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Old 10-14-2008, 07:16 PM   #1
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1970 25' Tradewind
San Antonio , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1
Plywood patch replacement

Hello Airstreamers!
I have recently purchased a 1970 Airstream and am in the process of fixing up the interior. The old tile flooring has been taken up. There are (3) six to eight inch rotten areas of plywood around door and window. I have had flooring people come out and we are'nt sure of how to go about replacing the plywood, as the original plywood looks to be bolted down. Any suggestions on replacement? Does the underneath of the trailer have to be taken off? This seems like it would be too difficult. Has anyone ever added more plywood on top of existing plywood? Is it better to replace larger or smaller sections. The beams underneath are metal. thanks for any help you can give, Catherine
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Old 10-14-2008, 07:21 PM   #2
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1972 27' Overlander
Longmont , Colorado
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Welcome to the forums, Catherine! The "search" feature of this forum will provide you with all the information you could want concerning your floor questions. Good luck, and enjoy the process.
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Old 10-14-2008, 07:25 PM   #3
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2000 25' Excella
Kingston , Tennessee
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Welcome to the forums! My husband patched a few places that had rotted in our floor rather than try to remove the entire thing. he cut out the rotten pieces, making sure to cut back to the frame because you have to screw it in. He then filled in the seems with a filler that dries very hard. He then sanded it down smooth.
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Old 10-14-2008, 07:35 PM   #4
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1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
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Estancia , New Mexico
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Floor guys don't know how to work on Airstreams. Don't add another layer of flooring. Cut out the rotten wood and scab in a patch screwing both the patch and original floor to a piece of plywood 4" wide with 2" overlap on the seam. There are special bolts to bolt the floor down to the frame and to the C channel where the floor meets the shell. They are available through Inland RV. Use a penetrating epoxy designed for water damaged wood to kill and reinforce any left over water damaged areas. There is a detailed description in at least one previous post if you do a search.
Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine.
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Old 10-14-2008, 07:37 PM   #5
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Dewey , Arizona
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For small patches you can just cut out the bad area. Then screw a 2 inch border around the hole (on the bottom side) with 1 inch on the good side. This will provide you with a 1 inch backing around the hole for the new piece.

If the rot is not too bad, you could try to treat it with some rot doctor.

What ever you do, find the leak that cause the water to get in the trailer and rot the floor. You will only want to do this once.


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Old 11-01-2008, 10:34 PM   #6
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1977 31' Sovereign
Prineville , Oregon
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 25
I had a similar situation. I cut out some bad sections and replaced them using the techniques described by Azflycaster and Lumatic. Then I painted the whole floor wih Kilz and screwed/glued down another complete layer of 3/8 plywood. The resulting floor is much more solid and sure feeling than the original. I painted the new wood layer with Kilz and installed floating vinyl flooring.
There is one concern though. If you have badly rotted wood, you may also have rust damaged frame components in the same areas. I did, and I had to cut several out and weld in new ones. That was a pain. These projects always get bigger than you think they will
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Old 11-04-2008, 04:02 PM   #7
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1973 31' Sovereign
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 87
i have a 31ft 1973 sovereign that I am installing Allure vinyl plank flooring in. The plywood subfloor is generally good except for a small 1X5in spot by door. I was going to scrape that out and put bondo auto body filler in that spot. I saw this technique used on the DIYN special on Airstream restoration.
The other issue I have is the seam on the plywood between the bedroom and kitchen does not met cleanly. The edge of the bedwood plywood does not appear to be secured well. How can I fix this or should I ingnore it and put a threshold there or just run the floating vinyl planks over this.
Thanks for any help.
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Old 11-06-2008, 10:59 AM   #8
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1977 31' Sovereign
Prineville , Oregon
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 25
Just remember that Bondo has to be applied over something that can support it. I still think cutting that piece out would be better, and such a small area shouldn't be hard at all. As far as the loose flooring, the edges should come together over frame rails. The factory used bolts that catch both edges, but like you, I've found places where the edges aren't well secured. I used flooring screws on each edge as long as I could get them to hit metal underneath. The best screws are decking screws sold for attaching decking to trailers. They are self threading, Torx drive screws with thin heads that pull down flush. Many auto parts stores carry them. You will need the correct drill bit and screwgun bit to use with them. Having a small gap is no problem but the edges must be level. By the way, adding the extra layer of wood helped me correct a lot of edge misalignment too. The flooring I used was just vinyl sheeting about 1/8" thick so it really needed flat edges at the wood joints.
Here's a link to a picture of the screws I'm talking about. You can get them locally though, I'm sure.
Trailer Floor Screws - Trailer Deck Screws
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