How to Repair the Underside of a Camper Floorby John Cagney Nash
The underside of a camper floor is known by industry terms such as belly boarding, underbelly and bottom board. Covering material protects the underside of the floor from the deterioration of insulation, moisture ingression and the entry of pests. The covering material used to sheath the underside is variously known as belly wrap, closure sheet and bottom wrap. Covering material is typically either polythene or aluminum because both are flexible, lightweight and easy to use. When the underside of a camper is damaged, repair is an easier option than replacement.
Inspect the underside of your camper and note any perforation, from large tears to tiny holes. Determine whether the damage is only superficial to the underside sheeting material or whether the insulation material above it also needs repair. Be particularly aware of any signs that rodents or insects may have entered the underside.
Remove any pests, according to safe practice. If you discover a wasp nest or indications of other insects, use a proprietary spray according to the manufacturer's instructions. If you discover signs of rodent entry, such as feces or nesting material or holes burrowed in the insulation, contact your local government for advice and referral to specialists who will deal with the problem for you.
Use a repair tape appropriate to the sheeting material for small holes and punctures. Home improvement warehouses sell specialist tapes for polythene and aluminum that act in the same way: by peeling a barrier strip away from the tape, which activates a special glue, then putting the patch in place and activating it with heat. The process is much like using a bandage.
Clean the immediate area around the damage. Use a dish-soap/water solution, rinse with clean water, then dry. Next rub a non-deteriorative stripper such as mineral spirits over the area, using a clean rag, and allow it to dry. If insulation is missing from above the site of the damage, replace it by using a fiberglass mat.
Cut a patch of repair tape that will overlap the damage by an inch on all sides. Apply the patch by sticking the adhesive side to the underfloor sheeting in such a way as to completely seal the hole or tear. Apply heat to the patch according to the manufacturer's instructions, using a hair dryer or a heat gun on its coolest setting.
- Rogue fibers from insulation are extremely irritating. If you must replace insulation, wear protective clothing, including gloves, eyewear and a long-sleeved shirt.
- Be careful not to apply too much heat when setting the patch, which can cause further damage to the polythene around the patch.