Water damage in a camper should be repaired to prevent wood rot. Even if the water damage has already progressed to wood rot, the area can still be repaired. Carpet and linoleum flooring can be pulled up and replaced if they have been damaged by water. Wood walls on the other hand are harder to replace. A wall repair is easier and cheaper than a wall replacement.
Find the source of the water leak and repair it before repairing the water damage. Otherwise you will repair the water damage, only to have the water damage occur again the next time it rains. If the water damage was caused by plumbing problems, repair them. Common sites for water leaks are the windows, the roof and the exterior shell (walls). Redo the window caulking if needed. Check the roof and exterior walls for water leaks. Roof and exterior wall leaks are best repaired by professionals. You can put a quick stop to leaks by applying a waterproof tape called Eternabond, which is found at most RV supply stores. Eternabond provides an instant waterproof barrier and can even be applied during wet conditions. Be aware that Eternabond tape is permanent. Once Eternabond is applied, you will not be able to remove it.
Soak up as much water inside the camper as possible. Allow water damaged wood to dry fully before starting the repair.
Pull off any wallpaper or small, loose pieces of wood in the water damaged areas.
Apply a wood hardener to all areas of water damaged wood. Depending on the wood hardener product you choose, it is either sprayed on or painted on. Use a breathing mask when working with wood hardener and open windows for ventilation. The wood hardener will soak deep into the wood, hardening it and preventing wood rot. Allow the wood hardener to dry for 24 hours before moving on to the next step.
Use a putty knife to apply wood filler to the water damaged areas, to fill in holes or cracks in the wall. Allow the wood filler to dry for four hours or more until fully dry, before moving on to the next step.
Sand the dry wood filler using fine grit sandpaper, to smooth and even out the wood surface.
Repaint, stain or put new wallpaper on the repaired wood.
- The repaired wood may look slightly different than the surrounding areas. The color of paint and stain may also look slightly different on repaired areas.
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