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Old 06-09-2012, 01:44 PM   #1
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1973 31' Sovereign
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Temporary Fix - Rotted Subfloor

Hello all,

My husband and I just purchased a 31' 1973 Airstream International Sovereign at a very reasonable price. Of course, it came with some issues. The biggest issue is floor rot along the perimeter of the living room. It appears that the rot goes all the way from the kitchen cabinetry (perhaps extending underneath the cabinetry) to the couch and perhaps under the couch all of the way to the front of the trailer. We were planning on removing the couch and credenza and replacing the floor up until the kitchen however, after reading other threads here on the forum I am realizing how involved this process is. We did not realize before that the subfloor is key to holding the shell in place.

So... we have a problem. While we plan to do a complete restoration of the trailer in the fullness of time, we also purchased it as temporary living quarters for the next few months while we move to San Francisco and figure out a more permanent living situation. We are in need of a quick fix, temporary solution to our subfloor problem. We have, at the most, two weeks to remedy this. Any suggestions?

Any help would be much appreciated!!
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Old 06-09-2012, 02:21 PM   #2
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You could just cut out the really bad stuff and put new in. But you will need to replace the floor or be in big trouble. My shell started to slide off the floor where it was rotten on the edges. In the midst of a shell off now.

Or you could pull everything out and put 1/2" plywood down on top of the old bad floor. Some glued 1/8 inch stuff down in mine to fix a bad spot in the kitchen. But at some point you will need to take care of it permanently. most likely a shell off. it's more work to try and do it with the shell on.
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Old 06-09-2012, 02:31 PM   #3
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From what I understand you will be using the trailer as temporary living quarters fot the next few months. I'm assuming the trailer will remain stationary in one place for that time. If so then just leave it alone, it lasted 38 yrs so it will last another few months until you can get into the restoration after you have permanent digs.
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Old 06-09-2012, 02:37 PM   #4
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Jason,

After reading your reply I am leaning towards leaving the original floor in place and gluing a thin sheet on top, as you suggested. That way whatever is keeping the shell on right now will be left in tact until we are able to permanently replace it. I had not thought about this solution before. It makes sense!

We have been wanting to restore/customize a vintage trailer for a long time now, and do intend to go all out when we are able. I hate wasting time and money on temporary solutions, but you've gotta do what you've gotta do sometimes.
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Old 06-09-2012, 02:42 PM   #5
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wasagachris,

I agree. What I forgot to mention is that the carpet definitely needs replaced. When you pull up the carpet there is a spot near the door where you can basically put your fist through the subfloor. What do you think about Jason's suggestion of just putting a sheet of 1/8" plywood down and installing a cheap, temporary flooring solution like linoleum over top until we can get more involved?
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Old 06-09-2012, 06:37 PM   #6
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Temporary Fix - Rotted Subfloor

Greetings bolasonboard!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bolasonboard View Post
wasagachris,

I agree. What I forgot to mention is that the carpet definitely needs replaced. When you pull up the carpet there is a spot near the door where you can basically put your fist through the subfloor. What do you think about Jason's suggestion of just putting a sheet of 1/8" plywood down and installing a cheap, temporary flooring solution like linoleum over top until we can get more involved?
This wouldn't be appropriate where the existing subfloor is completely rotted through, but might provide a good solution to the wood that isn't totally lost. Several members have reported success in using "wood consolidants" that are used in restoring Vintage homes. A Forum search for "floor repairs" or "wood consolidants" might turn up one or more of the threads focusing upon use of consolidants.

The bad spot near the entry door is comparatively common, and has been addressed in floor repair threads. Usually a square or rectangular patch is made that spans the distance between two frame members with additional supports added to the edge of the existing subfloor. I suspect that a luan underlayment would not be sufficient to cover a spot of any size that is fully rotted.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 06-09-2012, 08:53 PM   #7
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You could also get a sheet of steel to put down over the hole. It would leave a much smaller lip than plywood. It would most likely stay put and you could use it to make outriggers later (which it sounds like you'll need plenty of) :-)
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:20 PM   #8
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Thank you, everyone for your help!
We have decided to cut out the bad spots and patch the subfloor as Kevin (or overlander64) described. We are then going to install an inexpensive wood laminate flooring until we can get more involved in the restoration.

Thanks again!
Mindy
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