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Old 06-11-2012, 09:39 PM   #41
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Gene, they claim that both the aluminum and nylon core panel have both insulating and vibration dampening properties. I am not an engineer but the specs seem to be less deflection than 5/8 ply even at 4mm thickness. 15/16 cork flooring ought to make up the difference.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:03 PM   #42
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Why not aluminum sheet?

This may have been discussed before, but I was wondering why plain aluminum sheet would not work for a subfloor. Here is a table I put together with data from the internet comparing weight and span for plywood and aluminum sheet at different thicknesses.
Al ply floor table.pdf
The sheet is pretty inexpensive and would only add modestly to the weight.
It would seem that 3/16" would be comparable to 5/8 in a lot of ways.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:36 PM   #43
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I'm puting plywood back in. 7 sheets of 5/8 for around $200. I painted he bottom with bed liner. I rolled it on. Totally waterproof now, I also did the sides with it. Then painted the top with exterior paint. About $100 more. So for $300 I have a waterproof floor that should last longer than the original, which was close to 40 years.

I just don't see the advantages of these other products when plywood can be treated to make it watertight for less money?

Just my thoughts.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:40 PM   #44
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I'm putting plywood back in. 7 sheets cost me $200. I rolled on bed liner on the bottom and sides. Totally waterproof now. Then painted the top with exterior paint. Waterproof again for around $100. Total investment of $300 for a floor that will last well over 50 years.

Just don't see the advantage of trying something new at 2-10 times the cost.

Just my thoughts.
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:09 AM   #45
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I'm putting plywood back in. 7 sheets cost me $200. I rolled on bed liner on the bottom and sides. Totally waterproof now. Then painted the top with exterior paint. Waterproof again for around $100. Total investment of $300 for a floor that will last well over 50 years.

Just don't see the advantage of trying something new at 2-10 times the cost.

Just my thoughts.

Jason,

Two floors or just two posts?

Nothing wrong with plywood if done correctly, Dad had a PW fishing pram that lasted over 30yrs with no rot.

Bob
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:21 AM   #46
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Al sheet

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For what it is worth, here is the Al sheet vs plywood span and weight table I put together for my project.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:16 AM   #47
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Mark,

How do you plan to "finish" your nilo-bored?

Bob
Bob: Funny you should ask me this since I just tried to redirect the threat to it's original topic of Sub-Floor and away from the topic of finished floor. Of course, sub-floor material choice may affect the options that can be successfully applied to the finished floor. I think one could put anything they wanted over the Nylosheet. Adhesives need to be chosen carefully to ensure a good bond if the flooring is to be glued down. Maybe I'll use Nylon carpet!

Russ- Aluminum composites are intriguing. I think the thickness differential could be made up in many ways. There are options that are full thickness. Weight savings would be huge with the one you gave in your example. The polypropylene and polycarbonate core versions are also interesting.

The perfect sub-floor material should have these properties:

1) Waterproof
2) Does not support microbial (mold, fungus, bacteria) growth
3) As strong or stronger than the original material
4) Lightweight
5) Able to withstand fastening in the original manner or an acceptable alternative manner.
6) Good insulator
7) Able to be perforated (for toilet flange, wiring, etc.) without compromising the material's other beneficial properties.
8) Able to be finished in any way desired.
9) Be compatible with aluminum and steel
10) Be cost effective

...any other ideas, please add to the list.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:22 AM   #48
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1) Waterproof
2) Does not support microbial (mold, fungus, bacteria) growth
3) As strong or stronger than the original material
4) Lightweight
5) Able to withstand fastening in the original manner or an acceptable alternative manner.
6) Good insulator
7) Able to be perforated (for toilet flange, wiring, etc.) without compromising the material's other beneficial properties.
8) Able to be finished in any way desired.
9) Be compatible with aluminum and steel
10) Be cost effective
Good list! I am sure Airstream balances pretty much the same list except leaves off #1 and seems to not be avoiding #2 which does not affect any of the others.

In an enclosed trailer, plywood treated with #2 would solve nearly all the floor rot problems without needing to be water proof. In my bath remodeling work, I first fix the water problem permanently (in nearly all cases the floor should never have even gotten wet and it usually due to bad workmanship or poor maintenance). I then replace all rotted subflooring with either pressure treated T&G plywood or exterior T&G plywood treated with borate. They do not rot.

Teak is still a deck of choice for boaters. It provide both structural support and good looks. Not waterproof, but a rot resistant wood treated only with oil finish on one side to protect it yet still be sure it can dry out quickly.

Come to think of it, has anyone used rot resistant T&G flooring like Teak, Cedar, or Brazilian Cherry? No need for finish floor on top.
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Old 06-12-2012, 11:09 AM   #49
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Anyone using this? I am thinking from looking at it that all edges need to be supported, which would take some extra blocking work unless it was a shell-off job.

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Old 06-12-2012, 02:58 PM   #50
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Come to think of it, has anyone used rot resistant T&G flooring like Teak, Cedar, or Brazilian Cherry? No need for finish floor on top.
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Cedar and redwood are water resistant, but soft woods that need short spans or there will be excessive deflection. Cedar splinters easily and makes for a bad surface floor. It makes good fencing and decking, but not flooring. Redwood is better, but too soft for a long lasting floor.

Brazilian woods have sometimes been renamed for US consumption. Brazilian cherry is not the cherry we know. Ipé is used for decking and is water resistant and is easier to find than some exotic woods.

The idea of combining subfloor and surface flooring has possibilities. But you would need different thickness where there are cabinets and walls and the rest of the floor. Our trailer had a very thin (1/8" at most) sheet vinyl surface, so the surface exposed to view should be at least 1/8", maybe more where there was carpet. If you use planking for a subfloor, it will not be as strong as plywood unless (perhaps; I'm guessing some of this) you use hardwood. That will be very heavy. Maybe ipé would work as a subfloor as it is considered hardwood. Then bond with waterproof glue oak plywood where you walk, but the oak is very thin with a pine core. It comes in 1/4 sheets; I think the other side is mahogany. I'm not sure the seams between the oak plywood would look right. Or maybe thin strips of ipé glued to the planks. You would have some open joints between the planks and the passage of air and moisture might be a bad thing. Combining the subfloor and surface flooring is interesting, but needs some work to find a good solution.

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Old 06-12-2012, 05:03 PM   #51
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Gene it would depend on the trailer for that, on my parents 93 it appears Airstream put in carpet on the entire floor then put the cabinets and beds on top of it.
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Old 06-12-2012, 06:07 PM   #52
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Trouble with floors of aluminum sheet, plastic product, or painted/varnished plywood is they are vapor barriers and may sweat under certain temperature differentials and humidity conditions, unfortunate because unlike houses, Airstreams travel to all climates. If under a vinyl floor they would also prevent even a small amount of moisture to escape. Not sure waterproofing the edges is a good idea as this is where it can also "breathe".

Treated plywood panels today use a copper preservative that is very corrosive to metal, not compatible with shell and frame.

Aluminum flooring of any kind would be corrosive anywhere it meets a dissimilar metal, with difficulty fastening trailer components to it.

Tough call, the standard plywood may be the best all around choice. I think covering it with vinyl is the greatest error. A breathable, easily cleaned and replaced, and handsome covering would be best. I'm for sturdy tatami mats.

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Old 06-12-2012, 08:47 PM   #53
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I can tell you there was little moisture left in my plywood. with 10% humidity or less stuff dries out quick around here. So I figure sealed in, sealed out. And moisture goes in a lot faster than it can ever get out. So when I travel to humid climates it can't get in... And the edges are the first place you want to seal. There the first to go. Don't treat the rest if you don't want to but the edges are a must.
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Old 06-13-2012, 10:19 AM   #54
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Trouble with floors of aluminum sheet, plastic product, or painted/varnished plywood is they are vapor barriers and may sweat under certain temperature differentials and humidity conditions, unfortunate because unlike houses, Airstreams travel to all climates. If under a vinyl floor they would also prevent even a small amount of moisture to escape. Not sure waterproofing the edges is a good idea as this is where it can also "breathe".

Treated plywood panels today use a copper preservative that is very corrosive to metal, not compatible with shell and frame.

Aluminum flooring of any kind would be corrosive anywhere it meets a dissimilar metal, with difficulty fastening trailer components to it.

Tough call, the standard plywood may be the best all around choice. I think covering it with vinyl is the greatest error. A breathable, easily cleaned and replaced, and handsome covering would be best. I'm for sturdy tatami mats.

doug k
A lot of good points Doug.

Metal and maybe plastic would have the highest condensation and could be dripping into the belly pan.

I can't recall who, but one frequent poster just put throw rugs on the subfloor. I used removable vinyl planks.

If you use any kind of pressure treated wood, wear a good mask when you cut it because that nasty preservative in the sawdust will be quite breathable.

I think plywood breathes if only the top is coated. But if you treated all sides and any holes and cuts, moisture should stay out and not be a problem. My understanding of waterproofing treatments is they fill the air spaces in the wood and that prevents water intrusion. Waterproofing needs to be done well or enough water will find a way inside. Even here in Delta Co. where Jason and I live (not together) with its usually very low humidity, there are humid days, and when traveling, there will be more, if only from showers, cooking, breathing. If I could seal the edges, I would, but I'm not doing a frame off.

I look at the floor as less important than sealing the trailer. A leaker can cause more problems than a rotted floor. Do a good job with the floor, but do the best job on the leaks.

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Old 06-13-2012, 12:28 PM   #55
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Has any on ever laminated a sheet of PT plywood with sheets of aluminum? Effectively making the top and bottom completely water prof? Then seal the sides and cut outs with paint or epoxy? It would make a nice shiny floor!
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Old 06-13-2012, 12:33 PM   #56
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Has any on ever laminated a sheet of PT plywood with sheets of aluminum? Effectively making the top and bottom completely water prof? Then seal the sides and cut outs with paint or epoxy? It would make a nice shiny floor!
A cold one too. And condensation may be a problem. How would you bond the aluminum to the plywood so water doesn't infiltrate between the layers?

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Old 06-13-2012, 12:45 PM   #57
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I'm wondering if a 2 part epoxy or floor glue? Also could you get condensation between the wood and metal?
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Old 06-13-2012, 02:23 PM   #58
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I'm wondering if a 2 part epoxy or floor glue? Also could you get condensation between the wood and metal?
You'd need a glue that bonds well to both wood and aluminum. Then make sure there are no spaces between the two where water can get in. The bonds would have to stand up to temp extremes and not rip apart under stresses of the road. But the edges, if untreated, may absorb water.

Condensation on the outer surface is what I mean—a closed trailer with showering and cooking and a cold day outside will get condensation on the windows inside and eventually the aluminum inner skin or other metal surfaces. I'd expect the same on a metal floor; maybe it would be slippery too.

Looks like a lot to go through to get a cold aluminum floor. And it will scratch easily. Lighting that reflects in it may be harsh as it bounces upward toward your eyes.

Interesting idea (aluminum clad plywood), but too many issues to pursue I think.

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Old 06-13-2012, 08:30 PM   #59
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If you take 3/4" or 5/8" plywood (that already has a low perm rating of 0.2) and put bedliner on one side and some good paint on the other side and the edges you have just made yourself an essentially vapor impermeable material. The paint side is probably more permeable than the bedliner side so drying will occur into your trailer. Remember, too, that plywood is not just wood, but a bunch of glue, too. I would argue that points made about other materials being impermeable (to water vapor) are valid BUT your coated plywood is too.

Now, drill a bunch of holes in your plywood to fasten it down and install your stuff and try as you will to seal all of the edges up, LIQUID water will be able to get in when it (inevitably) hits your plywood. Now, that water likes to spread out through the wood fibers. It only has that tiny hole it came in through to get back out. Not good.

Put a scrap of your plywood out on the yard. Wait for rain. Watch the wet plywood curl up. These forces will be acting on your trailer when your floor (inevitably) gets wet. One good thing about plywood versus particle boards or chip board is that it can dry out because of the continuous wood fibers. Wait for sun and it will take back its shape.

Using the principles of home construction, your trailer floor is inside the conditioned space as the floor insulation is under it. It should take on the temperature of the inside and should be no more likely to have condensation on it than the walls, etc. When the water vapor (humidity) is high in the trailer after a night of cooking and sleeping with the windows closed to try to stay warm, it is colder outside than in, and the dew point is reached on interior surfaces, condensation will occur.

In houses, air exchangers are now required. Houses are built very tightly and do not breathe well. Airstream inside is essentially impermeable to vapor and can't dry out. An air exchanger in your Airstream would be a somewhat better solution to high inside humidity than opening your windows and running the fan because you get to keep some of your heat.

Google RV air exchanger and viola!, there is at least one out there!

Air-Port Fresh Air Exchanger Air-Port Fresh Air Exchanger [771001] - $375.00 : UVS, Parts Store

Searched a bunch of terms on Airforums for this and came up empty.

Anyone have one?

I still want a floor that has no wood. Checked out the honeycomb core materials, nice.

Waiting for round 2 of questions to Nyloboard to come back.
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Old 06-14-2012, 09:18 AM   #60
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Excellent post Bunk'. While I agree the trailer has conditioned air inside, that's only when camping and stationary. Traveling down the road or sitting in the driveway, temps can be below 0˚ F, or well over 100˚ F. That creates other problems not usually seen in houses.

But the air exchanger sounds like a great idea. For a while I have been suggesting on a few threads that if cars can have flow-through ventilation, why not Airstreams to prevent excessive heat? An air exchanger could do that too. I like things that serve two purposes. Excessive heat is bad for food and for all those meds seniors take (like me).

Where to put it and finding a vent cover for the exterior would be a challenge. But nothing is insurmountable.

I still like wood for a subfloor, and hope I never have to replace it. When I read about floors rotting out in trailers only a few years old, I don't feel good. Ours is good where I have exposed it, but the bedroom still has to be checked out.

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