Wade's 17' Casita Renovation - Fiberglass RV
Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 10-04-2020, 06:02 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Name: Wade
Trailer: Casita
Florida
Posts: 21
Wade's 17' Casita Renovation

My girlfriend and I have decided to pursue tiny house life! At first we thought about vanlife, but the idea of a drivetrain being an integral part of your home seemed somewhat foolish. I can’t imagine having to take my home in for service and investing so much into something with a finite life span. I discovered a couple on YouTube that have lived in a Scamp 13’ with their dog for multiple years (wow). They inspired my research into fiberglass travel trailers. After finding some very detailed forum posts on ground up renovations I was pretty much sold on the idea of getting a Scamp or Casita shell and building something custom. On 8/8/20 we purchased a 2004 17’ Casita Deluxe for an absolute steal. The shell, for our purposes, is in perfect condition (wack gel coat, but no cracks or structural issues). The frame is also in good condition: minor surface rust, but no flaking or damage. We were originally just looking for shells, but when we came across a trailer with a full interior for the cost of a shell we thought that it was a no brainer to pursue it. We decided we would try and see if we could live with the OEM interior and tried living with it for a bit. We quickly decided that we wanted to start from scratch and renovate it to our specifications from the ground up. In order to make it a functional full-time living space, we are going to gut it (we actually have just finished this phase), restore the shell and trailer, and then build a custom interior. We’re going to be posting details on this thread as we go through the process, and would really appreciate any advice you may have that could help us along the way.
Wade R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2020, 06:36 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Glenn Baglo's Avatar
 
Trailer: Escape 17 ft
Posts: 8,314
Wish people would post, "we're going to gut it" before they do.
__________________
What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
Glenn Baglo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2020, 07:25 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Name: Wade
Trailer: Casita
Florida
Posts: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
Wish people would post, "we're going to gut it" before they do.

The casita's original interior didn't work for our use case. We would have started with just a shell, but we got a better deal for a complete trailer than we were seeing for shells. And as I go into in the post I'm currently writing we're glad we did. The subfloor ended up being completely rotten.
Wade R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2020, 08:15 PM   #4
Junior Member
 
Name: Wade
Trailer: Casita
Florida
Posts: 21
Since we’re building a totally custom interior the original interior had to go. Gutting the Casita was a surprising amount of work and had multiple difficult stages. I’m not going to bore you with a detailed blow-by-blow account of the disassembly part of the “gutting” process since most of it is self-explanatory. The first hiccup we encountered was removing the fridge as it does not fit through the doorway. After some research we decided to rent a sawzall from home depot and cut the fridge in half. It cut through the fridge pretty effortlessly. In retrospect we may have been able to fit it out the rear window, but it wasn’t functional and lifting it through would have been a pain. Here we discovered one of our first reassurances that we had made the right decision going forward with the total gut; the fridge had been leaking and the piece of wood that it was on was rotten enough to scoop out by hand.
Tons of stripped screws and quarrelsome rivets. Lots of rusted out hardware. We removed everything: the appliances, the fiberglass pieces, the exterior accessories, the water tanks, the flooring, all the electrical and propane lines. We got it down to just a shell with carpet and an... interesting looking subfloor.
The carpet itself ripped off easily enough, but almost all of the foam underneath it was left over. We scraped that away in big chunks with paint scrapers, but the adhesive used to lay the carpet on the walls and ceiling was pretty much still all there. A thin layer of the foam was also left on most of the surface. We tried a bunch of adhesive removers of varying strengths (including Goof Off, MEK, and Goo Gone), but nothing worked very well. We also tried using a wire wheel on an angle grinder, but it wasn’t working quickly or well enough to be viable. Finally I posted about the trouble we were having and we got the suggestion to pressure wash it away. We rented a 4000psi gas pressure washer from home depot and it worked. Unfortunately it was extremely loud (be mindful of neighbors) and tedious. It took somewhere between 10 and 15 hours of pressure washing, using the smallest (15°) nozzle held ~4 inches away from the surface. This stripped away the glue and didn’t damage the fiberglass.
We removed the exterior decals and the glue residue they left over (with our arsenal of unused adhesive removers) as well as leftover caulk.
Now on to that “interesting” looking subfloor. The discoloration was so pronounced that we kinda knew that it would be rotten. How could it not rot? It’s a thin sheet of OSB sandwiched between fiberglass with dozens of penetrations for moisture to be introduced and no ability to breathe. Not the best design for rot resistance. We took an angle grinder and carefully cut through the top layer of fiberglass around the perimeter of the subfloor. It came out easily with the majority of the osb coming out still attached to the top layer of fiberglass that was being removed. I’ll take some photos of the cut out subfloor tomorrow so you can see just how rotten it was. To more carefully and precisely remove the leftover fiberglass from the edges of the shell I used an oscillating fein tool.


Since we’re going to have the trailer sandblasted and painted we removed the bolts and washers that attach the fiberglass shell to the metal frame. Unfortunately most of the bolt drives were full of resin. We used a hammer and a drywall screw (very hard) to chip the resin out, then hammered the bit into the drive.

This worked pretty well, only a few stripped and had to be cut off with an angle grinder. We rented an electric pressure washer for a few hours to clean the rot staining/residue out.
Wade R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2020, 08:16 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Name: Eric
Trailer: 1987 Casita 16
Illinois
Posts: 503
You are in for a lot of work, but in the end it will be what you want for the life style you would like. You might want to check out the older threads, especially ones on rebuilding that have a lot of reads. You'll find a lot of ideas, and some things that worked well, and some that didn't. Also, support the inside of the shell while working, so that you don't have sag. That will effect a lot of things.

I took mine back to a bare interior (I started with a stripped shell) and redid the floor. Glad I did since it gave me a great start. You also might want to think about a number of issues as you work through the process.
1. What style of living do I want? Is it a "little house" or a "hard sided tent" and how will I use it?
2. How much electrical do I need, how much water, storage, and room to live, sleep and eat?

3. Will I be traveling a lot, or staying several weeks at a time in the same place?
4. Can I put some of the things I don't use daily in the TV, or does it all need to be in the camper? How much storage in the TV?
5. Level of skill in building the stuff you want. (Don't throw out anything you took out until you are sure you won't need it.)


Just some ideas I'm sure you have thought through. I thought I had and I am now on my second rebuild after camping in it for a year and finding our style didn't need a shower (occasional hotels as we traveled, campgrounds with good showers, friends we stopped to see and stayed a day with, etc) We found that with road vibrations we were often leaking a little water, which complicated life a lot.


Hope you have a lot of fun! Post pictures! Enjoy the process!
EricAllyn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2020, 07:14 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Markz's Avatar
 
Trailer: 1986 Boler 1300 Voyager
Posts: 709
Registry
Welcome! The more work you put into it, the more you will fall in love with your new tiny house. If you have a question, chances are someone before you did also. Search the forums; they are a wealth of information and inspiration.
Enjoy the journey...
Mark
Markz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2020, 08:12 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Trailer: 13 ft Scamp
Posts: 1,746
As others have mentioned
Remember that the roof is supported by some of the original cabinets ... so be sure and support it while remodeling and keep posting pictures
alan H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2020, 09:48 AM   #8
Junior Member
 
Name: tom
Trailer: shopping
Texas
Posts: 17
Registry
" How could it not rot? It’s a thin sheet of OSB sandwiched between fiberglass with dozens of penetrations for moisture to be introduced and no ability to breathe."

Fiberglass boat builders often drill a hole in the transom that is larger than needed. Then fill the hole with epoxy. After the epoxy has cured, drill a smaller hole in the center of the epoxy. That protects the wood under the fiberglass from water.
tomterrific01 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2020, 04:46 PM   #9
Junior Member
 
Name: Wade
Trailer: Casita
Florida
Posts: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricAllyn View Post
Just some ideas I'm sure you have thought through.
We have thought things through very thoroughly, but I have a sneaking suspension that we won't truly understand our particular lifestyle and needs until we actually start living tiny.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricAllyn View Post
Hope you have a lot of fun! Post pictures! Enjoy the process!
Thank you! We will post tons! Kinda bummed out I didn't begin documenting the process until now. Fortunately I only missed the boring part.
Wade R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2020, 04:51 PM   #10
Junior Member
 
Name: Wade
Trailer: Casita
Florida
Posts: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Markz View Post
Welcome! The more work you put into it, the more you will fall in love with your new tiny house. If you have a question, chances are someone before you did also. Search the forums; they are a wealth of information and inspiration.
Enjoy the journey...
Mark
We're hoping to build something we can really be proud of The wealth of information available on this forum is such an amazing resource. We wouldn't be attempting such an ambitious project if it weren't for fiberglassrv.com!
Wade R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2020, 05:04 PM   #11
Junior Member
 
Name: Wade
Trailer: Casita
Florida
Posts: 21
Here are the photos of the rotten subfloor. This is the least rotten part; the most rotten parts didn't have enough structure to come out with the fiberglass.



Here's a picture of the Casita in it's current state. The staining looks worse in the photo than it does in real life. Regardless, the second quick power wash definitely helped clean out grime and eliminate the rot smell.
Wade R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2020, 12:08 PM   #12
Member
 
Berthaduniverse's Avatar
 
Name: Paul
Trailer: Scamp
California
Posts: 68
Thanks for the pics Wade. For such a young trailer, this just shows why these companies need to use a marine grade plywood coated in glass and gelcoat instead of what appears to be a low quality OSB. I know there are better (epoxy impregnated) grades of OSB, but geez, look at that, it looks like it's a black mold factory.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade R View Post
Here are the photos of the rotten subfloor. This is the least rotten part; the most rotten parts didn't have enough structure to come out with the fiberglass.



Here's a picture of the Casita in it's current state. The staining looks worse in the photo than it does in real life. Regardless, the second quick power wash definitely helped clean out grime and eliminate the rot smell.
Berthaduniverse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2020, 10:58 AM   #13
Junior Member
 
Name: tom
Trailer: Casita Liberty Deluxe
Massachusetts
Posts: 4
Wade
Looks like fun. A couple of things to consider when you're going back together.

How you're using the space. Lay it all out on graph paper first to scale. As you consider adding things make little paper cutouts of each item (bed, fridge, sink, etc)

Adaptablity and flexibility of use - later when you've been in it and you want to change location or layout slightly. Know up front what needs to stay in place and what can me moved to a new location.

Structural integrity -how is the existing layout supported body flex, roof etc. How will you make up for the missing supports

Power - Personally I would use conduit to run wires through. Easier and protected from possible screws or other hardware

Those are just a few off the top of my head thoughts.
Eldorado is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2020, 06:30 PM   #14
Member
 
Name: Ken
Trailer: Acorn 13
Maryland
Posts: 42
Floor

Floor
Why use plywood at all ??

Consider Sintra - solid sheet PVC ... can be epoxied .. say 1/2 or 5/8

Also consider using Tinned Marine wire ... expensive - but worth it .

The most costly commodity cannot be purchased -- your time !

All Best
Ken
Ken Max is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2020, 06:50 PM   #15
Senior Member
 
Jon in AZ's Avatar
 
Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
Posts: 11,553
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eldorado View Post
Wade
Looks like fun. A couple of things to consider when you're going back together.

How you're using the space. Lay it all out on graph paper first to scale. As you consider adding things make little paper cutouts of each item (bed, fridge, sink, etc)

Adaptablity and flexibility of use - later when you've been in it and you want to change location or layout slightly. Know up front what needs to stay in place and what can me moved to a new location.

Structural integrity -how is the existing layout supported body flex, roof etc. How will you make up for the missing supports

Power - Personally I would use conduit to run wires through. Easier and protected from possible screws or other hardware

Those are just a few off the top of my head thoughts.
Add weight distribution, which involves the location of major appliances and holding tanks, as well as the location, size, and intended use of various storage areas. Weight needs to be balanced fore-and-aft for proper hitch weight as well as side-to-side.

Don't think I've yet seen a full gut-and-rebuild of a Casita 17, perhaps because they only recently passed their 20th year on the market. I'll look forward to this one!
Jon in AZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
casita, renovation


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
1985 Casita 13' Renovation Streambrewer Modifications, Alterations and Updates 32 12-14-2019 07:42 AM
Prepping for a moderate renovation of my Casita - have questions boley Modifications, Alterations and Updates 17 09-11-2014 09:23 AM
Lanny Webb's Casita Renovation Mary F Modifications, Alterations and Updates 4 03-31-2010 10:29 AM
1973 Compact Junior Renovation Barb Egeland Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 3 01-10-2006 04:25 PM
Closet Renovation Legacy Posts Modifications, Alterations and Updates 8 06-18-2003 03:14 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:36 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions Inc.