Gelcoating Burro Floor to prolong floor life? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-19-2013, 11:47 AM   #1
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Gelcoating Burro Floor to prolong floor life?

Has anyone used a thick layer of Gelcoat as their FGRV floor?

Do you think a gelcoat on the floor (inside) could help prolong the life of the floor?

I recent purchased a1985 burro still had its original carpet in it. i took it out hoping to get rid of the mildew/moth ball smell. The flooring looks pretty good. definitely some discoloring, but no real concerning soft spots. a section near the door had been replaced, (might need some attention again eventually).

I like the wood flooring idea that i have seen on this forum. but worried a little about moisture build-up underneath the boards. for that same reason, i would be worried about a laminate.

I was thinking that thick layer of gelcoat could do the trick. it would give it a bathtub feel, but easily cleaned and we could use a throw rug ontop.

do you see any reason not to? could it actually trap moisture in the plywood flooring even more?


thanks!
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Old 11-19-2013, 12:11 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by not-very-clever View Post
Has anyone used a thick layer of Gelcoat as their FGRV floor?

do you see any reason not to? could it actually trap moisture in the plywood flooring even more?

thanks!
In my experience, yes and yes!

My 1980 has an original wood floor, which on the inside had a sort of skim-coat of fiberglass resin (previous owner or previous-previous owner had installed sheet vinyl on top of it), more or less sealing it.

It had enough water incursion into the wood (from tire splash in the direction of the door etc) that when I brought it home on purchase and started digging into it I found a lot of damp spongy wood.

It was somehow possible for the moisture to get in, and not so easy for it to get out.
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Old 11-19-2013, 02:35 PM   #3
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Lowes sells a epoxy floor kit. You put the epoxy on then sprinkle supplied chips and you have a good looking floor. It is for garages but should work fine for your application.
Shop Epoxy-Coat N/A 48 Fluid Ounce(s) Interior High-Gloss Garage Floor Epoxy Kit Tan at Lowes.com
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Old 11-19-2013, 02:46 PM   #4
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I just completed restoring a 1981 Burro and what I did to my floor is as follows. The wood floor for the most part was good so underneath I sprayed auto undercoating complete. Then on the inside I added another sheet of Ĺ ply. On top of it I laid linoleum tiles. For me it looks good and feels good. Itís just the way I did it.

You can see what I did to my Burro at Restoring a 1981 Burro Fiberglass Travel Trailer
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Old 11-19-2013, 04:26 PM   #5
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Gelcoat is pigmented polyester resin. Do you want the opacity of gelcoat for any particular reason? The price difference between gelcoat and layup resin--by the drum or by the thimbleful--would dissuade me from using it as a plywood sealer.

+1 on what Gen says about sealing in as well as out. And a thick coat will most assuredly crack sooner than a thin.

jack
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Old 11-19-2013, 08:23 PM   #6
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Gage, I checked out your Burro restoration page. Very sharp work!
I've always admired the styling of Burros - with their molded in details. Your two tone finish really plays it up.
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Old 11-22-2013, 02:27 PM   #7
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Gelcoat is a bit more than just resin with pigment; it also has a curing agent that makes it harder than simple resin. The hardening agent also makes it so that future applications of polyester resin or even epoxy will not bond well to the gelcoat layer, something you might want to keep in mind if you ever need to repair a section of your floor.

The primary reasons to use gelcoat are that it is harder, resists UV sunlight damage (simple resin will craze and become brittle), and to have a uniform color and appearance. Since your floor will be under a rug or flooring, none of this seems to apply. So, if the comparison is between resin and gelcoat, I'd probably use resin.

If I had more choices, I'd use spar urethane. Resin is primarily designed to function as an adhesive matrix that provides strength under compression while holding fibers that resist shear pressures and tensile strength. Gelcoat adheres well to resin, so that's what you use as a topper. Though resin will do the job for you, none of these other characteristics are particularly useful as a wood coating on a floor. RV manufacturers likely use it to coat their floors because it's something they already have on-hand, and they don't need to change tooling to apply it.

Meanwhile, spar urethane is designed to keep wood dry in marine environments and is actually more water-resistant than polyester resins are, iit s easy to apply, less smelly, does not resist bonding to resin or epoxy, and can be lightly sanded and re-applied if it wears down. Given a choice, that's what I would use.
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Old 11-22-2013, 02:41 PM   #8
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Gage, GORGEOUS Burro!! In one of your pix you show the new awning with text that says you also have sides for it. Can you elaborate on the sides (fabric, how they attach, etc?)? I've seen folks use the vintage style awnings before and want one but never found a supplier that had the option of sides. That is the main reason I haven't gotten one yet and have been contemplating doing a screen room instead.

Thanks!

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Old 11-22-2013, 02:42 PM   #9
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I've pulled up a lot of carpeting in FGRS's and seldom find more than minor water damage. If you are going to keep your Burro, and you keep up all the window seals and other places water can get in, you should have nothing to worry about. My Hunter is 40 years old and the subfloor is still intact.

About all I have had to do on a few occasions is to level damaged or uneven flooring by using 1/8" or 1/4" luan plywood for an additional subfloor surface.

There is currently laminate flooring available that is designed for bathroom and kitchen installation if you are worried about water.
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Old 11-22-2013, 03:03 PM   #10
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Thanks for the replies.

Bob, you are probably right. I doubt that the floor needs much attention, just some small discolorations. i should just put a sub-floor on top of it so i can inspect the original flooring regularly.

There was one rotting section at the entrance to the door, and the previous owner had installed some ply wood above it so you dont step on. I think i may try to hit that section with some Git-rot so the rotting doesnt spread.

Peterh, good insight on questioning my desire to put something so permanent as gel-coat in. I think I will hold off on doing any painting for a while, i think my vision will develop over time. literally have only had the trailer for a week. also I think the spar urethane is made for applications directly ontop wood. since my burro's floor is plywood sandwhiched in fiberglass, i would be applying whatever "protective layer" directly ontop of the fiberglass so i dont think a urethane would penetrate.

gage, i like what you did on your floor, and the rest of the burro for that matter. nice work
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Old 11-23-2013, 09:45 AM   #11
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If you want to seal the plywood flooring, one of the best products on the market is Git-Rot. It is a very thin epoxy that will soak into the wood and can be coated over with paint, or some flooring material. It can be purchased at most good MArine Supply Stores, like West Marine. Not cheap, but an good product.
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Old 11-23-2013, 09:48 AM   #12
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Shop Epoxy-Coat N/A 48 Fluid Ounce(s) Interior High-Gloss Garage Floor Epoxy Kit Tan at Lowes.com
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Old 11-23-2013, 10:29 AM   #13
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I agree gelcoat would be a mistake. My first egg was an '81 Burro long neglected and forgotten with serious wood rot. Coated new 3/4 inch patched-in plywood floor on both sides, with liquid resin from Home Depot. Srewed to the frame, then added strips of fiberglass cloth underneath to breach seams. A top sheet of 1/4 inch plywood finished the job and gave me a smooth base for a vinyl tile floor.

Worked for me.
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