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Old 12-03-2008, 03:24 PM   #15
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These Nyloboard specs are all greek to me but they may help you.
Nyloboard-Technical

I think you should go with ever you feel will best fit your needs. I am happy with nyloboard so far. It is tight holds the weight and feels and works like plywood. I still have some in the backyard and I will use for something. It just lays out in the grass and stays perfect.

Brian
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Old 12-03-2008, 06:55 PM   #16
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I'd prefer to use plywood and have done so in my 1966 projects. Plywood still represents the best overall choice when considering price, durability, strength, etc. My problem was replacing the last 4 to 5 feet of sub-floor in the rear of my 1985 Excella. The perimeter floor channel is significantly different in design from the simpler one used in 1966. Floor replacement in older Airstreams is easier.

The '85 floor used 5/8" OSB and the floor channel was designed to accept only 5/8". A thinner material would fit loosely and move around. A thicker material cannot be installed. Because of the floor channel design, large single pieces of plywood or OSB, even if you could find them in 5/8", cannot be slid, pounded, or coerced into place. At least I wasn't able to do so cause I tried.

So, the flexibility of Trex was actually helpful because it could be bowed. That allowed insertion of the end of the board into the floor channel. All the other materials mentioned in this thread likely would not have worked for me because they are all rigid, and not flexible. Likewise they come in sheets, whereas Trex comes in boards and that too assisted in reconstruction. I can report that after towing for several thousand miles I've not had any structural problems using the Trex board subfloor.

All of the characteristics of Trex are moot points though if you are doing a frame off restoration, or even just a section of flooring in an older Airstream because then the subfloor can be replaced with sheet materials or in a frame off, using thicker materials. Older Airstream design provides more 'wiggle' room, because the new subfloor goes under the floor channel, but in the later design the subfloor goes "into" the floor channel.
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Old 12-03-2008, 07:03 PM   #17
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Floor channel design

Here's a drawing I made that goes with the article that will be in the Vintage Advantage (should arrive in mailboxes around Christmas). It shows the difference between the floor channel used in older Airstreams versus later (early Eighties to present day I think - I've not yet been able to nail down specific years).
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:33 PM   #18
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It will not work! Is's not made for the strength needed and way to many joints but we at Vinstream "DO USE ALUMINUM INTERLOCKING FLOORING!!!) http://www.vinstream.com/aluminum-chassis.html

We also replace the all steel frame with aluminum!

Vin...
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:28 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by imeynstein View Post
A long time ago, I had read in a thread that someone had used some type of marine fiberglass type of flooring...This flooring looked like what people use as a cutting board--white---, but the flooring did not warp, bend, buckle, or shrink....I am sure it has to be pretty expensive though...does anyone else remember this information???
I have used Starboard in several marine projects. It is not fiberglass, it is a polymer. There are other similar products now on the market I believe.

King Plastic Corporation

You are right, it is not cheap. You can find it at West Marine.

West Marine: Starboard Poly-Sheets Building Material Product Display
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:37 PM   #20
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Vin,

It's been my experience that there are almost always a dozen different approaches to solving problems. Some are better than others no doubt, but as the old saying goes, "there's more than one way to skin a cat." Your way is expensive, likely beyond the means of many, if not most, Airstream owners. To quote your web site, "All of [your] restoration work begins with a full body off frame restoration." Your all aluminum chassis appears to be your main selling point. The cost, not stated, but likely more than the cost of a new trailer. Right? And that's fine, I wish you well and success in your endeavor.

The method I described is for hobbyists and DIY'ers on limited budgets. My repair can be done in a driveway without having to drop the pan. Dismantling the Airstream is kept to a minimum. Total cost for materials was about $300. What would you charge? A small fortune, and no doubt that motivates you to condemn other's efforts.
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Old 12-03-2008, 10:03 PM   #21
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Forrest in your restorations have you treaded the ends of the plywood? I have read people fiberglassing the ends, sealing them with epoxy sealers etc, curious how those have stood the test of time (Floor work is in our future on the 63).
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Old 12-03-2008, 10:50 PM   #22
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Scott & Megan,

The fiberglassing of damaged areas works well. I've done that in a couple of areas, most notably a 2' x 3' area in front of the entry door. But this really only works if there is some wood left to work with. The whole point of fiberglassing the floor is to reinforce the wood that's left. Sometimes a small area doesn't require the fiberglass mat, just the epoxy. Some DIY'ers thin the epoxy, drill or poke small holes in the damaged wood and pore and work the epoxy into the wood. Fiberglassing can be messy though, and you must ventilate the area well. It is a little expensive too.

If you are going to replace your entire floor or a sizeable area with plywood I don't feel it necessary to fiberglass or epoxy the edges. It works well, but I just don't think it's worth the effort. If you want to do something to protect the wood I think a good oil based floor paint will give you the most bang for the buck. Paint the underside, the edges and the top 6" in from the edges. In other words paint the perimeter. Water damage most often is confined to the outer edge of flooring. An oil based paint penetrates the wood somewhat and is fairly durable. A $10 gallon of it goes a long way.
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Old 12-04-2008, 12:11 AM   #23
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http://www.vinstream.com/aluminum-chassis.html---I tried to visit this link and it was broken.....
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Old 12-04-2008, 06:09 AM   #24
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As a retired custom home builder I've had excellent results with
Advantech and recommend it highly. It's heavy but I feel it to be the best thing to come along since sliced bread and would use it without question. Check it out.
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Old 12-04-2008, 09:35 AM   #25
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Great ideas!

Thanks for all the good info and perspectives!
I like hampstead38's view that plywood installed correctly will last a long time (40 years).
From reading posts it seems the biggest problem area is of the condensation on the inner wall/outer skin. Second biggest problem is plumbing leaks. Am I correct on this? I do not have any experience.
Has anyone tried and aluminum flashing under the U channel, out to the edge of the plywood and down? It would have to go up an little on the inside of the U channel and all penetrations sealed with something like RTV.
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:28 PM   #26
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Based on our Overlander, I would say the biggest issue is usually the bathroom floor. The "rotted floor" issue comes up over and over on the forums. I would say the second biggest problems is leaking. Window gaskets get hard. The door gasket gets hard, then breaks away entirely. Carpet tends to "trap" the moisture against the floor. After we had the Overlander at the house, I would go out after a rain and look for the damp places. Except for the basement, every damp spot was over a rotten piece of floor. And don't underestimate the problem of awnings creating water problems or leakage from the furnace/cooktop vent or fridge vent.

I pulled section of floor out to make a few temporary repairs. Nothing major, but I didn't notice rot specific to the wall edge. Of course, that could be related to the use or nonuse of the Overlander in the 40 or so years before we bought it.

Based on conversations with guys who do subfloors in Airstream, my impression is that they do some kind of coating or treatment on the exposed edges. I'm not sure how the flashing idea would work. My general thought is that if you install high quality plywood or OSB or a similar product, the main trick is to keep it dry. One concern I have about OSB is that when exposed to moisture, the edges can expand a bit faster and I wonder if that would stress the C-channel. I'm not an expert, but I would be a little nervous about the moisture-related characteristics of OSB.

I'm still toying with the overlapping sheets of plywood idea to form a monolithic floor.
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:32 PM   #27
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You might want to keep in mind that based on experience, Advantech, when exposed to water does not change dimensionally one iota. Great product.
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:43 PM   #28
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My article on using Trex for floor repair is now available for download at: The Vintage Airstream Life » Blog Archive » Something is Better Than Nothing
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