When trying to work out how to check your motorhome or caravan for damp, getting the question of which damp meter to use is also vital in doing it yourself.
By Shane Malpass
As we all should know when it comes to damp testing a motorhome or caravan, it should be done yearly at the absolute minimum as part of a habitation service. As the biggest buyer of hundreds of motorhomes and caravans a year, I know my way around a damp meter or water ingress meter as they are also known.
For me, you should be using a damp meter quarterly if not monthly. As seals break down or just aren’t sealed properly in the first place, water can sneakly get through the cracks, causing havoc to the wood behind the walls, costing potentially several thousands of pounds of repairs. It is the first thing we look for when buying the motorhomes or caravans, as it is the most common thing to go wrong.
The cost of materials to replace wood isn’t expensive. It’s the labour that lies the expense. To replace the walls, roof or floor, will most likely mean stripping the units, fixtures and fittings out in the effected area, before taking the walls apart, potentially taking hundreds of hours in labour.
In terms of damp meters, I and the professionals use a Protimeter Surverymaster to do my damp checks. In the video, I have also compared it to the Extech MO55 moisture meter as a cheaper alternative that I have seen on Amazon for just less than £50. They both did give different reading, but generally, do give an indication of whats happening behind the wall paper.
Motorhomes and caravans come with as much as a 10 year warranty for water ingress. However, PLEASE be aware, this is ONLY if the motorhome is serviced within the parameters of the service schedule. If you do not service your motorhome it will 100% be VOID and will effect the price of your motorhome.
Damp Myth Busting!
There are several myths when it comes to damp that I would like to debunk.
- “There’s no damp. You’d smell it!” – WRONG! Very rarely is damp “smelt”. A damp tester is the way to find out.
- “My motorhome is wood free, doesn’t get damp and doesn’t need servicing” – WRONG – With makes such as Bailey with their Alutech chassis, Hymers with their PUAL Construction and so on, the floors are still made of wood. So, if the seals in the walls and sealing fail, the water runs down and gets into the floor. Before you know it, you have a spongey damp floor.
- “You can see damp” – SOMETIMES! You get various ways of seeing damp. Sometimes the walls do go blue, sometimes they pimple and sometimes, the aluminium rots from the outside if severe. Below we have a few examples.
“Pimping” on the board is a sign of damp.
This motorhome has extreme damp. The wall is physically coming away from the kitchen units, plus as you can see the wall has changed texture, shape and has gone soft.
This is a good example of an Elddis that has leaked across the lower rails and has stained blue.
I hope from above you can see why to check for damp. The next thing you should be doing is keep a log of whats happen. Draw out both sides, back panel roof and floor, and write down the numbers the damp meter is showing to keep an eye on progression. As long as it is caught early, it is just a case of a reseal. If you do have any questions, please give us a call on 01283 240237, we are always happy to help and advise as much as we can.