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Old 11-21-2014, 08:09 AM   #1
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Rotten floor 2006 28'

I have a rotten floor in my 2006 International 28' and have heard about others with the same problem. Leaking around the the rear moulding at the storage/bumper area. I went to Jackson Center, Ohio and saw other Airstreams in the shop having the floor completelt replaced. How many other people have issues with rotten floors and why don't they use Pressure treated wood to prevent these common occurrences?

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Old 11-21-2014, 08:52 AM   #2
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Rotting floors are a common problem in Airstreams (and other brands as well). I am sometimes surprised at how prone relatively new models are to rot, but they all have a chance to leak from any of the 1000's of rivets, hundreds of seams, and many windows, doors, and vents. It's the leaks that wreck your floor, so constant vigilance is required to recognize the leaks and to correct them before damage occurs.

Pressure treated plywood is not the answer. The chemicals used in the treating process are nasty indeed, and usually include arsenic in some form. So not only do you not want to spend a lot of quality time exposing yourself to absorbing these chemicals, but they tend to react really negatively with the aluminum, resulting in corrosion.

There are other ways to prevent/slow rot from leaks, though. Many of the folks doing floor repairs/replacements will treat the edges (especially the end-grain) and perimeter of the wood with several coats of poly or penetrating epoxy to make their floors more robust in the presence of water. Most also rebuild and seal the interface between the shell and chassis in the rear to keep the water from being channeled right into the rear sub-floor.

Why doesn't Aistream do things like this in the first place? I suppose it is because every extra step adds time and cost, and the cost of these trailers is already sky-high. I would also assume that They don't accept rotted floors in 8 year old trailers as an indication of their manufacturing/design quality. There are lots of threads on these Forums about Airstream build quality (and about rotted floors). You are not alone.

Good luck with the repair.

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Old 11-21-2014, 09:00 AM   #3
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Based on what I've seen at the factory tour, Airstream has been sealing the end grain of the plywood floors for the past several years.

You should use the search function to look for other "rotten floor" threads in the forum to see what you can learn.

As I recall from my casual and totally unscientific observation of this forum over the past several years, there may have been a "perfect storm" of manufacturing and design issues that caused a rash of rotten floors in Airstreams of a similar vintage as yours.
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Old 11-22-2014, 05:12 AM   #4
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Well, the good news is your subfloor can be repaired. Several handy Airstreams have described the steps they took getting the subfloor repaired. It's a big job, but it can be, and should be done. Dealers and the factory can do it too, but expect to pay handsomely for the labor hours. And the job is mostly labor.

A moisture meter will help detect leaks so you can react before your foot breaks through the rotted floor.

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Old 11-22-2014, 06:14 AM   #5
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The parts generally would be a few hundred dollars at most. The labor, however, would be the killer. If it takes a week's work to take everything apart, replace the floor, and put it back together, that is 40 hours times the hourly rate. $100/hr is a low average.
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Old 11-22-2014, 07:23 AM   #6
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Thor purchased the Livin Lite line of trailers last year. Hopefully, the aluminum composite floors used in this line will migrate to Airstream. With over 3.5 billion in sales last year, and 175 mil in net income, it's just a matter of will. I would not consider buying a new Airstream until this is done, as I consider the wood floors to be an anachronism.
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Old 11-22-2014, 08:13 AM   #7
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By the way, welcome yogijames! I just noticed you are pretty new to the Air Forums, and maybe the Airstream community. I'm always glad to have another person to give bad advice too! But it's free.

I'd like to agree with Robert. A more expensive floor system that resists water and maybe lighter weight would be a big selling point for Airstream. All Airstreams leak or are gonna leak so having a modern water resistant subfloor makes sense. It would add years to the expected life of an Airstream.

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Old 11-22-2014, 10:47 AM   #8
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I've actually done a patch repair in some rotten areas. It wasn't easy but certainly easier than a complete floor repair. Text me and I'll send pictures and details.
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Old 11-22-2014, 11:06 AM   #9
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If you think about the only thing that can really go bad in the Airstream and rot are the floors. And probably better the floor than have that water build up and cause greater damage from everything else that can soak up the water, along with mold and mildew.

That's my main thought about a floor that doesn't rot. Where will the water go if I have a leak, and how will I know I have a leak.

The rear bumper leak is the MOST NOTORIOUS for going un-noticed for a long time.
Family of 4 living, working & exploring the USA in our Airstream.
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Old 11-22-2014, 11:33 AM   #10
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Rotting floors

Seems like I read on one of the forums about replacing the floor with a product called Coosa Board (Coosa Mfg.). My new 28 has not started in to production yet and am thinking about exploring that possibility. Any advise, Gang?
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Old 11-22-2014, 11:35 AM   #11
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Old 06-09-2016, 10:37 PM   #12
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2007 Airstream Intl 28ft

I also have a 28 ft Intl with rotten floor in 2 soft spots, front and back and I feel this is quite common based on my research. I am heading to Jackson Center as we speak to get repairs done. I know the hourly labor rate is $125. Any suggestions to keep my costs down in the repairs? Any suggestions in getting Airstream to admit the flaws in the design and giving me a break on cost to repair. I just spoke to my buddy with a 2006 Safari - same exact floor rot in same places. I also read this website claiming they took it to the top of the Airstream food chain and got a trade in deal. These AS are way too expensive to have a floor rot issue that could not have been prevented.
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Old 06-10-2016, 03:25 PM   #13
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Jackson Center Service will do a great job repairing your damaged floor. Maybe you could save their techs some time by having the furniture removed so they don't have to bother with that. It is my view that Jackson Center might be less expensive than other shops because they are so experienced at it and know exactly what to do.

Welcome to Air Forums. Folks here have had many discussions on how Airstream should improve their design. Folks who rebuild their vintage Airstreams often select a more robust subfloor material and certainly take extra time and expense making the subfloor as waterproof as possible. I believe Airstream has made good progress through the years. Your 07 is better built than my 86. We all get disappointed when defects are found. What was dramatic to me was the RV show I went to last winter. After walking through many "some other brands" (SOBs), and then visiting the Airstream display last, I was floored with how much better built the Airstream was in comparison. It is just a different animal from all the rest in my view.

I see you live in beautiful Florida where there is lots of rain. The lush southeast USA exposes our Airstreams to more moisture than some other climates, like Colorado. It is vital that we owners check for moisture around the perimeter of the inside walls to the floor regularly. A moisture detector isn't that expensive. Mine cost $40 and I use it regularly. I'm on my hands and knees probing the floor. It isn't the most dignified position, like a plumber under a kitchen sink.

You can plead your case with the Airstream service personnel. They will sympathize with you and may adjust accordingly. But the cause of the floor rot problem is a rain water leak that wasn't addressed. We gotta keep our trailers properly maintained.

The trouble with our Airstreams is a rain water leak that runs down between the walls, or in from the infamous rear bumper to body intersection. The subfloor soaks it up and the rot begins. At least your 07 likely has a plywood floor where my 86 has OSB. OSB turns to oatmeal when it gets moisture rotten. I had a leak at an awning bracket, and I had a bad leak at a rear tail light gasket. Both caused some rot, and both have been repaired.

Have fun at Jackson Center. I expect they will treat you well.

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Old 06-10-2016, 03:48 PM   #14
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03 thru 06 seems to have been the worst years - it has improved some since then. The really big culprit back then was failure to seal around the bumper trim. Water just funneled in there - and ditto in the front though there wasn't a bumper to hold tons of water at that seam.

Getting them to take care of it at little or no charge 10 years later simply isn't going to happen IMHO.

I do agree that they'll do the job right, and you probably can insist that they throw in a free seal test - put air pressure inside and spray soapy water outside to look for bubbles.

IMHO the real cures would include:
  • having little drain or weep holes for water that does get between the skins to drain to the ground.
  • Getting rid of fiberglass or wool in the belly pan which holds water against the plywood (Later ones use bubble foil insulation, but it should still have small perfs to allow draining of fluid.
  • Perfs in the belly pan (take an ice pick and make tiny holes from the inside out so that water can DRIP out.
  • go with a non-wood floor - lots of boat composits or even aluminum
If you're paying someone to do the work for you, why not see what it would take to have it done with some kind of non-rotting material? (you could always buy it and have it drop shipped to the factory).

The idea that you're never going to get water between the skins - or spill it inside for that matter - is just foolish. I came within 1/4 inch of overflowing my shower by opening the black drain instead of the gray tank's drain. D'uh.

You can seal everything perfectly and get a leak in 2 weeks. The body of the trailer will flex - and a pothole will "flex" it rather violently. Your post reminds me that it's probably been 2 months since I went around the perimeter of my floor with a moisture meter. Lord I can still "git down" ... but "gitten' back up" takes a bit more effort.


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