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To Build or Not to Build? Should you Just Buy One?

Article by Steve Smith - Caravans Plus

This is part of a series of articles on building or rebuilding a caravan. You can find the whole series here: Ever Wanted To Build or Rebuild a Caravan?


To build or not to build That is the question. For most people it will be 'Not to Build'. That's because this is supposed to be recreation and it's pretty easy to just buy one that's going to be very nice. You then need to decide how new you want, we have some considerations below.

For other people the idea of building a van is recreation. Some people want to do the whole thing, others want to start with an existing chassis, or you can renovate an existing van. It's is something very achievable and rewarding for the average handyman.


Buying Brand New

For many people the choice will be a 'brand new caravan' found after doing the rounds of the dealers, comparing the layouts, styling, quality of finish and price of the caravans on offer. You can accept the trade-in value, or sell privately if you already own one.

Unless you find the exact layout and colour scheme at a dealer you probably need to wait for 3 to 6 months for a new caravan to be built. It will come with a warranty for the actual caravan, and a separate warranty for each appliance that will be provided by the appliance manufacturer or importer.


Buying Near New

Many will do the above research, then decide they can save money by getting a near new caravan, in most cases they will compromise a little on colour scheme, appliances and awnings that may be a couple of years old. But they may get some accessories included that don't come with a new caravan.


Buying an Older Caravan

Purchasing an older caravan should allow for some very significant savings. In the 'old days' caravans did not depreciate very much, but that has changed with lower inflation combined with the inclusion of many more advanced appliances that can be superseded fairly quickly.

Items to inspect here are tyres, brakes, suspension, stove, refrigerator, age of batteries, fly screens, window catches, cushions and mattresses, hot water systems.

Another particular item to look for is internal wall and ceiling water damage or staining. Look inside top and bottom cupboards that can hide water damage. Significant staining or ply damage indicates prolonged water leaking which can do enormous damage to internal wooden frames, and to structural ply sheeting for aluminium framed caravans.

Replacing internal wall or ceiling panels is a very time consuming and complex procedure. Cosmetic repairs that hide the damage are not advised for touring caravans, because both the walls and ceilings are structurally significant.


Build or Renovate a Caravan.

If you're one of the many people who are interested in building or renovating instead of just buying a caravan then you are in the right spot.

We have a big group of articles that provide a '10 Point Building Plan' with loads of practical information to guide you through the process.

If you are starting with a chassis or are renovating and keeping walls, you get to skip a few steps.

The main guide with all the links can be found here:

Ever Wanted To Build or Rebuild a Caravan?

Ever Wanted To Build or Rebuild a Caravan?

Building your own caravan is not as complicated as some people might think. Caravans can be made with fairly simple construction methods and the tool...
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    David

    Very helpfull, I have renovated an old wooden framed caravan, and taken it across Australia. In the process I learned a huge amount, a very rewarding experience

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