Replacing bathroom floor - Fiberglass RV
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Old 06-01-2021, 11:51 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Name: Tim
Trailer: Palomino
Maine
Posts: 4
Replacing bathroom floor

Hello, I have found a (probably big & expensive) issue with my 27' Palomino. The bathroom floor is soft and the toilet rocks back and forth a little bit. It probably happened over the winter, but I think it was an ongoing issue in the first place, the floor wasn't as bad last year but I definitely could notice a little give. I plan on tracking down the leak and taking care of it (I have a pretty good guess as to what the problem is). It's an older model, and is to the point where all I care about is hauling it off the road, setting up camp and not have to worry about major issues (probably 20,000 miles on it, and we bought it used. Well used lol.). It's been in an RV park exactly once in 5 years and that was an emergency stop lol. I have a "trailer guy" who is cheap but at this point (pandemic related of course) there's no way I can afford him.

So I'm looking for a "bush fix" that takes care of the floor and nothing else (after I track down and address the leak). I see a couple suggestions on here, that don't involve tearing it apart and rebuilding the floor. One that is appealing to me is to tear out the flooring, brush an epoxy sealer on it, and overlaying with a new floor. Is there anything wrong with that? Or a better cheap fix? I'm pretty handy in general and I probably have the tools and enough know how to do something relatively simple.
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Old 06-01-2021, 03:17 PM   #2
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 3,810
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This forum is focused on molded FG trailers. I think yours has the typical laminated walls.

Everything above the floor level is a leak suspect. Start with the roof and all penetrations. Water tends to end at the floor but it comes in somewhere else.

Whatever you do, eliminating all leaks is job 1. Otherwise you will get rot on your repair.

Personally I would never cover rot. It tends to spread. Imagine roofers. They find rotten underpayment, it’s kind of typical. They always remove, replace, and then put on a new roof.
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Old 06-02-2021, 12:46 PM   #3
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Name: Tim
Trailer: Palomino
Maine
Posts: 4
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
This forum is focused on molded FG trailers. I think yours has the typical laminated walls.

Everything above the floor level is a leak suspect. Start with the roof and all penetrations. Water tends to end at the floor but it comes in somewhere else.

Whatever you do, eliminating all leaks is job 1. Otherwise you will get rot on your repair.

Personally I would never cover rot. It tends to spread. Imagine roofers. They find rotten underpayment, it’s kind of typical. They always remove, replace, and then put on a new roof.
I completely 100% agree with you, I replaced a chunk of my roof sheathing too. I would normally give it to my guy and say fix it, but reality makes that a really really bad idea financially. Thanks for the help, one more question, I was on the roof looking for leaks on the back half and noticed that part of the cover had broken off on what I believe is a plumbing vent (grey or black water tank?). The putty seal is in good shape but I'm going to replace it anyway. My #1 suspect is the water supply lines for the toilet, sink, or shower. I installed the toilet so that's one I'm going to check before I do anything else. I've only turned on the water pump when needed as it drains the battery and we can go a week with only the truck to keep it charged. But last weekend we ran out of water really fast so a line might be leaking (there is no wet spot anywhere around the trailer). I did have a line to the shower pop off the faucet 10 years ago. At least I could get to it easily.
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Old 06-02-2021, 03:47 PM   #4
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Name: Frank
Trailer: 1982 Fiber Stream
Nevada
Posts: 53
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I will start out by saying that you probably know there is no fix it in a can that can repair rotting plywood. Your best bet is to find the rotting wood and replace what is no longer strong enough to hold your toilet in place before you fall through the bottom of your trailer while sitting on the commode!
good luck and happy camping!
Frank
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Old 06-02-2021, 08:09 PM   #5
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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Want to do it cheap? Do it yourself but do it right. You are not talking big money in materials, it’s all labor.

Doing a superficial job just means a lot more $$ later. You decide.
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Old 06-24-2021, 11:25 AM   #6
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Name: Tim
Trailer: Palomino
Maine
Posts: 4
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Originally Posted by canyon Rafter View Post
I will start out by saying that you probably know there is no fix it in a can that can repair rotting plywood. Your best bet is to find the rotting wood and replace what is no longer strong enough to hold your toilet in place before you fall through the bottom of your trailer while sitting on the commode!
good luck and happy camping!
Frank
Good point lol. What I did, for better or for worse, was to rip out the floor where I could see it and found out quickly that it was supported by one aluminum or steel cross member and styrofoam. After doing a lot more reading I decided that replacing it with marine plywood was worth a shot. Just because I'm paranoid I coated it with some epoxy wood rot stuff, it takes forever to dry was was as hard as nails. Unfortunately I had to put it in in sections because of the awkward space and the fact that the toilet ring was ABS cemented to the drain going into the black water tank. I glued it down as best I could with styrofoam adhesive and some sheet metal screws through the cross member. Then because I'm still out of a job I used subfloor leveling compound to smooth out the inevitable bumps between the sheets and covered it with a dozen or so stick on vinyl tiles. They are holding for now but when I get a chance I'm going to stick those on with vinyl adhesive. The trailer got over 100 degrees and that seemed to almost nail them to the plywood. I screwed the toilet ring down to the plywood and it went back on easily. It is so much better now it's a huge difference but I don't think I can ever get it rock solid because there are now 3 different pieces of plywood under it, only 1 of which is screwed down.

I tracked down one leaky shower faucet connection and my guess is that it made the situation worse but wasn't the main cause, we rarely use the shower and the water lines are only pressurized maybe 3 weeks a year total. The problem didn't appear all of a sudden and I think last winter was the last straw, it must be leaking from somewhere else. We got one weekend in before the water pump self destructed so I have a guy coming over (eventually) to fix that and an electrical issue (the pump somehow took out the entire left side of lights and it never blew either fuse). I replaced the vents over the bathroom, sealed everything with self leveling caulk, sealed every seam whether it looked waterproof or not and replaced the strip seal stuff on all 4 corners. I got some rubber roof coating to put on when I get a break. It needed to be done sooner or later anyway.

So the problem is "solved" although I know it's just a bush fix. The trailer has a limited life span, I always knew it wouldn't last forever after I discovered the insane stuff the previous owner did to it and covered up so I didn't see it right away. So if it gets soft again or any one of a bunch of catastrophic breakdowns happens it's time to go shopping again. We have beat the hell out of it for years so I got my money's worth out of it (well not so much money as I have a few grand of repairs into it lol).
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Old 06-25-2021, 02:37 PM   #7
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Name: Frank
Trailer: 1982 Fiber Stream
Nevada
Posts: 53
Registry
Sounds like you have used your trailer quite a lot and have had a ton of fun camping with it! When the wheels do finally fall off your camper I hope you can find something that can give you as much joy as you have had with this toy!
Bye for now
Frank
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