Does Bailey Alu-Tech have water ingress problems?

Since their release, the Bailey Alu-Tech caravans have been a popular option for many caravan users. This can be put down to the quality and strength of their construction. They have an interlocking aluminium framework that works to clamp the body panels together. In the Alu-Tech caravans, the individual components of the caravan’s body shell contribute to the structure and strength of the caravan. This is not the case for other caravans, as their strength comes just from the floor and the chassis. The Bailey Alu-Tech is one of the most popular caravans that many people trust as this construction is the first caravan in the UK to introduce this more robust caravan construction.

Despite the Bailey Alu-Tech caravan being trusted by many caravan users, some users are skeptical about believing everything that has been said about the Alu-Tech technology. There have been claims that the Alu-Tech caravans experience leaks, and the water runs down between the main bodywork and the ABS trim panel and then into the corner of the floor. This can be quite problematic for most users as there is a chance this could encourage the development of damp. In this blog post, I will be looking into these claims in more detail.

This blog post will discuss the following:

What is Alu-Tech?

Alu-Tech design diagram. Image from:

Bailey first started using this Alu-Tech technology in their caravans in 2009. This was when the first sandwich construction body shell panels became popular for leisure vehicle production. It was the beginning of a new direction for caravan and motorhome technology. Through this advancement in technology, the Bailey designers wanted to find a better way to make their caravan even stronger and more stable. They created a construction system that increased warmth and dryness and offered a more waterproof caravan that was also more durable and robust.

In addition to all this, the Alu-Tech caravans are also known for being sturdy with an aerodynamic design without the extra weight. The most loved feature of the Alu-Tech caravans that have made them so popular since the 80s is their robust design and, as a direct result of the design, their ability to hold so much more weight than the caravans before them.

Issues with Bailey Alu-Tech

Bailey Alu-Tech caravan being towed. Image from:

Although the Alu-Tech caravans may seem like the perfect solution to typical leisure vehicle issues such as water ingress and damp, this is not necessarily the case. There have been many instances where Bailey Alu-Tech caravan users have noticed water ingress issues with their caravan. One of the main issues that appear to be shared among most of the Bailey Alu-Tech caravans is with the floor, particularly in the four corners. This is where most people experience issues, as people using online forums have stated that water tends to run down between the main bodywork and the ABS trim panel. It then goes into the corner of the floor. To better understand this shared issue users are having with the Alu-Tech caravans, I asked caravanners on Caravan Talk about their experience with Alu-Tech. User ‘Steamdrivenandy’ said:

“Many owners have few problems, but there have been some issues with water ingress, principally at the joint between the rear and the front panels towards the rear of the roof.  In a number of cases, the bedding of the cover strap over the joint wasn’t as good as it should be in holding back water. Having said that, the only wood (apart from furniture) is the floor, so the walls and roof have no timber to get damp and rot. […] In the current Discovery range, Bailey has taken a further step in reducing the risk of joint leaks as the vans are made from three panels, rather than the previous four, and there is no joint on the roof.”

I also asked users on Practical Caravan the same question to ensure I get a more accurate representation of the issue that Alu-Tech users are experiencing. User ‘Dustdog’ said:

“I’m a sceptic. All this Alu tech, super bonds etc., don‘t do away with the use of sealant. The salvation in some cases is that the super structure of timber has been replaced by composites. They are born to leak but maybe not cause such detrimental damage.”

Damp in Alu-Tech caravans

Caravan condensation. Image from:

Since the forum users all agreed that the bailey Alu-Tech caravans do indeed have an issue with water ingress, you may wonder if these caravans also have an issue with damp. When a caravan leaks water, it increases the moisture level in the walls and floors of the caravan, and over time this can lead to damp which can cause severe damage to your caravan if left untreated. This was another question I asked the users on Practical Caravan to see if the water ingress in the Alu-Tech issues can really lead to dampness. User ‘otherclive’ said:

“There have been posts detailing that some have had condensation problems in corners leading to deteriorating floor material, which is wooden and subject to rot. But the Alu-Tech has been in service now since circa 2010, and I’ve not been struck by what I would call a high number of posts regarding damp caused by Alu-Tech. In the main, it’s been the floor around corners and the normal caravan stuff of seal leaks. I don’t know when the corner damp first manifested itself, but I would be surprised if Bailey hadn’t addressed it.”

The comment from ‘otherclive’ and ‘Steamdrivenandy’ that I previously shared suggest the same about damp in the Alu-Tech caravans. Even though the Alu-Tech caravans do indeed possess a shared tendency to leak and collect at the corners of the caravan, this will rarely develop into anything as severe and damaging as damp. Unlike the early caravan constructions, the newer caravan, especially the Alu-Tech caravans, have been made with a minimal amount of timber. The walls of the modern caravan are now made with metal materials, and the only timber in most caravans can be found inside the flooring. This dramatically reduces the caravan’s risk of becoming affected by damp.

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