Wood flooring rot and repair - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-12-2018, 04:02 PM   #1
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Name: Terrill
Trailer: SCAMP
AZ
Posts: 9
Wood flooring rot and repair

It appears I will have to gut my recent acquisition as stated in my original ‘hi’ post. A 1989 16 foot #4. There is massive hidden wood rot from the PO so consequentially I'm trying to rip out the interior to find it all and then fix it. The rat fur and all. The odor is now overwhelming.

The dance floor was hidden under a plate and the reason was wood rotted from both the overhead AC unit holes but primarily from the rear window as it also leaked profusely. The first photo, if this works as I think, is of the dance floor and the rear bulkhead. The floor is only a ˝ step from one falling onto the road. I will be ripping the entire rear dance floor out and under the 2 rear seats too. However, the photo also shows the rear bulkhead. There appears to be a fiberglass frame or box on the bulkhead. Whatever was in here has completely(!) rotted away and all I can tell is it ‘may’ have been wood, fiberglassed into the box. It holds, or should have held up, the table/bed hinge. Also should this have also held the two bolts for the spare tire? Currently the spare tires two bolts are only bolted to the Scamps shell, and is wobbly at that.
So that’s my first questions, what is the ‘box’ and what was it made of and what was it used for?

Second question, I know the box will have to be removed and replaced, so how does one cut away fiberglass from fiberglass? If it was to have contained wood, does the replacement wood have to be shaped to conform to the curvature of the shell before fiberglassing it in or will fiberglassing a flat piece of wood suffice?

The second picture, if I can add to this post, is of the floor to ceiling cabinet adjacent to the entry door. The PO installed an AC micro wave and also an AC fridge in it. To me, it appears the fridge leaked and then rotted out the floor. I’ve ditched both micro wave and fridge. So I have to repair the flooring here too. However, for the PO to install the fridge, they trimmed off the lip on the front of the cabinet. (the bottom of this picture shows how far the lip used to protrude) The cabinets sides bows so it may no longer be fully capable of holding up both the roof and the entry door.

So, how do I make this cabinet structurally sound after repairing its flooring? Buy a new one from Scamp (mismatch color, etc). Build another cabinet from scratch (wood)? Or reinforce the existing cabinet and add shelves?
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Old 04-12-2018, 05:36 PM   #2
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Casita 16ft.
California
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It looks like you have quite a project there. Depending on your point of view, it could be a blessing or a curse. I recently bought a similar project that I have been chronicling in my My Broken Back Casita thread. I think in my case, my old trailer was a blessing since I am creating something that reflects me rather than someone elses good idea. Let me see If I can help you based on my experience.

I didn't catch the make of the trailer in this thread, I assume you are working on a Scamp based on you description of the wall covering as "rat fur". Really the make doesn't matter that much given that most of these fiberglass trailers have more in common than not.

As to your question about the "fiberglass frame or box" that is encasing wood. I assumed that my Casita spare was supported off the bumper but it is not. So that means mine is supported by the fiberglass wall in a similar manner. That is indeed a wood stiffener fiberglassed into the wall to add support for the spare tire. It is most likely plywood or OSB (my Casita has scraps of OSB for stuff like that. It is very important for the structural integrity of the tire mount. To get at the rotten wood you will have to cut away or chisel through the fiberglass patch that encases the wood. I think the easiest way would be with the use of a Sawzall or some other king of reciprocating saw that will handle a large blade. It shouldn't be hard to do. Beware that any messing with fiberglass will release fibers so good respirator protection and robust dust control will be your friend. Once the old wood is removed and the fiberglass wall is cleaned of old contact cement, dirt sand dust, you can glass in some new wood of similar dimension. I prefer using a good exterior, or better yet, marine grade of plywood in these trailers because I think it is more stable than OSB in potentially moist environments over time. Others might disagree. For all of the fiberglass work I did where I am sticking new glass onto old, I used epoxy resin rather than polyurethane. That is based on the fact that epoxy resin has a far better adherence to all foreign materials including old polyurethane resin based fiberglass.

As to replacing the rat fir, You can buy it new, However, even if it is the exact same stuff, I doubt that it will match any remaining old rat fir in your trailer due to fading of the old material over time. Whatever rat fir you take out, I highly suggest that you save it for use as a pattern and taking good notes on how and where it came out will help greatly in putting new back in.

The cut up cabinet is a problem for stability and support of the fiberglass body in your trailer. That support must be replaced. If you read my thread, you will learn that my trailer had sat for eight years without interior support causing the roof to sag and the walls to bulge out. My curb side wall bulged a good 5 inches outside of my door when I hauled it home. I was able to salvage my trailer by jacking the ceiling up and installing new bulkheads made of 3/4" plywood. It looks most any other Casita now.
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:10 PM   #3
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Name: bill
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I would be very tempted to buy a replacement closet from Scamp. If necessary, you could paint your interior cabinets so they all match. You could go with a plywood bulkhead as described above as well.

One "advantage" of Scamp's design is the fiberglass cabinetry.
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Old 04-12-2018, 09:50 PM   #4
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Name: Terrill
Trailer: SCAMP
AZ
Posts: 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nor Cal Mike View Post
It looks like you have quite a project there. Depending on your point of view, it could be a blessing or a curse. I recently bought a similar project that I have been chronicling in my My Broken Back Casita thread. I think in my case, my old trailer was a blessing since I am creating something that reflects me rather than someone elses good idea. Let me see If I can help you based on my experience.

I didn't catch the make of the trailer in this thread, I assume you are working on a Scamp based on you description of the wall covering as "rat fur". Really the make doesn't matter that much given that most of these fiberglass trailers have more in common than not.

As to your question about the "fiberglass frame or box" that is encasing wood. I assumed that my Casita spare was supported off the bumper but it is not. So that means mine is supported by the fiberglass wall in a similar manner. That is indeed a wood stiffener fiberglassed into the wall to add support for the spare tire. It is most likely plywood or OSB (my Casita has scraps of OSB for stuff like that. It is very important for the structural integrity of the tire mount. To get at the rotten wood you will have to cut away or chisel through the fiberglass patch that encases the wood. I think the easiest way would be with the use of a Sawzall or some other king of reciprocating saw that will handle a large blade. It shouldn't be hard to do. Beware that any messing with fiberglass will release fibers so good respirator protection and robust dust control will be your friend. Once the old wood is removed and the fiberglass wall is cleaned of old contact cement, dirt sand dust, you can glass in some new wood of similar dimension. I prefer using a good exterior, or better yet, marine grade of plywood in these trailers because I think it is more stable than OSB in potentially moist environments over time. Others might disagree. For all of the fiberglass work I did where I am sticking new glass onto old, I used epoxy resin rather than polyurethane. That is based on the fact that epoxy resin has a far better adherence to all foreign materials including old polyurethane resin based fiberglass.

As to replacing the rat fir, You can buy it new, However, even if it is the exact same stuff, I doubt that it will match any remaining old rat fir in your trailer due to fading of the old material over time. Whatever rat fir you take out, I highly suggest that you save it for use as a pattern and taking good notes on how and where it came out will help greatly in putting new back in.

The cut up cabinet is a problem for stability and support of the fiberglass body in your trailer. That support must be replaced. If you read my thread, you will learn that my trailer had sat for eight years without interior support causing the roof to sag and the walls to bulge out. My curb side wall bulged a good 5 inches outside of my door when I hauled it home. I was able to salvage my trailer by jacking the ceiling up and installing new bulkheads made of 3/4" plywood. It looks most any other Casita now.
I have a Scamp 16 #4. Thanks for your reply and suggestions. It is an adventure, but I have mediocre woodworking skills. So I'll be weighing my options. The 'box' doesn't reach down to the spare tire mounting holes, but to secure it more, I'll have to fabricate one that will. I've seen multiple sail boat installations for headliners, so that may be my option. Looks like the rat fur is behind all cabinets, so I'll have to remove them one at a time to remove/replace the new headliner.
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Old 04-12-2018, 10:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus-terry View Post
... The 'box' doesn't reach down to the spare tire mounting holes, but to secure it more, I'll have to fabricate one that will... Looks like the rat fur is behind all cabinets, so I'll have to remove them one at a time to remove/replace the new headliner.
On my 2008 Scamp, there is a large rectangle of OSB epoxied to the lower back shell to reinforce the table brackets and spare tire mount. It appears to be one solid piece, but I haven't taken it apart to check. I'm assuming it's OSB because that's what they use in the floor now. Plywood would be fine, probably better.

Normally the headliner would be installed with all cabinets and windows removed at once, and in large panels to minimize seams. I believe Scamp uses five pieces: ceiling from front to back window, left and right sides (door side might have a hidden seam where the closet meets the door), front and back lower under the windows. Sides meet the ceiling along the trolley roof riser to make the seam less noticeable.

I'd encourage you to get a close look inside a Scamp with the rat fur to see how they piece it together. They've had over 30 years of practice!

Will you put anything underneath for insulation?
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Old 04-13-2018, 05:43 AM   #6
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Casita 16ft.
California
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Originally Posted by cactus-terry View Post
I have a Scamp 16 #4. Thanks for your reply and suggestions. It is an adventure, but I have mediocre woodworking skills. So I'll be weighing my options. The 'box' doesn't reach down to the spare tire mounting holes, but to secure it more, I'll have to fabricate one that will. I've seen multiple sail boat installations for headliners, so that may be my option. Looks like the rat fur is behind all cabinets, so I'll have to remove them one at a time to remove/replace the new headliner.
There really isn't much "wood" there that you will be required to work so you might have a leg up on the project As for the Sawsall cut the old rotted wood free, you can probably rent one at a tool rental place or Harbor Freight sells cheap Chinese knock offs that will get the job done. about a 6" long bimetal blade should be all you will need. You can easily bend those blades by hand. If you bend it over a little ways it will allow you to cut parallel to the wall which will easily remove that fiberglass. If you are really power tool averse, a hack saw blade with some electrical tape wrapped around one end as a handle would probably work pretty well too.

The marine headliner products and what is used in our trailers are one and the same. You may be able to get original rat fir (I don't know because I haven't looked for it. Perhaps a Scamp owner will chime in) But if you are replacing all your carpet with new, you have other options. I didn't have much in the way of mold in my so I glued much of my old carpet back up to the wall after repairs and fiberglass mods were made. The glueing of the carpet was much easier than I expected. Just use contact cement following the directions on the can. After about 20-30 minutes, allowing the contact cement applied to both surfaces to dry, the carpet can be pressed into place. the initial tack was instant and firm. The key is getting the fit along your seams lined up just right. As Jon mentioned, hiding seams in places they are less well seen might be helpful.
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Old 04-13-2018, 06:21 AM   #7
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You can buy Scamp's fuzzy, light tan, marine headliner (aka "rat fur") from Scamp. You can buy similar products in other colors and textures, some less fuzzy, from various marine suppliers online.

Not a sawzall, I think. An oscillating multi-tool will give better control and avoid damaging the surrounding shell.
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Old 04-13-2018, 06:39 AM   #8
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Name: Eddie
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Cabinet Repair: Make a face frame for the cabinet out of 1x2 oak stiles and run it from the floor to the roof. Where you have a flange on the fiberglass you can screw it from the back into the wood. Where the flange is cut off clean up the edge of the fiberglass. Attach a 1x2 oak strip to the back face frame. then you can screw through the fiberglass into your wood flange. Home depot has oak wood in stock and a Kreg tool makes it a fairly simple job, Or just have a woodworker do it for you.
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https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q...0&&FORM=VRDGAR
I would apply 3M 5200 between the wood and fiberglass during the final attachment of the face frame.
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Old 04-13-2018, 06:42 AM   #9
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Name: bob
Trailer: Was A-Liner now 13f Scamp
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wow and i make it a double wow!!

you have an amazing tutor in nor-cal mike he knows these trailers from one end to the other.

you are in for a long battle with your trailer are you up to this? I know you have money invested but if you ever want to go camping might be best to sell it and move on.

then we get into tools and skills needed to even start a job like this! Mike is apparently a skilled guy or a guy with some natural skills to do what he has done. I wouldn't even consider what he has done!

I have made some stinker purchases in my life I finally just had to admit I was in trouble sell it and move on.

I know hard to do

best of luck

bob
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Old 04-13-2018, 07:01 AM   #10
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Not a sawzall, I think. An oscillating multi-tool will give better control and avoid damaging the surrounding shell.
Good idea. I don't own one so did not think of it. Those can be found pretty cheaply as well if a person were thinking of a one time use for a small job like this.

I also suggest keeping a shop vac running close to the work. The less fiberglass dust spread around the cabin the better. It clings to everything and will come back to haunt you just when you think the coast is clear. Keep a very tight dust control ship.
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Old 04-13-2018, 09:06 AM   #11
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I have made some stinker purchases in my life I finally just had to admit I was in trouble sell it and move on.

I know hard to do

best of luck

bob
Unless it has been garaged or meticulously maintained throughout its life, I think almost any older one of our fiberglass trailers is suspect for some kind water infiltration damage. There are just too many penetrations of the shell to instal rivets, air conditioners, windows, vents etc. Once in, thanks to the fiberglass being extended all of the way under the floor, there is also no place for moisture to escape. The carpeting of virtually every interior surface means that potential water accumulation is hard to see and access as well. This is not meant to pick on fiberglass trailers in any way. All RV's have issues. However, even with the advantages of having one piece fiberglass shells, our trailers still suffer their own unique set of querks.
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Old 04-13-2018, 09:12 AM   #12
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mike I must have got lucky on our 95 no rot that I can see but my understanding it was stored inside a lot. I did find some at the front window area but someone must have done a good seal job because it never got any worse.


I do check my window seals to make sure they are draining you know the drill bit thing.


call me lucky I guess on this one


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Old 04-13-2018, 09:13 AM   #13
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thinking again

mike also thinking we have no b/r and p/o had taken all the plumbing out more reasons for rot in a trailer!

bob
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Old 04-13-2018, 09:44 AM   #14
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I feel your pain...

Amazing how that smell is contained until you get into it more!

Pain or pleasure, it's such a mix until the day you know you've got it. Sounds like you're in good hands--all I will add is, "Been there, done that--" though with an amerigo, not a Scamp. After 9 months on the chain gang we were able to breathe a sigh of relief and go camping .

Our best wishes to you.

Kai
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Old 04-13-2018, 10:05 AM   #15
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rot

I removed the laminated to fiberglass plywood from the fiberglass by making 1' long wedges. You have to get started but once you've got a spot where the plywood meets the fiberglass you slowly drive the wedges between the wood and fiberglass. Use lots of wedges so as not not put to much strain on any one point. This separates the plywood from the fiberglass. You don't want to rip it off but separate it.Once the plywood id off, let dry and put down a new layer of cloth. I found it to be to finicky to adhere the new plywood floor with the resin so I let it dry and glued the plywood down with Premium adhesive. Put it on like its cheap.(don't overdo it).This has made a really solid floor for me. I the glued a second sheet of plywood on top. I now have a 5/8" and a 1/2" plywood floor.
All is good.
Good luck.
Go and Enjoy
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Old 04-13-2018, 12:11 PM   #16
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Scamp does not have fiberglass under the floor. Just "tabs," or strips of fiberglass, around the outer perimeter. Those can be cut loose from the shell and discarded with the old floor. Lay in new strips after the new flooring is installed.
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