Trailer Rehab

There has been a 1989 Bigfoot B17 DLX trailer in our family since it was brand new that has now been used by 4 generations on various trips.  It was time, however, to refresh the interior to get at least a few more years of use.

After a winter of discussing what was the best course of action, it was decided to paint the interior, replace the cushions, curtains, flooring, and lighting.  We also decided to refinish the counters and replace the kitchen faucet.

The before:

While still in relatively good shape (or so we thought), the fabric colours were definitely dated, and the wood veneer gave the entire interior a dark feel.  The original plan was simply to paint the interior, replace the cushion fabric, and change the curtains.  After thinking about it, we also decided to replace the flooring, since the new wall colours would class with a brown-hued floor.

The first step was, of course, demolition.  Removing the cushions, the table, sanding the walls to rough them up for painting, and pulling up the old vinyl flooring.  The flooring did come up fairly easily.

While sanding the walls and ceiling, I encountered what I thought was a little bit of water damage from leaks we had already dealt with (around the awning bolt).  The paper on the ceiling was bubbling and peeling.  I thought we could remove the paper in that spot and simply blend the paint over it.  As we removed the paper in that corner, we discovered that the ceiling panel beneath (above?) it was damp.


I had originally planned on painting the walls with the cabinets still installed.  However, finding the source of this new water damage meant taking down the cabinets and then the full ceiling panel.  When we did that, we discovered that the stud had also been water-damaged and was rotten.  The source of all that water and damage was the size of a pinhole

While the ceiling was being repaired and replaced, I was able to start painting the cabinets that had been removed.  Removing them made the entire painting process much easier, and I was able to paint inside the cabinets, which was not originally in the plan.

Another project we could work on right away were the cabinet doors. Since the doors were real wood, the plan was to keep the wood grain by staining them instead of painting. That meant that they needed to be completely stripped of the existing stain. This was a much bigger project than expected.

Once the interior water damage was repaired, I was able to get started on painting the walls. First, I gave them a rough sanding by hand. The next step was using Dulux Gripper Primer. This was necessary to ensure the paint over laminate walls didn’t bubble or peel.

Once that dried, we were onto the paint. I used 3 Behr colours: N520-1u White Metal on the ceiling, N520-3m Flannel Gray on the walls, and N520-5o Iron Mountain on the cabinets. Painting was miserable. I did while suffering from strep throat, in the middle of a September snow storm. We had to set up a space heater in the trailer to make sure the paint would dry.

After the paint was set, we moved on to the countertops. We used the same paint colours as the walls, with the addition of a black base, and a sponge, to create a speckled pattern on the counters and tabletop. We also carried it onto the ledge around the dinette. Once that dried we finished with an acrylic topcoat that is made for countertops (it was leftover from a previous countertop painting kit used on another project).

To create a true kitchen feel, we added a vinyl peel-and-stick back-splash ordered from Amazon. We also replaced the faucet with a Glacier Bay Pull-Out, which was another ordeal. The door to access the plumbing below is quite small, and so it was difficult to reach, and once your hand was in there it was almost impossible to see what we were doing either. We used SharkBite connectors to reattach the faucet, but I couldn’t get it to connect completely (weak hands apparently). It took my brother-in-law going in a little later to get it to actually seal and not leak. If you can plan to remove the sink to do any plumbing, I highly recommend it.

The next step was the flooring. We used Cryntel Peel-and-Stick Laminate Tile. It went down like a breeze, and using a borrowed vinyl tile cutter made things so much quicker. Some corners needed small hand cuts using a hand knife.

We installed new Blinds (cordless aluminium varieties from Home Depot) and Lights (Double and Single). New cabinet knobs and magnetic catches (as the old catches were constantly snagging on clothes and scraping arms when we reached into the cupboards). We also added a Latch on the screen door, which adds a little extra peace of mind when little kids are inside to slow their ability to tumble out.

The Electrical/Pump panel has been in sore need of fixing the last few years (decade). The buttons had slowly been recessed into the panel, and it was just ugly. So we removed the plate from the actual electronics, spray-painted the plate and I added a decal cut by my Silhouette Portrait. We then replaced the plate, secured it so that the buttons were no longer hiding, and replaced the pump switch. I also added a picture frame to add a little style.

At this point, the weather was no longer warm enough for us to spend time in the trailer, and we couldn’t do any more outside work, so the trailer was closed up for the winter.

When it was finally warm enough, we replaced the two roof vents which had been leaking, adding an electric fan to the main room one. Because we had taken down the ceiling insulation due to water damage, we were able to run some electrical to the vent. The bathroom vent was a standard replacement.

Finally, we replaced the cushion foam and fabric for the dinette and couch. The foam was 4″ 2.2 lb foam, and the fabric was upholstery fabric from Fabricland. I used a vinyl on the bottom of the cushion pads.

Below is a before and after. I’m very happy with the results, they were worth the work and sometimes headaches!

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