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Old 07-07-2020, 10:57 PM   #1
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Trying not to be super bummed...

Wife and I have looked for a couple months at getting a travel trailer. Visiting families a couple states over with 4 kids under 6 years old took its toll to the point we just didn’t want to do it going in and out of hotels or Airbnb’s etc. so we settled on a layout we liked, talked to the bank, talked to family...and found the Salem Ultra Lite 263BHXL that per all the calcs in my big spreadsheet should be pull-able by the Armada. Have WD hitch with sway control etc. We got it Friday, took it about 2 hours away for the weekend, kids were wowed by it, though my oldest had a respiratory attack the first night...anyway, we get back home and upon cleaning out the u shaped dinette find covered-over mold with clear silicone...I was speechless as we had asked about any water damage and were told “nope”. We didn’t dig all the way through to the storage compartments in the slide...so now of course I feel like a complete idiot...I’m arguing with the previous owner on how he couldn’t have disclosed this...he says “only had it 6 months, don’t know nothing about it”. Got records from dealer he bought it from, of course, they “know nothing about it”. It’s just a mess...but besides asking for prayer and patience...any inputs on how to go about fixing this? It seems like simple fiber board, but while I’ve always considered myself somewhat handy, my experience in TT renovation and water leakage concerns is nonexistent. Got a quote from local dealer for $2,400 to $3,000, was hard to stomach. Any and all inputs welcomed. Right now I am just trying not to be super bummed as my family is already wanting to go on another trip.
Thanks
HK
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Old 07-07-2020, 11:11 PM   #2
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Is there a good disaster service company in the area? They might have some good ways of removing the mould without dismantling it completely. Then you could hopefully use it while slowly fixing up the remaining damage. Another option is talk a lawyer. Someone obviously knew about that which is very shady, maybe you can at least get the previous owner to split the repair cost.
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Old 07-07-2020, 11:19 PM   #3
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Looks like maybe it's coming up from the wheels? If that's the case I would not be suprised if the previous owner didnt know about it. On closer inspection the caulking on the slide edge looks new. If you didnt do that perhaps they knew more than they are letting on.
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Old 07-07-2020, 11:22 PM   #4
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I’m arguing with the previous owner on how he couldn’t have disclosed this...he says “only had it 6 months, don’t know nothing about it”. Got records from dealer he bought it from, of course, they “know nothing about it”.
So sorry for your troubles.
Seeing that it's a 5 year old trailer, it had at least 2 previous owners. And since you are not the original owner, the dealer isn't required to deal with you.
Water intrusion can enter from various areas. Start on the roof then move to the slideout roof. Check caulking and seal conditions. Also check underneath the slideout floor and seams.
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Old 07-08-2020, 12:15 AM   #5
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Around $3,000 seems to be the standard quote to fix water damage.
I agree that the first thing you need to determine is if you have a current leak. You have everything out of the area, so spraying the area with water..starting at the top, then the sides, then underneath will help you determine that.

It looks like someone tried to keep the fiberboard from deteriorating with silicone and perhaps the mold grew under that. As long as there is no water coming in, you might be able to just seal over the top of it to seal in the mold. If you try taking off the silicone, the floor might disintegrate and then you've got a real problem.

I suspect that the mold problem might not be from the floor, but from mold behind that wall (based on the caulk on the outside.) You can help the problem by cleaning everything (including upholstery) with vinegar and putting a dehumidifier to dry everything out. Another product is DampRid to keep the humidity at bay.

Don't be too hard on the previous owner. It's possible he didn't know. Many people just use the trailer and don't look too hard for problems and that includes dealers.
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Old 07-08-2020, 06:16 AM   #6
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Take it to a non-dealer RV repair facility and have them look at it. Dealers are incompetent, they won't do a good job as they want quick shop turn-over and lots of your money. An independent will do a much better job for probably less money. I'm not as charitable as some, I suspect the previous owner discovered the issue and didn't want to deal with it so he sold it to you. The space under the seating area is a very common storage spot, he knew.
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Old 07-08-2020, 06:18 AM   #7
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When buying a used item, like an RV or an automobile, the default position is “as is”, most verbal assurances by the previous owner notwithstanding. You can demand a short warranty from the seller, but he is free to say no.

An exception to the default “as is” sale would be fraud. The fact that he covered over the mold with clear silicone indicates that he had knowledge of the mold and did not disclose that to you when you asked.

In some States, not disclosing known mold during a home sale is automatically fraud. I don’t know about RVs. I recommend checking.

Maybe, since the previous owner clearly did something wrong (even if not illegal), you can arrive at some kind of settlement with him whereby he’d pay for half of the repairs.

If he is not reasonable about a settlement, I’d explore my options regarding claiming that the sale was fraudulent. I have no idea how far you can get with such a claim.
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Old 07-08-2020, 01:28 PM   #8
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First find the leak! Garden hose and spray where u think it’s leaking. A mixture of Clorox fifty percent water and a gallon pump up sprayer will kill mold on contact, if it’s under silicon u might have to scrape it off , Then put it back together .
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Old 07-08-2020, 01:28 PM   #9
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Why can't you cut that part out and replace it.it dont look that big of a area. In the pictures
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Old 07-08-2020, 01:28 PM   #10
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If the leak is gone and the floor is not soft, you can kill the mold with an ozone generator. You should be able to rent one or you can buy a nice one for under $100. The plus side of buying one is you can use it many different places.

I don’t know where you live, but if you are close to Delaware you can use mine and I will even help you with the repairs.
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Old 07-08-2020, 02:07 PM   #11
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Surface mold can happen quickly...

this could have been from a spilled drink from the table and molded up in a matter of days in high heat and dark spaces...

use Mold Armor from Home Depot to rid the musty smell and black stains... then run the AC unit , a fan into the recesses, and/or a dehumidifier and make sure everything is dry...
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Old 07-08-2020, 02:33 PM   #12
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Thumbs up

I'm in the same boat as you. I've been dreaming of getting a camper for years. Saw one local for sale and we fell in love. I read everything I could about what to look for in a used camper and inspected it carefully. Ended up buying it and the very next day I pulled in the driveway I could see some bubbles on the side. Delamation!!! I mean it's not terrible but it's definitely there. On cloudy cool days (like the night I bought it) you don't see it. On a hot day you can. So my two choices right now are deal with it and enjoy it or sell it (be honest)and take a loss before the value plummets even move. Ok Enough with my problems. 😆
As others have said see if you can find the leak first. If possible pull it down the road when it's raining and keep looking if you see anything coming from the wheel wells.
If the wood it not soft I just wonder if it was caused by humidity or something spilt? As others have said sometimes the condition is just perfect for mold.
Worse comes to worse if you don't want to repair it your self paying a few thousand to get it done on a fairly new camper might not be too bad in my opinion. Sure you'll loose money but you've already done that the moment you buy it. Just like a car. If it were as old as mine (2011) I'd be less motivated to put any money into it.
Anyways chin up!!! That's what I keep telling myself. I'm just praying for the best to happen and keep telling myself if this is the worse that happens to me I'll be ok.
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Old 07-08-2020, 03:11 PM   #13
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"though my oldest had a respiratory attack the first night" I hope this was not mold related.
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Old 07-08-2020, 04:09 PM   #14
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First find the leak! Garden hose and spray where u think it’s leaking. A mixture of Clorox fifty percent water and a gallon pump up sprayer will kill mold on contact, if it’s under silicon u might have to scrape it off , Then put it back together .
Here in North Carolina we see a lot of flooding as a side effect of hurricanes. Matthew (2016), Florence (2018) and Dorian (2019) are examples. (2020 hurricane season began June 1, ends December 1.)

The volunteers who muck-and-gut homes and then rehab them for those with insufficient insurance and government assistance swear by this stuff. Of course you would have to scrub off the silicone first.

Images of one of the volunteer groups.
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Old 07-08-2020, 04:18 PM   #15
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Quite possibly the slide has a weatherstrip on it as well that would hide that silicone when retracted. It also shows that either 2 different sealers were used along that vertical run or that there was application at 2 different times.
That's a gaggle of little ones, maybe something was spilled.
I would agree with the earlier post that a hose test is in order. with the slide out and the slide in just to be sure and go from there. Don't forget the window area.
You can forget anyone owning up to it legally or otherwise. That's why lawyers and realtors advise sellers to check the "I don't know" box on documents.
Do what you have to do to satisfy yourself that there is no current intrusion and enjoy RVing with those kids.
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Old 07-08-2020, 04:32 PM   #16
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You might try scratching the surface to see how deep that mold is. The floors are OSB (oriented strand board) so it does not swell or disintegrate like fiberboard. If it is surface mold, concentrated bleach will kill it. If that works, KILZ will seal it. But, you still need to determine the leak source.
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Old 07-08-2020, 04:48 PM   #17
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I'll try to keep this short... When we purchased our Florida home we had it inspected for mold including some type of xray device to look behind walls and other structures near the foundation. We found a small amount of mold where condensation from an air handler in the attic dripped on some particle board much like what you have in your TT. One remedy we were told was to use Elmers Glue mixed with water and apply it to the mold and that would isolate it, which looks exactly like what a previous owner did in the photos that you've provided.

I would first make sure that there is no further water intrusion taking place. Second, I would investigate as thoroughly as possible how wide spread the mold actually is and then either replace the problem areas myself or take the TT to an independent RV repair facility (not a dealer) and see about having it repaired professionally.

Sorry for your troubles. These things happen but they can be overcome, often more easily than first expected.
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Old 07-08-2020, 05:18 PM   #18
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I'll try to keep this short... When we purchased our Florida home we had it inspected for mold including some type of xray device to look behind walls and other structures near the foundation. We found a small amount of mold where condensation from an air handler in the attic dripped on some particle board much like what you have in your TT. One remedy we were told was to use Elmers Glue mixed with water and apply it to the mold and that would isolate it, which looks exactly like what a previous owner did in the photos that you've provided.

I would first make sure that there is no further water intrusion taking place. Second, I would investigate as thoroughly as possible how wide spread the mold actually is and then either replace the problem areas myself or take the TT to an independent RV repair facility (not a dealer) and see about having it repaired professionally.

Sorry for your troubles. These things happen but they can be overcome, often more easily than first expected.
If the previous owner did something similar to that, he has a moral (if not legal) duty to disclose the mold and his actions to mitigate it.
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Old 07-08-2020, 07:08 PM   #19
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Sorry that happened to you. I would say start cleaning up with all the great suggestions provided so far. May seem intimidating at first but the more you dig into it the easier it gets and the more you will learn about your unit. Probably cost you a lot more to pursue legal avenues.

Seems you have a great family and love camping, don’t let this discourage you.
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Old 07-09-2020, 06:22 AM   #20
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Two thoughts,

First you have to find the leak and insure no more water enters.

Second, you have to remove, destroy or isolate the mold. My suggestion to isolate, and kill the mold is Minwax Wood Hardener.

It will not only penetrate the material whee the mold is but it will encapsulate the mold, killing it and strengthening the flooring at the same time. Just pour it on the area and let it soak in til it wont' absorb any more.
modeling clay to form a dam to keep it from going all over the undamaged part of the flooring material.
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