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Recently, my husband Lance and I bought our first RV. It is a 50’ enclosed trailer with living quarters. We knew that it was going to need some updates when we bought it. However, it turned out to need a lot more work than we originally thought.
Check out Our RV Remodel: The Tour Before the Tear Down, to see what I mean.
Due to water damage, there was a considerable amount of work to do. After mulling it over, we decided it would be better to do a full renovation of the living quarters. Doing this would ensure that everything was fixed correctly and hopefully, we wouldn’t have any issues down the road.
Removing the interior – where to start?
So since we had previously removed the interior sheeting on the bathroom walls, we figured the best place to continue our destruction was with the framework for the bathroom. The wall studs were built out of 1×3 boards and staples together. The only places they were screwed down was to the ceiling and floor. And since they had some water damage as well, we weren’t really careful pulling them out.
With the bathroom walls removed it was time to start removing the floor. Because the water damage extended into subfloor of the trailer we wanted to replace the plywood sheeting as well. Which wasn’t too terrible, but some of the screws that held it to the trailer were rusted and either stripped out or broke off. Before putting the new plywood in we layer down a new layer of Kimberly-Clark Block-It flooring underlayment over the existing moisture barrier. I don’t know if it was necessary or not, but it can’t hurt, right?
We got the first two sheets of plywood in fairly easily because we had everything removed from that area. But the fridge and kitchen cabinets were going to have to be removed before the next sheets could get laid down.
Removing the Cabinets
Removing the fridge and kitchen wasn’t something we really wanted to do. But because the plywood underneath was rotting, we didn’t have a choice.
First up, the fridge.
All of the connections for the fridge, power, and gas, can be accessed through the vent on the outside of the trailer. Just be sure that everything is turned off before started to disconnect the fridge. With the fridge removed, the fasteners holding the cabinet in place were accessible.
The same steps were taken for removing the sink, stove top, and the cabinet that held them.
With those items removed, we were able to finish putting the new plywood down.
Since we planned on replacing all of the wall and ceiling sheeting, the overhead cabinets would have to come out too.
To the Window, To the Walls!
The sheeting that covered the interior walls was a ⅛” luan plywood. We opted to go with ¼” for some added rigidity. The process of replacing the panel was actually fairly simple. We just had to make sure we marked all of the studs. That way we knew where the new screws could go.
Unfortunately for us though, every sheet needed to be cut. Either for windows, vents, or size but we got it done.
We also put the Kimberly-Clark Block-It flooring underlayment on the backside of all the wall panels.
Since we had to remove the window trim ring when putting the new panels in, we decided that we should re-caulk all of the windows. Better safe than sorry, and we didn’t want to see our work going to waste over a leaky window.
To do this Lance took all of the windows and cleaned all of the old caulk off. He then took Dicor Butyl Seal Tape and ran a strip around the inside lip of the window frame. With the new panels in place, he held the window while I installed the window trim ring. As the fasteners were installed the tape squeezed out, sealing the window. After a couple of days, Lance then peeled off the tape that oozed out and using ProFlex Flexible Sealant, he caulked the outside of the window, giving it a nice clean look.
For the ceiling, we decided to stay with ⅛” panels. We also wanted to use LED lights instead of the old 12v bulbs that the trailer came with. After searching and reading reviews we settled on these 12v Recessed LED Lights.
Because we wanted to be able to only turn on certain lights when needed, we were going to have to run separate 12v circuits. And the way the lights are assembled we needed to install them in the panels before we attached them to the ceiling. This left us with a bit of a wiring dilemma.
We decided that the easiest solution would be to wire each panel separately and have a quick connect plug on each circuit. That way all of the butt connectors and heat shrinking would be done prior to installing the panel on the trailer. All that would be left would be to plug in the connectors and fasten the panel to the roof beams.
Now as easy as that sounds, it ended up being more work than the two of us handle. Thankfully we have good friends that were willing to trade their time for some beer!
More to come
With the living quarters gutted, and the new wall and ceiling panels installed, it’s time to start replacing what we’ve taken out.
We decided to replace some of the cabinets, as well as put in a different sink and stove top. But before we can do any of that, the dividing wall between the garage and living quarters needs to be rebuilt.
One thing we have realized is that in order to do one step, two more projects need to be done first.
Check back soon, as we will continue to update our progress.
Until next time!