No wood, no rot... - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-07-2017, 03:20 PM   #1
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Name: Nicole
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No wood, no rot...

Hi there.
I am thinking of moving from a popup to a TT and am very interested in the "eggs" as well as Livin' Lite (due to the non wood construction).

It seems to me some of the fiberglass campers discussed here have wood floors and some do not. I know every camper will leak at some point but I am interested in having fewer issues resulting from that.

Is there already a list? I didn't find it yet, if so.

Thanks in advance for your feedback!
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Old 07-07-2017, 09:40 PM   #2
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I know of only 2 with no wood at all, Oliver and Happier Camper, and they're both on the high end, price-wise.

Lil Snoozy doesn't use any wood in the shell, including the floor, but it does have wood cabinetry. It may also be the only one that doesn't have any openings on the roof.

Several others have a fiberglass-encapsulated wood floor- less susceptible to rot, but not immune. Trilliums, newer Casitas, and Escapes are built that way. Escapes also have wood cabinetry, while Trilliums and Casitas have fiberglass cabinets with wood doors

Haven't covered them all, but that'll get you started.

Then there's the chassis. Steel rusts. Do you want to go with galvanized (Lil Snoozy) or aluminum (Oliver)?

One thing you get into is a cost-benefit trade-off. The cost goes up as you replace wood and steel with other materials. You will have to decide how far you want to take it and how much you're willing to pay.

But starting with an all-molded shell is a good beginning!
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Old 07-08-2017, 01:36 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nlittle View Post
I know every camper will leak at some point but I am interested in having fewer issues resulting from that.
Not every camper. That's one advantage of fiberglass. Provided you maintain the caulk in the few places where water can get in, and maintain the window seals, there's no reason a fiberglass rv should ever leak.

As for the floor, there are several different techniques and materials. On my Escape, the floor is plywood but it's encased in fiberglass. The bottom of the shell has voids built in that would capture any water, and the voids have drain holes to allow any water to drain. The floor may be wood, but it's pretty bulletproof due to being encased. The floor will last longer than I will.
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Old 07-08-2017, 05:47 AM   #4
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If I was buying new, whether a trailer had a wood floor wouldn't be something I'd be concerned with. It would be (in no particular order): my budget, tow vehicle limits, layout of trailer and options available.

The only reason a wood floor would ever have problems is a maintenance issue. Even all-molded towables can't be maintenance ignored, no matter what the brand.
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Old 07-08-2017, 06:19 AM   #5
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Just how old are you? I have had many trailers well into their 30s with no rot at all... and they were mostly neglected and abused.

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Old 07-08-2017, 06:38 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone. This would only be my second camper and I am currently dealing with a pop up storage box "water issue". I am not prepared to deal with letting that go and fixing the floor later so I am adressing it.
I have also realized that I am still young, but old enough to feel like the pop up is a pain after only a few years of it. I would much rather be able to get up and go with less hassle when getting there and doing maintenance without popping.
New I would be in good shape, but I would prefer to buy gently used if only I could ensure the PO did the needful....
Oliver looks to be lovely but out of my price range. I have flexibility on cost so am really trying to see my options.
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Old 07-08-2017, 07:02 AM   #7
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I recently looked at a very worn, molded fiberglass project. Trailer was over 40 years old. Despite needing quite a bit of work, wood floor was perfect.

I like used for a couple of reasons:

1. Buying new = missing a complete season of camping. All of the manufacturers have long, long, backlogs.

2. Buying used = will save some coin. Even on molded trailers that hold their value extremely well, used can mean saving a trip to some distant factory, getting a lot of upgrades and options.

Its not all about cost. Having the money does not necessarily mean you have to spend all of it. People with money often are more careful with spending (may be a connection here....). I look at utility. Hence when I bought my truck (used), did the utility of a new truck versus my five year old truck with 12,000 miles justify 2X + the money. Not to me. Does the utility I get from an Oliver justify spending 2X on a trailer? Not for me either, but it could for someone else. Not my place to judge.
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Old 07-08-2017, 07:19 AM   #8
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I think you are right to do some research. There are a lot of different approaches to the floor among molded manufacturers, and each has pros and cons. As Donna says, it needs to be weighed alongside many other factors. It doesn't matter how well-built a trailer is if it doesn't fit your needs.

I previously owned a wood-framed tent trailer and a wood-framed Toyota motorhome. Both had issues with seam leaks and underlying frame rot, so I know your pain. Neither had progressed as far as the floor, though. I also owned an aluminum-framed Holiday Rambler that was tight and leak-free after 15 years (but large and very heavy).

My Scamp is over 9 years old now and no leaks yet. It does have an exposed wood floor (painted on top and sealed with fiberglass resin underneath), so I check regularly during heavy rains for any sign of water inside the cabinets & benches. It was gently used when I bought it and I expect it to last many more years. Cost, weight, and beds for 4 were all reasons I chose Scamp. The wood floor was was way down on my priority list, but I did inspect it closely before purchase.

I also looked at Livin Lite tent trailers and travel trailers. Fit and finish were sloppy, the price was quite high, and I felt they would be more sensitive to hot and cold.
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:02 AM   #9
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Plumbing can leak inside a trailer. One thing about Snoozy floors is, no drain in case of a leak...any water trapped inside will slosh around until it evaporates. Escapes have low edge channels and a drain, I believe.
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:14 AM   #10
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I feel your pain on floor replacement, spent the 1st 4 weeks of retirement replacing the floor of my Starcraft hybrid. The bad flor was the main reason I went to fiberglass, Escape in particular. Fiberglass all around, including underneath. There is a plywood floor that sits on top of the fiberglass. As mentioned, it has channels molded into the bottom and a few drain holes in case of a window leak or plumbing malfunction. The Escape also has no rivets so no potential leaks around the belly band. Although I have no idea if such occurs.

100% better, water leak wise, then conventional trailers. You do still have to pay attention to the roof cutouts, windows and such.
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:24 AM   #11
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Hi Nicole - Welcome to the board!!

Nothing at all wrong with a bit of due diligence and, since you've noted a leak issue with your existing trailer, its understandable why that would be a concern in your search.

In my opinion, molded fiberglass construction is less susceptible to water damage but it does occur and not just from leaking windows or seams. I had a cracked connection in the upper section of the water fill pipe on my Scamp which went undetected and eventually caused a problem requiring me to replace about six square feet of flooring.

Over the last fifteen years or so, I've heard of floor replacements in just about every brand that uses wood flooring so wouldn't say any are totally immune. I'm not sure there's enough anecdotal evidence to fairly rank the manufacturers who do use wood so I doubt you'll find any such 'list'.

When buying used, thoroughly inspect the floor from beneath the trailer. Since you have a unit with a leak issue, I expect you know the difference in the 'thunk' of a solid floor vs one with a problem. After, you find one, continue with the inspections a few times each year but, as evidenced by the leak I had, even this won't guarantee problem free ownership. I will say replacing the damaged area was not a major effort.

Good luck in your search and post back with your progress.


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Old 07-08-2017, 09:56 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
It doesn't matter how well-built a trailer is if it doesn't fit your needs.
Spot on.
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Old 07-08-2017, 10:01 AM   #13
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...The Escape also has no rivets so no potential leaks around the belly band. Although I have no idea if such occurs...
Just to clarify, rivet leaks and belly band leaks are two separate issues, both relatively rare. Rivets typically develop leaks where there is excessive flex of the parts being joined and are easily replaced. Belly band leaks can be more trouble. Like floors, there are a number of different approaches to joining the two halves of the shell*, and most involve fiberglass. Scamp, for example, fiberglasses the two halves together on the inside. The visible exterior lip adds strength, and the metal piece is cosmetic. Absent a manufacturing defect, you probably wont have to worry about the belly band for 30 years or more.
*a few, not many, have a one-piece shell
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Old 07-08-2017, 11:10 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Mike Magee View Post
Plumbing can leak inside a trailer. One thing about Snoozy floors is, no drain in case of a leak...any water trapped inside will slosh around until it evaporates. Escapes have low edge channels and a drain, I believe.


Mike, you are wrong about Lil Snoozy not having drain holes. There are two under the bed and one under the sink. There may be others, but those are the 3 that are easily noticed from the inside.
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