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Old 10-19-2016, 01:28 AM   #1
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Tyvek, vapor barriers and sealants for floor. What works best?

What do you folks think about using something like Tyvec siding cover or some other similar product on the perimeter of the plywood to prevent moisture from seeping into the ends? I'm doing a full-Monty on a 73 Streamline Crown Imperial and although I'm still wrestling with welding up frame repairs I want this thing to be damn near a submarine when I'm done. Any other ideas for making sure the wood is a rot resistant as humanly possible? What kinds of sealants do you recommend?
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Old 10-19-2016, 07:58 AM   #2
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A good poly spar varnish (which will flex) applied all the way around, a foot or so in from, out to, and on the edges, both sides, four or five coats. We used 3/4-inch marine grade plywood. There is a wealth of info on these forums about this issue.
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Old 10-21-2016, 08:47 PM   #3
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We are in the middle of a restoration. We plan to coat 3/4" plywood (not marine) with epoxy, including all edges. I read that 1.5 gallons should do my 34'. There are so many opinions on how the floor should be done though, I doubt you will find the straight forward answer you're looking for.
Composite plywood would probably be ideal if it's in your price range.

As far as sealants, check out this thread:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f456...ry-116214.html
I've also heard that Seamermate works well and is available at any hardware store
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Old 10-21-2016, 09:52 PM   #4
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My entire floor is regular exterior grade bc plywood encased in several coats of west system epoxy. Very happy with the result, especially after some of the leaks we had.

I installed some butyl membrane called Protecto Wrap around the rear edge of the subfloor where water tends to penetrate behind the bumber. It's made for sealing the rough openings of windows in houses. You can buy it at the big box hardware store. I think that's better than Tyvek because it actually sticks to the wood, which should help prevent moisture getting trapped between the membrane and the wood.
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Old 10-21-2016, 10:40 PM   #5
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I also used 3/4 inch marine grade plywood. Then I painted both sides and all exposed edges with oil based porch paint. And as a last measure, I also wrapped the edges of the sub-floor with the butyl rubber window wrap. Lastly, I covered the horizontal surfaces (top of the rails and stringers) of the frame with strips of the butyl rubber window wrap, so if any water or moisture would get trapped between the sub-floor and the frame, it will not rust the frame. The frame itself was sand blasted and then epoxy coated / painted.
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Old 10-21-2016, 10:59 PM   #6
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Tyvek and other building membranes are porous (vapour open) to allow for trapped moisture to escape from wall cavities and won't necessarily keep moisture from the wood subfloor. Vapour barriers are another animal altogether.
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Old 10-22-2016, 01:22 PM   #7
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Ah, to live in perfect world, where we we fixed a problem it was fixed forever!

I think it would impossible to absolutely seal down a Tyvec (or any other plastic) sheet to so that it never, ever came up, got a hole, was rubbed wrong, cracked or flexed apart. Then, even the slightest amount of water that got in would stay in! Rot and Mildew, your table is ready!

In my opinion, you want the faces of the new ply to breathe, but the edges to be impervious to water soaking in. Airstream has thoughtfully provided a joint in the skin right at floor level in my trailer, and made sure that water wouldn't be left out by adding a trim piece on the outside to trap and funnel any stray drops inside.

To answer your question, I would suggest using a penetrating epoxy on the edges. This thinned down epoxy is usually used to try and restore rotted wood. I've found that epoxyproducts.com delivers great coatings, and have used their products for years. You know it's a quality item, because they obviously spend their money on R&D, not on website design.

For an absolute overkill answer, if you're going shell-off, install old-school Linoleum, or the like. This comes in a huge roll, so it would be a single sheet, no place for water to get through! Before the fastidious pooh-pooh this idea, check out the work done by Winick in "Custom Airstream Interiors". It's gorgeous!
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Old 10-22-2016, 02:08 PM   #8
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I seem to recall an Airstream article that showed they put a plastic sheeting barrier around the edge before attaching the aluminum channel. Sounds like a really good idea for protecting the outer edge that is exposed somewhat inside the banana wrap.
JCW
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Old 10-22-2016, 02:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCWDCW View Post
I seem to recall an Airstream article that showed they put a plastic sheeting barrier around the edge before attaching the aluminum channel. Sounds like a really good idea for protecting the outer edge that is exposed somewhat inside the banana wrap.
JCW
That same plastic will also prevent water inside from escaping and will trap water against the wood. Best treat the wood to prevent it from absorbing water in the first place because the water will find a way inside the trailer and the floor assembly.
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Old 10-22-2016, 03:27 PM   #10
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I used 5/8 ACX plywood as recommended by several forum members, the I coated the edges in 2 feet with Smiths Penetrating Epoxy.
I made a couple sample pieces and threw them outside under the eve on the north side of my garden shed. A year and a half later in all kinds of Michigan weather there is no sign of damage to the wood at all. I'm happy with that result.
My new trailer floor will out live me.
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Old 10-22-2016, 11:47 PM   #11
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Curiosity got the better of me

In all the above posts, are you writing about restoring your older AS, as my brand new one is presently in the shop having new floors put in due to rotted floors. Is this really common in AS???
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Old 10-23-2016, 05:13 AM   #12
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What I've been told is "they all leak".
Mine is a 67 and the floor at the perimeter was literally powder.
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Old 10-23-2016, 11:46 AM   #13
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Yes, they all leak. Multiple sheets of aluminum, punctured by thousands of rivets, several windows, hatches and a door. Even with sealant, something will eventually fail. Even without leaks, condensation on the interior skins can be a problem. Each aluminum rib is a thermal bridge which compounds the problem. The best you can do is monitor and repair leaks before they cause damage.
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Old 10-23-2016, 12:06 PM   #14
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We used Coosa board instead of wood on our '62 GT. A marine product. Expensive, but, will never have to replace. Ever. Worth the expense. Though I complained about it at the time.
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