Airstream Forums

Airstream Forums (
-   Floor Finishes (
-   -   Uneven plywood floor (

timmaah 08-26-2011 01:46 PM

Uneven plywood floor
We ripped up all the carpet and are planning on installing laminate.. but I just want to make sure this is normal and not an issue I should worry about or dig into further.

Where the front two pieces of plywood meet, there is a bit of a peak in the floor. The front most piece is flat but seems to angle up. While the 2nd piece bows down in the middle of its 4 foot width. There is no water damage and everything else looks solid. My take is this is just how it was built.

I wanted to put the Allure Ultra vinyl that clicks together, but I am concerned this peak might be too much for it and will go with a thicker laminate!

The bow in the middle of the 2nd piece

Level flat on the front piece.. leaves quite the space 2 feet from the seam.

87MH 08-26-2011 02:04 PM

Looks as if there is some water damage under the front curbside window. Did you pull the belly pan yet and inspect from the bottom side?

Water damage easily hides under the top "C" channel.

See signature post for how I handled the misaligned wood.

I put a "good" 1/4" plywood overlay over the exposed flooring (after repairing ALL the rot. Glued AND 6" 5 spotted with screws the 1/4" to the original plywood flooring. Be sure to offset the seams from the original.

timmaah 08-26-2011 02:16 PM

It looks as if that is only a little discoloration in the wood from getting wet a few times. No rot anywhere that I can see. The peak and bow are actually much better by the window, almost flat. Only in the middle is it uneven. No pulling the belly pans on this unless it is absolutely necessary.

Minno 08-26-2011 04:55 PM

I would guess that a PO replaced the plywood at some point, and the seam is not where it was originally. Looks like you have a bout a 3/4" drop, am I right?

When the plywood floors are installed, the frame cross members that go under the seams are 3/4" (maybe 5/8" depending on the year of your trailer) lower to accommodate a plywood gusset that is glued and screwed under the seam. The gusset fills the extra space between the lowered cross member and the plywood floor.

How badly do you want it level? I think you’ll need to add a shim under the floor, between the plywood and the cross member. That will mean removing as least part of the belly pan for access, or removing the plywood and working from above.

The front piece is probably raised up at the seam because there is a gusset under the seam, and it's sitting on top of a cross member that is not lowered to accommodate the extra thickness of the gusset.

That's my guess. Hope it helps!


timmaah 08-26-2011 05:03 PM

Definitely came from the factory like this, or developed the unevenness since then.

I may just brave the hurricane on sunday and cut a little access spot to see what the deal is. I would like the floor even there as it is directly in front of the sofa.. where you would be standing/stepping a lot fo the time.

vinstream 08-26-2011 05:10 PM

It looks to me that the floor was once replaced before simply by seeing the nots in the floor! The original ply wood would be clear grade and be void of any nots...

So you do need to address the unevenness of your floor if you are going to replace with the floor that your wanting...

If you use an epoxy based leveling compound and place it in the low lying areas and then uses a belt sander to remover the high areas you can get it fairly level. Avoid non epoxy levelers because they will get brittle and weaken (flexing of frame) to the point they will pop up! Others have used a thin subfloor in this situation but I don't like this solution because you are adding weight or the fact is not fully leveling the floor.

Good luck!

Gene 08-26-2011 05:16 PM


The panel with the dip in the middle may have sagged in the middle because nothing is supporting it there. That is quite a drop and it will get worse over time, especially if it is in front of the sofa where you step on it a lot. If you shim it up, that does not solve the problem except temporarily.

No matter how it happened—at the factory, someone else replaced the panel, or whatever, you will have to investigate further. I don't blame you for wanting to not look underneath, but I think you have to discover the cause to fix it. I know you want to get on with your floor job, but the good thing is you found this before it got worse.

As for flooring, do not install flooring underneath walls, partitions or cabinets. The flooring and trailer expand and contract all the time and flooring installed under those things will buckle eventually. The factory installs flooring improperly and in many trailers, the vinyl buckles after a while. Leave a 1/4" to 3/8" space and cover that space will trim of some sort—quarter round, cove molding, or other usual trims.


timmaah 08-26-2011 05:38 PM

A close up.. I am not convinced it was patched or replaced.

The seam does flex a little when you step on it.. Downward, it pulls together a little. I think it is something I can live with, even if it is abnormal. I know where this rabbit hole ends up if I keep taking more and more apart.!

I am going to live on the edge and install the floor under anything I can. The kitchen, pantry and closet all just sit on the floor and are not secured to it. I can shove a pry bar around the walls that enclose the bathroom and shower, those don't appear to be supported or attached to the floor either. The only issue might be the fridge, and most of those seem to have room underneath as well. I was going to go vinyl plank since its thinner, but the quality of the floor is making me think a good 8mm laminate would be better.

guncase 02-07-2015 06:42 PM

How did this turn out? I have the same thing in my 75 Overlander. My high spot is the seam just left of the door. The section of plywood dips down to the next sheet aft, leaving a dip over the water tank in the kitchen. My though was to belt sand the high spot and use some flexible floor filler I'm the low spot.

KJRitchie 02-07-2015 07:22 PM

Must not have been a problem. They've been on the road for over two years. I follow them weekly.


thesignlady 02-07-2015 08:05 PM

Hey Guncase, In regards to uneveness to the left of your door. In our model years they used full 8' x 8's for the subfloor construction. To the left of the door is exactly where the first seam hits in mine to. I have just done a full replacement of my front section. For yours is it possible that at sometime someone replaced the front portion of the subfloor? If so they may have used the wrong thickness of plywood and given you that bump there... Also if the bump is just near the doorway area it could be caused by swelling from moisture infiltration from the door area itself. check the seal on door, the seam where the body skin overlaps the cast aluminum door frame, the awning brackets and most importantly those bolts (which look like screw heads) on the threshold of the door for appropriate sealant, those bolts go through the subfloor and if moisture get past them it rots out your doorway area.

guncase 02-07-2015 08:43 PM

I just replaced the front 35ish inches if floor. I spliced it at the original splice. Now to fix the leaks...It looks like something has been done in the section right in front of the door, but I'm not sure. The kitchen section is sagging, and I'm pretty positive that it is original.

timmaah 02-07-2015 11:29 PM

I ended up making little shims to level out the floor and put the laminate over that. It has worked out great. Not noticeable at all. As Kelvin mentioned we have been in the Airstream daily for about 1,000 days. Floor is doing great.

thesignlady 02-08-2015 01:55 AM

It is indeed possible that a PO did a patch right in front of your door. I know mine PO had done one that ran the width of the door and about 10 inches in to one of the main frames. I didn't like it, it wobbled when I stepped in. That was my incentive to pull the whole front section up for replacement :-)

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:21 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.