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Suggested reading on this subject
British Caravans 1919 - 1959
British Caravans from 1960
Motorhomes - The History
RVs & Campers 1900 - 2000
The Gypsy Caravan
History of the Caravan
Century Camping & C'vng Club
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More on the restoration of a rare fibreglass folding caravan

Portafold Caravan Restoration.

Part 7 of the restoration to a classic fibreglass folding 'van.

The next few days were spend sorting out some small draw bar items, the step, the lighting plug holder, jockey wheel cleaning and fixing before the interior would be tackled.

The interior was painted in the most part by me soon after we bought the Portafold, in a light cream household emulsion. This was not surprisingly rather tired looking.

The base area was glossed and never painted by me before, the roof which was flaking badly, was stripped of emulsion last year and was a long and horrible job. If you ever have a Portafold, never emulsion the roof interior. It gets damp from condensation, flexes too much and soon cracks and flakes. The worse bit is trying to get it all off.

Last year I used a pressure washer to break up the emulsion and most of it was blasted clear. I spray painted cellulose primer onto it so it was now ready for some gloss. For the sides we bought some ‘lemon squash’ kitchen and bathroom ‘mid sheen’ mould resistant emulsion made by Crown. Very nice thick, creamy paint this and it went on well with a small long pile roller. I used a half inch brush for the edges and difficult to get at areas. After three coats it looked rather nice.

The gloss painted base units were next, a good clean then sanding using a mouse sander, wipe down with a tack rag and it was ready for re-glossing. We decided on International ‘summer haze’ Tile Gloss, which is supposed to give good adhesion. A combination of half-inch brush and a gloss foam mini roller were used and in an evenings work was done. The next day I opened up the windows to let some air in and it looked better than I hoped.

With this done I next rubbed down and glossed the interior window pelmets the same Summer Haze colour as the base units. It was a little thin looking so gave it another roller coat the next evening in the garage, which at this time (22nd July) was rather warm.

The next job on the long list was to paint the door opening and two ‘stable’ doors the same colour as the base. A clean off, rub down, and it was ready for roller and brush painting like the base.

Once that little lot was done we took off the roof, placed it upside down on the lawn and gloss painted it using a small foam roller and a brush using more of the summer haze tile gloss. This was a long and painstaking job as it took 2.25 litres of this paint over three days to cover and at £10 a 750ml tin, rather expensive.

Once dry it was put back onto the van already folded down, erected and left with the windows open during the day to harden and drive out the smell of gloss paint. This took a long time, in fact, about 8 days to get to an acceptable level so if you have to do this make sure you leave plenty of drying time before having to sleep in it!

This article is spread over 8 pages: Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8


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