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Old 03-11-2018, 10:04 PM   #1
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1970 31' Sovereign
Amarillo , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 6
Rug under everything!!? Why??

Hi Airstream Forum, -I'm renovating a 1970 Sovereign and as a first step, I'm removing a lot of the interior so I can get to the sub floor and see it's condition. I'm finding that there is this old green carpet under everything, and I mean EVERYTHING! It's under all the panels, the kitchen counter, all the bathroom fixtures including the tub and the toilet. It looks as if Airstream got the aluminum shell, frame and sub-floor, and then laid this carpet down before they did anything else, and then installed everything on top of it.

Is this common? Is this how all Airstreams from that era were constructed? To me, it seems like just the wrong thing to do, because what better than carpet sitting on top of the sub-floor is going to trap and hold moisture. But I'm wondering if there was a reason for this?

Can someone out there tell me if they have run into this? Is this common? Should I NOT remove it? What have others done about it?

Thanks for any help you can provide! -Dana

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Old 03-11-2018, 10:50 PM   #2
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1995 25' Excella
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Yep, that is how my 1995 was done.

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Old 03-11-2018, 10:53 PM   #3
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1974 27' Overlander
Baltimore , Maryland
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 786
That's the load bearing shag. It's part of an engineered system. Remove it at your own risk.

Seriously though, pull it up, replace it with flooring of your choice. Maybe wear a dust mask. Lots of interesting stuff got lost in shag carpet in the 70s.
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Old 03-11-2018, 11:40 PM   #4
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2002 19' Bambi
Lafayette , California
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Our 2002 has carpet under nearly everything except the bath area. It was a lot easier for the factory to install the carpet before the cabinets. No fitting required!

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Old 03-12-2018, 02:47 AM   #5
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
Long Island , New York
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Originally Posted by DanaHubbard View Post
. . .
But I'm wondering if there was a reason for this?
. . .
Corporate profits valued more than consumer satisfaction and long-term fidelity to the Airstream brand.

Short-sighted IMO, just like the current QC problems.

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Old 03-12-2018, 08:56 AM   #6
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1970 31' Sovereign
Amarillo , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 6
Thanks everyone. I appreciate knowing that even more recent models have this. One thought I had was that it may make them quieter...??

I think I will continue to pull it out unless I hear from someone who says I should not for some reason. I may place small pieces of thin wood at strategic locations to keep the spacing correct and that would let the wood sub-floor breath and stay dry.

If anyone has had experience with this, I would love to hear what you have to say. Thanks, -Dana
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Old 03-12-2018, 10:09 AM   #7
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1969 31' Sovereign
McCall , Idaho
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 42

Our 1969 Sovereign has the same carpet issue. Maybe a insulation issue?
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Old 03-12-2018, 10:13 AM   #8
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1991 35' Airstream 350
Barry's Bay , Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 152
It is the practice of the industry
It is more cost effective to cover the entire floor rather than place cabinets etc. on it, then have to trim around everything
You can take all or some of it out
Not a problem !!!
Howard and Ann Schutt
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Old 03-12-2018, 10:25 AM   #9
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1969 23' Safari
Taos , New Mexico
Join Date: Oct 2014
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I'm living this right now with our 69. The original carpet as it was coming up on being 50 years old in this Airstream was literally turning to dust. It's amazing to me it lasted as long it did with four boys + my parents living in it for weeks at a time during the summers in the 60's and 70's. My Airstream is in the shop now getting new carpet, formica, and refrigerator. I pulled the couches myself (not hard) and we are now refurbishing the wood and the panels now. To the point made by OttawaValleyGuy the trailers were manufactured from the frame up and once the sub-floor is bolted on (sounds like it still may be this way from other posts) they simply glued the carpet down front to back and side to side. Then they (obviously) placed everything on top of the new carpet. For us we did find one rotted out 8X8" area under the curbside window at the front of the trailer and another spot just starting right at the front in the center. Not bad for 50 years! It has lived its life in New Mexico and Colorado which helps. But - for you - bottom line is there is no other way to do it right than to pull out the beds, couches, head, refrigerator, and kitchen and then piecework new flooring in the closets.
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Old 03-12-2018, 10:57 AM   #10
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1996 25' Excella
Tillsonburg , Ontario
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Carpet in the storage compartments works out to be both good and.bad. It provides protection to the sub floor but it also holds water after a leak.
Covering everything before installing cabinets is also done in residential settings in bathrooms and kitchens. Cost of a few extra yards of flooring is still cheaper than labour to trim around and then install moulding
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Old 03-12-2018, 01:44 PM   #11
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1970 31' Sovereign
Amarillo , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 6
...continued appreciation to everyone who has offered their experience and opinion. it sure creates a lot of uneccessary work getting it out from everywhere, but from what you all say, it sounds like the thing to do.
thanks again! -dana
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Old 03-12-2018, 02:07 PM   #12
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1988 32.5' Airstream 325
WhereIam , Left Coast
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 417
Ugh. Considering the rot options they add in for us, the price should come down because of this.
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Old 03-12-2018, 04:53 PM   #13
2 Rivet Member
Beverly Hills , California
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 24
Adding to the chorus . . .

Am on my 2'nd late 80's unit and both were 'shagged' from wall-to-wall (except for the front entrance and dinette / galley areas which were wall-to-wall vinyl).

From an economic standpoint, during construction it makes sense to lay the carpet first. As already mentioned, it will probably cost more to custom cut the carpeting and tack it down after everything goes in. Also, custom cutting will significantly increase waste which is another cost driver.

From a function perspective, makes sense here too as all the cabinetry will hold down the carpet as opposed to the need for the tack strips and stretching the carpet. Definitely a knee saving decision.

From a restoration standpoint, am seriously considering a frame-off to not only remove all that wonderful shag-o-riffic goodness, but to also replace flooring (PO's allowed a couple leaks to go for a little too long) with something better than the old particle board which expands when wet (before it decays).

If you do decide to remove *all* of the carpeting, just remember that the interior walls and cabinets will probably need shimming to adjust for the new lack of material.
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Old 03-12-2018, 05:12 PM   #14
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1972 31' Sovereign
Lexington , Minnesota
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 3,427
Most trailers of any brand will have flooring run throughout the trailer prior to cabinetry put in because it's easier and faster than trying to add it later. We did that with our trailer with the floating cork floor we put in prior to cabinetry. Much easier to do it then, and we were advised by a prominent AS renovator to do it that way. Definitely not cheaper, though.
Then, we added a piece of remnant carpet from the house back in under the bed. We store a lot of stuff there, and having carpet there keeps things from banging around when we're traveling.


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