Caravan Repair Centre

Water Damage Repairs

Caravan & Motorhome Water Damage Repairs

Water damage can be very costly and devastating to your vehicle, and in some cases, it can even cause your vehicle to be a write-off.
It is always best to catch it early, before you are dealing with rot in your timber.
Caravan Repair Centre can help you with water damage repairs by finding and fixing water leaks, fixing water damage and replacing any wood that has rot, to ensure your vehicle is safe and in good condition. 
With water being an expanding problem, the potential rot and further damage is unmeasurable and requires a full pre inspection so that we, Caravan Repair Centre, can ensure your vehicle be repaired to the Queensland transport safety requirements.

If you find water in your van or think you may have a leak, it is best to get it checked out by the professionals to ensure that there is not more extensive damage to your van. Locating the source of the leak is essential in preventing further damage.

  • Caravan Water Leak Inspections
  • Impact Damage Repairs
  • Re-Sealing Caravans
  • Major & Minor Water Damage Repairs
  • Insurance Repairs
Water Damaged CaravanCaravan Water Damage

Nobody wants a water leak. When it comes to your caravan or camper, if you ignore a water leak, it can render your RV unusable and can cost more than the van is worth to repair, depending on the extent of the leak and the damage caused. To avoid extensive damage from a water leak, we recommend regular visual checks of your caravans seals, regardless of the age of your van.

Some leaks can be tricky, and it may go undetected for years. Other leaks are more noticeable, but do you know what to do when you find a leak? Other leaks may be present, but you may not realise that it is actually a leak.  A severely rotted van can leave it unusable and may leave you with a van that is not economical to fix, which is why the sooner you get it looked at and fixed, the cheaper it will be to fix.

We see water damaged caravans daily and the extent of the damage varies dramatically. If you own a caravan or camper trailer you are responsible for maintaining and managing leak detection. So, to help you with getting a grasp on a water leak situation, let’s first discuss the types of water leaks, as a water leak can occur for a few different reasons.

Types of Caravan Water Leaks

A water leak can occur due to the following

  • Impact damage- impact damage occurs when an “event” happens. This may be a weather event such as a storm including wind that sees debris flying that hits your van. We often see impact damage from tree branches and awnings. The other type of impact damage is from an accident or those “oops” moments such as hitting a fence post getting in or out of a driveway.
  • Plumbing- you can have a major or minor leak in your caravans plumbing. This can occur in the fittings, in your appliances (commonly seen in hot water systems) or even the hoses.
  • Lack of maintenance- You should be undertaking regular maintenance on all aspects of your van. Whether you have a new van or second hand van, you should be checking for leaks regularly. Should you detect a leak, action it as soon as possible. We will discuss water leak maintenance in more detail later on so keep reading.
  • Poorly fitted after market accessories- if you are having any accessories fitted to your van or repairs done, make sure they are carried out by a professional. Even if you have a mate who is handy on the tools, if they are not familiar with caravans, and do not seal up the job properly, it can be a costly fix.
  • Poor manufacturing- unfortunately, new caravans are not exempt from leaks. There are new caravans and camper trailers that may not have been sealed properly from manufacture. Whether it be poor prep work, gaps in the sealant, or not enough sealant has been used.
  • Lifespan of products- the reality is that nothing last forever. This is true for most aspects of your caravan, especially sealant. As a general rule of thumb, sealant has a lifespan of 5-7 years. This can be greatly affected by the elements though such as extreme high and low temperatures.

Warranty Vs Insurance Vs Maintenance

How do you know who is responsible for a water leak? This all depends on a few factors.

Insurance– If the water leak is from a specific incident such as an accident or storm related damage than it is usually claimable on your insurance. This may vary from policy to policy so make sure you check your policy to confirm water ingress is covered.

Warranty– If your van has a leak from a manufacture defect this will generally fall under warranty. However, this is only applicable during the warranty period which will vary between manufacturers. This is why we encourage you to check your van regularly, regardless of age. You need to ensure you meet the conditions of the warranty terms. Refer to your manufacturer’s warranty for details.

Maintenance- As the owner of your van you are responsible for general maintenance on the van which requires regular checking for water leaks. This will ensure you pick up on a leak before it becomes a major problem. Unfortunately, most insurance companies will not cover water damage due to poorly maintained seals. Keep reading for more information relating to caravan maintenance in regards to water leaks.

How do I know if I have a leak in my caravan?

There are tell tale signs of caravan water ingress. When it comes time to checking your caravan, you want to keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • Stains and discoloration especially on any ply
  • Peeling surfaces
  • Swelling timber
  • Fungi growing
  • Mould
  • Mildew
  • Deformed surfaces- wrinkling, bulging or bubbling
  • Rusty outer screws
  • Spongy surfaces
  • Musty smell
  • The condition of your silicone- cracked, peeling, gaps or non-existent

Caravan Water Leak Maintenance

We have mentioned maintenance several times. But do you know what is actually involved?
Checking your van doesn’t have to be something that takes hours. Really just 10-20 minutes to go over the van to save you in the long run. Here is what we recommend as part of your water leak check routine:

  • Check the condition of your silicone that it is not cracked, any gaps or missing entirely.
  • After heavy periods of rain use your finger to run along and feel for water inside your van. Especially windows, doors and all accessories and appliances installed on the ceiling.
  • Check the condition of your j-moulds (exterior) that they are not cracked, perished or showing signs of corrosion.
  • Check the H-moulds (interior)
  • Check the condition of window seals that they are not coming away or deteriorating
  • Plumbing- turn on 12v pump or cone connect to mains pressure.
  • Check inside your cupboards for signs of water. Water stains and ply discoloration especially
  • Check your ceiling and walls for signs of mould or mildew, especially in camper trailers, you will often see this in the vinyl or canvas.
  • Check for musty smell. If you open up your van after it has been closed up for a while and the smell hits you as you walk in, you probably have a leak somewhere.
  • Flooring- as you walk through your van, bounce slightly to check for spongy surfaces, or gently press your hand to the floor of a particular section of flooring you may suspect have water damage.
  • You can gently press on any internal walls, looking for spongy surfaces also.

We also mention regular but what is considered regular? The more often you check for leaks the more likely you will find a leak early on before it does extensive damage to your van. We recommend you check at least every 6- 12 months, so add it to your caravan maintenance schedule.

What to do if you find a leak in your caravan

If you find a leak in your caravan, it is best to contact us for an inspection. What you do once you find a leak depends on the severity of the leak and the type of leak. If it is a new small leak, it will be a relatively quick and easy fix. If it is a larger leak with extensive damage or the extent unknown, then further investigation may be required.

If you find water inside, discoloration, mould  or any other signs of water ingress inside your van, carefully check over the entirety of the van. Where you find the water is not always where the water is coming from. Water can travel through your van, so chances are there are signs elsewhere in the van. It is then best to contact us to arrange an inspection.

Incident- If it is a leak cause by an incident and you want to claim on your insurance. You will need to note down date & location to advise your insurer. You will also need to contact your insurer to make a claim. In most instances, you will possibly need emergency repairs to do a temporary patch to ensure further damage is not done to your van until your van can be properly repaired.

Silicone- If you think your silicone is damaged or missing and you plan on trying to fix it yourself. Please, please, please do not just cover over it with silicone. You need to remove the existing silicone, clean and prep the surface before laying new clean silicone down. All screw heads should be siliconed. If you simply add to the existing silicone, you may not stop the leak, and you will make a lot more work down the track trying to remove layers of different silicone. Keep in mind, DIY if not done correctly can end up costing you a lot more in the long run. If in doubt, contact the professionals.



Check your van during periods of rain, or soon after. This is when you are most likely to see or feel water that has penetrated your van.

If in doubt you can take photos when you inspect your van and keep them in a folder so that you can easily compare over time.

Caravan Cover

In an ideal world , you would store your van undercover, but this is not always possible. Look at getting a good quality caravan cover. A few hundred dollars vs thousands of dollars in damage is money well spent. Most caravan covers generally have a water resistant roof that may minimize any water damage through the roof. If stored outside you may also want to wind the jockey wheel up to create a slope so that water can easily run off the van, as it can pool around some roof top accessories.

Caravan Incident Damage

If you are caught out in a storm or brush under or past some tress, the damage is not always noticeable straight away. Sometimes the lighting can play a big part in noticing damage. We recommend you take a photo of the area you think may be affected. This way you have a date stamp for when the incident occurred which will come in handy if putting through insurance. It also gives you a reference point for what the area looks like so you can see if there is any changes over time. Don’t forget that to properly check some sections of your van you will need to get up on a ladder. If you are not confident with this, ask a friend or family member who may be more comfortable with this, or get it booked in for an inspection.

Caravan with Keys

Before you purchase a second hand caravan, motorhome or camper trailer, we recommend you do a thorough check for water ingress. It can save you a big repair bill down the track. You can also get us to do a pre- purchase inspection.

Phone Reminders

Set a reminder in your phone. Time can go so quickly and with so much going on in the day to day life it can be easy to lose track of time. You may think you only just did that menial task a couple months ago when in reality it is now 12 months later. So don’t rely on your memory. Set a reminder in your phone and set it to recurring or repeat. Also, don’t forget to set the alert.

07 5491 2560

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