~ Rebuilding the Walls ~
Repairing the Rotten Walls, Floor to Ceiling.
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"Never Never Never Give Up"
The walls, how do they build them and how does it all go together? Follow me down the page!
Here you will see all the work involved in rebuilding the walls. 100% of every piece of wood was duplicated, fabricated and replaced.
Better grab a fresh coffee and use the potty - This is going to take a while!
Even at this point in the rebuild I had still not grasped the fact that I would wind up completely gutting the entire thing and replacing every last stick of wood in it. I still thought I would be patching up the bad spots, blending new to old and I would have it done. The challenge is that if a stud or plate is rotten in a couple places, it is better to take the whole thing off and replace it as one piece instead of making a bunch of splices. And splicing a stud is simply not a good idea. It needs to be one piece, top to bottom, for maximum strength.
Click on Images to Enlarge
I had to rebuild the entire wall and storage bay door area for about 4 feet from the back including the top by the roof. But it had only begun....
I had to rebuild the entire wall and storage bay door area for about 4 feet from the back including the top by the roof.
This was only the start. I sure didn't know what I was in for at this point. That came a lot later!
At this point I really thought I'd be OK with just fixing this corner and maybe a few touch ups.. Little did I know!
Pulled the siding off - Doesn't look too bad... Bottom corner kinda rotten. We shall see once I get further into it.
Pretty soft at the corner. I am still holding on to hopes of salvaging a good part of the walls.
Finally got the siding stripped up far enough to get a decent look at it. A heck of a lot of leak evidence in there.
Furnace Exhaust Outlet:
This wall is toast too. Major structural damage extends right down into the floor. It all has to come apart for rebuild.
One thing I did was take lots of pics to show where it all goes for future re-assembly. Lovely MacTac....
Front of Storage Bay:
Still clinging to hope of saving walls, I only opened a bit at the bottom. This was done before removing the siding.
Furnace and Fridge area:
This whole wall has to be repaired. The more I dig into it the more rot I find. And that nasty white mold... Ugh!
Under the Fridge:
Not much left here. Bottom plate is gone and the rest is rotten. Sighhhhh - more and more work for me.
Above the fridge:
After ripping the wall panels off its not too bad here, but the bottom is rotten so the it all has to come apart anyhow.
Top of Wall Above Fridge:
Huge water entry here - look at the stains, and the rusty staples! That metal plate went across the top of the door
After removing most all the paneling, I found there was really very little I could salvage.
Furnace Vent Opening:
The bottom plate of the wall was literally dust and bits of rotten wood. It wasn't even there any more.
This thing is sure getting wobbly. Have to be careful not to knock it over. Don't need to open a window for fresh air!
What a Mess:
Now torn down to the point where I can start rebuilding, one section at a time. That one repaired section looks good!
There is all the siding pulled off for total access. There's that galvanized plate all the way across the top of the door
Keeping It Level And Straight:
I'd like to take a pause here to explain another important consideration. Since this trailer was totally apart, torn right down to the frame and rebuilt in sections at a time, it was very critical to keep the whole thing straight and true. We don't want to build it as it sits and then find, once completed, that the whole thing is twisted, bowed or crowned.
First I leveled the whole thing in my driveway. I put jacks on 4 corners, in a couple feet from the ends. Then I put a couple wedge anchors in my driveway, chained and bolted the back end down tight, cinching it with turn buckles so it cannot move. It was perfectly level side to side and front to back. This is important, to keep all the walls and floor straight and true until it is completely assembled and everything fastened together as a unit.
Is that even a word? It is now. Time to describe how I went about rebuilding the walls. A few tools are a must. A tablesaw. Gotta have one of those. A one inch crown staple gun. Drill bits, drills and 3" #8 decking screws. Glue! Lots of glue, don't be afraid to put some glue on all mating surfaces. Did I mention to glue things? Yeah, glue it all!
Bottom of Wall By Doorway:
Fastening is critical. All stud connections to top and bottom plates were first glued, then 2- 3" decking screws through the predrilled plate into the stud. Then, as seen in the picture here, 3 - 1" X 1" staples on both sides of connection.
Wall Framing Joints:
Overall shot of connections. Everything solidly joined together as described.
Again, the importance of ensuring a solid joining of all framing members cannot be stressed enough. These trailers are under a lot of stress as they travel down the road, and it is imperative that they flex as a unit.
They stapled cardboard around all the windows. I'm sure they had a reason...
New Framing Starts:
If you're going to take something apart, you may as well get after it!
Side Wall 1 Rebuild:
Some of the new framework is leaning against the old wall.
Side Wall Framing:
Closer shot of the partial section rebuilt. I had to do it in manageable sections, then put it together in place.
Bottom of Wall:
New cross piece support in place. Bottom of the studs are all rotten - most of them anyways
Framing in Progress:
Some of the new framing on the outside. Had to note the wiring too, and re-string it through the new studs.
Same view as a couple rows above, new framing in place up to the door. Note the splice in the top plate, glued, screwed.
One Side Wall Rebuilt:
Voila! - I had to rebuild the whole wall up to the door. Very little salvageable, so I replaced it all. I did the front part later.
The Old Framing:
Replacing it in bite size pieces made it easier to duplicate. I'll feed this to my fireplace later.
Kitchen Side Wall:
Can't find matching paneling - may as well rip it all off and have a peek in there!
Kitchen Side Wall:
Same wall shot from the back. That wood hanging with wiring is a bathroom wall, left like that to duplicate later.
Fresh Water Opening:
Something else they didn't seal properly at the factory. But then, it should have been maintained over the years too.....
Top of Kitchen / Bedroom Wall:
The whole top plate of the wall has to be replaced. The top of the studs are rotten too.
Another of many pics taken to note the location of various parts and pieces. In this case some plumbing.
Shore Power Opening:
Through all this, I'm still hooked up and using my shore power inside. It will have to be removed to fix this area.
Second Side View:
May as well tear all the siding off so I can fix it right. I have now determined that the entire wall has to be rebuilt.
Sorry folks, the kitchen is closed for renovations until further notice. Slot on left is for the stove hood fan exhaust.
Front of Side Wall Section:
I am leaving the existing wall and replacing it in sections so I match it perfectly. Got to make sure it all fits when I'm done!
Front of wall:
This section was complicated - lots of little pieces to fabricate and fit. Duplicate as I go before removing old.
Last Part of Other Side Wall:
This wasn't too bad, but the studs were punky on the bottom, can't match the panels, out it goes to be rebuilt.
Dinette Table Mount:
I made sure I noted all the details of this before ripping it out. Ugly dated brown plug has to go too.
Front - The Final Frontier!:
Uncharted territory - I have not had this apart yet. By the looks of things, I'm replacing the entire front. Much water damage around the window; top and bottom.
Front Window Opening:
Of course, like the rest of this old clunker, the window opening is heavily water damaged too. Was I really expecting anything different? Of course not!
Did not take much to crumble this in. I gave it a bunt with my hand. Yep! - the whole front is going to be replaced.
Storage of Pieces:
The inside became a catch all for all the various sections as I rebuilt them. I had to close it all up every night and tarp it.
Top of Front Wall:
First part of the front wall removed for rebuild. I kept the sections intact until I could duplicate them.
Front Upper Wall Area:
There's how you air it out. Can I go down the highway like this? The new ceiling panel there, cuz I replaced that first.
Front Upper Panel:
All nicely rebuilt and ready to install. A slight mod, I made the bottom part in 1 piece.
Lower Section of Front Wall:
Most of the new pieces cut and ready for assembly. As with all the walls, it will be glued, stapled and screwed together for a solid unit. See the old wall sections leaning up against the old truck.
Well, there is the whole front rebuilt. Ahhh! What next? Maybe a cold one? The original wall had the center section made in 2 skinny pieces. I made it as one solid piece instead.
Same as the last picture, viewed from the other side. Looks downright nice to see all this new wood.
Last Piece of Other Side Wall:
I was going to leave this one and patch it up but some of the studs were soft on the ends. Before shot here to note placement
These were a little tricky. The original didn't have this. They left it hollow. The plastic corner spanned to each side.
These ran top to bottom to make a solid corner to fasten the siding to.
My Little Grandson:
Watcha doin' grandpa??
He liked to wander out and inspect my work whenever he visited. 19 months old
Fast forward 17 years.......
Ain't so little any more! Out of high school and 6 inches taller than me! Wow time flies. Pic was taken in April 2004
The next bunch of pics show the finished wall framing from the inside. But first!......
Hey! Remember in the last chapter where I said hold that thought on the Only Original Floor?
Tore Out The Last Pc of Floor:
Well, I decided that there is no point in leaving one old piece of floor when all the rest was nice and new.
Last Floor Insulation:
And besides that, there was no insulation under it. Now it has the same R value as the rest of the floor.
Last New Floor Sheeting:
And there we go, all replaced. I have now replaced 100% of the floor plywood and about 90% of all the joists.
OK, that's done and out of the way while I can still jack up the walls. Speaking of walls, let's get back to them.
Sure is nice to see all that new wood. I re-ran the wiring as I went.
Front Wall - Inside View:
There's how it looks from the inside with all new framing. Starting to look like some progress is happening. The wall sections are permanently fastened together now.
The fridge vent and again, wiring in place as I go. Easier than doing it later.
Kitchen and Bedroom:
Bedroom window, that little slot is the stove hood vent outlet
Wardrobe and Pantry Area:
That window is by the nifty little built in make-up table. You'll see that in the furniture rebuild and re-assembly
Pantry and Fridge Area:
All that new framing sure does put a smile on my face. I no longer have the urge to set fire to it! Progress!
The rear wall will remain out until much later. This is the primary access place to bring in all floor to ceiling cabinets etc.
The converter is still live and running. I kept electrical going throughout the entire project for light and power.
Bedroom to Bathroom:
Part of the old wall top with wiring, to keep sorted and duplicate when I do the wall.
Couple More Inside Shots:
At the back, the bathtub area. Still had a bit more blocking to put in for the tub, seen leaning upright there. Another shot of that wiring. I wanted to keep it all together so I could keep track of where it all goes. I took lots of pics wiring too.
By the door, very front of unit. Note the solid blocking added for clearance lights fastening. And a piece horizontally at the angled front. I added bits of bracing here and there for various things
Old lower wall on the left beside the new one. I didn't rebuild the rear 2 wall sections until much later, and after I had all the interior walls, cabinets and partitions rebuilt and put in place inside. Because some of them were floor to ceiling, I had to jack up the roof to get them in there. It was a bit of a grunt by myself, but I did it. I got them up onto the back floor on an old piece of carpet, then slid them to their location before removing the carpet. This was to avoid damage to the new floor.
Outside Corner Mods:
The original corner design was a molded plastic cap. See the Home Page pic.
Since I changed the design to eliminate that and have the siding go right to the outside of the corners, it was necessary to fill in the corner gaps. Had I been thinking, I would have modified this when I rebuilt the walls, but I didn't.
Outside Corner Mods:
I cut strips of plywood to suit, then glued them in place and nailed them to the wall framing with 15ga nails in my finishing nailer. When I put the siding on it will now go right to the corners and have solid wood to be stapled to. Note the wiring going around the corner of the wall. I marked it for future reference and took pics so I wouldn't run any fasteners into the wires.
I put in solid blocking throughout the entire trailer for things such as hanging blinds, curtain rods, towel bars, even the TP holder. This took some planning as I had to predetermine where everything was going to go, How many times do we find screws pulling out of the thin 1/8" paneling board they use? Really annoying when you grab something and it falls off the wall. I didn't want that here.
New wall paneling:
There is the material for redoing all the interior walls and partitions leaning against the car. I couldn't match the original, but then it was pretty much all damaged somewhere. I searched around for a replacement, but the popularity of this material has waned substantially since the 70's. I found a place in Langley BC, actually Surrey, but right on the border to Langley. Smith Plywood. I wandered in there and found that they buy out remaining stock, end of production runs, and seconds, and material with slight blemishes that can't be sold as perfect new stock by retail stores. They had racks of many different types and the prices were excellent. So I chose a light oak panel and bought enough to do the whole trailer, including all the furniture and cabinets.
That was lots of work rebuilding all the walls. Duplicating what's there made it a lot easier than redesigning them.
Well, what do you say we move on to building cabinets, partitions and furniture!
I wonder what my neighbors think of me......