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Old 10-08-2019, 12:21 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
2015 25' Flying Cloud
Lafayette , Louisiana
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 30
2015 Flying Cloud, Rear Bunk, Subfloor Damage/Soft Spot

Greetings fellow Airstreamers,

I could use some advice on a subfloor rot issue. I purchased new (5/15) and itís only ever been kept under covered storage. Perhaps a little over a year ago I noticed staining in the small storage locker under the couch, just forward of the refrigerator. It was very light staining but had a pattern that resembled mold. After scheduling & the normal appointment time, I made it to AS/Jackson Center for my appointment. This was the first item on my checklist - suspected water infiltration in that area of subfloor.

I am so scared of subfloor rot, I suggested that maybe the technician could just cut the linoleum inside the locker & have a look. Although I take very good care of my AS, I would rather have a slice in the linoleum, relatively out of sight, than the situation I am in now ... having gone home to Louisiana with confirmed subfloor damage.

My RV went from 9 months in winter, temperature-controlled, covered storage, straight to the factory for service, this July. One week later, I left on a planned trip and when barefoot, stepped immediately outside that locker, and felt a spot about the diameter of a baseball/softball that sunk underfoot about 1/8" or so. Thatís rot for sure.

The issue of how the damage occurred is neither obvious or known yet. It seems to be a mystery but I am taking it back to JC and my questions concern the fact that it will be at least 2 to possibly 5 months before I can get it there. The former because of Airstreamís typical appointment waiting time, the latter, my schedule.

First question is on the place in the floor where the rot is. Would it be a good idea to cut a slice in the linoleum now, myself, and prop open to get as much air in there as possible during the wait? Just wondering if that would help slow the damage. I cannot feel any soft spots anywhere else, but with little to no air there, Iím sure itís going to get largr.

Second question, I have the option of storing it during the 2-5 months here in Louisiana until the latest possible appointment (5 months) or bringing it to JC now/soon (having it winterized), where it may get looked at/worked on in 3 months or so, but hope that a much colder/freezing winter environment will slow the damage.

Thanks in advance for any helpful advice/opinions. I love my FC, Iíve logged in over 35K miles of adventures in it, the mere thought of subfloor damage frightens me!


Michael Siener
Lafayette, Louisiana
2015 Flying Cloud 25
2015 Toyota Tundra CrewMax 4x4, 5.7 V8
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:28 PM   #2
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1969 18' Caravel
Greenville , whereEverIroam
Join Date: Dec 2017
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So sorry to hear of your sub floor rotting. It is indeed a pain. But no need for fear or dread, it can be fixed.

First let me assure you that the fault for the sub floor rotting has less to do with your efforts to maintain it and much, much more to do with AS's decision to use Plywood as the material of choice, when other, better materials that will never rot are available. Plywood rots. Every AS trailer ever built with Plywood or (worse) OSB as a subfloor will rot eventually.

The factory can indeed repair the damage and make it like new (but not better than new) It will cost you a pretty penny. You can mitigate that cost by removing everything sitting above the floor you want to replace yourself.

Removing the material yourself has a few key advantages: you get to see how the coach was put together, and you'll know how to remove the interior whenever you need to in the future; and you save the labor cost and time of them doing it.

Now, note that many here on this forum have tackled replacing the subfloor themselves. It's a bit daunting, but doable.

If the factory does the replacement they will merely replace the plywood with more plywood, and you will again have rot sooner or later. With me, the floor the factory put in lasted about 12 years.

If I had to do it over again, I would use Coosa Board, a composite material just as strong and easy to work with as plywood but virtually water proof, mold resistant, bug and varmint proof and 30% lighter than plywood. It is also $200-$250 a sheet, vs. $40 for plywood, but, of course the material cost is a fraction of the total cost to replace the floor. It will outlast the rest of the trailer and you will never have rot or soft spots ever again. There are several threads here from those who are doing subfloor replacement and choosing to use Coosa.

So that leaves you with the same choice AS had when selecting materials for your subfloor, do you go with cheaper Plywood, or spring for the Coosa?

In any event, your trailer is wholly fixable and instead of dreading this operation, view it as an opportunity to make it even better than new.

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Old 10-09-2019, 10:05 AM   #3
2 Rivet Member
2015 25' Flying Cloud
Lafayette , Louisiana
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 30
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Hello skyguyscott,

Thank you very much for the helpful information, I appreciate it very much. If you have a minute & an opinion, I'd love to know if you were in my shoes (just noticed that small soft spot) would you go ahead and slice the limoleum & prop up/open to allow some air to that area while it sits several months awaiting repair.

Also, although I didn't speculate cause in previous post (trying to keep it brief), I am puzzled because although I had a front corner panel replaced by a AS dealer in the south due to a rock guard bracket that got ripped out, the factory service guy (in July) did remove the couch & examine the area where the subfloor meets that front corner panel & said he noticed no evidence of water there. I don't know if the refrigerator can possibly be leaking with not a trace visible from the inside but the frig itself has been great & seems to work perfectly fine.

The last possibility is something I have wondered about. About 3 years ago the day before arriving at the dealer for the work mentioned above, a campground had water pressure so high that when I turned it on, within a minute or so (I was standing outside) I began to notice water dropping on the ground from underneath the RV. I ran inside to discover that the tank flush valve-thing, underneath & behind the bathroom sink, had blasted apart and a piece fell inside the wall/to the floor area back there. Water was all over the inside of the floor, but I grabbed many towels and wiped up immediately. The floor is probably not airtight in the sense of water getting in, so I wonder if water could have gotten under the linoleum in just one small area & the nearly anaerobic environment there started the process of rot, which is continuing. Does this sound plausible to you? I am wondering about the cause since I am out of warranty, but I do carrya full-replacement value, comprehensive insurance policy and am hoping dearly that if the work gets pricey, they can jump in.

Again, thank you very much for taking some of your time to assist me!
Michael Siener
Lafayette, Louisiana
2015 Flying Cloud 25
2015 Toyota Tundra CrewMax 4x4, 5.7 V8
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:17 AM   #4
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2007 31' Classic
Gulf Breeze , Florida
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Water may be getting trapped between the thinsulate barrier and the plywood. You can drill a small hole in the floor to poke through the thinsulate which will allow moisture to weep out. Right now any moisture is being trapped under the plywood. How do I know this?Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1264.jpg
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ID:	353867. Yes it was hard but I did replace the rotten floor in the rear bedroom. Not with Coosa though.
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:44 AM   #5
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2009 34' Panamerica
2005 28' Classic
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This is very disconcerting. These trailers are not really all that old. Outside of the entry level trailers using OSB, are they using just plain old plywood?!

Didn't Airstream try composite flooring at one point in the Argosy line? I seem to recall them "painting" the edges of the subfloor after mid-2005, but in all honestly for the life of me, I simply cannot understand how in this day and age, at the prices these things are commanding, how Airstream hasn't gone down the composite floor road or at the very least a very good marine grade plywood? There should be zero reason for a 4 year old trailer to have floor rot IMHO, zero. Heck if the right materials were used (marine grade plywood), 20 years possibly, but 4 year old trailer, that's just insane. Composite would last even longer.

Airstream talks about not making changes, but improvements....we'll, this would be a great candidate for their improvements list. Especially with all the posts of leaks I've been reading over the years...even on brand new units.
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Old 10-09-2019, 02:05 PM   #6
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Marine grade plywood.... compatible with aluminum or creates oxidation (corrosion, rust)?

Airstream DID paint frame edges... with latex paint. Duh. Probably some enviromental concerns spraying enamel/epoxy/resin?

Problem is Airstream... or that "second best" is loping in at a 20 minute mile while Airstream is rabbitting in at 4.50 min?

Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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