How to Restore a Trailer With Wood Rot

How to Restore a Trailer With Wood Rot thumbnail
Wooden trailers need regular maintenance to prevent rot.

Trailers are often susceptible to wood rot because they're outdoors. The wood rots when it's exposed to too much moisture -- because the moisture fosters the growth of mold and bacteria. As a result, the wood gets broken down and eaten away over time. Rotting wood needs removal as soon as it's discovered to prevent it from spreading. Restoring a trailer with wood rot is a feasible do-it-yourself project if you're careful and have woodworking experience.

Things You'll Need

  • Tool set
  • Saw
  • Replacement wood
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Epoxy resin
  • Rag
  • Epoxy filler putty
  • Putty knife
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Epoxy sealer
  • Primer
  • Paint sprayer or roller
  • Acrylic paint
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    • 1

      Remove fixtures, property and carpeting from the damaged area of the trailer. A tool set is useful for this process. If there is wiring in the area that is rotted, take pictures and draw diagrams of how the wiring is set up and then remove it.

    • 2

      Throw away wet insulation. Moist insulation encourages more mold growth and rot to form. It's best to replace the insulation instead of trying to clean or repair it.

    • 3

      Cut away as much of the rotted wood as possible with a saw. If the damage is localized to one area of the trailer, cut away the rot and replace it with new wood. If the rot is more widespread, replace the wood without cutting it to save the good sections.

    • 4

      Repair healthy wood that was cut away by measuring how much replacement wood you need with a tape measure. Draw on the replacement wood with a pencil and measure where you put the pencil lines -- to ensure the replacement pieces are the same dimensions as what you cut away. Cut those replacement pieces with a saw.

    • 5

      Attach the replacement wood with the original piece using an epoxy resin. Follow all instructions on the resin kit to ensure the strongest bonding possible. Wipe away any excess resin with a rag before it dries or hardens.

    • 6

      Fill in any remaining holes in the wood with an epoxy filler putty. Apply the putty with a putty knife and smooth it out before it dries. Sand the repair with fine sandpaper once it dries to get a smooth finish.

    • 7

      Apply an epoxy sealer to the wood to protect it against rot in the future and to make the wood more durable to damage or staining. The sealer also makes the wood simpler to clean. Follow all instructions on the sealer package, since some sealers are applied differently.

    • 8

      Paint the wood with an acrylic paint once the sealer has fully dried. Use a primer first to further help the paint bond with the wood and to prevent the wood color from bleeding through the paint. One coat of primer and two coats of paint typically give you an attractive and durable finish. A paint sprayer or roller is useful for both the primer and the paint application. The primer usually dries within two hours, and you can then apply the first coat of paint. Allow the first coat to dry overnight before painting over it with a new coat.

    • 9

      Replace the fixtures, carpeting, insulation and wiring as needed once the paint is dry and the wood is fully restored.

Tips & Warnings

  • Trailer restoration is a large job when dealing with a lot of rotting wood. For best results, hire professional help unless you're experienced in woodworking and repair.

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