How to Fix Camper Ceiling Panels

By Joanna Swanson

Camper ceiling panel damage usually comes from a water leak through the roof or the joint between the roof and the walls. This damage can be unsightly, and the ceiling panels will be weakened by the water and can fall down or come apart. A camper is built from the floor up, so the ceiling is built outside of the camper and placed on top of the side walls; to repair the ceiling panels, you will need to remove the exterior roof before removing the damaged panels.

List of Items Needed

  • Heat gun
  • Putty knife
  • Pry bar or hammer
  • Staple puller (optional)
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Oscillating tool with cutting accessories
  • Handheld cutting tool
  • Power drill
  • Camper ceiling panels
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Wood glue
  • Slide-in battens
  • Putty tape
  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses

    Remove the Exterior Roof

  1. Remove all of the exterior fixtures on the roof. Use a heat gun to weaken the roof coat that seals the roof around the fixtures. Scrape off the roof coat with a putty knife.

  2. Remove the roof moldings around the edge of the roof carefully with a pry bar or hammer. Save the nails for when you replace the molding.

  3. Remove the staples that hold the metal roof to the sidewalls with a staple puller or hammer. Carefully straighten the overhanging lip and gently roll up the roofing if you are going to reuse it. Remove the insulation from the areas of the roof where the ceiling panels are damaged and store it in a dry place if it is not wet. If it is wet it must be replaced.

  4. Draw a diagram of the roof wiring or take a picture of it so you can replace it when the panels are fixed. Carefully remove the wiring from the damaged area of the ceiling. Measure and mark down the locations of interior fixtures and remove them from inside the camper.

    Replace the Ceiling Panels

  1. Cut out the damaged area if it is small, using a reciprocating saw, oscillating tool with a cutting accessory or a handheld cutting tool. Remove the screws that attach the roof to the side walls from that area with a power drill and remove the roof. If you are replacing all of the ceiling panels, simply remove the screws from the side walls and remove the entire roof structure.

  2. Cut and install new wood roof rafters to match the originals, if any rafters are badly damaged. This can be done with any of your power cutting tools. Attach new ceiling panels to the rafters with wood glue and staples. Add slide-in battens to cover any joints in the ceiling panels.

  3. Mark the locations of the interior fixtures and cut holes so that they can be installed after the roof is in place. Cut holes for the exterior roof fixtures that go all the way through the roof, such as air vents.

  4. Lift the roof into place and replace the screws into the side walls and ceiling cabinets. Replace the wiring following your diagram and/or photos. Replace the interior fixtures and make sure that they all work correctly before replacing the exterior roof.

  5. Replace the roof insulation and place the metal roof back over the camper. Staple the roof back into place and bend the overhang back to its original location. Replace the moldings, placing putty tape between the moldings and the roof.

  6. Install the roof fixtures and coat the seams with roof coating to seal them. Allow the roof coat to dry before using the camper again.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wear safety glasses and work gloves when working with power tools.

© Demand Media 2011