and should be forced to replace it they can then repair that one and sell as a repaired van


I know you don't want to divulge the manufacturer but can you at least tell if this is a British make or a European one?

I'd never buy a British made van again continentals are so much better built
 
OP
Mack100
Jul 27, 2013
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It's a UK built motorhome. Looking through the web I came across someone who bought a new Dethleffs and had trouble literally within hours but I take your point completely.
 
Aug 14, 2009
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Jan.2014
Greetings,

Can I point out the 'obvious'.
Water does not travel uphill. All the water that has entered the 'van from the roof will travel downwards. That may, or may not be apparent, visible or noticeable right now but there is no way of knowing that, in the future, it will not show itself.

I would hate for you to accept the repair with all the turmoil that such an event entails and then discover, a short time later, that remedial work has to be undertaken on the sides as well.
Notwithstanding that you have not engaged a legal advisor via your Home Insurance, I would do so and I would have him (or her) on board BEFORE you reject the 'van.
In that way, the dealer (for it is THEY who are the true 'other side, and NOT the manufacturer) will know that you mean business rather than you saying it and them later receiving the legal letter.
 
Nov 30, 2009
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Greetings,

Can I point out the 'obvious'.
Water does not travel uphill. All the water that has entered the 'van from the roof will travel downwards. .
Several years ago we had a caravan. We noticed a spongy damp patch in a top locker. I'm 5'11" btw.
Anyway long story short we took it back to the dealer, who repaired it under warranty. The place where the water had got in was the bottom corner of the door. Yes it had traveled upwards to the top of the door in the back of the cupboard. Manifesting itself into a large soggy patch. How ? No idea. But they said it was with driving it, well towing it .
 
Aug 27, 2009
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Some years ago I had a new Konleaky that was saturated within a few months of purchase. I was more naive then and accepted a roof off repair at their factory. Was ok for a short while before I needed an umbrella again while sitting inside the van, it continued until I sold the van. I said then never again.
Some years later, with different attitude I had a new camper replaced when it was just six months old, not through damp. The process took a while possibly because I spent too much time breaking the main dealer down. In my case I then found the uk commercial director and put my case to him in a firm but fair and just way. If you have a good case like you obviously have then right is on your side so dont deviate from the facts and the truth. They cant argue with either. A wet van after just 11 mouths is appalling and in my mind should be replaced...good luck whatever you decide.
 
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magicsurfbus

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If it's not fit for purpose or as described I'm pretty certain you could return it for a refund within the warranty period and buy another from elsewhere with the money.

It's a little-known fact that you can make a warranty type claim outside the warranty period if the item could reasonably be expected not to develop a fault so soon. We had a leaking loo cistern repaired that way by B&Q, who originally fitted it with a three year warranty then gave everyone else a five year warranty shortly afterwards.

We've had our MH roof repaired for water ingress three times in ten years - once early on under warranty, once about a year later under extended warranty, and once fairly recently for a lesser problem which may have been down to a duff satellite dish installation, or age, or both. In a decade of ownership we've spent only £100 of our own money on damp repairs so we consider ourselves fortunate.

As long as you move promptly and log everything you have plenty of options, but, like you say, it becomes a bit of a distraction.

And don't forget the two magic words that make stubborn sellers jump - "Trading Standards"
 
Aug 14, 2009
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Jan.2014
Several years ago we had a caravan. We noticed a spongy damp patch in a top locker. I'm 5'11" btw.
Anyway long story short we took it back to the dealer, who repaired it under warranty. The place where the water had got in was the bottom corner of the door. Yes it had traveled upwards to the top of the door in the back of the cupboard. Manifesting itself into a large soggy patch. How ? No idea. But they said it was with driving it, well towing it .
Hi Ralph and Bev,

Yes you are right of course. Water can travel uphill if there are exterior forces on it (Just exactly HOW FAST!!! were you towing!!!)
But the point I was making is that unless the OP was extremely lucky and forced the water out of the roof as he was driving the 'van in the last eleven months, the water that was in his roof will be deposited somewhere in the side walls to come back and bite him in the bum on some occasion in the future.vth
 
OP
Mack100
Jul 27, 2013
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I've taken on board all that's been written here and I'm grateful for the various views and technical information.
The petrol can and matches solution is not viable for the motorhome but I'll keep it in mind to use on myself in the dealership foyer if things don't go my way:heartbreak:(joke).

When I get it back from the Fiat garage.....yep, the starter motors gone phut! I'll present it to the dealers people who will conduct a damp test and then I'll take it back. I will then present them with a formal letter of rejection and inform the converter.
All this alongside a failed Omnistep, broken flyscreen on delivery, failed heater, failed hab lighting, failed reversing camera and a washroom door on repeated rejections ( on our 3rd one now) we've had a 1st year of motorhoming to remember (now where did I put that tent:banghead:).
 
Feb 16, 2013
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I've taken on board all that's been written here and I'm grateful for the various views and technical information.
The petrol can and matches solution is not viable for the motorhome but I'll keep it in mind to use on myself in the dealership foyer if things don't go my way:heartbreak:(joke).

When I get it back from the Fiat garage.....yep, the starter motors gone phut! I'll present it to the dealers people who will conduct a damp test and then I'll take it back. I will then present them with a formal letter of rejection and inform the converter.
All this alongside a failed Omnistep, broken flyscreen on delivery, failed heater, failed hab lighting, failed reversing camera and a washroom door on repeated rejections ( on our 3rd one now) we've had a 1st year of motorhoming to remember (now where did I put that tent:banghead:).
You would wonder how these people can keep making these motorhomes without being locked up, what else is made with so many failures.:(
 

tambo

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Sounds like an absolute nightmare :( and not a good introduction to motor homing

I think I'd have been arrested by now
 

maz

Jan 26, 2011
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When I get it back from the Fiat garage.....yep, the starter motors gone phut! I'll present it to the dealers people who will conduct a damp test and then I'll take it back. I will then present them with a formal letter of rejection and inform the converter.
All this alongside a failed Omnistep, broken flyscreen on delivery, failed heater, failed hab lighting, failed reversing camera and a washroom door on repeated rejections ( on our 3rd one now) we've had a 1st year of motorhoming to remember (now where did I put that tent:banghead:).
What a terrible start to motorhoming for you! :Eeek: I had a few problems when I got my van (German, incidentally) but nothing compared to what you've been going through. Mostly to do with the rubbish connectors on the water system that eventually had to be changed but at least there was no water coming in from outside!

You must be a saint to 'not have an issue with the brand' after all that. Or with a dealer where there's a 'high probability that you will be ignored'. Good luck in getting it all resolved. With damp readings that high I would definitely be insisting on a replacement van - or your money back (in full) so that you can go for something else.
 
OP
Mack100
Jul 27, 2013
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Yes Maz, I am indeed imbued with saintliness as my wife and family will attest to.
However, after next week the gloves come off and Mr. Saintly becomes Mr. SlightlyNasty.
I intend to see this through to a satisfactory outcome.
 
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