Trailer remodel Part 1 (demo and framing)

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Blog entry by Workbyknight posted 11-05-2014 04:16 PM 4323 reads 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

For those who have never had the “pleasure” of remodeling a trailer… here are some highlights (or lowlights) of our project thus far.

We had been considering getting into camping. A friend had a trailer for sale for a good price, so we thought “hey, why not. Let’s give it a shot”.

Time to spend some time cleaning and sprucing it up. This is when we realize we may have gotten more than we’d bargained for. There seems to be some water damage. Some “spongey” spots in the floor, some leaning and buckling in the cabinets.

We’ll just tear out a little and patch it back in…. Fingers crossed!

Maybe not! Lots of rot. Electrical issues, roof needs repair and the Heat/air conditioning unit is toast

At some point in a project like this you have to stand back and make a decision. Do I go all in or call it a loss? Let’s go all in.

We tore out everything that had ever seen a drop of water. Removed every wire and took it down to the framing. We might as well come up with a layout we like while we’re at it. We’ve decided to set it up for “boondocking”, so we don’t need to worry about plumbing as we wont have a conventional plumbing system.

A little carpenter training with my son Logan.

So this brings us to the end of part 1. Framing is done. Every bit of wiring has been replaced. New skylights (vents) are in, roof is patched and we’re water tight. Winter is coming soon here in Michigan, and it’s time to put this project to bed for awhile.

Thanks for looking!

-- Chris Knight

8 comments so far

View tyvekboy's profile


2182 posts in 4468 days

#1 posted 11-05-2014 04:26 PM

That would make a nice mobile workshop. Just add a few tools and maybe a place to sleep; a bucket to catch rain water to wash up; a BBQ to cook on and a generator … unless youʻre all hand tools. You can be on vacation and do woodworking too. lol

Seriously … looks like you got a good start.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View NormG's profile


6576 posts in 4458 days

#2 posted 11-05-2014 08:00 PM

Wow, you have done a wonderful job thus far. I have seen some of these custom remodeled on local cable show. They really change how people have thought about camping and traveling in general. Congrats and have a wonderful time. When I was a kid we only have a station wagon.

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 4109 days

#3 posted 11-06-2014 06:28 PM

Sweet job. I’m getting ready to embark on a similar project. I have a 25’ trailer and it needs some floor work and some more efficient space utilization.

Good winter project…..

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4789 days

#4 posted 11-06-2014 07:10 PM

Looking great. Fun to see your progress. I guess we will have to wait for spring to see more.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Workbyknight's profile


74 posts in 2761 days

#5 posted 11-08-2014 09:15 PM

Thanks for the kind words. This is a 1996 26’ Shasta. Getting the wiring done, and having everything work, was a big achievement for me. I’ve done some residential wiring in the past, but this was my first experience with 12volt (much less the whole 12v/120v combo).

The way that trailers are built, doesn’t make them easy to remodel. It’s challenging but doable. If I had a polebarn, I’d be working on this bad boy all winter.

Its been fun though, and a rewarding family project.

-- Chris Knight

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 5128 days

#6 posted 11-11-2014 01:55 AM

Looking good!

View canadianchips's profile


2632 posts in 4452 days

#7 posted 04-16-2015 12:29 PM

Looks like a fun project.
As long as metal frame is sound, the rest can be rebuilt.
Before putting it back together with all the bells and whistles consider : Do you really use some of that stuff camping. The reason I ask. I have a full size travel van, we go camping with. I have removed the built in ice box, the built in sink and the built in porta potty. These are all portable now. My built in cooler would go stale if not left with door partly open when not used. The portable icebox “12 volt koolatron” can be carried into house and washed easily. Same with sink and port a potty. We like to be OUTSIDE when we camp, the portable wash sink lets us do this. Cooler is reached from standing outside. The newer trailer have fold outs with these “outside access” options.
I am not trying to be critical, I would have used different plywood for the floor. OSB, chip board or whatever they call it is not good when moisture can attack it. Even the fiber coated osb.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Workbyknight's profile


74 posts in 2761 days

#8 posted 04-17-2015 06:10 AM

canadianchips – We’ve made a lot of changes to the trailer. It will be set up more for “Boondocking” (no hook-ups). No aerial antennae, no cable hookup, no AM/FM cassette. Replaced every wire in it with minimal 120 volt, extra 12 volt, all new lighting (marker lights included) All of the original plumbing is gone. No shower, we’ll use a portable toilet of some kind and the sinks will be self contained. The trailer will be set up to use shore power but I don’t want it to be a necessity.

The refrigerator, stove, furnace and air conditioner are all gone, and will be replaced by portable versions if necessary.

I replaced 1/3 of the original floor with more OSB. I wasn’t about to rip out the rest of the floor because its all glued to the wood floor framing. I’m not really worried about it, just have to keep it dry. Not having a conventional toilet , sink, etc. should help with that.

Thanks for your suggestions!

-- Chris Knight

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