The next step was to photograph all parts of the trailer that I would be working on. This could save one from wondering how it really goes back together after you’ve torn it apart. This seemingly unnecessary step will save even the most experienced builder a lot of headaches.
This includes all electrical circuits. I used a Sharpie to mark all of the trim pieces so holes and parts would line up perfectly, again.
Next use the same Sharpie to mark on the wall, near the ceiling where it won’t be covered up, in line with existing studs so you know where they are when it comes time to attach components. Many of these trailers’ studs and framework aren’t necessarily on center.
Insulating a trailer is a step that often gets skipped, but it is worth your time and money. As I type this we have single digits temps and I have been comfortably working on the trailer for a few hours every night with only a small electric heater—you’d be amazed how nice the insulation makes it.
In addition to the added warmth, insulation can also help keep the trailer in one piece during a few scrapes and bumps from the outside. By filling the 1-inch gap between the thin outer-aluminum skin and the studs, the exterior is less likely to be pushed in past the point of a simple pullout, and in most cases it could keep from needing a major repair.
I used 1-inch thick closed-cell DOW Styrofoam board that can be purchased at just about every box hardware store. Closed cell is important because it will not soak up water like a sponge.
Foam board cuts easily with a utility knife and fits into place like a puzzle. Make sure to use a straight edge or something that allows you to make the cuts fairly straight, as the knife can get away from you when cutting long distances.
You can use spray foam to get into tight spots or to fill gaps, but I choose to use small scrapes instead, which is just cleaner and easier.
Capt. Ross Robertson