Plywood subfloor over original floor???? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 10-24-2011, 10:42 PM   #1
Junior Member
Name: Ron
Trailer: Burro 17'
Posts: 9
Question Plywood subfloor over original floor????

I bought an '85 17' Burro which seems very clean and solid throughout. Trailer has (all working) 3 way fridge, forced air propane heater, small microwave/convection oven, toilet and shower, gravel guard, water heater, small flat screen TV, electric brakes, vent with fan.

I have a question about the floor. I have read a lot of posts about the rotted floors and I want to get comments on my experience with the new to me Burro floor. The trailer has carpet installed inside and I was unable to check floor underneath carpet altho floor felt solid - not squishy when walking on it. When I got it home I did pull the carpet up a little along one edge by the shower stall opening and found what appears to be new bare (untreated) plywood (thickness unknown) under the carpet which is glued to subfloor. I think someone laid plywood over the original floor because when looking at underside of trailer I can see the treated (glassed) original flooring material. Before I bought it I did go around and poke the underside flooring with a knife and all seemed very solid except for a small area at the rear left corner of trailer. All the windows seem leak free with no evidence of wetness in the storage areas under the windows.

My question is if any of you have had experience with laying a layer of 'subfloor' on top of the original floor. And if the floor checks out solid on the underside can I feel confident that a previous owner wasn't trying to mask a serious floor problem.

My seller said when he bought the trailer the seller had already installed the plywood and was in process of installing carpet, so when my seller took possession the floor was carpeted. My seller has had the trailer for about 4 years and seemed quite honest about his disclosures which did not indicate any issues with floor.

I am a newby to eggs - upgrading from a tent trailer - and also new to this forum, which I love. I am a skilled DYI guy and I am finding the information on the forum invaluable. Thank you guys very much.

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Old 10-25-2011, 05:06 AM   #2
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Donna D.'s Avatar
Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Posts: 23,914
Hi Ron, I wanted to welcome you to FiberglassRV! I'll leave the flooring answer to those more knowledgable than myself, but want to say WELCOME

Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:18 AM   #3
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Name: Ron
Trailer: Burro 17'
Posts: 9
Thanks Donna. I 've seen many of your posts on the forum.
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Old 10-25-2011, 09:29 AM   #4
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Name: Norm and Ginny
Trailer: Scamp 16
Posts: 7,083
I assume the new plywood does not extend under the cabinets. If it doesn't you should be able to determine the thickness of the new layer in that area. If he did the entire trailer, that is impressive.

The fact that he glued the new layer down is positive in terms of floor strength and would significantly stiffen the floor. It could be that the owner felt the normal floor deflection and attempted to stiffen it when he had it recarpeted.

I suspect on some occasion you will drill a hole through the floor and that will allow you to determine the thickness of the new layer. I'd bet it's not too thick, maybe a 1/4"

Not being able to detect any rot from underneath is a positive. Floors do seem to rot from the top down and rarely in the walking area except near the door. Rot is usually caused by water leakage at a window, door, or other hole and usually begins around the edge of the trailer. It is unlikely the floor has rotted in the 'walk around' area except for the doorway.

It is good practice to check the cabinet, under window, areas after a significant rainfall. To make things a little safer I spray painted the under cabinet floors.

It sounds like you did the right things in your check out process and should be OK.

Keep us tuned in to what you find
Norm and Ginny

2014 Honda Odyssey
1991 Scamp 16
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Old 10-25-2011, 10:18 AM   #5
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Name: David
Trailer: 16 foot Scamp
Posts: 314
Everything that Norm said, plus: You can do test drills through the floor at various points to see how the drill feeds through. If you are hitting solid wood all the way, you are good. If you hit rot you will feel it. Caulk them back closed. The areas around water heaters are notorious for rot. Any passages like doors and hatches are likewise bad. I have done a few restorations on Airstream trailers. On one I removed all the rotted wood and spliced in new. On another I painted the existing floor with Kilz and then used liquid nails and screws to apply a top floor. I'm not familiar with the construction of the Burro but one possible issue might be the connection of the shell. If the shell connects directly to the floor then rot that is covered is a problem. The presence of the added flooring in itself is not a bad thing, and as Norm pointed out, the guy used glue and not, say,.. roofing nails . That shows that some higher intelligence was involved in the work. I can't begin to tell the messes I have found

You did all you could it seems to detect trouble, and I always did too. I have NEVER purchased a project trailer or vehicle that turned out to be LESS work than I thought . That's my experience spanning 35 years of this nonsense. It's one reason that I bought a brand new trailer this time around. I just couldn't live with the heartache of lifting one more piece of carpet and finding ..........................

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Old 10-15-2015, 02:00 PM   #6
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Name: Kathleen (Kai in Seattle)
Trailer: Amerigo FG-16 1973
Posts: 774
Hi, David;,
We're relatively new to this forum ourselves, we bought a 1973 amerigo 8 days ago and reading your statement that you've never found a project to be LESS work that you thought was just so perfect and true. Also the "heartache of lifting one more piece of carpet and finding..." for us it was a throw rug over the whole bathroom floor and pergo snapped over the entire (rotted) lower walking area...
One section after another we found rotted, I'm waiting to find out if the upper section is rotted, far there have been nothing but bad surprises.


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