Floor repair in 1994 Bigfoot 17' Gaucho trailer - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-04-2018, 08:56 PM   #1
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Name: Bob
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Floor repair in 1994 Bigfoot 17' Gaucho trailer

I recently purchased a 1994 Bigfoot Gaucho trailer as a bit of a project only to find out that it is even more of a project than I had anticipated. Being curious about a soft spot in the floor, I cut up some of the linoleum to look underneath and found a substantial area of dryrotten plywood which I have started to remove. In some areas, there appears to be a layer of 1/2" plywood over about 3/4" foam insulation over the fiberglass shell. In other areas, there appears to be a 2-3" wide channel in the foam insulation where there is a second layer of plywood or a layer of hardwood. Getting to all the rotten area is going to necessitate removing at least the fridge and, perhaps, some of the cabinetry.

It would be really helpful to be able to talk (or otherwise communicate) with someone who has torn up the floor on a Bigfoot trailer and would be able to help me better understand what is going on down there and what is required to perform a quality repair. If you have that kind of experience and would be willing to share some of what you have learned, please let me know. Thanks very much in advance.
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Old 09-04-2018, 08:59 PM   #2
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Here is a photo of the floor

The plywood goes all the way down to the fiberglass shell in some areas but is on top of a layer of foam in other areas.

I guess I am not doing the correct thing to add a photo. I clicked on the "Add video" as it seemed to be the only option.
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Old 09-04-2018, 09:19 PM   #3
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Name: Charles
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http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...fix-86008.html

This post possibly is of interest to you. It's currently on page four of this topic in the forum.
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Old 09-05-2018, 09:18 AM   #4
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Where was the soft spot? I've got one in front of my fridge. But it I just ignore it
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Old 09-05-2018, 09:49 AM   #5
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Mine is also in front of the fridge and, perhaps, I should have ignored it but I didn't and now it's a project.

You can see the channels where solid wood members were laid on top of the fiberglass shell and they are largely rotten. Some, but not all, of the plywood on top of the foam insulation is also rotten.

I imagine that the solid wood members are intended to add some support but they don't seem very large for their span if that is the case. Any feedback about their function will be much appreciated.
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Old 09-05-2018, 09:56 AM   #6
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RotFix fixes rot in awkward areas.

This summer I repaired 2 punky areas on the back edge and behind the cooler on my Burro by applying RotFix. Each was about 12"x30" in size. Result was admirable although somewhat messy (due to a couple pre-drilled holes that punched through the bottom and sloppy operator mishaps).
Pre-drill half way thru plywood (or, if very punky you can just pressure inject) every inch or so, inject with shop syringes to saturation and let sit for a day.
Too expensive to do large areas, but it saved a bunch of awkward tear-out and cutting and end result was stronger/more impervious than the original floor. It gave me great peace of mind to stabilize my floor.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 09-05-2018, 10:39 AM   #7
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Thanks for that idea. My first concern, though, is to determine the function of the wooden lattice that is under the plywood in areas where there is no foam. The spaces in which they fit are visible in the photo above. They don't seem stout enough to provide any support but I can't think of any other function for them.
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Old 09-05-2018, 11:21 AM   #8
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Bonded to the fiberglass and the plywood they would provide stiffness to the floor.
If it were me I would trace them to where the wood was solid and scarf in some new pieces of the same size and bond the to the fiberglass with some epoxy.
After I got the lattice work repaired I would replace the foam between the wood stringers and then epoxy glue and screw new plywood in place.
Along the edges of the floor I would place some ply under the old (good flooring) to make a shelf to glue and screw the patch in place.
Bonding the plywood and the stringers and the fiberglass will stiffen up the assembly quite a bit.
If water is still getting in the floor will rot again, however.
On my Scamp which has only the floor and no insulation I fiberglassed both top and bottom along with the edges with Epoxy resin and fabric.
I used epoxy since it is more resistant the water than polyester, but more expensive.
I suggest finding and fixing the leaks ASAP.
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Old 09-05-2018, 03:34 PM   #9
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Here's a photo with some dimensions. The foam is about 7/8" thick, the plywood is 1/2" and the missing wooden members are about 1 3/8" thick.
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Old 09-05-2018, 04:23 PM   #10
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Are the boards and foam glued to the fiberglass in any way?
1/2" plywood is a little thin for a floor without some extra support and if bonded to the top of the foam and wood and the foam and wood is bonded to the fiberglass they will act as a good stiffener, if not then they are just there for the ride.
As an aside while the foam acts as insulation it is not a great deal at only 1 3/8" thick.
Air space under the floor will tend to be a good place to trap condensation since the floor will be colder in the winter.
If it were me I would get some wood ripped to the dimensions of what is there and get a router and route a step on the ends in the floor and matching step on the replacement pieces and then glue them on and on the fiberglass.
Then I would replace the foam, epoxying it to the floor as well.
When that was done I would do as I said above and replace the floor.
Use epoxy for the foam (the rest as well) as polyester resin will dissolve the foam.
Other glues might work OK, but epoxy would be the best (IMHO)
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Old 09-05-2018, 05:45 PM   #11
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I would say you're doing the right thing by taking care of it. It's just not a project I'm willing to tackle.

Hopefully you find what you need! There are a few people on the site who have done major work to their Bigfoot (one person cut theirs in half and extended the entire trailer). Maybe try a PM to them?

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Old 09-15-2018, 12:05 PM   #12
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Are the channels not intended to be ducts to ensure there is heat flow, from Furnace, around Tank(s), to ensure tanks don't freeze up ??

At least that is what I assume (ass-u-me) they were for.
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Old 09-15-2018, 07:33 PM   #13
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The channels in the photo are where pieces of dimensional (non plywood) lumber were in place before they rotted away. The rotten wood was very dry and very crumbly (into relatively small particles) leading me to believe that the water that caused the damage leaked in through an opening that has since been repaired.
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Old 09-16-2018, 08:13 AM   #14
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As you proceed with the removal of the rot you should determine the source of the leak.Replacing the floor and supports without finding the source of the water infiltration would be a waste of time and material.
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Old 09-16-2018, 09:16 AM   #15
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i agree with you on that.

My hypothesis is that the leak that let in the water than caused the rot was already addressed and fixed some time ago.

Here is my logic - the prior owner had the trailer outside over 3 NW winters so it was subjected to plenty of heavy rain. All of the rotten wood I have exposed was bone dry. Being under the floor with linoleum on top of it, I don't think that area could possibly have dried out in just 6 months since the last rain.

Any opinions on the strength of that logic or lack of same will be appreciated.

That said, I have everything open now and the rainy season is about to begin so I will be checking to see if I notice any further water inside the trailer.
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Old 09-16-2018, 09:45 AM   #16
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If the damage is in the center of the floor, as opposed to the perimeter, I would look at the possibility the leak was a plumbing leak.
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Old 09-16-2018, 10:20 AM   #17
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Since the entire floor is covered with what appears to be a single sheet of linoleum, it seems to me that the only place at which water could get under it would have been at the edges which doesne't seem to me to point particularly to a plumbing leak or to a leak through a penetration in the outer shell.

Most of the rotten wood is in the area around the fridge; I think water got in behind the fridge and ran under the linoleum causing rotting of the wooden members and fiberglass under the linoleum.
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Old 09-16-2018, 11:40 AM   #18
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My guess would be the water came from overflowing the gray water tank from time to time, once on the floor a seam at the bathroom wall would be enough to allow it in. If the gray water tank overflows it backs up in the bath and out the door.



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Old 09-17-2018, 06:31 AM   #19
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Name: Greg
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I did a floor repair in our 1984 gaucho bigfoot last year. Had a leaking hot water heater that I left a bit too long before replacing. Floor is 1/2 inch exterior sheathing over 2X2 dimensional wood with blue or pink foam insulation infill between the wood grid. Some of the wood grid sits on top of the fiberglass bottom pan sheet, which has steelframe support below. There are water drain holes all around the perimeter of the trailer where any water in the floor can run and drip off the unit.



When I had the plywood off, I added hss steel square and angle sections longitudinally fastened through to the frame to add a bit of support lengthwise on the trailer to resist sag when the corner jacks weren't deployed. Foam was not glued to the plywood floor - some of the wood was. Plywood was bolted through to the steel frame in a few places at the two ends of the trailer.


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