Caravan steps are a vital part of making your access in and out of your caravan easier and safer, especially for older generations and children. You can find a number of styles but one common issue can be that they tend to sink when on the floor.
Caravan steps can often sink especially when they are on soft ground such as gravel or grass. To stop caravan steps from sinking buy a set of steps that are solid base and have a flat base, use feet to give the steps more surface area or use a board underneath.
In this article we are going to talk about why your caravan steps might be sinking and how to prevent it in the future.
What Causes Caravan Steps To Sink?
If you are a frequent caravan traveller, you have probably experienced the annoyance and inconvenience of sinking or unsteady steps. But what causes caravan steps to sink?
Parking on grass can lead to unbalanced steps even in the best of conditions. Dry ground can still be uneven and shifty, letting your stairs sink into the ground. Depending on where your steps are placed, some feet might be on a more solid patch of ground than others.
When some feet are more stable than others, your stairs become unbalanced and are prone to sinking on one side. This can be unsafe for those using the steps.
Parking on or near mud is another reason that your caravan steps could sink. In addition to allowing your steps to sink deeply into the earth, mud can be hazardous and messy. Muddy conditions dirty your steps, make a slippery mess, and increase the risk of falls due to uneven and unsafe stair conditions.
Parking on hardstanding is usually a better choice to prevent your caravan steps from sinking. However, even some types of hardstanding can still get soggy and shifty over time or with poor weather.
Aging hardstanding, hardstanding that has been installed unevenly, or is covered with mud can lead to unstable conditions just as with other types of ground.
Any type of parking site will become soggy and uneven in rainy conditions. Weather in some parts of the country can be unpredictable, and a site that was perfect when you got there can quickly become a muddy or sinking mess.
In summary, wet, muddy, or uneven ground can lead to your caravan steps sinking into the earth over time. In addition, the smaller the feet of your steps are, the more likely they are to sink into the ground. Sinking steps are not only dirty and unsightly but can also be a health hazard as vehicle occupants are more likely to trip and fall.
When using a ground sheet, the feet of your steps can leave marks, lead to rips, tears, and holes or even stretch out your gear completely to the point of needing to be replaced.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to prevent this problem from occurring.
How To Stop Caravan Steps From Sinking
Taking one or more of the measures below will help stop your caravan steps from sinking and ensure that you have a safe trip.
Select the right kind of steps.
If possible, see if you can change the style of your steps. As previously mentioned, the smaller the feet of your steps are, the more likely they are to sink. So if you can, try to purchase sturdy steps with wide and sold feet that are less likely to sink into the earth.
One popular option is the product line by Milenco which includes both single and double steps with wide rubber feet or a full aluminum tubular cage to better distribute weight.
Park on a hard standing.
Selecting the right kind of parking spot will also help to make the occurrence of sinking steps less likely. Whenever possible, try to park on a hardstanding site or at least not on soft, shifting ground such as sand, mud, or wet grass.
And when you can, plan ahead and select sites with reinforced hardstanding spots. A little bit of online research can save you the headache of sinking steps.
Try feet caps.
You can purchase some feet caps for your steps or try a DIY project. DIY options include hollowed out blocks of wood, PVC pipe, or even a few squished soda cans underneath the feet of your steps. Basically, look for anything that makes the footprint of your stair’s feet wider and sturdier, evenly distributing the weight better across all of the 4 feet.
Some caravan accessory sites even sell sets of readymade feet caps like this one by Kampa.
Make sure that you widen your step’s feet enough to make a difference, or the steps will still sink. And on extremely soft ground, even the widest feet will still sink, so consider other options like a large sheet of plywood when parking on mud or sand.
You will also want to test your hack and make sure that the feet are still solid enough to hold your weight without moving or coming loose from underneath your stairs.
Put a board or something solid underneath.
As mentioned in the last tip, putting a piece of plywood, wood decking, a ground sheet, caravan carpeting, or other solid surface underneath your steps can help too. Anything solid that can go between your caravan steps and the bare earth will help keep your steps from sinking into the dirt.
In a pinch, you could DIY a solution from all sorts of materials that you may have laying around your home or caravan.
Just be sure to test your solution before relying upon it to keep you safe! Make sure that whatever you put underneath your caravan steps is both sturdy enough to hold your weight and solid enough to stay in place without slipping. Be sure to consider what type of site you are parking on when selecting your material.
For example, a ground sheet (like this one) may be enough to help keep your steps in place on a solid hardstanding site, but you will probably need to pull out the big guns (plywood) if you are parking on a site full of muddy grass after a torrential downpour!