Floor Repair - Fiberglass RV

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Old 02-20-2008, 05:25 PM   #1
Junior Member
Trailer: Casita 16 ft
Posts: 2

I need a recommendation on finding someone to replace a floor on my 1996 16-foot Spirit. I have fixed several of the leaks that were caused by loose rivets that were on my trailer. However our recent severe winter weather subjected the trailer to another dowsing of water. Unfortunetly our storage area is not covered and is more than 25 miles away from our house so I can only check on it periodically. I have it covered with a tarp and crack the ceiling vent and side window to ensure air movement. However during the last blow the tarp ripped. (we had 70mph winds) Heat + water rekindled the musty oder coming from the carpet. Anyway the wife and i decided to remove the carpet and replace it with tile. The thought is that if we get any more water it would be more likely to evaporate if it were a tile floor than if it were carpet.

We have removed nearly everything except for the right hand side kitchen area down to the laminate. We are planning on taking the kitchen out this week or weekend depending on time. Well we found extensive rot in the floor underneath the rear table/bed area. It looks like the rotting issue has been going on for several years if not a decade. We have only owned the trailer since 2006. The previous owner said that he had replaced the freshwater hose from the city water supply to the sink. What he didn't say was how long the leak had been going on for before it was discovered.

The wood tie downs for the freshwater tank were completely disentigrated and moldy. The wood beneath the fiberglass is mush or non-existant. I am surprised at the amount of rigidity left in the floor since it is only supported by the fiberglass and not much plywood support left. I called Casita parts and service desk and asked them if they could service or recommend a person to replace the floor and the person sounded a little perplexed that a floor on a Casita could rot out. He said on the newer models that doesn't happen becuase the wood is sealed in. It was sealed in on mine as well but the table supports breached the integrity of the wood and allowed moisture into the trailer. Anyway I would like to hear from people who have done floor replacements in their RV's or who have had the job done.

The wife and i have considered the following options:

1 - Put the seats back in, tile it and pretend we didn't see the problem.

2 - Putting in a support peice of metal or wood over the top of the existing floor and attempt to treat the remaining wood with rotdoctor.com products.

3 - ripping out the fiberglass and rotting wood and replaceing it with marine grade plywood and new fiberglass.

4 - putting in concrete backer board like the kind found in bathrooms and dare the trailer to get wet there by strengthening the floor.

5 - paying someone to put in a new floor.

6 - towing our $5,000 dollar trailor to the junk yard and buy a new one.

Any advice is appreciated. I would especially be interested in hearing about someone in the Northern California Area who could do this repair.

If you interested in seeing what a Casita looks like with no seats take a look here.


Keith alholm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2008, 07:01 PM   #2
Senior Member
Trailer: 13 ft Perris Pacer
Posts: 127
Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

Good news is it's completely salvageable. Repairable to better than new, actually. Bad news is it's a lot of work. A LOT. I've got at least 20 hours into the subfloor of my Perris Pacer and I'm probably only about 75% finished.

You've already identified the source of the leaks - this is key. Fix them and then tear the floor out. The whole thing needs to go. Wood, carpet, brackets, all of it. Tear it all out. Likewise, if any of the rat-fur wall covering has water damage it will need to be replaced too. Tear it out or you'll NEVER get rid of the smell, and it will continue to slowly rot anyways.

Replace all hoses, fittings, faucet, filler necks, plumbing, etc. It's cheaper than having to do all this again in two years because you wanted skip replacing 20 yeard old plastic just to save $100 when you already had the trailer gutted.

After the trailer has completely aired/dried out, vacuum and scrub the bare fiberglass until it's as clean as you can possibly get it. Begin by making cardboard templates of the new floor. Test fit them and trim a little bit at a time. When they all fit perfectly, transfer the stencils onto 3/4" cabinet/marine grade 12 ply birch. Use a few glops of liquid nails on the bottom side to hold it all in place and then let dry for a few days. Now countersink some bolts thru the new floor and frame of the trailer. Liberally apply fiberglass mat and epoxy resin around alll the edges, sealing and permanently affixing the new floor to the body of the trailer. Give all the flat surfaces a good thick coat of resin also to pervent it from being susceptible to spills down the road. Cover with your favorite floor covering and put everything back together.

Don't be scared to tear into it. The beauty of fiberglass is no matter how many times you screw up, you can still just cut it apart and repair just like new until you're satisfied. Mechanically speaking, this is an easy job. It's just very tedious and detail oriented to do the job strong and make it last. This job will likely cost more than the value of the trailer to have professionally done, so you really need to either decide if you want to get your hands dirty and giv'er or not. Otherwise you're between parting out the trailer and starting fresh, or putting it all back together and hobbling it around for as long as it will hold up.

Angelo F. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2008, 02:34 PM   #3
Junior Member
Trailer: Casita 16 ft
Posts: 2

Thanks for your response. Based on your and other recommendations we have put the trailer into the garage and we are proceeding to tear out the old floor. The kitchenette is the item we are going to remove this weekend.

Our particular model didn't come with a bathroom - only a kitchen sink, fresh water trank and a gray water tank. We are condsidering removing the freshwater and graywater tank along with the sink completely. It looks like the offending leak was from the freshwater tank hoses and or tank. We held off removing the kitchenette before because we didn't want to hurt the resale of the trailer. Either way we figure that the resale value of the trailer the way it is now is nill so removing the items we don't use is no big deal. We would much rather have the space that the kitchenette occupies for storage. We like to cook outside and we rarely camp for more than a couple of nights at a time.

Keith alholm is offline   Reply With Quote

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