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Old 04-29-2011, 11:41 PM   #1
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Newbie needs soft floor repair advice

Hello all,
I've been reading the forum for hours tonight, have learned a lot, but I still feel the need to reach out directly for help and advice from those that have been there before.

I have a section of soft floor across the rear of my 2004 22-foot CCD. I bought it used last summer. It sat in an outdoor storage yard all winter. When I picked it up in the spring, I saw that it had developed a small leak that let rainwater invisbly pool along the very back wall, under the vinyl floor. This is a front-bed floor plan, and across the back is a writing desk on the curbside, and a wet bath in the street side corner. I am not sure if the soft floor extends beneath the fiberglass pan of the bathroom or not. I see it under the writing desk, against the rear wall. The floor seems structurally sound but is flaking on the edge in back. The moisture also supports some cockroaches who moved in, but that's a different issue.

I arranged a repair appointment with C&G Trailer Service in Bellflower CA (near Los Angeles). I towed it 2 hours on the appointed day, and they said a 1- to 2-foot section of floor needs to be replaced across the rear. He's not sure if the bathroom has to come out or not. They were very nice but did not honor the appointment and sent me away, asking me to come back in 20 days because they were too busy to start the work as previously arranged.

So I was assuming I'd have to go back and pay them $3000 to $4000 and wait 2 weeks while they worked on it. Because I read on this forum that they are very good. But I'm fulltiming in my Airstream while on a 1-year sabbatical, so being homeless for 2 weeks is a hardship.

Then I met a RV detailer down here in San Diego where I am staying, and he and his construction-worker partner said they could replace the subfloor AND put in a pergo-style laminate floor in place of the original vinyl one, for half of C&G's estimate.

Then I read about rotdoctor.com products on this forum, and wonder if the floor is intact but soft whether that would work instead.

So my request for opinions is:

Do I pay a lot and have the C&G pros replace the floor, which includes pulling out the desk and furnace, and possibly the bathroom, but reuse the existing vinyl floor (peel it back then roll it back when done).

Do I trust the general handymen to do a similar job and then lay pergo-style laminate on top of the floor throughout the trailer (which would look nice, but I wonder about all the curves...)

Do I instead hire the handymen to peel the floor back and use the Rot Doctor products to resolidify the existing plywood floor?

Or something else that you'd recommend?

thank you very much in advance,
--Lee
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Old 04-29-2011, 11:54 PM   #2
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Hi, the only handyman that is allowed to work on my trailer is me. Take it to C & G or another Airstream dealer to hopefully get it fixed right. Sorry to hear of any Airstream yet alone a fairly new one having floor rot in them.
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Old 04-30-2011, 02:27 PM   #3
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Thanks for your opinion.

1) Possibly related issue: When I level the AS, the floor is level in the center, but slopes down slightly on either end. (both the "dry" bed end in front, and the "leaked-on" rear end). Is this normal or do I have larger cause for concern?

2) Has anyone used Rot Doctor, or have opinions on using it for "minor" floor rot (floor softness that's in a contained area).

3) Does anyone have an opinion on laying a Pergo-style floor in an Airstream (laminate floating floor)

thanks again,
--Lee
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Old 04-30-2011, 05:06 PM   #4
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Hi Lee, I just started the process today. Mine is a rear bedroom and my leak damaged floor is in the front. Today I removed the fold out sofa and pulled up the cork floor that was put in by the previous owner. My leak was the window adjacent to the door. I sealed up the window about a month ago and have been keeping an eye on it to be sure that was the only leak. So far so good there. I pulled up some of the rotted subfloor today to expose the innerds and see what I had to work with. Of course I have some rust on the frame but the outriggers all look good. I hope to remove the subfloor from the left side of the doorway about to the middle and forward to not quite all the way in the front. My problem is getting the wood remenants out of the "C" channel. I'm thinking about welding in some support in the central areas. Anyhow, I plan to use the Pergo like floating floor when I'm done. I have used it here at home and like it. I wouldn't worry about the curves. Just have to work carefully. Making a cardboard pattern would be helpful. In a home installation you leave a space at the walls and cover it with baseboard. This is to allow for seasonal expansion. Would have to do that also in the trailer but I'm not sure how to cover the space. In mine the curved section is hidden by the sofa so no big deal. Have to think on that one.

I put a de-humidifier in and plan to let things dry out further so I can better assess my next steps.
Good luck with your job. I'm sure it will come out satisfactorily no matter which direction you take with it.
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:12 PM   #5
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Thanks for your good wishes. You are lucky you don't have to pull out the heater and bathroom on yours! I with you luck with yours and hope the damage hasn't penetrated further than you can easily reach.
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:32 PM   #6
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I'd find and fix all the leaks. I doubt there's just one. Then I may mitigate the damage with some Rot Doctor or thinned and slow epoxy and leave it. If the leaks are fixed so there's no farther damage and the trailer is usable, there's really no big hurry to rip it up and replace anything yet. Maybe the floor replacement can be done in the future at a more convenient time when the trailer isn't being used full time.
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:29 PM   #7
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I recommend you be sure that all leaks are resolved before you lay a laminate floor. Water will destroy your floor!

Good luck on your repairs. Personally I would have my Airstream worked on by someone who knows Airstream. Repairs sometimes aren't as easy as they seem to be especially to someone who doesn't know Airstream.

We Airstreamers are a special breed as are our trailers.
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Old 05-04-2011, 05:58 PM   #8
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The local guys came today to examine the project further. They pulled back the vinyl under the desk. We found that the floor water damage was not from the leak I had repaired last month. It looks like water has been wicking in over several years across the entire width of the bumper, being sucked up by the edge of the chipboard floor.
That's right -- chipboard. The floor is cheap chipboard. You can crumble the bumper edge of the floor with your fingers now. The water damage goes about 12 inches in from the back and across across the full width. So it goes under the bathroom -- across the full width of the trailer. I will have to go to an Airstream expert and have the bathroom removed, have the invisible bumper leak fixed, and have the ruined chipboard replaced with marine plywood across the full width.

Has anyone had a similar job done, and what did you pay for it?

Will my wet-bath bathroom be the same once they put it back together?

Is this a manufacturing defect, or is there some sort of secret bumper caulking maintenance we are supposed to do?

Sigh.

Lee
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Old 01-07-2012, 08:33 AM   #9
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22' CCD 2004 with water damage floor

I have my 22 Intl at Airstream dealer in Carona, Ca. They just moved from Irvine. We are accessing water damaged floor. It seems to be fairly extensive from rear desk area to front of dinette table? I was reading about the similar project you wrote about in April. How did it finish out? Were you satisfied? Any suggestions? And of course, how expensive was the repair?

Pat
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Old 01-07-2012, 07:21 PM   #10
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The bumper leak has been a problem on just about every Airstream model from the 70's to present and maybe longer than that. It is responsible for about 90% of external leak related floor rot problems in my opinion. I had to replace the last 4ft of the floor in mine but I was lucky enough to have a rear bedroom model so it was not as bad as it could have been.

Perry
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Old 01-08-2012, 06:59 PM   #11
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Pat, I wish I could tell you more. C&G Trailer read my posts on this forum, took offense for some reason, called me and cancelled my repair appointment. Since I had to make fairly elaborate plans to bring it in, and since I had already sealed the leak on the outside with semi-permanent caulk at that point (just to preserve it until it could be handled by a pro), and since it hardly ever rains here, I have not tried to find a different dealer or service center to do the work. Please let us know how it goes with your people in Corona. If it works out I'd be happy to bring them my business. Despite what C&G assumed, I am a good and reasonable customer ;-)

I can also share that I have heard through back-channel communication that others have been able to negotiate reduced repair rates with AS in Jackson Center OH, but (I assume) only if they agree to not speak publicly about it. I won't reveal any names, and I want to be clear that even though I heard this directly, the person(s) involved did not materially breach their (I presume) vow of secrecy. I don't like the way AS are operating, so I had to share what little I know with fellow owners.

This all leaves a very bad taste for me, and takes some of the happy shine off of the aluminum exterior of the Airstream mystique.

best,
--Lee

PS: Perry, I'm very sorry to hear that. It appears the leak in my 2004 could have existed from close to day one, but because the original owner always stored it under a roof, the problem did not show itself until it was stored outside, just a few months before I picked it up. If it had been stored outside longer, my area of damage might be as large as yours was.
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:28 PM   #12
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Hi, I don't know what happened, in the almost a year that you have been talking about fixing your floor, but I know Rod & Darlene [C&G Trailer service] would have done a great job on repairing your trailer.
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Old 01-09-2012, 05:11 AM   #13
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That rear section has to be done right because that is where the structural connection is between the body and the frame. I expect you need a shop that specializises in Airstreams to get it done right. I would also not let them put OSB back in and whatever you use it should be sealed on all sides and the edges to reduce water intrusion.

Perry

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Old 01-10-2012, 12:29 AM   #14
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Thanks Perry. I agree. I'd like to impregnate really good plywood with that marine-grade waterproofing sealant. I feel like the only real solution is a shell-off replacement of the entire floor, but I can't afford that.
When I first found the problem, there were no AS dealers or shops in the official AS dealer database for my area. It looks like AS has updated it with more shops near me now, which is great.
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