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Old 08-03-2010, 01:47 AM   #1
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2001 16' Bambi
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patching a bad floor

Going through the same thing with my '01 16' Bambi . . . I got a sharp utility blade and went around the entire circumference of the floor and was able to peal the whole piece of vinyl in one piece - easily done - I am using that as a template for both a 3/8 inch plywood subfloor over the existing spongy subfloor, and as a pattern for the new piece of vinyl. My subfloor came out in great fistfuls of wet sawdust in a couple of areas - by the fridge and by the hot water tank under the bench seat - had some trouble by the front door like yours as well - after removing the loose stuff, I drilled a bunch of shallow 3/8" holes that went through most of the subfloor but not through the heavy plastic. There is a product called 'Rot Fix' that I poured into the holes and around the circumference of the rotten stuff - it penetrates the wood and hardens rock solid. then down to Home Depot for a gallon of premixed floor leveler. I had to put four layers in the bad areas to get them up to the same level as the rest of the good sub floor - letting each layer cure overnight. tomorrow I cut the 3/8" plywood from the pattern. there is enough room under the front door and around the cabinets that the 3/8 inch will fit nicely - between the Rot Fix, the floor leveler, and the plywood, there won't be any spongy spots - at least that's what I'm banking on! If you want, I'll let you know - I'll take some pics as I go along this adventure . . . Peter
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:26 AM   #2
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We always love pics!
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Old 08-03-2010, 08:03 AM   #3
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Adding a full layer of 3/8" over a bad floor does not sound like a good solution to me. The way the floor of an airstream is tied into the body is an integral part of the trailer's structural integrity. Of course it will also make the trailer heavier. Is the whole floor bad? Then it should be replaced, which is of course a lot of work. Small sections of rotten floor can be replaced and is covered in a couple of threads. Penetrating epoxy resin is a good product for small areas of rot.
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Old 08-04-2010, 12:13 AM   #4
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I was going to go with 3/8" but it seemed too flimsy - I have kept most of the original floor, so this ply will go in top of the original, which isn't too bad with the exception of two areas - one around the fridge and one around the hot water tank . . . the drilled holes worked brilliantly around the door - its rock hard now. I'm a little twitchy about using screws to tie the 3/8 into the original floor - I would hate it to go right through the plastic on the exterior . . . 3/4" screws don't seem long enough and 1" seem too long . . . I am thinking of spotting liquid nails around and setting it on top of that, then sealing the perimeter with a silicone caulk before putting the vinyl on top, making the whole thing pretty much impenetrable to water . . . or tequila.
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Old 08-04-2010, 12:25 AM   #5
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The problem isn't that you're patching wood onto the top of a failing floor - it's that the failing floor is a structural part of the trailer when in motion. The way it ties the shell and frame together, the way it distributes and disperses loads... The repair you're making does nothing to prevent that type of failure, and you will shortly be looking at a rear end separation and likely frame damage as a result.

The only proper way to repair this floor is to remove the failed sections, or the entire floor, and replace them with properly tied in wood.

Anything else is a disservice to your Airstream.
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:38 AM   #6
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Life is a Compromise.

Ruining my Airstream . . . of course, there is always a balance between time, money, and expediency. The nice thing about the Rot Fit liquid is that it cures rock hard - harder than the original particle board (can anyone explain to me why Airstream would cut corners on such an integral part, particularly if it is as Dave Park says that the floor is an integral part of the structure?) I can't really tell how far the floor was damaged without taking out the fridge, etc, which means in a perfect world, I would back the Airstream into an airplane hanger and strip everything out of it, as Dave suggests. As I want to use the Airstream in this lifetime and not having possession of an airplane hanger, I will have to compromise. Call me a blasphemous infidel, but I am going to try this method. Pictures are on the way, so i will have photographic evidence of my folly.
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:34 PM   #7
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It's not blasphemy

Basically, you want your trailer to be safe and "right" and you have a budget of time and money to maintain it. You know the limits of what you can support and you have to live within your means.

I think my take on it is, if you have access to a garage, you can remove the fittings, and uncover the entire floor in a weekend, replace it in another, and put everything back in another. The total cost for materials would be well under $300-400 for the wood - and if you sealed it and/or addressed the leaks at the same time, you'd have a very good likelihood the problem would never recur.

I think what you're doing now is more expensive, in that it will need to be done again (the moisture isn't getting to the wood from above, so treating it from above will be just a temporary fix) and in that it will rob you of your confidence in the integrity and trustworthiness of your trailer.

If you lived closer, I would offer to help!
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