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Old 10-29-2010, 07:52 PM   #1
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What type of plywood is best to use for the subfloor?

I've seen some mention of marine plywood with an epoxy or if you're super gung-ho I think I saw one guy put POR15 on his marine plywood.

What is marine plywood anyway? I called my local lumber yard and they have it in 1/2 and 3/4 but Lowes and Home Depot don't even seem to know what it is.

And sorry if "floor finishes" isn't the right place to post this. I looked for someplace for asking about "sub floors" but didn't see one.

Thanks.
Solarstream
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:49 PM   #2
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Marine plywood is generally made of high-grade veneers with no voids and uses waterproof glue. Many non-marine plywoods contain voids and are made with a water-resistant glue only. For a floor replacement marine plywood is a good choice. You may want to waterproof the wood surface as well, which is what the folks using epoxy and POR-15 are doing.
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Old 10-29-2010, 09:08 PM   #3
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All commonly available plywood is made with waterproof glues now.

Here's a useful link:

Frequently Asked Questions: Products | APA - The Engineered Wood Association

Generally, marine plywood is overkill for Airstream floors.

Sealing the completed floor is probably a lot more important than making sure that there are minimal voids in the plywood; I'd spend the $$$ on epoxy rather than a better grade of ply. The normal failure mode of Airstream floors is water damage and rot; marine plywood is just as susceptible to this as good quality exterior plywood.

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Old 10-29-2010, 09:12 PM   #4
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Although I've never had to replace a floor, I agree with Bart on this....the danger is in the rot, not delamination. I'd seal the wood with the Epoxy and use normal exterior plywood.
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Old 10-29-2010, 11:05 PM   #5
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CDX and seal it. Marine is overkill.
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Old 10-29-2010, 11:37 PM   #6
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We have just replace the floor in our new project a 1965 tradewind. I used 3/4 marine plywood because of better material with no pops or voids. If you are planing to put some type of flooting floor over the plywood voids and pops won't be a concern but if you plan on puting tile or lunoleum on the plywood you do not want any voids or pops. Murphys law will take effect and where you step if there is a void or pop you will have a hole or dent in you floor. Some lenoleums are expensive and a good base is a must for a smooth floor. I also found the the original floor thickness in our 1963 Safrai and the 1965 Tradewind where 5/8". Hope this helps in your project.

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Old 10-30-2010, 12:54 AM   #7
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Note that A/B exterior plywood is available; it has the same lack of surface voids as marine plywood, but is not as suitable for bending to tight radii as marine ply...

Talk to your local lumber yard; Home Despot is fine for a small patch piece, but if you're doing big sections, get better stuff - it's worth it.

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Old 10-30-2010, 09:36 AM   #8
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Would pressure treated plywood be an acceptable candidate for this application? I believe that pressure treated material can still be sealed with epoxy, etc. as an additional aid. For a given thickness, the weight per square foot will probably be greater than non-pressure treated plywood.
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:52 AM   #9
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Non at all in my opinion. Google ADVANTECH SUBFLOORING and see what you think. I've used this stuff for years and it's virtually indestructable though a bit heavier than plywood. Good luck.
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:01 AM   #10
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Would pressure treated plywood be an acceptable candidate for this application? I believe that pressure treated material can still be sealed with epoxy, etc. as an additional aid. For a given thickness, the weight per square foot will probably be greater than non-pressure treated plywood.
Don't use pressure treated plywood. The old arsenic based pressure treatment was corrosive toward aluminum, but the new copper based treatment is 5 times worse.
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Old 06-21-2016, 11:55 AM   #11
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Dear Bart, do you know if it is okay to use 15/16" subfloor? I wanted to use Nylaboard but after using your post it seems better to use plywood ... the nylaboard is recommended by eco people for non toxic allergy issues. but the company is going out of business and all they have left is 15/16" thanks
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Old 06-21-2016, 12:19 PM   #12
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Non at all in my opinion. Google ADVANTECH SUBFLOORING and see what you think. I've used this stuff for years and it's virtually indestructable though a bit heavier than plywood. Good luck.

Advantech is used inside enclosed snowmobile trailers. Some also use a product called Rainblock. Both are designed to get wet and guard against rot.
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Old 06-21-2016, 12:44 PM   #13
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For the slightly higher cost, marine ply is worth it IMO. If not available, exterior A/B and/or PTS (plugged touched up (?) and sanded). Coating all surfaces of the cut pieces with epoxy is also important IMO. WEST System is good. Very important to coat the cut edges of all plywood pieces before installation. Coat the full sheets with epoxy before cutting it up, then coat the cut edges later.

Definitely NOT CDX ply, as the interior voids can come back to haunt you with pronounced weak/soft spots under the finish floor material, unless . . .

If you are going to put another layer of underlayment plywood on top of the sub-floor plywood, and then linoleum or strip flooring, maybe CDX is OK, but why save a few pennies when you are fabricating a $50k to $150k investment?

Do it right the first time!

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Old 06-21-2016, 12:51 PM   #14
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If I was going to go to all the trouble and expense of replacing the floor I would use a modern composite product. I still cannot figure why (other than saving $$$) why Airstream continues to use plywood.
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