Old travel trailer roof question

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Old travel trailer roof question

Postby Gage » Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:26 pm

This will be the 2nd year we're bringing out our 1977 Excel Travel Trailer. Even though it's in decent condition, I know the roof won't support the weight of Danielle & I, and possibly a few more friends. We were planning on building a free-standing platform that would sit above the RV for a lounge area (& to provide additional shade for the RV), but after looking into options, costs & weight of the 'RV stage", it's not possible now.

Is there a way to use the walls of the rv to hold up plywood or some other 'temporary roof'? I'm thinking along the lines of something running over the top of the roof that is holding the walls together. It seems we would be able to put something on top, but that it's the possiblity of the walls giving out that would cause the temp roof to fall in.

Suggestions? I'm open to any creative or out-of-the-box answers...

Thanks everyone!

p.s. I'm start painting the trailer tomorrow! So excited... :D
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Re: Old travel trailer roof question

Postby ygmir » Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:34 pm

if anything would work, and, I have no idea of the integrity of your walls:

run 4x4's along the walls, straight on top of them.
use 2x6 (minimum and it'll be springy on an 8' span) fir to span across, every 2' ( again, min.).
Deck this with 1"plywood, or min 1.5" thick boards, like 2x6 fir.

you'd still want to limit the number of folks up there, if your walls are janky or weak at all.
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Re: Old travel trailer roof question

Postby motskyroonmatick » Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:16 pm

How about renting some masons scaffolding. Assemble 2 stages on each side of the trailer and connect them with scaffold planks. Scaffold rental is usually fairly inexpensive. I would safety wire the scaffold planks to the scaffold or just bring some nails that go through the safety holes on the planks. Here is what one stage looks like minus the planks. If you have transport maybe this would work. I would be very hesitant to add anything to the roof of an older RV.
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Re: Old travel trailer roof question

Postby gyre » Sat Jul 30, 2011 10:18 pm

Kinda depends on your trailer.

Do you know the construction?
Steel, wood, aluminum?
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Re: Old travel trailer roof question

Postby Gage » Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:26 am

gyre wrote:Kinda depends on your trailer.

Do you know the construction?
Steel, wood, aluminum?


No. Not sure about the wall construction. Didn't come with a manual, and the goverment must be blocking my online searches for a manual for an old beatup trailer, so I'm not knowing... I'll check the door jams and see if there is some info listed somewhere...

Thanks for the replies too. I was thinking about scaffolding but we have 100+ peeps coming into camp this year and I won't have that much room on each side. That's why I'm trying to make more room "going up"... :D
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Re: Old travel trailer roof question

Postby gyre » Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:46 am

Someone is bound to discuss this on a forum talking about maintenance.

Can't tell from the outside usually.
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Re: Old travel trailer roof question

Postby portaplaya » Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:09 pm

motskyroonmatick wrote:How about renting some masons scaffolding. Assemble 2 stages on each side of the trailer and connect them with scaffold planks. Scaffold rental is usually fairly inexpensive.]


I'm finding scaffold rentals for $90 a week in my area for a single 10' section. That doesn't seem all that cheap to me.
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Re: Old travel trailer roof question

Postby Drawingablank » Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:39 pm

About ten years ago I gutted and refinished the interior of a 1975 trailer and having kept one in a campground for 11 years or so was a party to repairing quite a few others belonging to friends. I have never seen the brand you mentioned internally though.

Every trailer I have seen with the walls opened was constructed of 2 x 2 lumber inside. Think of it like engineered structural parts (similar to roof trusses). Each and every part is integral to the design strength (including the shell and interior wall surfaces) and failure at any point will weaken the entire thing. If there is even a bit of water damage internally or other damage, adding that much weight to the structure would pose a considerable threat of catastrophic failure.

My advice would be to try and work out a plan that will not add any stress to the trailer structure at all.
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Re: Old travel trailer roof question

Postby motskyroonmatick » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:07 pm

portaplaya wrote:
motskyroonmatick wrote:How about renting some masons scaffolding. Assemble 2 stages on each side of the trailer and connect them with scaffold planks. Scaffold rental is usually fairly inexpensive.]


I'm finding scaffold rentals for $90 a week in my area for a single 10' section. That doesn't seem all that cheap to me.


That seems horribly expensive!!!!!!!! Holly crap!
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Re: Old travel trailer roof question

Postby gyre » Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:44 am

Some have a welded steel or aluminum frame, even if they appear quite prosaic on the outside.

Some have a glued sandwich construction, adding strength if intact.

Seems like Excel has a good reputation, but can't remember.
Someone will though.

Trailer Life might be a good resource.
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