Gone Outdoors

How to Remodel a Layton Camper

by Marv Balousek

Layton campers have been manufactured by the Skyline Corporation of Elkhart, Indiana, since 1959. The long history of manufacturing Layton campers means there is an abundance of used campers that can be remodeled. Layton campers usually come in compact sizes and early models had rounded ends. Today, Skyline Corporation has 25 manufacturing plants in 12 states that produce several brands of travel, fifth-wheel and park model camper trailers.

Inspection and Repair

Inspect the roof and repair leaks if needed. A leaky roof can allow rain water to get inside the travel trailer and cause serious damage. The roofs of older campers often develop leaks along the seams. These often can be repaired with peel and stick aluminum or vinyl patches with adhesive backing to adhere them into place.

Inspect and replace appliances and utility lines if needed. New trailer appliances can be expensive. A camping refrigerator, however, can be replaced by an inexpensive small home refrigerator, although it will not run on battery or gas power. Mount the refrigerator in the same space as the old one and wire it to the trailer's AC electrical system. If the camper's furnace cannot be repaired, consider using a small portable electric heater instead. AC system electrical lines, circuit breakers, faucets and water lines can be replaced with equipment for homes at a lower cost than using original trailer equipment. Plastic water lines can be used to replace older copper lines. A broken toilet, however, must be replaced with a camping toilet, which is more expensive than house toilets. Turn off the water, remove the bolts and raise the toilet from its seal. Seal the new toilet and lower it into place before connecting the bolts.

Inspect the interior wall paneling and replace if necessary. If a camper has been heavily used, the paneling can become bowed, marked or worn. If this is the case, all of the interior paneling should be replaced with standard paneling designed for homes. To remove the old paneling, pry it away from the studs and remove nails. Then cut new paneling, which usually comes in 4-foot by 8-foot sheets, to size and glue or nail it to the wall studs. It is easier to replace all of the paneling than to try to match a single piece of new paneling. When the old paneling has been removed, inspect the studs for water damage and replace them as needed.

Inspect and replace carpeting or vinyl flooring. If the carpeting or vinyl flooring is damaged, pull it off the floor and replace with new carpeting or vinyl. The carpeted area usually is small in Layton campers, so a large carpet remnant often is enough for the entire trailer. Attach the carpeting to the floor with carpet tacks or tape. Damaged vinyl flooring can be replaced by adhesive-backed tile squares that are simply pressed into place.

Inspect and seal windows and replace window treatments. Seal windows with a standard house caulking gun or glue weather stripping around the windows. Broken glass can be repaired by an auto glass shop. Replace the camper's window treatments, usually day-night shades or curtains, if needed.

Inspect the dinette and cabinets and repair or replace them if necessary. Most older Layton trailers came equipped with dinette booths. If a dinette is damaged beyond repair, it can be removed completely and replaced with a small table and chairs. Cabinet doors can be replaced instead of removing entire cabinets.

Inspect and replace worn cushions and mattresses if necessary. Standard house chair and couch cushions will work. Trailer mattresses, however, often are smaller than standard home mattresses and may have a custom shape, so trailer replacement mattresses may be needed.

Replace the tires and inspect the undercarriage. The tires always should be replaced when remodeling a camper. Even if they look fine, tires could have been damaged by sun exposure. Make sure no utility lines or other equipment is loose or hanging too low under the trailer.

Refinish the trailer exterior. Sand rusted areas and fill with plastic body putty. Then apply auto spray paint, if the trailer has a painted finish. If the camper has an aluminum finish, clean the aluminum and carefully sand any rust spots before applying a clear protective coating.

Items you will need
  • Peel and strip vinyl or aluminum roof patches
  • Pry bar
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Paneling boards
  • Carpeting
  • Carpet knife
  • Carpet tacks or tape
  • Tires

Tip

  • Measure wall paneling and carpeting carefully before cutting to achieve a tight fit.

Warning

  • Wear goggles when using a hammer or saw and wear a breathing mask when painting, working with body putty or exterior coatings.

About the Author

Marv Balousek got his first newspaper writing job in 1976 and worked more than 30 years as a reporter covering business and other beats for the "Wisconsin State Journal" and other newspapers. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Illinois.

Photo Credits

  • rocky mountains image by Melissa Schalke from Fotolia.com