Total plywood replacement? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-11-2008, 12:55 PM   #1
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Hello everyone, My first post here and new to this hobby. I'm doing a total body off restoration and gut job to my recently acquired 1973 13' Boler.

I've been trying to "search" function on this topic as I'm sure it's posted somewhere here, but I find I get too many unrelated results or other floor replacements are just simple repairs, or cover-ups. My plywood is rotten and smelly and needs to be fully replaced. The lower section was easy enough to pull, but obviously the upper decks in front and rear are glassed to the Boler body itself and what supports the body to the the trailer itself.

I've removed the body from the trailer and am ready to cut the plywood out from the glass body, but since it seems to help provide structure and strength I am looking for advice. Best tools to use, supporting the body and especially how to place the new flooring material in to the same spot? I thought about using the old floor as a template and using spacers underneath the plywood to give it lift as I re-glassed it into place, but I don't want to go at this critical project blindly. Thanks in advance and I'll get pics up for y'all ASAP. here's a google link to what we have so far........http://picasaweb.google.com/mtn.fresh
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Old 03-11-2008, 01:13 PM   #2
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I would measure the spacing carefully before tearing out the old plywood, then clean the f/g and glass in a lip (maybe 1x1" pine) around the inside perimeter for the new floor to rest on. This way if you somehow don't manage to make it level, you can still adjust with shims before making it permanent. Make the new flooring template mock-up with cardboard and get them all fitted just right, then transfer the cutouts to the plywood. Screw the new flooring to the lip, then glass it all together, seal with resin, and reaffix to the frame. Use 3/4" marine/cabinet grade plywood or MDF only.

Make sense?
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Old 03-11-2008, 01:33 PM   #3
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I would measure the spacing carefully before tearing out the old plywood, then clean the f/g and glass in a lip (maybe 1x1" pine) around the inside perimeter for the new floor to rest on. This way if you somehow don't manage to make it level, you can still adjust with shims before making it permanent. Make the new flooring template mock-up with cardboard and get them all fitted just right, then transfer the cutouts to the plywood. Screw the new flooring to the lip, then glass it all together, seal with resin, and reaffix to the frame. Use 3/4" marine/cabinet grade plywood or MDF only.

Make sense?

Makes sense to me- I like it. I hadn't considered MDF. I didn't think it had the strength or water resistant properties of a good plywood. Does anyone else have links to others involved in similar processes? Any final word on paint and/or undercoating of floors? My lower decking was replaced with 3/4" MG ply, while the upper decking was original lighter weight 5/8" ply. Should I be concerned about the added weight of 3/4"?
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Old 03-11-2008, 01:42 PM   #4
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Makes sense to me- I like it. I hadn't considered MDF. I didn't think it had the strength or water resistant properties of a good plywood. Does anyone else have links to others involved in similar processes? Any final word on paint and/or undercoating. My lower decking was replaced with 3/4" MG ply, while the upper decking was original lighter weight 5/8" ply. Should I be concerned about the added weight of 3/4"?
I'm in the process of replacing the floor in my trailer, however the application is a bit different from the Boler. I have a writeup on the mods board if you're interested.

IMO regarding 3/4" vs 5/8", I'd rather have a floor I could drop an anvil on and not bat a lash, rather than save maybe 10 lbs of curb weight. But that's just me.

MDF vs. Plywood is really just a matter of personal preference, but I can tell you that from 15 years of experience in mobile audio fabrication, MDF does suck up resin better and is easier to work with when it comes to tricky cuts and router work. I chose plywood because I thought it suited my application better but I'd say it's probably just the same either way.
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Old 03-11-2008, 01:55 PM   #5
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I'm in the process of replacing the floor in my trailer, however the application is a bit different from the Boler. I have a writeup on the mods board if you're interested.

IMO regarding 3/4" vs 5/8", I'd rather have a floor I could drop an anvil on and not bat a lash, rather than save maybe 10 lbs of curb weight. But that's just me.

MDF vs. Plywood is really just a matter of personal preference, but I can tell you that from 15 years of experience in mobile audio fabrication, MDF does suck up resin better and is easier to work with when it comes to tricky cuts and router work. I chose plywood because I thought it suited my application better but I'd say it's probably just the same either way.

What is MDF?
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Old 03-11-2008, 01:58 PM   #6
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What is MDF?

Medium density fiberboard. Not to be confused with OSB or particle board, however.

Brady; This is a really nice Boler resto also. Good detailed shots of how he attacked the floor as well. It might give you some ideas to consider: http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/index.ph...mp;#entry263591
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Old 03-11-2008, 02:31 PM   #7
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Medium density fiberboard. Not to be confused with OSB or particle board, however.

Brady; This is a really nice Boler resto also. Good detailed shots of how he attacked the floor as well. It might give you some ideas to consider: http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/index.ph...mp;#entry263591

Great link, and lots of labor to study. Ours will be red as well with a grey interior walls. Neat to see something close to our vision out there.
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Old 03-11-2008, 02:34 PM   #8
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Medium density fiberboard. Not to be confused with OSB or particle board, however.

Brady; This is a really nice Boler resto also. Good detailed shots of how he attacked the floor as well. It might give you some ideas to consider: http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/index.ph...mp;#entry263591
Thanks for the info,
Also, I believe some bolers were manufacured differently with regards too their floors. The floor on my75 Boler was wood totally covered with Fiberglass. The false floor was put on the trailer to fix a saging corner, otherwise, the floor was in great shape. Rear left (most comon for a boler) . This totaly solved the problem, I just set the shell on top of the false floor, springing it back into place, repaired the seem will liquid nails for fiberglass, and away we go. You look like you might have some additional issue's with your floor?


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Old 03-11-2008, 03:40 PM   #9
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Thanks for the info,
Also, I believe some bolers were manufacured differently with regards too their floors. The floor on my75 Boler was wood totally covered with Fiberglass. The false floor was put on the trailer to fix a saging corner, otherwise, the floor was in great shape. Rear left (most comon for a boler) . This totaly solved the problem, I just set the shell on top of the false floor, springing it back into place, repaired the seem will liquid nails for fiberglass, and away we go. You look like you might have some additional issue's with your floor?

My floor has rot and dry rot and an evil odor. I don't think it sags and the perimeter is actually quite solid, I could get away a few years with a simple over floor job, but I plan on doing this right and keeping it in the family. My lady and I are both firefighters and want to do this up "firetruck themed". Is the sagging caused by weak fiberglassing at the floor seam?

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Old 03-11-2008, 03:54 PM   #10
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My floor has rot and dry rot and an evil odor. I don't think it sags and the perimeter is actually quite solid, I could get away a few years with a simple over floor job, but I plan on doing this right and keeping it in the family. My lady and I are both firefighters and want to do this up "firetruck themed". Is the sagging caused by weak fiberglassing at the floor seam?
Yes, the sagging is caused by (weakening) fiberglassing at the floor seam (30-40 years will do this to fiberglass) You mostly see it on the Kitchen side of Bolers because of the added weight it adds to that side of the trailer. The trailer takes more of a beating on that side when trailering as well (tends to bounce more). I would recommend some type of added support at the seams (I used Fiberglass liquid nails all the way around) I have had great luck with it.
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Old 03-11-2008, 03:59 PM   #11
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Yes, the sagging is caused by (weakening) fiberglassing at the floor seam (30-40 years will do this to fiberglass) You mostly see it on the Kitchen side of Bolers because of the added weight it adds to that side of the trailer. The trailer takes more of a beating on that side when trailering as well (tends to bounce more). I would recommend some type of added support at the seams (I used Fiberglass liquid nails all the way around) I have had great luck with it.

I haven't seen that FG Liquid Nails yet but heard it mentioned here before. I thought it was a mis-type. I'll load up on that next time I'm out for supplies.
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Old 03-11-2008, 04:24 PM   #12
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Definitely go with plywood, marine grade if you can afford it, exterior grade if not. MDF is glorified particle board and does not have the structural integrity of plywood. Like particle board it will bloat and turn to mush if it gets wet.
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Old 03-11-2008, 07:08 PM   #13
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Definitely go with plywood, marine grade if you can afford it, exterior grade if not. MDF is glorified particle board and does not have the structural integrity of plywood. Like particle board it will bloat and turn to mush if it gets wet.

Kind of what I thought. I've used it on audio projects myself and like it's dense but workable properties, But it it absorbs resin easily, water absorption would be even higher I would think.
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Old 03-11-2008, 11:05 PM   #14
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Just to add a note, marine grade plywood has the same glues as exterior plywood. The difference is that marine grade has NO voids anywhere in it. Likely won't make a bit of difference in a trailer floor application.

Before starting, I'd suggest a thorough search of the archives on this subject as there have been many approaches, some of which did not include replacing the entire floor, just the bad spots.
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