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Old 11-29-2015, 09:07 PM   #1
Rivet Master
sgschwend's Avatar
1986 25' Sovereign
2008 F350, 6.4L diesel , Oak Harbor, WA
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 605
Images: 13
Floor Repair, Suggestions, and Lessons Learned

We purchased a 1986 25' AS a couple of months ago, knowing the floor was damaged. Previously we had a 1979 25' AS, and found that we just had to have another one. The trailer is: front Gaucho, center kitchen/bath, and rear twin.

The new to us 25 footer had 3/4" OSB subfloor. And it had been left unattended for 3 years. Both the front and back have leaks. The last 2' of the rear steel frame was poor, sistering steel straighten that out (not caused by the classic flashing issue). I also found a 32" subfloor span in the front, resolved by adding 2- 2X3" rectangular cross bars, to prove 12" OC subfloor support.

With the water damage we removed the front and back OSB subfloor and left the middle. Replaced the insulation with 2" pink panels. New 3/4" DF plywood, on about 14' of the total interior length. On top of that a 5/8" DF plywood. The plywood is screwed to the frame. Glue was also used on top of the vintage OSB. The 5/8" plywood adds 80 pounds to the trailer, but also stiffens the floor to a degree that matches the requirements of the flooring manufacture.

The last step is to level the floor with a material made to do this job. I made sure the new plywood was level across the large spans but wherever there is a seam you can be sure the seam will not match.

Lots of folks are talking about selecting new flooring. In our case Allure works for us, we will be moderate users with low stress on the flooring. We also chose the Traffic version which has a lot more character, slate appearance.

Lessons learned: Cutting the Allure Traffic is .150" thick which allows for more surface character however, the heavier gauge does not cut well. It is not hard to do, it just isn't efficient. It takes 5-6 passes with a utility knife to get far enough though so you can bend the 12X36" tile and then cut the back side. A better cutting method would help here.

My trailer internal layout is not very square, the kitchen and bathroom walls where they meet the floor wander on odd angles. For carpet no big deal but for flooring the need to fit all of the exterior pieces is time consuming. Even though we were able to do half of the flooring install in 4 hours, 3/4th of the time was fitting. For that reason you need to have a couple of different size compasses, 6" and 12" is what I used.

Use a plunging saw to cut clearance for the new flooring. A plunging saw has a vibrating blade that you can push the saw straight into wood. It is commonly used in flooring installation to cut clearance in trim and door frames for the flooring. I used it in over 12 locations for this install. The saw is small battery operated, I think it was well under a hundred buck to purchase.

Pictures: the first two show the new underlayment with leveler over the seams and low spots, the third image is 1/2 of the Allure installed, last is bathroom to the front complete.

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Old 11-30-2015, 01:40 AM   #2
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1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,435
Images: 292
First Fix


I am sure you are aware that the Airstream is a monocoque type design.

As such, the frame and shell must work together to attain the proper design strength. Unfortunately, almost the only thing joining the frame and shell together is the floor, and the floor/shell interface is extremely difficult to access.

Installing a new floor directly on top of the old floor does almost nothing to improving the overall integrity of the trailer.

At the least, you need to pull enough of the interior to thoroughly inspect the floor/frame intersection to ensure there is no wood rot where the shell joins the floor.

"Suck it up, spend the bucks, do it right the first time."

WBCCI # 1113
AirForums #1737

Trailer '78 31' Sovereign

Living Large at an Airstream Park on the Largest Lake Totally Contained in Texas
Texas Airstream Harbor, Inc.
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Old 11-30-2015, 05:53 PM   #3
Rivet Master
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1986 25' Sovereign
2008 F350, 6.4L diesel , Oak Harbor, WA
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 605
Images: 13
Thanks for the reply and concerns.
I was able to inspect the kitchen and bathroom floor interface to the shell through the access points under the cabinets.

My point is that certain types of flooring require a certain amount of stiffness. 3/4" OSB over larger frame spaces in my view did not meet that requirement.

In the areas that I replaced the subfloor I made sure I maintained the wood to frame/shell connection. Not that fun, but I got the job done.

Thanks again.

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Old 12-04-2015, 07:04 PM   #4
Rivet Master
sgschwend's Avatar
1986 25' Sovereign
2008 F350, 6.4L diesel , Oak Harbor, WA
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 605
Images: 13
The flooring is in, trim to go on next, and the cabinet bases. We live in the country so try as we may we tracked in Douglas Fir needles. I spoke with a neighbor who installs flooring as a trade and he says there just isn't a cutter to make a 36" cut; he says the most difficult installation part is holding the straight edge so that a good straight cut is made.
Tools used:
2- utility knifes, 100 pack of blades (used about 25)
1- carpenter square
2- hand square (used to measure distances on the floor)
1- speed square, to be the crosscut guide
1- tape measure
2- compasses 6" and 12"
1- direct plunging saw (cordless oscillating tool)

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Old 12-04-2015, 07:37 PM   #5
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1975 Argosy 26
Tulsa , Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 87
Looks good. Thanks for sharing.
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