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Old 11-12-2008, 09:06 PM   #1
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Floors- first or last?

Just purchased a gutted 65 airstream and watched a video on restoration, and the floors (cork flooring) were put in last, but looking through lots of the photos on this website i noticed many trailers in the process of restoration the floors were in first. What is the best approach?

In the DIY network video they pointed out the cork floor is a 'floating floor', it would seem that building upon the cork would restrict its ability to contract and expand in different humidity levels.

Thanks Jessica & Joseph
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Old 11-12-2008, 10:01 PM   #2
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I am planning to replace the plywood first. After doing everything else. I will put in the final flooring. Don't wanna fall thru the floor, don't wanna mess up the new floor covering.

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Old 11-12-2008, 10:05 PM   #3
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Just purchased a gutted 65 airstream and watched a video on restoration, and the floors (cork flooring) were put in last, but looking through lots of the photos on this website i noticed many trailers in the process of restoration the floors were in first. What is the best approach?

In the DIY network video they pointed out the cork floor is a 'floating floor', it would seem that building upon the cork would restrict its ability to contract and expand in different humidity levels.

Thanks Jessica & Joseph
What kind of cork were they talking about? I have been looking at a glue down cork,like a tile ,12"x18". Adios, John
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Old 11-12-2008, 10:06 PM   #4
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I agree. Also, cork is so expensive why would you want to put it under the cabinets and inside the closets?

I just ran it in the visible areas and used aluminum or wood molding to cover the 1/4" gap.
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Old 11-12-2008, 10:31 PM   #5
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Any floating floor would go in last.
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Old 11-13-2008, 12:50 AM   #6
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it's a tongue and groove floating cork floor, not the glue down tiles
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Old 11-13-2008, 06:51 AM   #7
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Just purchased a gutted 65 airstream and watched a video on restoration, and the floors (cork flooring) were put in last, but looking through lots of the photos on this website i noticed many trailers in the process of restoration the floors were in first. What is the best approach?
Absolutely last - for a couple of reasons:
  1. Even your trailer is gutted, you need to explore around the perimeter of the walls with an ice pick to determine if there is any rot. Most older units will have at least a couple of rotted areas. The Airstream design theory is for a monocoque construction, the frame, floor, and shell work collectively to provide the required overall integrity. The flooring area under the shell and on top of the frame is where all three of these structural systems come together...usually the joint area is about 1 1/2" wide and runs the perimeter of the trailer...with certain exceptions (i.e. the steel front and rear hold down plates, elevator bolts in the floor, and maybe a couple of others specific to individual models), but overall the trailer really relies on the perimeter joining for it's strength. Finish any frame repairs, address the frame/shell/floor/floor rot areas, and then finish the interior to your liking.
  2. If you put a nice floor in first the foot traffic, dropped screws and rivet pulls, material scrapes, and general construction wear and tear will surely show up on the finish. Leave the floor for last, then you will not have to worry about it. Actually, as short as most of the older trailers, there really should not be too much concern for expansion. Most likely the floor will be pushed all of the way to the front of the trailer after the first trip - things (the floor IS floating) just generally migrate to the front, so most of the expansion (if any) will be toward the rear of the trailer.
Floor rot and PROPER repair are, IMO, the MOST IMPORTANT items toward pricing a used Airstream. You have to get down to the basics first (frame, floor, and shell), and make sure that a nice new floor is not covering up a bunch of nasty rot. This is why a shell off restoration is by far the best way to insure you will have a "new" vintage trailer when you are finished with the refurbishment of the unit.
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Old 11-13-2008, 04:57 PM   #8
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Have re-done [4] houses the past three years. Floors last, always. Repair rot, remove/replace, etc, but no finish work until the end.
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Old 11-13-2008, 06:39 PM   #9
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Do the floor first.

Do the flooring last.

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Old 11-13-2008, 11:18 PM   #10
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thanks everyone for your replies and advice, our 65 overlander is en route from pheonix as I type....

What is the general opinion on cork vs bamboo flooring? Is there much of a weight difference?
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Old 11-14-2008, 07:25 AM   #11
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My opinion is that the composite cork planks weren't as light as you would think. The MDF filler between the top cork layer and the bottom layer is probably about the same weight as on the bamboo.

I would make your choice based on appearance and what you like, rather than weight.
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Old 11-14-2008, 09:00 AM   #12
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I'd be wary of anything on MDF, as it doesn't do well with moisture. It absorbs water like a sponge and will expand and distort the seams of the floor. I speak from the experience of watching my kitchen floor deteriorate very quickly due to moisture. If you go with it, be vigilant about keeping the floor dry.

As to cork vs. bamboo, my preference is cork. It's durable but is softer to stand on than bamboo.
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Old 11-14-2008, 10:06 AM   #13
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My opinion is that the composite cork planks weren't as light as you would think. The MDF filler between the top cork layer and the bottom layer is probably about the same weight as on the bamboo.

I would make your choice based on appearance and what you like, rather than weight.
Not all cork has a MDF filler or core. We are considering using the Edipo pattern from Duro Design which is a solid cork (no backing) 3/16" tile in Birdy. Duro Designs offers both glue down tiles (3/16") and Floating plank (1/2") options.

Shari
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Old 11-14-2008, 10:29 AM   #14
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I much prefer the straight cork. You can get it as tile or sheets and can be glued directly to the sub-floor. I like the sheet flooring because it means fewer seams.
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