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Old 10-05-2012, 09:00 AM   #1
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Idea for rear flooring water protection.

I purchased a 1989 Excella 32'. Hauled it back from Michigan to Colorado. Most everything looks really great but discovered the rear floor was rotted out. I now have the bad floor cut out and the outside skin sealed. Ready to replace the floor with better plywood. Noticed that there are some heavy screws that go thru the channel/flooring and into the frame. I'm afraid of cutting these. They seem to be a major part of stabilizing the wall to the frame. Has anyone made up notched oak/hardwood blocks and driven them in on top of the frame to keep these under tension? I don't want anything to shift and possibly destroy the new sealing. I can notch the flooring to fit around the little blocks. Also thinking of wrapping the edges of the flooring with Tyvek. Want it to hang down far enough to keep any possible future leaks from getting into the insulation. My hope is that if water gets in it will stop at the house wrap and run into pan and be blocked from the flooring edge and insulation as an extra defense. This is another ruined floor caused by the rear bumper box design leaking.
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:17 AM   #2
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Don't know about the screws you mention, or how important they are to the structural stability of your trailer.

However, the best way to protect the plywood is:

1 - use marine-grade plywood. Marine plywood costs about 3 times as much as regular plywood, but is more resistant to rot and dampness.

2 - paint it, all sides and edges, before you put it in. If you do anything that exposes the wood grain, such as cutting the plywood, or drilling it or screwing into it, then paint the newly-exposed wood grain as well (for screw holes, after you insert the screw most of the way, pull it back out, fill the hole with paint, then re-insert the screw all the way. Filling the hole with paint shouldn't affect the holding power of the screw.

Even if you don't do step (1), do step (2). As long as there is no exposed wood grain, there is no place for moisture to get in, and the wood will last longer.
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:29 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Lee View Post
I purchased a 1989 Excella 32'. Hauled it back from Michigan to Colorado. Most everything looks really great but discovered the rear floor was rotted out. I now have the bad floor cut out and the outside skin sealed. Ready to replace the floor with better plywood. Noticed that there are some heavy screws that go thru the channel/flooring and into the frame. I'm afraid of cutting these. They seem to be a major part of stabilizing the wall to the frame. Has anyone made up notched oak/hardwood blocks and driven them in on top of the frame to keep these under tension? I don't want anything to shift and possibly destroy the new sealing. I can notch the flooring to fit around the little blocks. Also thinking of wrapping the edges of the flooring with Tyvek. Want it to hang down far enough to keep any possible future leaks from getting into the insulation. My hope is that if water gets in it will stop at the house wrap and run into pan and be blocked from the flooring edge and insulation as an extra defense. This is another ruined floor caused by the rear bumper box design leaking.
These hold the shell to the frame. YOU WILL NEED TO CUT THEM OUT... and replace them. To do this you need to remove part of the inside skin to get to them.. If you don't it will be hard to get the flooring under the walls. These bolts hold the floor in place and and the frame to the skin. Without them you will get rear end separation...
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:25 AM   #4
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Yes Jason that's what I'm afraid of. Pulling that those walls apart looks like a real mess. I'll look at it again and see if it's as bad as I think. But from every thing that I see I don't see any way around it.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:29 AM   #5
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Noticed your tag says four corners unit. Are you in S.W Colorado ?
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:56 PM   #6
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A different opinion, I guess. If a lot of the bolts through the channel are so rusty they look like they might fail then I guess they should be replaced. But I faced the same issue with my 32' with OSB floors. Most of the perimeter was very sound. I did the elephant ear patch by notching the plywood replacement piecies and sliding them into the channel. I then put a patch in the approximately 1" space left from sliding the floor into place. The bolts I left in place were rusty, but still with a lot of strength left. I like putting the plywood into the channel better than filling the channel with blocks and leaving the edge of the plywood unsupported.
The real solution to the rot problem is to find and fix the source of the leak. Painting the edges of the plywood to seal it is a good idea. Maybe paint a couple of inches out from the edge too, at least at the bottom.
Marine plywood is nice stuff. The biggest difference in marine plywood and regular plywood is that the inner plies of the marine plywood are all of high quality with no gaps or holes. Southern pine sheathing grade plywood is glued with a glue that is just as waterproof as the marine plywood. Some species of the marine plywood may be a bit more rot restistant than southern pine. But for long life it still has to be kept dry. I use the sheathing plywood from HD or Lowes. I think it is more than sufficient in quality for an Airstream subfloor. Each to his own.
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Old 10-06-2012, 02:02 PM   #7
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One of the problems with most water protection schemes is that although they may help to keep water out to begin with, they are also very good at keeping water in once it has broken through (and it always will). In other words, it is a two way street, it might keep the water out, but once in, it keeps it there equally well. Of course keeping water in is not a good thing.

If wood ever is going to get wet, you need a way to dry it out rapidly. One secret is minimal wet time, maximum dry time. Many "protection" systems don't deal with the drying ability once wet, or in fact make it worse or slower.
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Old 10-06-2012, 02:10 PM   #8
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The screws do look in bad shape. And the channel is compressed to the point where it might be difficult to slide ply cut down to 5/8 into it. I'm going with the marine if I can get it in Durago or Montrose Colorado. Will order it if I have to. I wasn't planning on this repair and winter is on it's way.I'm at 9,318'. So I need to get R done. Marine ply might not be possible to easily get but I'm going to try. I feel better about pulling those wall panels. Looks like a bumper box leak but I'd like to look at the source from inside the wall. I also found in another post where the water inlet was leaking inside the wall due to a bad o ring. Also I might be able to make a place to put my dryer hose into the space between floor and pan. If the dryer was empty it could pump a lot of dry air under the floor. Notice that I said empty dryer.Also thinking of wrapping the ends of the floor material with a strip of Tyvec. My idea is to place it so that any water would not touch the flooring or insulation. It would be a really cheap shield and I know that sooner or later I'll have another leak.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:51 PM   #9
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I am following the advice of pulling the inside wall panels down. Have it mostly apart now. Looks like it was very good advice. The way the walls.floor.channel are pinned together ,I'm glad I'm doing this. Those big screws look like a major part of the wall stability. I know that some have just notched around them and slid new flooring in. But I feel a lot better with everything sandwiched together under compression and pinned to the frame. Also I can see that the water that caused the rot wasn't running down the inside of the wall. I just feel better knowing that the wall is not going to shift or worse yet separate or rip out sealant causing more problems. Still like the idea of forming a water shield out of a strip of Tyvec house rap. That should duct any possible water away from the floor and insulation. I'll wrap it around the plywood where it fits into the channel and have a few inches hanging down. It's meant to also keep water away from the insulation.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:17 PM   #10
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Mark, there are thousands of AS's out there with that same problem, rear end rot. Lots of speculation and debate on the source of the leak. Many think the water wicks in from on top of the bumper area. And the city water inlet is also a source. A search will turn up enough reading to keep you busy all winter.

A while back, somebody put it something like "keep your trailer under a roof when you're not using it, and never use it if it's raining". Sad but almost true. Then I heard a veteran streamer recently say that he didn't mind his trailer leaking as long as he could fix it. There's the catch: the leaks are darn hard to fix. Most times they are nearly impossible to track down.

Unless full timing, keeping them under cover when not in use is always a good thing.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:27 AM   #11
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Mark, while I had the floor covering out of my trailer I soaked the perimeter of the subfloor with CPES penetrating epoxy sealer. This approach seemed to me to have the potential of minimizing damage by moisture reaching the subfloor. My method for an installed subfloor can only reach as far as the CPES will soak through the wood. If I ever need to replace a section of subfloor I plan to soak the edge of the plywood with CPES before installing it.

I spoke to people at the The Rot Doctor about treating good plywood with CPES before I did it. They said it was a good preventive plan for good plywood. Of course they were selling me their product.

I would be interested if any of the Airforums members see a problem with treating good / new plywood with CPES.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:48 AM   #12
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These postings have been very informative for me please post any pictures if you can. Thank you.
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