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Old 01-03-2010, 04:37 PM   #1
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2002 22' International
Austin , Texas
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Checking for Leaks under Hard/Solid Floor Covering

I have asked this question elsewhere, even at JC repair, but no perfect answer yet. Today I noticed a post here in this subforum about selecting new floor covering. I wonder if folks who put down new covering have a plan on how to inspect for leaks ?

I just had my trailer repaired at JC for a serious rotten floor cause by leaks in the rear. They put down the current vinyl off the production line. It looked good. The repair tech tacked down the vinyl around the edge and also ran a piece of aluminum trim around the edge to hide the vinyl cuts.

The trailer originally had carpet covering. With carpet you have chance to detect moist spots. But what do you do to discover if there are leaks that flow under the floor covering? Or is this really not a problem because leaks won't go underneath without also being visible on the top? I suppose you could call me paranoid.

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Old 01-03-2010, 05:14 PM   #2
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I am no expert.... but leaks are simply inevitable it seems at some time in the future. Our Bambi has a "new" floor (completely rebuilt, frame off) in 2005 and hubby put down vinyl from edge to edge and then sealed the edge with some chemical compound that was a hard solid bead to help moisture from coming in. But, it can come in from underneath with areas between the floor and bellypan. I think the best thing to do is to do a visual inspection (the best you can) each year when you start camping, and if you ever have repairs (like the Fridge, etc.) when items are pulled out really take a hard look and try the ice pick routine on suspicious looking places if need be.

You can take your Airstream in to an Airstream dealer and (I think) they can do a smoke leak test for the shell, etc. They put some kind of smoke inside under pressure and can see when it "leaks" out.

A good inspection inside and out each year (or more) is likely the best method in my book. When you find something bite the bullet and take care of it as soon as you can to avoid larger more expensive issues.

Go camping and enjoy your Airstream! Wear it out and have lots of memories!

Mrs. NorCal Bambi traveling in S Tardis ~ from the Great State of Jefferson!

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Old 01-04-2010, 03:22 PM   #3
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Tanker (aka Appropriately Paranoid)

We have a 2005 22' CCD and like you found leaks at both the front and rear ends. In our case the evidence of leaking was found before the floor rotted away. We first found mold and damp OSB flooring in the front while converting our front bed to a couch. Photo when found and after fixing leaks and painting the floor. Since the front end floor is completely covered by the couch and cabinets we did not reinstall vinyl against the outside walls. We left painted, exposed OSB flooring around the outside edges and can now easily inspect for leaks.

The rear floor is visible, however, beneath the desk. We therefore fixed the leaks, painted with a marine epoxy paint around the edges, and reinstalled the vinyl. We frequently run our fingers around the chrome trim that you describe to check for moisture. We also remove the desk drawers and visually check exposed flooring beneath the furnace.

An area that has stumped us is how to check for leaks beneath the shower pan (rear streetside on our trailer). We have installed a small computer-style fan in the plumbing access panel door in an effort to circulate air beneath the shower pan.

Even though our floor plan may differ from yours, possibly our experience can help you.
Bob, Dianne, and Tess the WFT
Bandit #14576 (WDCU/AIR)
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:56 PM   #4
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I plan to put wood flooring down in the next year and thought about putting it to within a half inch or so against the walls and then putting a piece of trim to cover this gap.

I plan to attach the trim with maybe 2 screws (one on each end for easy removal and inspection of the flooring under hardwood.

I think leaving a 1/2 inch gap will allow me to see the flooring ok on the wall sides.

Also, if I decide to go with a "floating floor" I could actually raise it up on the sides a bit to look under if I wanted to.

Any thouights ?

Robbie R.
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Old 01-04-2010, 10:10 PM   #5
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Austin , Texas
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Good Idea

Robbie-that sounds like a good idea you have there. At one time, If I was doing the flooring myself, I thought I would put a few little "tags" of fabric like a "wick" that would go under the floor covering and would stick out above the floor on the edge. I would only do this under cabinets or less exposed areas. Then I could just touch those wicks to see if they are wet. However, since I didn't do the installation myself, I am left to just check seams/caulks diligently and hope for the best.
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Old 01-04-2010, 10:19 PM   #6
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Bob....My trailer, before JC replaced the floor, actually had a 3" dia. round hole cut out of the bottom under the shower pan. (We don't have a belly pan). I never found out why that was there. The dealer who sold the trailer originally to the PO disavowed all knowlege of that hole - thinking JC would have done it. JC repair folks had never seen anything like that but said possibly the production line had put it in for a fitting that never made it there. Of course it made a good inspection/drying hole. If I wasn 't forced to do these repairs, I would have covered it with some sort of plate that could be screwed on/off.

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