Rotten subfloor - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-10-2009, 04:17 PM   #1
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Hello all,
Curious about tiny trailers, I started hanging out on this forum and then checking out for sale stuff. Then so inspired I went out and bought a 13' 83 Scamp! No buyers remorse just a little disappointment to find out the subfloor is actually soaking wet and rotten. I want to do any work myself but don't want to mess things up. Can I just rip up this subfloor and install another one? I have done searches on this forum and read references to fiberglass work but I'm not sure I understand where that comes in. I'm guessing that the subfloor is glued to the fiberglass. So how do I go about extracting the subfloor without ruining my Scamp?
Thanks for any help at all! Karin
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Old 04-10-2009, 05:35 PM   #2
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Last year i renov my scamp 16' the major renov was the floor

I have post some picture of the job on this forum the link for this is scamp floor renov

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Old 04-10-2009, 06:37 PM   #3
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So, do you just pull up the subfloor without regard for what is underneath (I assume it is fiberglass underneath) or should you be careful somehow? I am a little afraid to just pry it all up using force and big tools . . .
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Old 04-10-2009, 06:58 PM   #4
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I have not removed the floor on a Scamp, but I believe it is just plywood (or maybe waferboard) that is coated in resin and maybe some chopped fibers; but I don't believe there is a layer of fiberglass (as in, made up of cloth) under it. I think when you pull up the floor there will be just frame and then you will see the ground

The floor may be "tabbed" to the shell at the edges, which means there will be a fiberglass lip extending in an inche or two, which will not have rotted.

I'm thinking you will either want to replace the whole thing, or else plan your seams to land on supports that exist or that you add.

I'm sure more people with direct Scamp experience will chime in.

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Old 04-10-2009, 07:03 PM   #5
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Hello Karin
In my scamp 16' i dont have fiberglass under the wood
The floor was maide with a piece of wood cover with resin , under the floor it's the frame , you cant see that on my renov picture

May be you have fiberglass on your 13' same as my previous Boler

I dont use big tool to remove rotten wood to the fiberglass wall i cut them with a small grinder
I clean all fiberglass with grinding tool and sandpaper, i cut new plywood a fix to the wall with fiberglass premix ( fiberglass fiber blend with resin )
Before installing plywood , i give some coat with resin to seal and protect it
It a big job but you retreive perfect condition floor same a original

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Old 04-11-2009, 07:28 PM   #6
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Thanks so much for your help. I huffed and puffed my way through and got rid of the subfloor today, and most of the yucky smell, too. Next a new subfloor and the vinyl Trafficmaster Allure everyone is raving about and at least my floor will be good to go. This forum has been just great. Thanks! Karin
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Old 04-11-2009, 09:12 PM   #7
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You do know to use exterior grade plywood or even better, but more expensive marine grade.
These grades are made for some water exposure and will save in the long run.
Do a little research on the web. you should cover with fg.
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Old 04-12-2009, 12:08 AM   #8
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I agree on using exterior plywood (marine is even better, but probably not necessary - it's chief difference is that there are fewer/no voids).

But I'm not sure you need to fiberglass it. A resin coating, yes; but fiberglass cloth no (in my opinion).

What seems to rot the floors is water leaking into the camper, not water from below (i.e. the road). If you have water leaking into the camper, you have problems, period. Unless you were very careful about how you sealed your penetrations into the floor (epoxy annuli, etc.), you could just as easily get water trapped in the wood (that is encapsulated in fiberglass cloth.

That's not to say a fiberglassed floor is bad, but just that it's not necessary and has its own potential pitfalls.

So I'd say coat the plywood with resin on both sides (I like epoxy or vinylester, but polyester would work too), and be fastidious about keeping leaks out of the inside, and you'll be good to go.

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Old 04-12-2009, 07:33 AM   #9
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To echo Raya's thoughts, I'd investigate why your floor is rotted while you have it torn down. The floor is not rotten for no reason... you have water intrusion from somewhere, if not multiple sources. Though marine plywood cost much more, that is what I would use to replace the subfloor simply because it has no voids and is much stronger than other plywoods the same thickness. Pay particular attention to the edges when resin coating the plywood as the edges will soak up a lot of resin.
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Old 04-12-2009, 08:10 AM   #10
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Gosh, you guys are great. Yes, there was at least one major leak that I know of from the previous owner. The roof vent which has since been replaced with a skylight and no longer leaks. We had a good lot of rain two days ago and I found no leaking so I think I am okay to go ahead and replace the floor. I was going to use OSB, since that what was used originally, and resin the bottom side but I will take your advice and use exterior or marine plywood and resin both sides. Thanks again.
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Old 04-12-2009, 11:56 AM   #11
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Randy's right in that marine ply is the best - and maybe I was too casual in saying it was not necessary; but even a good exterior ply will be much better than OSB for resisting moisture. I guess partly it would depend on the quality of the Exterior ply. Some of it is pretty "not so hot" these days and at least you know what you're getting with marine. I would take a close look at the exterior that is available to you before using it.

One other note: Is the Scamp's floor "tabbed" to the shell (around the outside rim) with fiberglass cloth? I though it might be but don't know for sure. If it is/was, you would want to re-tab it.

Also a good point to thoroughly coat the cut edges with resin.

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Old 04-12-2009, 07:42 PM   #12
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The voids potentially found in exterior plywood will be small and not enough to make a structural difference, so I personally wouldn't waste money on marine grade.

In fact, I haven't priced the difference between exterior ply and exterior OSB, but wouldn't spend much more there -- I have had several exterior ply bottoms in a utility trailer subject to leakage and they rot out just as fast as anything -- They are all using the same glues and wood -- What finally worked on that trailer was the old green pressure-treated exterior ply, but I wouldn't use that in an RV because of the poisons in it.
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Old 04-13-2009, 07:28 PM   #13
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I would think the resin used would factor in here, too. A high quality exterior plywood with a high quality epoxy resin. Does anyone have a brand they can recommend? I have heard of West systems. Specifically a product of theirs called Gflex that I might be able to use to adhere the ply to the frame rather than nail to the frame? What do you all think? Do I have to nail the plywood to the frame?
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Old 04-13-2009, 07:52 PM   #14
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I haven't used G-flex much, so I'm not sure if I'd trust it to hold the floor to the frame. I mean, that's what's holding the shell to the frame on the freeway, isn't it? Also G-flex is pretty expensive. Not that money is everything, but if it's not necessary...

I would probably go back with screws for that (hopefully they used machine screws with nuts and not self-tapping, but at least I would use SOME mechanical fastener that was not nails).

"Regular" epoxy coating of a good, exterior plywood; floor tabbed to the shell with fiberglass cloth; and metal fasteners to the frame is what I would probably do. You can buy fiberglass in "tape" form, which means it's narrow and has finished edges (or just cut strips of cloth) Biaxial cloth would be stronger.

WEST is a good brand of resin. So are System Three, Raka, MAS, and others.
EPISIZE makes some nice biax tape on a roll, but there are others of that as well.

But if you're not sure what to get, and just want to pick up the phone, here is a suggestion:

B and B Yacht Designs is (unlike the name implies) a nice Mom and Pop boatbuilding company (mostly smaller homebuilt boats), and they sell good, economical epoxy and supplies. They will work with you on the phone to help you choose appropriate materials.
Ask for Graham or Carla.
Phone: 252-745-4793
Order line: 877-288-0941 USA only
www.bandbyachtdesigns.com
They also make a great garden sprayer shower - in black!

Raya
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