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Old 08-02-2020, 11:37 PM   #1
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1980 31' International
Owego , New York
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 16
1980 International 31 Renovation

Kicking off a thread to chronicle the renovation work being done on our recently-acquired International 31 center bath.

First steps - checking out the what we ultimately purchased. Going into it, it was known the unit was a full tear-out, but I did do basic tests and checks. Frame appears in good repair, no significant exterior damage (aside from a broken dual-pane window), previous owners had it winterized before it sat for a number of years and was clearly a home for mice. Has three awnings - all in good repair. 12V and 120V systems work, plumbing works, tanks appear to hold. Floor is rotted in back and front, which is expected.

So, on to demolition - pics attached here. More pics are found at our blog (in signature) with more details.
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Old 08-08-2020, 09:33 AM   #2
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1980 31' International
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Preparing for Staycation Work

Been working hard for the last four weeks - all interior demolition done, insulation (really gross) removed. Interior skins are out, pressure washed and stored along with bits needed for rebuild.

I'm on a staycation for the next week. Setting goals of having frame brushed, primed and painted and getting the exterior all cleaned up by removing roof paint and stripe paint, etc. Ideally the frame should be all set to accept new flooring. Also going to rebuild the dual pane replacement picture window I have so it can be installed.

Details on personal blog http://www.houseonrynkushill.com, but here are pics.
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Old 09-03-2020, 10:06 AM   #3
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1980 31' International
Owego , New York
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New Work

Been super busy working on things here. Completed the demolition of the interior, got the exterior fully stripped and got the frame wire brushed, primed and painted. Rebuilt and reinstalled the broken dual-pane picture window as well, which came out great.

I decided to use Corroseal on the frame. I wanted a rust converter, not an encapsulator (as I understand POR15 is.) Top coat is Rustoleum gloss black with a catalyst hardener to make the finish very tough. Very pleased with how it came out. Given that our frame was in really good condition, I did not drop the belly pan (other than the damaged section a the rear.) So it's possible we'll need to add some paint to the very bottom faces of some of the steel frame when we later do take the pan down for maintenance or replacement.

Since I had more vacation time to use at work, I took another week with the goal of getting flooring done. I did realize heading into that week though that in order to feel good about putting flooring down the unit needed to be leak tested, which meant finishing cleaning the exterior accessories and putting them back on. Taught myself to do buck rivets as well so we could install the window and patch various holes from things on the roof that were removed. We cleaned up and polished all of the light assemblies and installed other things like the TV antenna, etc. I rebuilt the skylight in one of the ceiling vents where the butyl and rivets had failed as well. It took four water tests to get things to a place where I was comfortable. Leak testing revealed some leaks in other spots - there was a failed caulk joint on the rear curbside window that allowed water seepage, our new picture window at the front had a small seepage leak on one side, and the rivets across the roof needed (not surprisingly) Captain Tolleys, which for peace of mind I simply did all of them across the whole roof.

Once the shell passed a water test we moved on to test fitting flooring and preparing for installation. This trailer uses 15/32 flooring, which I pre-treated with TotalBoat Penetrating Epoxy. After test fitting (when all cuts were done) I treated the edges of the boards as well. It took some trial and error to get the curves done since the we did not have usable templates, but after the first one in the rear I learned some tricks and it went smoothly. Mostly you can use paper to trace the inside curve, extend it out somewhat to be the outside curve and cut it a bit short (since you don't want your curve to touch and be a pivot point as the sheet goes into the channels.) Because this is a shell-on installation I also broke the boards up. So each segment (8 total) is in two pieces, a long (56") and short (36") side. that size makes the joints all line up directly onto frame members which allowed me to use the floor bolts to pin them all down and together.

For insulation, I have decided to do reflectix and mineral wool. Both are water resistant\impervious, do not support mold growth, and are not liked by critters. I spent some time analyzing different approaches to insulation overall. I know there is one (The Greatley's) who did reflectix under the floor then packed mineral wool underneath. I decided to reverse this - I am using the reflectix to "swag" between frame members and then putting mineral wool batts (cut to 1.5" thickness) in between them. When the floors are placed on them, it compresses the batts somewhat and pins the whole thing into the reflectix. The reflectix on the frame member is both a thermal break and held tightly in place. Lastly, this whole assembly hangs off the belly pan, providing a large airspace. The physical assembly itself is probably R-8 or so, but reflectix gains insulating value by having a (relatively) dead airspace on one side of it, which it has between it and the belly pan. As an added bonus, the airspace means that when moisture gets into the belly pan (which, it will, somehow) it will not soak the insulation. If water were to get into the mineral wool, the ends of each reflectix run are open as well, letting the liquid drain out. I also put small drain holes (1/8 drill) in various places in the belly pan to hopefully let moisture drain out instead of collecting.

At this point I'm working on installing the remainder of the subfloor. Original plan was to have it done by the end of Labor Day weekend, but suddenly we're talking about a quick overnight trip to NYC (we live 3.5 hours away) because it's probably one of the best times to go with no crowds with kids given the pandemic.

I gave a detailed update on the blog I maintain as well, but here are a bunch of pics too (also on the blog.)
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Old 09-03-2020, 10:12 AM   #4
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Floor insulation

Here's some more detailed viewed of the floor insulation assembly. Similar to factory, but much improved. Cut the reflectix to fit, swag it across the frame members, then tape it to the frame at each end. Did the same on the outriggers, but swagged front to back instead of side to the side. In the corners I just stapled reflectix to the underside of the floor since there was no way to effectively get mineral wool into it.

This setup also helps in what I think would be typical trouble spots - I was able to put insulation on the aluminum under the step assembly, giving it some insulating value. And on each side of the step, where the track creates a large opening to the outside that you can't control, it provides insulation held tightly up high and, because it's plastic bubble wrap, not susceptible to water. Same holds true for the bays around each wheel well assembly - I may get them to not leak now, but something will inevitably happen allowing water in at some point.
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Old 10-18-2020, 11:14 PM   #5
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1980 31' International
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Flooring, wiring and insulation

Been hard at work on the trailer.

Subfloor is all installed. Since we are doing shell-on, each sheet of flooring had to be cut in half for installation, but we made sure the joints all fell onto frame members so we could then run fasteners into them to hold everything together. As mentioned in previous post, we went with a combo floor insulation of reflectix holding half-thickness batts of rock wool. Should be water resistant and provide reasonable insulating value. In the corners where we could not swag the reflectix to hold batts we just stapled a piece to the subfloor prior to installation.

Next up was the wiring. The 12V wiring in our trailer was in good repair, so I left it and modified things to what we needed - removed wires for all of the monitors, moved wiring for the pump switch, placed spare wiring I found in the walls out to locations for things like 12V USB charge ports and the like. Also took this time to pre-wire for solar. 6 gauge wiring from the DC panel to a roof port just aft of the AC. We don't have solar currently, but I didn't want to be caught later wishing I had done it for $60. I also added a sidewall port at the front for a portable panel. Using the wiring diagrams from the manual I made some changes to the 12V panel back to specification. Somewhere along the way a PO had modified things - some of it was just flat out wrong (ie, the trailer 12V feed ran directly to the 12V system and not through the 30A fused breaker.) Fixed all of those things, replaced the battery cables and added quick-connects for them, including a set of cables for a future second battery. Properly wired the power converter, mounted the rear view camera and the cell booster antenna on the roof using waterproof cable glands. While I was at it I added a light strip under the awning and wired that to a switch at the door too.

Next came insulation. I chose to do reflectix on the upper curve of the trailer (top of window frames up) to act as a radiant barrier and slow down heat absorption into the insulation cavity. Then installed 1/2 batts of rock wool insulation. The assembly in total is around R-8 or R-9, which is better than the original. I don't have a picture of it here, but I did put electrical tape on all of the ribs after insulating to act as a (light) thermal break. The insulation installation is oddly satisfying as you complete it.

A more detailed update (and additional pics) are on the blog (http://houseonrynkushill.com), but here are some key ones.
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Old 10-19-2020, 07:06 AM   #6
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Looking good. Thinking well ahead to rough in electrical for future solar is good thinking. I donít think you can go wrong with added wiring, AC condensate tubes, future circuits etc. Keep up the progress and take care.
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Old 10-19-2020, 07:16 AM   #7
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Nice work on your renovation so far. Thanks for sharing pictures and details, very helpful. I look forward to watching your progress.
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Old 11-02-2020, 11:30 AM   #8
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Thanks guys!

Bubba - about halfway through your renovation project thread. Wow! What an amazing project!
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Old 11-10-2020, 11:45 AM   #9
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Interior Skins

It took some time, but after getting all of the insulation completed and ready (and re-testing things like all the trailer lights, etc) I was comfortable to begin putting the skins back on.

I think the mineral wool made it a little more difficult because even though it appears to fit in the bay, it probably sits just a little proud of it and required us to compress it a little. Since it is denser than fiberglass it is correspondingly harder to compress too.

1,000+ rivets later, interior skins are installed...

Also moved it down to a more permanent home near our shed in the backyard. Power is available directly from the shed.
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Old 11-11-2020, 11:24 AM   #10
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Closing Ceiling and Interior Paint

Did the work needed to close up the ceiling - bundled the wires, cut the holes for the LED puck lights and wired them to the switches, installed the solar roof port, etc.

Also dogged down a few minor leaks that popped up again. Mostly fixed with Captain Tolley's. Did find a loose screw on the awning that required replacement. In the end on the door bolts I just had to build an enclosure out of sheet plastic to route the drips down to the belly pan. Bend some aluminum to provide a spot for any water to be caught and run. Worked well.

Once things were closed up, we got to painting. Used a first coat of Insl-X Aqua Lock and then covered with a regular latex primer\paint in a light gray tone.

Paint definitely makes things look better!
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Old 11-11-2020, 12:02 PM   #11
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Completing the interior paint is a big milestone and exciting. On these renovations, you need some excitement every now and then to break the monotony of work. I like the light gray, light and bright. Looks great. Take care
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Old 11-16-2020, 09:14 AM   #12
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Toilet Choices

So, now I'm getting into details of finishes. Going back and forth over toilet - Dometic 310 or Thetford Aqua-Magic V?

I originally was all about the Dometic, mostly because it has a porcelain bowl. But yesterday I was measuring and looking and now I'm leaning towards the Thetford. Porcelain doesn't seem like that big of a deal, Thetford is popular and it's like 25lbs lighter than the Dometic.

Any other experiences to share?
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Old 11-16-2020, 02:12 PM   #13
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Electric, Screens and Patches

Next up on the list after painting is to finish the electric, get all the window hardware repainted and installed and patch the remaining holes in the exterior.

First I installed the 12V puck lights in the ceiling. Really happy with these lights and how they came out. I ordered a different set at the end of august and they looked okay when I started but as I got the interior all closed up I realized they were not very "warm" white. Then I repaired the reading lights in the end cap and those LED bulbs were a true warm white, so I went and found better ones.

Patched up the entrance area for the waste tanks. Will probably do more with that in the future, but right now it's closed up, solid, and has some basic insulation in it.

Also decided on a hot water heater. Agonized over whether to do a 6 gallon Atwood or something else. Ultimately found the Excel tankless on-demand vent-free unit, and it was cheap ($149.) Lets me close up the hole, mount it in the same location as the original just on the interior, provides way more hot water (I hope), and was like 1/5 the cost. Mary (my wife) and I buck riveted a patch panel on and I repaired the belly wrap in that spot which had previously been damaged and repaired (we could see a ding in the steel frame and the repair was put over portions of the original wrap.) Ordered replacement rub rail extrusion to tidy it all up.

Also had grand plans of returning the screen frames to bare aluminum for a cool look. Turned out to be a huge undertaking and I probably wouldn't have been satisfied with the results. Plus there were other tidbits that would not match. So we decided to paint all of the metal and plastic trim pieces with a brown hammered spray paint, which came out great. Added a nice contrast to the interior as well.

Last, took care of all of the 120V electric. Did shallow blue boxes riveted to the wall and Leviton Decora outlets, and wired up the new breaker box. I built it a little frame because it will live in a utility cabinet. Tested all 120V and moved to use the trailer's power connector instead of an extension cord ran through the window. Also found some nice 12V USB "fast charge" plugs with on-off switches and put them in three spots throughout. Since they can turn off they shouldn't be a vampire draw on the battery and it will be one less thing we need 120V power for.
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Old 12-03-2020, 02:18 PM   #14
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Exterior Patches, Plumbing, Heating, Gas Install

With painting done, moved on to the mechanicals. We decided on the Excel ventless on-demand hot water heater, so I was able to patch the access hole in the side. Cleaned that and the old battery compartment hole up with replacement rub rail and installed the vinyl trim for each.

Had to have a replacement duct fabricated at the local sheet metal place to replace the original which had rusted from water contact under the shower - but had to get this done first because the duct is part of the support for the shower pan itself, too. Did some test\dry fitting of things to make sure I understood how it all went back together and then screwed it all in. Reinstalled the drain\waste\vent lines as well (saved from before - both saved money and let me not have to second guess how to glue it all up.)

Next ran all of the water lines. I had previously installed a new water inlet, so going from there it runs in what will be a cabinet along the wheel well on the street side, with a take off for the pump and strainer. I added a small accumulator tank to the mix as well to smooth the flow out. Put shut off valves in for each end point since it was only slightly more than ends to screw hoses on to. Other than the feed from the city inlet and the feed from the tank which are braided, did everything in PEX. Photos of how everything was laid out originally came in super handy here as well.

Prepping the tub and sinks, got them all cleaned up and painted the tub with Tough as Tile paint. Finish is passable, but got lint in it from my (lint free) roller, so it has some texture. But it won't be a big deal.

On a warm dry day I also got underneath the trailer and ran all of the gas lines. Ended up simply replacing all of it, even though the original was probably usable. Put new shut offs on each branch and added a quick-connect port in the back to hook up a gas grill as needed.
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Old Yesterday, 11:04 PM   #15
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1980 31' International
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Walls and Beds

Work continues - got the primary walls cut, set, finished, and installed. Ultimately chose to do the interior in clear finished maple - it's readily available in lots of cut sizes, and I can get matching plywood just as easy.

No changes to the floor plan. In the bedroom instead of a nightstand at the end, we just left it open and placed two additional under-bed drawers, which I think are more practical. Later on instead of the wall of closet\wardrobe on the street side, we're putting in a bank of drawers with a countertop. But how it lands on the floor will be the same.

We're really liking the light colored maple finishes - they feel modern but not extreme, and match the feel of the Airstream. Also chose to use satin anodized aluminum corners and angles for the wall joints, etc.

In some other free time, I found upholstery and re-covered the cornices over the windows. We picked some matching fabric for the curtains too.

At this point, all of the bathroom walls are fully installed, the shower pan is fully re-installed\connected\tested. Oh, while I was at it I tested the plumbing and hot water heater too. It took a few minutes to get how the Excel on-demand hot water heater works, but I think in the end it will do what we need. I was able to watch it carry the water up to 160 degrees with the pump running full out. Which is way hotter than you ever want, so I think we're in a good position there.

The beds in the rear are built and installed. I'm currently working on finishing the drawers and getting them installed. Doing separate simple boxes then attaching shaker style drawer fronts.

Then, the snow came. We happen to live in the area around Binghamton, NY. Which if you watched the weather in December, we got hammered in a snowstorm. We were supposed to get 12-18 inches, but ended up with 35-40, with 30 inches falling in a six hour period overnight while everyone slept. It was pretty crazy! I did get everything dug out...but it took a week.
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