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Old 05-08-2013, 08:55 AM   #1
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Question An alternative flooring material...

As some of you know the DW & I... are also "boat crazy"!

We have a friend who is restoring a 72 Conquerer, it needed the floor and transom supports replaced. He used a product from this Company.

Got me thinking about Airstream floor replacement.

Here is an email exchange I had with a product rep. It reads from bottom-up.

Bob

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks Robert.
*
How many trailers are they restoring?* We do have price breaks but it’s not substantial.
*
A couple things intrigue me about the process you mention below.*
1.***** First thing is the weight factor.* Thermo-Lite Board® in the same thickness as plywood will be around 30%+ lighter (3/4”x4’x8’ weights 52lbs).* Plus you need to take into account the resin they are adding to “seal” the plywood.* Many ambulance and bus manufacturers find this to be a key feature for better fuel economy and added payload capacity (success stories document attached).
2.***** Next thing is the fact they are buying additional raw materials and putting in extra labor to seal the plywood.* However, once a screw/bolt is used to fasten it down to the frame the plywood isn’t sealed anymore.* So, you can eliminate the added resin and labor cost by switching to our board because it doesn’t absorb moisture and will never rot (along with many other advantages which is discussed in the product comparison attachment).
3.***** As for the strength, our board will be tougher (absorb more energy before it breaks) because of its superior flex strength, but plywood is typically a little more rigid.* So, we recommend sticking with the same thickness that you are replacing.

Let me know if you need anything else and hope we can work together soon.
*Best regards,
*
Bryan Emerson, CCT
National Accounts Sales Rep
SpaceAge Synthetics, Ltd.
ISO 9001:2008 Registered
Cell 701-866-9041
Water Resistant, Fiberglass Reinforced Composites | Stringers and Transoms | RV Repair | Boat | Flooring | Plywood Replacement | Marine Bulkheads
*bryanemer

From: Robert Crosse 
Sent: Tuesday, May 07, 2013 9:01 AM
To: Bryan Emerson
Subject: Re: Contact us from web site
*
Bryan,
*
Thank You for your prompt reply.*
*
I was inquiring for friends on the Airstream Forums who are in the process of restoring their trailers. Everyone is always looking for a product to replace the PW floors that will stand up to moisture that can be a problem over time. Price point is a concern for most, cost vs benefit, most are now using a top grade marine PW then sealing both sides and edges with epoxy resin.*
But an alternative option is always being discussed. I imagine that your 3/4" product would be considerably stronger than the 3/4" PW option. Do you think that your 1/2" Thermo-Lite board would be a workable solution. The Airstreams use a monocoque frame with the floor contributing to the design.
*
Bob
On May 7, 2013, at 9:34 AM, Bryan Emerson wrote:

Hello Robert,
*
Thanks for your interest in SpaceAge’s Thermo-Lite Board.* Our tough series is what is most widely used for flooring applications when replacing plywood.* The price for a ¾”x4’x8’ is $195 (sanded one side or both) and if you need a shipping quote let me know how many sheets you will need.* If shipped to a residential address there is a $105 additional fee through FedEx.
*
Take care,
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Old 05-08-2013, 09:09 AM   #2
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I hope I never need to . . but sure am glad for options.
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:42 PM   #3
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When I replace the flooring in out Excella the future labor saving, peace of mind and all other benefits sure outpace the cost for this product. It only makes sense to go this route!

I happen to have access to laminated panels used in commercial aviation and will definitely pursue!

Thanks for the legwork!
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Old 05-09-2013, 01:07 AM   #4
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It seems that with all the water problems and floor rot that exists in our Air Streams, that this product (if it is all that it is claimed) would be a no brainer. Especially if you were going through all the work to replace a floor to begin with. A little more up front, but peace of mind for the future. Happy campers all around
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Old 05-09-2013, 04:48 AM   #5
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I always wonder about the structural properties of the items suggested as Airstream floor replacement. What about flexibility in cold temperatures? Or perhaps a material is resistant to rot but it has other issues that might somehow lead to problems. Nothing comes to my mind this morning but it is still early in the morning and I am not awake yet....
Sounds like an interesting material though.
Bruce
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Old 05-09-2013, 05:13 AM   #6
CLOUDSPLITTER "Tahawas"
 
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Thumbs up If anyone....

.....is seriously considering this product my suggestion, contact Mr. Emerson.

He was very forthcoming in his other emails, and I'm sure would be willing to share physical comparisons that could be saved or future reference.

Bob
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:04 AM   #7
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Very interesting alternative. The flexibility and thermal properties are indeed a concern. I may follow your suggestion and contact Mr. Emerson. Thank you for obtaining/sharing this info.
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:01 AM   #8
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Plywood floors getting/staying wet and rotting are a huge problem for us Airstreamers. How do we solve it?

Plywood redeems itself by being temperature stable, does not react chemically with aluminum framing and steel screws (if preservatives are not added), very strong, holds fasteners well, can dry out from both sides, and lasts forever if kept dry. We know what to expect from it, including the fact that it will rot if wet for a long period. That's the rub.

Composites sound good. Have other RV manufacturers used it successfully? Why not, is it all about being cheap? I would hate to do a shell off restoration for example, and learn later that the product has problems when used to support the Airstream structure. Or it off-gases near heater locations. That sort of thing.

I like to think (dream perhaps) it is possible to keep the Airstream plywood floors dry using regular inspections of seals and sealant, the integrity of plumbing systems, and probing into the floor itself with a moisture detection meter.

So the question is whether a floor repair/replacement would be better with a composite or stay with the plywood? Makes for interesting discussion, thanks Bob for the suggestion.

doug k
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:10 AM   #9
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Doug,

The website has some interesting applications featured. RV's and boats in particular peaked my initial interest.

Bob
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:18 AM   #10
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Lighter and cheaper than Nyloboard.

Not sure how it would take live loads in lightweight flexible trailers without fastener hard-points being cast into every binding point distributing the movement energy, ie: aircraft. In most Marine applications their product would be completely epoxy welded in place, in other transportation uses usually have overbuilt immovable steel frame (ie: subway, buses, coaches) and the other applications listed are veneers on static frames.

For weekend warriors commuting to regional events over good highways it might do well but I look at the abuse my 1973 27' took (desert and alaska) the plywood was the anchor that kept all the parts flying in loose formation.

Where I do see an inviting use is their 1/4" lightweight panel as the interior ceiling panel - insulating & lightweight and not installed as a structural component. They list maximum lengths as 14-foot, if they'd have a 16' length I'd seriously consider it on my project. Also inviting is using their lightest board as an interior veneer as wainscoting and partition & cabinet boards...
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Old 05-17-2013, 01:44 AM   #11
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replacing the flooring

I'm interested in knowing if anyone has actually used the flooring from the company in Fargo.

I have a 2009 23' Flying Cloud which we bought in 2010. One month after my husband and I purchased it, my husband found out that his cancer returned. He passed away in 2011. We used the AS on five short trips (due to his health as his cancer went from his colon to his liver, right lung and brain) and I took my two adult aged sons on one trip. Otherwise, it has been winterized for the last 1 1/2 years and now the flooring has continued to warp throughout the entire AS. There is no evidence of water damage at all. There was slight warping when we purchased the AS in 2010.

I sent an email and pictures to AS two months ago and haven't heard a word. One service manager at an AS dealer looked at my pictures and stated that its possible the glue was faulty when it was built but the two years have passed and its no longer covered under warranty. He said the fix would be at least $1,000 for materials and $1,000 for labor.

I'm interested in knowing how the product from Space Age Synthetics is performing. I've heard that cork flooring is a good alternative also. I would appreciate any comments or suggestions.

Thank you,
Mary
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Old 05-17-2013, 01:23 PM   #12
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Thank you everyone for your wonderful suggestions in regard to my flooring question.

I did receive a phone call from Dan at the AS Warranty Department this morning. He stated that my problem couldn't be from defective glue as the manufacturer of the flooring doesn't recommend gluing the floor. He said it was more than likely due to the temperature changes from winter to summer. He said to stretch it and staple and that should take care of it. I don't want to have to do this every one or two years so I may have to look for alternative storage or alternative flooring down the road.

Thanks again!
-Mary
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Old 05-20-2013, 05:17 PM   #13
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I put in engineered snap together. Only a few months but lining it.


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Old 05-20-2013, 07:47 PM   #14
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That looks great.

Please note this thread is about subfloor material.
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