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Old 04-19-2008, 08:03 AM   #1
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1974 27' Overlander
Placerville , California
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Opinion on Floor Repair

So I have some floor rot in the front. I don't really want to take the time to replace the whole floor but thought I would try and repair it. I was thinking of getting some two part epoxy and patch the bad spots. Only appear rotted right at the front edge. I guess its pretty common to have problems there. Maybe in the future I will replace the floor. Any suggestions as to what I should use for this repair. Also PO kind of butcherd the goucho. Its pulled away from the front. Does anyone know how the frame is mounted to the front of the trailer. I don't know what is behind the skin. If its chanel maybe I can just use some large screws. Thanks for any thoughts.
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Old 04-19-2008, 08:14 AM   #2
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Better to do the job right the first time rather than re-doing it later and having to deal with the epoxy from the temporary fix. The couch was never fastened in very good. Screws went into the skin only - no backing. They pulled loose from bouncing down the road and from folding up and down. Best to drill new holes and re-fasten with stainless screws. Darol
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Old 04-19-2008, 10:33 AM   #3
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It is a tough call -- we had a similar problem and ended up removing the damaged wood and sistering in the replacement marine plywood. A pain in the rear but a semi-permanent.

The big problem with epoxy is that it is fairly viscous and difficult to get any penetration into the wood fibers. It also tends to make a mess which the previous poster noted will require clean-up when you do get around to replacing the floor.

Whatever you choose to do, you really need to find out where the water is coming from or any repair will be doomed to fail...

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Old 04-19-2008, 11:02 AM   #4
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If you decide not to do a permanent repair you might consider using this product:

Minwax® High Performance Wood Hardener - Wood Maintenance & Repair -

The application directions are:

"Preparation: Completely remove decayed and very soft, crumbly wood until you reach reasonably sound wood. Wood should be dry, free from dirt, grease, oil and loose paint particles.
APPLICATION: Shake can well; apply Minwax® High Performance Wood Hardener with a disposable bristle brush to the softened wood to completely saturate the area. For strength, apply several coats in quick succession until a shiny surface appearance is obtained. Allow to harden for 2-4 hours before filling void with Minwax® High Performance Wood Filler. Sand, paint/stain to complete the job."
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Old 04-19-2008, 04:27 PM   #5
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I guess I'll have to open the can of worms and offer a differing view. I believe, from years of experience, that epoxy can make good, permanent repairs in damaged wood.

Epoxy can do a good job of repairing small areas. Floor replacement would definitely be better for large or multiple areas. I applied it to an area about 8"- 10" in diameter to my floor. Before epoxy it was a soft spot. After, it could withstand me (190 lbs) jumping on it and felt no different than the undamaged floor. True, if poured in a corner, it would bond both wood and aluminum or whatever together making future repairs difficult.

I mix my own epoxy for "rot repair" with about 20% acetone by volume. This cuts the viscosity to a point where it soaks into the damaged wood deeply. I apply several coats until the wood will take no more.

As to whether it is a temporary or permanent repair is up to definition. I have epoxy work that is as good as new that I did over 25 years ago. You must, however, eliminate the source of water which caused the problem in the first place and protect it from UV light, which will degrade epoxy over time.

In the end, it is up to you to decide on the best option. You can't beat new floor, but sometimes both time and $$$$$ enter their ugly heads into the picture. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
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Old 04-19-2008, 06:47 PM   #6
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I made some very fine repairs to rotted floor with a product called poly-all2000. I thinke it is permanet. It is very hard & sturdy. It had the viscosity of water so it soaked in where ever water had prev, but had to make sure leak was repaired & dry. Can't get any more here. Wish I could. If you can find some similar prod it may very well work. the above formula may work.
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Old 04-19-2008, 09:20 PM   #7
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Have a look at "Git Rot", a two part penetrating epoxy by Boat Life Industries. They have a website BoatLife - For the Life of Your Boat The product is an acetone based penetrating epoxy that I have used in many applications over the past 15 years - it can travel inches by capillary action, following gaps in wood and then rebonding/reinforcing it with a strength and flexibility similar to a hardwood. It was originally developed many years ago for the wooden boat industry and has since found its way into the home renovation field, among others.

However, have the same opinion as several others above that wood repair is probably the best alternative. I have done both. This may get you by until then, and then protect the new wood afterwards.

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Old 04-20-2008, 03:55 AM   #8
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very good advice from all... but, sorry to say, bad advice for this situation. The part everyone missed was "the rot is just along the front wall". Your problem is that the trailer is rotten at the point where the strength of the floor is being comprimised. The plywood goes under the "J" channel and there are bolts and screws that go through the the channel, floor, frame to connect everything together. Right now, you have a bunch of mushy wood in there, most likely due to a leak that you are unaware of. If you put epoxy on it, the areas you see will be firm, but the wood inside and under the channel will still be bad. You would not repair the rotten sill plate on your house by hoping some epoxy might soak into the rotten wood before it hardens. No, you would jack the house up and put in a new sill plate. To do this right you need to remove the gaucho, remove the lower interior skin, and then unfasten the front end. You should probably remove the floor back to the first joint just to make it easy to replace. During all this, you are sure to find some issues on the frame, so the project will evolve a bit, but it will go back... oh yeh, the belly pan will need to be partially remove too, so you can bolt it back together. Sorry brother, but there is no easy fix on an Airstream.

That epoxy is a great thing to apply to the edges of the plywood before it is installed. I use epoxy a lot in my cabinet business and have been to a training hosted by West Systems. It is a miracle product that can join many materials permanently together. It will last forever and when applied right will preserve wood almost forever, but it is not a structural material. It cannot be relied upon for a structural repair.
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Old 04-20-2008, 04:30 AM   #9
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Bondo, works pretty good,too or cut out the bad part,scab in some new wood.
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Old 04-20-2008, 05:27 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by CamperRepair
Bondo, works pretty good,too or cut out the bad part,scab in some new wood.
I do not mean to insult your opinion... Bondo, the brand name for a polyester body filler, is even further from what you want to be putting on floor rot. Bondo is used to fill shallow dents on cars. The use of Bondo in this situation would be more than wrong. That would be like putting duct tape over a hole. You do not see the hole, so it must be fixed.... the second part, "or cut out the bad part, scab in some new wood." now that is exactly what you need to do.
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Here is my rear floor section. I could only see a small amount of rot before I removed it. All that missing wood was up under the "J" channel. When you remove your floor, you will see something exactly like this. Now, tell me, what is epoxy or Bondo, or even the new Bondo with fiberglass in it, going to do for that? There is really only one way to deal with a situation like this, and putting a patch on rot, does not cure it.....
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Old 04-21-2008, 07:32 AM   #11
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Well, I would like to say I sure appreciate all the input. I would have to agree that the best solution is to replace the floor. That takes a lot of time and money. The situation here is can I get by temporaily untill I have the funds and the time to fix it right. By doing a patch job will that make if more difficult to fix properly in the future, probably. I still need to take into account how bad the rot is and how soon I want to use the trailer. I will consider all options and then update the post to let you know what I did and how it turned out. Thanks again for the input.
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