Rotten subfloor - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-14-2009, 12:50 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the great info. I agree with the thoughts on the price of the G flex, too expensive.

Looking at the owner's manual on the Scamp, looks like the shell was "caulked" to the frame - does that serve the same purpose as "tabbing" the shell with fiberglass to the frame?
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Old 04-14-2009, 02:06 PM   #16
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Hi Karin,

I'm sorry that I haven't seen a Scamp in person, although I do have a similar Boler (but it has a fiberglass floor w/wood core).

Caulking will not be (very) structural; it mostly serves to make a smooth transition and keep nuisance water out (although not for 30 years). Tabbing is more structural. For example, my sailboat hull was made in two halves (right and left) and then tabbed together. It's as strong or stronger than if it were one piece.

So, I'm not sure your floor needs to be tabbed, if it wasn't before; although it would be strong and would "unitize" the shell and floor to a point. Certain types of cloth will make stronger tabbing than others (i.e. regular "weave" cloth will be less strong, typically, and biaxial cloth will be stronger), but any tabbing is worlds stronger than caulk. (Which you might not need.)

[Edited to add: I wonder if there is a fiberglass "lip" tabbed to the shell that the floor rested on? It just seems that the floor must be attached to the shell by more than caulk, no?]

At the very least, you want a good, new, dry floor. If the shell is held to the frame only by fasteners through the floor, of course you need a good attachment from the floor to the shell (but there may be structural areas around the wheelwells and etc. that provide that now). And of course you need to keep new water out. From there on out you have to decide how good you want to make it.

Is there any way you could post photos of what you have? I realize that my advice might sound confusing, and it's hard to really say without seeing it.

Raya
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Old 04-16-2009, 07:42 AM   #17
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I'm very appreciative of your advice! My camera is with my husband on a trip. When he returns Monday, I'll shoot a few and upload them. Getting the plywood and resin in the meantime . . . Karin
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Old 04-16-2009, 10:31 AM   #18
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Great - once we can see what you have it will be much easier to formulate a plan. And you know you'll need plywood and resin regardless.

Raya
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Old 04-27-2009, 07:38 PM   #19
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Hope these pics help. I've already coated my plywood (I used a high quality exterior fir, no marine in my budget!) with resin (from B and B yacht design - thanks for the referral Raya) and it's ready to go in but am now working on sanding the rust off the frame. My latest concern (can you spell lemon bought on ebay?!) is the walls. I think the seller just painted over some grime/mildew, granted with good paint, but without a good cleaning and I'm wondering if I just want to paint again over it or take look into taking off the wall material. I have to repeat, my husband and I are not real handy just finding it necessary. Having fun though. Thanks for all the great advice.
Karin
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Old 04-27-2009, 08:53 PM   #20
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Hi Karin,

Thanks for posting the photos. Not that you should have to deal with any rot, but if I'm seeing correctly that it's only in the lowered floor section, well, that seems like it would be the easiest to deal with (vs. the panels that go under the benches, etc.).

For that square piece that I see missing now, I think that a good resin coating (especially on the end grain) would suffice if it weren't fir. Since fir is prone to "checking," if you only use resin you may end up with gaps in it when the fir checks (I had this happen on a boat that was built with fir plywood and only resin coated - after I bought it I had to go back, sand all the paint off down to bare wood/resin, and then add a layer of cloth and resin ). Since you have the square of plywood outside the camper, and can work on horses or the like, adding cloth won't be that hard. (If you had a wood other than fir, I'd say just resin coating would be adequate.) What do others with experience think of this

If you plan to paint it after you fiberglass (you don't need to unless it will be exposed to UV), be sure to rinse the "blush" off of the fiberglass after it cures. You just use water and a 3M type pad, then wipe clean with paper towels. No need for soap or anything else. Then a light sanding (say, 100 grit or so) and you could paint.

For putting the cloth on, just mark the outline of your piece(s) with black sharpie marker, then cut them out. You can also mark things like "left edge" or "top" or whatever. Make sure the wood is prepped and clean, and you have all your ingredients ready to go - once you get started it's like a stir fry in that it goes really quickly.

Mix up the resin in a plastic cup - you can use something like a popsicle stick for stirring. I use plastic sheeting on top of plywood or cardboard for my wetting out station. I lay out my pre-cut pieces of cloth, then pour a bit of (mixed) resin on top and push it around with a plastic squeegee (body shop type - often yellow) or a paint brush. The idea is to "wet out" all the cloth which will go totally translucent and limp (from stiff and white). At the same time you can brush or roller a layer of "neat" resin on the wood. Then roll up your saturated cloth piece(s) (or they will get all distorted when you move them) and transfer them to their homes on the wood. Now you want to squeegee the excess resin out and get it all nice and flat, then just let it cure.

Note that if you mix the resin in a deep cup, it will "kick" faster than if it is spread out. Once you spread the resin out on the cloth it will kick much slower due to less heat build up. If it's really hot out you can keep the cup of resin in ice.

Be sure to wear nitrile (blue) gloves and protective clothes. I usually put on three gloves on each hand, so then I can peel off to a clean one without getting resin on my skin.

I've probably left something out, so feel free to ask questions

Raya
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Old 04-27-2009, 08:59 PM   #21
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Oh, I forgot about the Ensolite (walls). If you think mold was painted over.... well, I wouldn't want to paint over it again. Can you test for paint adhesion? Sometimes you can do something like put tape on it (in the usual hidden corner) and then tear the tape off and see if the paint comes off. Bit of a judgment call.

Putting on new Ensolite is a bit of a chore and expensive, but people have done it. You would have the opportunity to use slightly thicker material if you wanted more insulation (the standard was 3/16" as far as I know). IR Foam specialties has Ensolite, and there was a Boler project done by "Jenny" here wherein she put all new Ensolite on. The stuff I've seen now does not have the vinyl "skin" so most people just paint it from the get-go, I think. That said, it might be worth asking about the different types they have listed as some do have a "natural" color. I had them send me some samples and they were black, but I'm not sure I had gone through all the options with them.

http://www.irfoam.com/index.php?page=foam2

Raya

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Old 04-27-2009, 11:31 PM   #22
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Karens pictures show the kitchen floor which sits on a metal L shaped lip built into the frame. Very similar to the boler American. That floor is screwed to the metal and caulking used to seal the gaps.

Raya talks of tabbing which can be seen in this picture.


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Which was cropped from a picture Jean L sent me while replacing the rear floor in his boler American this past weekend.
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Old 04-29-2009, 11:31 AM   #23
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Other good photos are Here
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Old 04-29-2009, 11:05 PM   #24
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Quote:
Other good photos are Here
Ken,
By far, that's the BEST presentation of a floor project I've ever seen , it ROCKS!
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Old 05-04-2009, 08:31 PM   #25
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Ken, Wow, I appreciate this link, and it turned out to be very timely. We just discovered the upper floor is also rotting through in the corner. We didn't find any leaks and it has been raining constantly for about 4 days - it looks like it is damage from the same ceiling vent that caused the other damage. So here we go again with the plywood, resin, etc.

Raya, your explanations are detailed, thorough and very helpful. I'll tackle the fiberglassing after the floor pieces are in. I thought I'd call B and B and order the biaxial tape you recommended.

Someday I'm going to get to the pretty stuff !! (flooring, curtains, etc.)

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Other good photos are Here
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:08 PM   #26
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THANK YOU for the detailed info, Raya. Yes, I did use fir! I've been sidetracked for a while upon finding more softness/damage under the right bench and sanding the frame, readying for priming. That has NOT been a fun job. I've ordered the tape - so you're saying cover the whole piece with fiberglass cloth (well, strips anyway)? Once my wood is ready to go in, which would be better to use - sheetmetal screws or bolts to attach it to the frame?

Re: the ensolite, the good news is I talked to the previous owner who assured me the ensolite walls were cleaned well before they painted so I can just add my coats. I'm glad to know what it is though, and really glad I don't have to go down that road of replacing it!
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Old 05-15-2009, 11:58 AM   #27
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Hi Karin,

Sounds like you're going to have a really sound egg when you do get to the fun curtains part

Let me preface this by saying that if you never again allow leaks into the trailer, you could probably use bare fir exterior plywood and it wouldnt rot in your lifetime. I'm not advocating that, but just say it to point out that it is leaks from above that typically cause problems, and so you have that as background information when deciding how far to go with the process.

I would put cloth over the whole top of the flooring for sure. That will add durability, strength and waterproofing. As for the bottom, I would definitely resin coat for sure, and I would probably fiberglass too, simply because fir checks so much more than other types of plywood, and plain resin will not stand up to that (ask me how I know ).

The thing to know if/when you do fiberglass cloth the bottom, is that now you really need to make sure no water gets into that wood, because it will rot in there. Again, mostly only a worry from above. The second skin of cloth will also make the wood structure stiffer, as you now have a sandwich, like an I-beam, if you will.

If you really want to be anal, you can do it like we do on boats with a cored deck (fiberglass/wood/fiberglass), and "overdrill" (larger diameter) any holes you are making and then fill them with thickened epoxy (colloidial silica for filler is good) and then drill your smaller fastener hole through the epoxy annulus you have created. Seals the core and gives a compression "post" too. Also, be sure to seal the edges of the plywood.

You'll have to decide how far to go with this, as it's a judgement call. I hate to worry, so I "overkill."

For the attachment to the frame, it will depend on what you have now for holes (see my thread on this a couple of days ago). If you only have holes through the top of the frame, then I would say screws. If you already have holes through both sides of the frame, then bolts (weakens frame, but if they are already there, then might as well use them). If you want more connection power, but only have the top holes, then maybe add trailer "U" bolts around the frame, or have tabs welded on the frame for bolts off to the side of the frame (like little angle iron shapes).

Let me know if any of this was unclear. I'm off to a meeting and rushing a bit.

Good on you for tackling this project

Raya
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Old 05-17-2009, 12:04 PM   #28
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(This is from my husband, John, who is, thankfully, fully committed to the Scamp overhaul: )I have a question about self-tapping screws for attaching the center floor section to the frame of our 13' Scamp. Is there a special type of screw that's needed, and can this be done with a basic household drill? I can lean well on the drill while driving the screws, but I'm concerned about the amount of torque available from my Dewalt 3/8" drill (I think it says 5.4 amps; the label's scratched.)

I assume that countersinked, pilot holes in the floor piece are recommended.

I plan to attach this section of the floor to only the angle-iron type frame parts and to the lips that are available around the sides. I assume it's best to avoid the wider, heavier, primary frame rails running from front to back beneath everything.

Karin didn't count when removing the old rotten (original) floor, but it seems there were less than a dozen - maybe just 8-10 - screws used to attach the original floor. Does anyone have suggestions or advice regarding the number of screws to use and the critical attachment points?

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