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Old 09-16-2015, 02:50 AM   #1
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Hall closet floor collapse...

We installed an Elfa drawer system in the hall closet of our 2016 30' Serenity.



Turns out, the floor of this closet is not designed to handle very much weight, particularly in the back and sides. The floor of the closet is not supported with legs going down to the floor of the coach. The closet floor is suspended with a few screws going into the side walls of the closet. We found this out when the screws supporting the closet floor stripped out and the floor collapsed under the weight of our closet drawer unit.

I needed to rebuild the closet floor with supports going down to the coach floor... working around the water and furnace lines and conduits.

Ultimately, it all worked out just fine, as our closet floor is now very strong and solidly supported all the way down to the floor of the trailer - not dependent on a few screws into the side walls.

Just an FYI to anyone who may not know that the closet floor in some of these coaches is unable to bear very much weight! Airstream could have made the floor of the hall closet very strong, but decided not to. Good news is that with some woodworking skills, the closet floor can be very well supported!
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Old 09-16-2015, 07:05 AM   #2
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Went through this with our '83 27' Excella.


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Old 09-16-2015, 09:01 AM   #3
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Our '81 Excella had the same problem, I believe it was 1/4" plywood for the floor. I glued ribs to the bottom of it to stiffen the floor.

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Old 09-16-2015, 09:06 AM   #4
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Thanks for the heads up. Never thought of that. Our hall closet floor has the hatch to the water pump and the side to the shower has the access panel to the shower faucet. We may just keep this hall closet for hanging items. It's also used for long items such as floor sweeps and possible future stick-like vacuum.

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Old 09-16-2015, 09:57 AM   #5
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You should see how the vanity top on my SOB was supported. Or should I say, unsupported!

I hope a few little "support sticks" acting like columns from the bottom of the shelf to the subfloor help you out.
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Old 09-16-2015, 11:19 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ericpeltier View Post
You should see how the vanity top on my SOB was supported. Or should I say, unsupported!

I hope a few little "support sticks" acting like columns from the bottom of the shelf to the subfloor help you out.
Hi Eric... not a few little support sticks. I used 3/4" plywood in significant widths (with cut-outs to go over piping and furnace conduit) as support "walls" going down to the subfloor. Along the shower side, along the back by the wheel well, on the kitchen side, and at the front in the center. This closet floor won't be collapsing again! Worked out magnificently.
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Old 09-16-2015, 11:19 AM   #7
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The floor in the bottom of the closet in my Classic 30 is removable to access plumbing, duct work, and to winterize the trailer. It originally did not have enough wooden cleats around the edge to support it. It wood fall through while traveling. When I was at Jackson Center last September they put more wooden cleats in there so it stays put now.
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Old 09-16-2015, 11:21 AM   #8
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Organizing

The one big problem with organizing is that you lose quite a bit of "pack it in there firmly" space when you do it. Of course being able to pull stuff out without having to move 50 other things is handy too. And of course with the Elfa stuff you can SEE what's in each drawer. Also because you can see everything you don't re-buy anything thinking you've lost the original at the laundromat - or left it on a chair at a rally.

Like your setup. Me, I like hanging storage (girl thing maybe). But there in the back of each closet is six or more inches of unused space. I got some cargo netting and screwed it into the back of the closet... 2 pair of dress shoes which I don't wear often go there. If you fulltime, with your setup, you could put a tabletop ironing board on the side of your closet by the Elfa unit.

(I don't know about your model but the first Airstream I had had the closet floor on hinges - the water heater was underneath and that was how you got to the bypass valves. On the 25's and 27's the water pump is under the closet... I had to work on mine and wished this one had a hinged too. (Sorry to post that idea AFTER you'd screwed it in tightly.)

Anyway enjoy your modified closet. Paula
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Old 09-16-2015, 11:30 AM   #9
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m.hony and Paula: There are two access doors beneath the closet doors which open to the water pump, water lines, and furnace conduit. I can still access those items now, after installing the plywood supports under the closet.
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Old 09-16-2015, 12:36 PM   #10
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Holy cow, GOOD to know! I wonder if they shortcutted like this in the older models?
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Old 09-16-2015, 03:17 PM   #11
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Thanks for the heads up. We have Elfa drawers on the right but are just hanging coats on the left side. Will reinforce any way.
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Old 09-16-2015, 04:30 PM   #12
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'Furniture disease'... where you 'chest' falls to your drawers...

Glad you found a way to strengthen your 'support' system!
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Old 09-16-2015, 07:01 PM   #13
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Old 09-16-2015, 07:16 PM   #14
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Now isn't that interesting. Do you have any idea what type of weight you were carrying before it broke? I'm wondering not because we have a shelving unit in our closet, but we carry a 3-gal bottle of water in that location all the time.
Thanks

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Old 09-16-2015, 07:56 PM   #15
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Well, on one half of the hall closet in our 27FB we usually have a box with 3-4 wine bottles in it. On the other side, we often have a large bag of dog food - roughly 15 pounds. So far no collapse, but after reading this thread we'll have to take a look to see whether we're pushing our luck. Maybe we'll have to reinforce ours too, who knows. If we do have to go in there and the water pump is in that space, we'll take the opportunity to add an accumulator and rubber baby buggy bumpers in hopes of quieting down that silly pump.
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Old 09-16-2015, 08:43 PM   #16
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Now isn't that interesting. Do you have any idea what type of weight you were carrying before it broke? I'm wondering not because we have a shelving unit in our closet, but we carry a 3-gal bottle of water in that location all the time.
Thanks

Doug
Doug... I have no quantitative answer. But I know we were carrying more weight in the shelves that we are now. Some vintage cast iron pans contributed to the collapse, while we were traveling... road bumps no doubt contributed.

We are carrying a bit less weight there now, however with the reinforcement by simple 3/4" ply support, vertically placed under the shelf... it never would have collapsed, even with the heavier weight we were carrying earlier. The closet floor was held in place ONLY with screws driven into the walls! There were no direct vertical supports down to the coach floor, which is all that it takes to completely prevent a collapse.

Airstream intended the closet, primarily, for hanging clothes and storing shoes. We don't need the closet for clothes, we need it for general storage. So, our usage requires a well supported closet floor, which was easily done.

The fix was simple and powerfully effective. We could (though we will not!) load a LOT of weight on the closet floor now. No worries about it collapsing ever again.

As for the comment about Airstreams being poorly made, I disagree. This particular closet floor support wasn't well done, but I'm not at all painting the rest of the coach as being poorly made. I effected a great fix to this single issue and we LOVE the coach!
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Old 09-16-2015, 11:54 PM   #17
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Thanks DHart. I think I will look at installing your idea of the 3/4 ply running vertical. Did you run it on the 45 of straight back to front? Maybe a picture would make it easier for us design DIY challenged people....😀
We leave hear in a couple days for a 6-week trip so if I'm going to do this it will have to be soon

Thanks again

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Old 09-17-2015, 12:40 AM   #18
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Doug... no pics at the moment, but this is what I did.

The wheel well is at the back of the closet and the top/front edge of it can provide a small bit of support, but the wheel well material is thin plastic and not to be used for the bulk of support.

I precisely cut a sheet of 3/4" ply to run along the right side (up from the subfloor to underneath the bottom of the closet floor), with cut outs along the subfloor edge to allow water lines and furnace hose to pass through, that are lying on the floor. This piece includes a flange which also sits on top of the wheel well... sort of an L-shape. I doubled the 3/4" thickness on the flange which runs from the front to the back under the closet floor. This gave me a 1 1/2" thick surface directly under the closet floor - into which I drove two meaty screws through the closet floor into the top of the plywood.

I also ran a piece from left to right along the back...resting on top of the wheel well lip, which sits directly on the subfloor. And attached two thicknesses of 3/4" ply to the back of this piece, which sit on top of the wheel well, to add just a little more support and a nice thick profile to drill down into from the closet floor.

Then I installed 3" wide 3/4" plywood supports from the subfloor up to underside of the closet floor on the left front corner and another behind the center posts at the front middle of the compartment. These were held in place with two screws into the existing verticle surfaces.

All of this still allows access to the water pump and the conduits.

I'm sure other designs of support might be just as effective, if not more so. The tricky part is working around all the piping and furnace hose.

Lastly, I installed a 3/4" plywood trim piece above and below the front edge of the closet floor to prevent the base of the Elfa drawer unit from sliding forward or backward. The top of the Elfa drawer unit is kept from swaying around by steel wire securing the top of it to the hanger rod running across the top of the closet. It is all now rock solid.
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Old 09-17-2015, 01:13 AM   #19
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Wow... our hallway closet is much smaller, but I'm going to think twice now about what I put in it! I'll have to take a good look at it before our next outing.

I hope the vintage cast iron emerged from the incident without damage. I'd be very upset if something like that happened to any of mine-- I know from personal experience just how much effort can go into bringing one of those pieces back to life!
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Old 09-17-2015, 10:00 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DHart View Post
Doug... no pics at the moment, but this is what I did.

The wheel well is at the back of the closet and the top/front edge of it can provide a small bit of support, but the wheel well material is thin plastic and not to be used for the bulk of support.

I precisely cut a sheet of 3/4" ply to run along the right side (up from the subfloor to underneath the bottom of the closet floor), with cut outs along the subfloor edge to allow water lines and furnace hose to pass through, that are lying on the floor. This piece includes a flange which also sits on top of the wheel well... sort of an L-shape. I doubled the 3/4" thickness on the flange which runs from the front to the back under the closet floor. This gave me a 1 1/2" thick surface directly under the closet floor - into which I drove two meaty screws through the closet floor into the top of the plywood.

I also ran a piece from left to right along the back...resting on top of the wheel well lip, which sits directly on the subfloor. And attached two thicknesses of 3/4" ply to the back of this piece, which sit on top of the wheel well, to add just a little more support and a nice thick profile to drill down into from the closet floor.

Then I installed 3" wide 3/4" plywood supports from the subfloor up to underside of the closet floor on the left front corner and another behind the center posts at the front middle of the compartment. These were held in place with two screws into the existing verticle surfaces.

All of this still allows access to the water pump and the conduits.

I'm sure other designs of support might be just as effective, if not more so. The tricky part is working around all the piping and furnace hose.

Lastly, I installed a 3/4" plywood trim piece above and below the front edge of the closet floor to prevent the base of the Elfa drawer unit from sliding forward or backward. The top of the Elfa drawer unit is kept from swaying around by steel wire securing the top of it to the hanger rod running across the top of the closet. It is all now rock solid.
Thanks very much for the articulation of what you did. I will look into this this morning so I can come up with a plan

thanks again

Doug
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