How to Rebuild Travel Trailers

by Lynda Altman
Rebuilding an old travel trailer is less expensive than buying a new one.

Rebuilding an old travel trailer is less expensive than buying a new one.

Rebuilding a travel trailer is a time-consuming but rewarding project. From a cost perspective it is usually less expensive to rebuild than to replace the trailer. Rebuilding gives you the opportunity to upgrade countertops, cabinets and appliances.

Park the travel trailer in a space where you will work on it. Rebuilding a travel trailer can take months; the parking space should be a protected spot with access to electricity. Check for any leaks under the trailer.

Examine the interior of the travel trailer. Identify all places where water, insects and rodents have caused damage.

Work from the floor to the ceiling. Check the floor for soft spots. Remove all carpeting and tile; a floor scraper makes this job easier. If the cabinets are in the way, remove them. Strip the travel trailer to the sub-floor.

Replace all rotten and damaged subfloor with plywood. Cut out the damaged pieces with a reciprocating saw or a hammer and chisel. If you plan on using the travel trailer in the winter, remove the subfloor and add insulation.

Cut new wood to replace damaged flooring. Fasten the wood to the frame with wood screws.

Reinstall the cabinets unless you plan on purchasing new ones. You can spruce up old cabinets up by filling in dings, dents and scratches with wood putty and then painting the cabinets. Replace the cabinet hardware with designer hardware for an upscale remodel.

Measure the floor and purchase peel and stick tile. Mark a center line horizontally and vertically. The intersection of these lines is the starting point for the tile placement. Start at this point and work your way outward.

Check the ceiling for leaks. Replace any damaged ceiling panels with luan or fiberglass panels.

Check all of the exterior lights for cracks and damage. Replace any cracked or chipped lenses. If the light fixture is rusted, corroded or not working, replace the entire fixture.

Upgrade the interior by replacing curtains, mattresses and cushions. You can give the interior a designer feel by color coordinating the curtains and cushions.

Items you will need

  • Tape measure
  • Cordless drill
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Floor scraper
  • Plywood
  • Peel and stick tiles
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Wood screws
  • Broom
  • Vacuum
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Replacement lenses
  • Replacement lights
  • Replacement cushions
  • Replacement window treatments
  • Cabinet hardware


  • To calculate the correct amount of peel and stick tiles, measure the area's length and width. Multiply the two numbers to get the square footage. Add 10 percent to accommodate for errors and miscuts.


  • "Trailer Life's RV Repair & Maintenance Manual;" 4th Edition; Bob Livingston; 2002

About the Author

Lynda Altman started writing professionally in 2001, specializing in genealogy, home-schooling, gardening, animals and crafts. Her work has appeared in "Family Chronicle Magazine" and "Chihuahua Magazine." Altman holds a B.A. in marketing from Mercy College, a black belt in taekwondo, master gardener certification, a certificate in graphic arts and a certificate in genealogy.

Photo Credits