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Old 07-12-2015, 08:49 AM   #1
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1975 27' Overlander
Mission , Texas
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Plywood Alternatives

My simple understanding is plywood has evolved over the years. The following come to mind.

CD exterior
AC exterior
Special Type for making signs

Curious about further developments and considering I may have sub-flooring to replace one day I came across this

A plastic replacement for marine plywood. I'm sure there are others.

Anyone use something like this?

An alternative (perhaps nutty) idea is an aluminum sub-floor, but that could be expensive and strange to work with.

Comments ...

Thanks beforehand!

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Old 07-12-2015, 08:58 AM   #2
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the link you posted is Starboard. it is very heavy and i would not use it. plus you need to through bolt everything, as the screws will rip out over time.
There are also there light weight composite materials out there in a honey comb style, but again, i do not think they would work.
if you talk about aluminum, i used it for walls before, with two thin skins and styrofoam sandwiched in between.. but its not too good for structural flooring i believe.

I personally still prefer the Furniture grade 3/4” plywood. it is smooth on both sides. I always epoxy coat both sides and set all screws with sealer to prevent any water intrusion.


Resurrecting one Airstream at the time..
maybe one day i save them all
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Old 07-12-2015, 09:19 AM   #3
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I figured there was a reason nobody was talking about the plastic alternative. Shame as something that can't rot would be perfect.

Not sure if sign board is still made, my leanings are that, or marine grade, and minimum AC exterior - also as you say paint as well as seal any penetrations (with snow ski bindings the screw holes get a shot of glue first, to seal out moisture and act as locktite).

I've read posts saying leave the underside unfinished. The master painter who taught me house painting would say paint all surfaces or you'll be replacing the wood sooner.

Pretty sure aluminum ~1/4 inch would be just fine, they use it in aircraft.
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Old 07-12-2015, 09:19 AM   #4
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Do a google search, and you will find half a dozen threads that have beaten this horse before. Aluminum, marine grade plywood, and all manner of high tech materials have been discussed ad-nauseum. At the end of the day, the most important thing about plywood is keeping it dry, and preventing it from rotting (ie sealing it up).
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Old 07-12-2015, 09:53 AM   #5
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Yep ... exterior search works great, sadly sometimes I lose interest looking for specific information - so yet another thread about ...

Using external search I did find lots of front gaucho photos (here and elsewhere) which took some of the mystery out of my front gaucho not a gaucho.

The original gaucho is gone. In its place are standard bed rails hacked up and rearranged to create a support platform for the original plywood and cushions.

Aircraft and ships get away without plywood sub-floors subject to rot ... an Airstream should be entitled to no less.
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Old 07-12-2015, 09:58 AM   #6
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Which brings up a potentially frightening question ...

The divider "walls" between the bath and bedroom, and the bedroom and living/kitchen area, aren't exactly in their respective channels any more. Mostly the bottoms are flopping,

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Old 07-12-2015, 10:20 AM   #7
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The plywood that signs are made from is called MDO (Medium Density Overlay), I think it would be a good choice for floorboards
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Old 07-26-2015, 06:51 PM   #8
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I used Coosa Board for my floor repair. It is a fiberglass product primarily used in boat construction. It is lighter than plywood and completely waterproof. It cost about $200 a sheet. Replacing the floor in a MH is pretty involved and I wanted to be sure I never had to do it again. The down side of Coosa Board is that it will not hold screws like plywood will.
At the end of the day I think plywood would be fine for most installations. The reality is you need to keep the exterior water tight. Even with the Coosa floor
I still have to be concerned about the carpet and the cabinets etc..
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Old 07-26-2015, 10:37 PM   #9
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Ordinary plywood fully waterproof coated on all sides with West System, MAS, or equivelent marine epoxy (and paint if exposed to UV) is sufficient to make ocean going boat hulls...marine plywood offers no advantage for trailer flooring as it just has a water resistant glue and thinner plies with no voids but if allowed to stay wet will rot faster than common higher resin content southern yellow pine plywood. MDO and HDO will perform better than bare untreated plywood because it has a water resistant phenolic covering on the flat surfaces but the edges must be sealed to retard moisture absorption if used in damp environments. Wood wicks and dries primarily thru the end grain, not across grain, thus the need to always seal cross grain cuts if the wood is subject to wetting. Long lasting wooden boats have been around for years, it's beyond me why AS builds high end trailers with low end floors. Happy flooring, and camping.
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Old 07-28-2015, 09:22 PM   #10
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I used puck board (HDPE) for the troublesome areas on mine. only front and back 4 feet as it is heavy. It will hold a fastener same as plywood.Click image for larger version

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Old 08-03-2015, 06:26 AM   #11
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We are very happy with the Nylo sheet (composite recycled carpet) that we used to replace our front section of floor in Maxime! It's solid, strong, totally waterproof and light weight. No odor, expensive but won't have to worry about this area again..
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Old 08-03-2015, 07:20 AM   #12
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There is an aluminum clad plywood that can be had for around 100 a sheet. It comes in 4 x 8 and 4 x 10 foot lengths. Check out Royal Plywood. They make some pretty impressive panels for floors, walls and just about everything else. Lots of great ideas here.
When I was with the SeaBees, they had these panels they called AM-2 matting that would interlock much like laminate flooring. It was used for field expedient runways, and bomb crater repair. We used the panels for everything you could imagine.
When the time comes, I like the idea of coating the frame in Zinc Chromate, and putting the aluminum side down. It wouldn't weigh more than an equivalent marine grade panel and I guess it would make your AS an Heirloom too.
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Old 08-03-2015, 07:37 AM   #13
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HDO sign board. Same as they use on highways. Just like plywood just treat the sawed edges and a coat of whatever. carl
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Old 08-03-2015, 07:51 AM   #14

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Know folks who have used this for boat flooring....


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