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Old 02-06-2015, 12:03 PM   #1
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Need some insight on floor repair

Ok.... so some of you know me from the awning fiasco but for those who don't, I am female, closing in on 60 and living with my cats in a travel trailer that I just bought in Sept. 2014. This is my very first RV.

The travel trailer, a 2003 Frontier Sportsman, was previously owned by an older couple who kept it in storage for the majority of the time they owned it. They had "just noticed" some soft spots in their kitchen floor and took it in to the dealer. When they saw what the floor would cost for repair, they just traded up. I bought it the next day "as is" for the same amount they sold it for.

The dealership was just going to lay some laminate on top of the floor, raise the price and sell it. I wanted to fix it the right way.

I tore up the linoleum and found black mold. It extended into the bathroom where the floor wasn't even soft (yet?). I have pictures of the work done to this point and if I can figure out how to put them on here for your viewing pleasure, I will certainly do so.

I am nearing the end of said repair of the subfloor but I need to buy a circular saw yet, then I can get this thing done....I had "help" fixing the part of the floor that is already repaired and that person had a saw. I'm not asking him for any more of his "help" (didn't ask in the first place).

That all being said, I have noticed one area that has me completely baffled in the bathroom. It's a few inches from the cabinet, several inches from the toilet and any other pipes of any kind; there's nothing UNDER the trailer in that area - not even the gray or black tanks and yet... if I put a carpet down, this ONE SPOT IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE seems to get wet and I can't figure out how or why. Adding to the mystery is the fact that the carpet itself IS NOT WET. I only know the floor is wet when I move the carpet. How can that be?

Idea's? Suggestions? Best guesses? The floor is solid and very firm there so I wasn't going to replace any part of it and just put the laminate over it when I do the kitchen area but what should I do about that spot that keeps showing up wet on random occasions and usually overnight?
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Old 02-06-2015, 06:11 PM   #2
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What is overhead? Fan or vent?
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:55 PM   #3
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I have an issue where after it rains I get a little bit of moisture on the floor in the bathroom. since the floor is linoleum i am not too concerned as this will not cause issue as long as its not an inch of water but I know its coming in from the vent in the ceiling. This has done this since It was built as I bought it brand new and noticed it after the first camping trip where it rained. the dealer put extra sealant on the outside many times so I can relate. I will switch out the vent with a fantastic or similar and see what happens but as the previous response asked about whats above it may be a similar issue.
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Old 02-06-2015, 09:15 PM   #4
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If it is not being wet from overhead or underneath I would suspect there is water traveling between the laminations in the plywood. That would lead me to suspect either the toilet or sink drain. If you have a way of not using both for a few days while you use a heater to dry the area you could do that and then use one for a few days and if the water does not appear try the other. It's going to be a PITA to find and probably to fix.

Thinking some more and assuming nothing is in the way I might grab a drill and put a 1/4 inch hole between the wet patch and toilet to see if water started draining. If not try a couple of more holes around the wet spot to see what direction it is coming from. Plug the holes when done with pieces of 1/4 inch dowel and glue. Sand flush.
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:42 AM   #5
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Ok... let's see if I can answer all the questions:

Directly above the wet spot is a vent with an exhaust fan, however, this vent (both my exhaust fan ceiling vents) also have MaxAir covers on them. Also, even if water were coming in from the vent I would expect that the carpet I keep over the top of the wet spot would get wet, but it does not. The carpet remains completely dry at all times so this leads me to believe the water has to be coming from underneath someplace, but again, there are no pipes or anything under that area that I can find on the inside or outside of the trailer. I can't imagine there would be a leaking pipe inside the subfloor because from everything I can see and determine, all the pipes are either no where near the spot or run along inside the wall north of the spot in the picture.

There is no way for me to not use the toilet as it's the only one I have and I live in here.... but I don't use the sink in there very much so I can avoid that easily enough. I can use the kitchen sink for washing my hands and brushing my teeth for a few days if necessary.

The idea the water could be coming from the toilet is intriguing because the floor directly in front of the toilet was saturated when I tore up the linoleum. I'll attach before and after picks to let you see what I was dealing with.

Now.... I have discovered the CAUSE of all the wet and moldy flooring that apparently the previous owner did not. It's the mechanism on the back of the toilet. Some moron attached the fresh water hose to a brass elbow and just used a clamp to attach it with. This clamp, no matter how tight I get it, and regardless that this vehicle isn't moving, does not hold that hose on the elbow very well. I continually have to push them together to make the leak stop. Of course, since I got this thing on Day 1 I put a water bowl behind said toilet mechanism and that's how I've discovered this issue and the bowl is still there.

There is no rhyme or reason to when the hose starts to slip enough to let water leak but I have noticed the bowl will fill up when I shower. I can't figure that out... other times the bowl is completely dry before I go to bed and if I get up during the night I check it and viola, water in the bowl!!!!! I'm the only one in here... there's nobody taking a shower while I'm sleeping or using the toilet....

Anyway, I did order an entirely new toilet mechanism and that's how I discovered a part is missing. The new one came with a threaded end attached that the current mechanism in use does not have. So....

The point is, I am going to have to pull the toilet to lay the laminate anyway and at that time I will replace the mechanism on the back of the toilet with the threaded ends and fix it the correct way. This should eliminate that issue. Then I'm going to put a new ring on the floor where the base of the toilet sits because ONCE... .JUST ONCE..... I noticed "water" coming out of the base of the toilet but it was more of a "spreading moisture" than an actual leak.... I cannot recall what it was that brought this to my attention. I'm considering also caulking along the new ring once I get to the point of reinstalling the toilet. I tend to do a little overkill on stuff because I don't like to do things twice.

All that being said... I think the idea of drilling a hole that was suggested by nothermark will be my next step. Putting down a new floor on top of a damaged floor is not my idea of a proper fix. I'll do that today which is exciting because I bought a new drill a couple weeks ago and haven't even taken it out of the box yet! YIPEE! A new toy!!! (I can't WAIT to get a circular saw - I am the power tool queen!!! You ought to see what I can do with a chain saw!! Can't take the country out of the girl! )

Now for what the bathroom floor looked like:
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nothermark View Post
If it is not being wet from overhead or underneath I would suspect there is water traveling between the laminations in the plywood. That would lead me to suspect either the toilet or sink drain. If you have a way of not using both for a few days while you use a heater to dry the area you could do that and then use one for a few days and if the water does not appear try the other. It's going to be a PITA to find and probably to fix.

Thinking some more and assuming nothing is in the way I might grab a drill and put a 1/4 inch hole between the wet patch and toilet to see if water started draining. If not try a couple of more holes around the wet spot to see what direction it is coming from. Plug the holes when done with pieces of 1/4 inch dowel and glue. Sand flush.

I wondered about that too. But I would think the plywood would delaminate (separate) if water was traveling within. The outward sign of this defect would be a highspot on the plywood (either on the top or bottom). If you can't get to the bottom to view it (ie, just remove the black scrim shield to inspect the bottom of the floor) then it would warrant a hole to be drilled.
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:55 AM   #7
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I can't really get to the bottom... or, more accurately, I don't want to start cutting up the skin under there because it's in really good shape and patching it will look like crap when I go to trade in.

As for any high spots in the laminate....none. I am "prepared" to replace that plywood too because I think it might be in my best interest to do so at this point. There IS a soft spot in the doorway between the bath and the kitchen so when I replace that (I already have the plywood) I could just extend it a bit further into the bath around the toilet. What I'm concerned with is that the leak, where ever it might be coming from, will then damage the new subfloor and I don't want that to happen. I won't be laying the laminate until I get all of this figured out and fixed.
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:33 AM   #8
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When you get the subfloor figured out I recommend Allure vinyl plank, the glue strip one, not the click together. It's cheap and real easy to put down. You can do it yourself with a razor knife, a straight edge( carpenters square), a pencil and a measuring tape.

Home Desperate has a great price on the Pine one:

TrafficMASTER Allure 6 in. x 36 in. Country Pine Resilient Vinyl Plank Flooring (24 sq. ft. / case)-33114 - The Home Depot

I have put this stuff down in a flip house and my own basement....love it. It is it's own vapor barrier so you can slap it down right over the plywood. My freezer in the basement leaked a few times before i could figure out why the drain kept clogging. The water just pooled on top of the Allure.
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Old 02-08-2015, 09:27 AM   #9
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Well.. I already have the 7mm laminate click together flooring. It was on sale at "Home Desperate" at 46 cents per sq ft ($14 something per box). I only needed one box but I'd have no room for error so I bought 2 since they were that cheap. I'm anxious to put it down for several reasons but I still need to get a stupid circular saw and I just don't see it happening for a while. Months, maybe. I just don't have the income to support buying power tools and I need to be careful about what I buy. I have arthritis at the shoulder and where the clavicle meets the shoulder on my right side. I'm right handed. I need a very lightweight saw but the one I found that I like is between $89 and $135 depending on where you buy it. Sometimes the pain flares up just combing one of my cats so the weight of the saw is a primary consideration.

This is the saw I want: https://www.rockwelltools.com/en-US/...cular-Saw.aspx

In the meantime, I pulled the laminate out to "acclimate" to the humidity, etc. as it says to before putting it down. Stupidly, I took it out of the boxes and got rid of them. Now, after nearly 2 months of being "out of the boxes" I see the edges that "stick out" to slide and click into the next one are starting to chip away and break. I need to lay this floor before I have to buy all new flooring again. The good news is that I have twice as much as I expect to need.

I have them laying under the overhang of my bed and I do not walk through there (but the cats do) so I'm not entirely certain why they are starting to deteriorate like this. I also have a 100 ft roll of vapor barrier that I'm going to put down. I'm only covering about 30 square feet so I'll be sure to really cover the area well. This should help with muffling or lessening any squeaks the floor might have after all is said and done. I'll be fixing that too before I lay the laminate. Without a good base, the top won't be worth the time. I want to be sure to have a good base.

That vinyl planking you pointed out looks nice.... I had considered vinyl planking but I wanted something with a little more stiffness to it (I was really looking for something 10 to 12 mm thick) for added support in here, particularly in the kitchen and bath where there is more traffic than say the bedroom area. (I have doors on both ends.)
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Old 02-08-2015, 10:54 AM   #10
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A couple of thoughts.

If the moisture is under a vent I wonder if the wood is spongy and holding moisture it picked up from being rained on. Vent covers do not stop everything.

I also wonder if it is where folks stood and dripped after a shower so they continuously wet the floor until it was saturated. Water goes down through carpet a lot better than it comes up to dry. In that case there is no leak. OTOH if the top layer of plywood is spongy from continuous wetting it will always look/feel bad.

Given the toilet problem I wonder if it is either condensation from toilet or the result of your water leak. If it is loose enough for you to push it on then it is too loose. Given that it is an elbow measure the size or at least eyeball it to the nearest 1/8 inch and visit Lowes or HD's tubing assortment. They probably have a barbed fitting to screw on or in to the elbow for the tubing to clamp over. The end of the tubing is also probably reamed out by the clamping and slipping so it needs to be cut off by the distance it is now slipped over the wrong fitting.
My experience with those folks is that they are used to people buying more than one size and returning the wrong one. Try not to ruin the bag if they are in a small plastic bag. Usually one can hold the fitting up against the end of the place it screws to in order to check size close enough. If it feels right open the bag.

Assuming you are not planning on doing a lot of wood working take a look at a Harbor Freight store. They have a decent enough line of tools for half the price but probably made in the same factories the big name US brands are now using. If it feels good enough in the store it will last more than long enough for your job.

If all you want the saw for is cutting to length take a look at Craigslist for a used chop saw or miter saw. You do not want or need a compound miter but might find a deal you can then resell after you are done.
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Old 02-08-2015, 12:51 PM   #11
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The carpet I've mentioned over the wet spot is one of those small memory foam things (16x23 inches) you can toss in a washing machine. They had cut it to fit in front of the toilet and next to the tub. It wasn't an "installed" carpet. It's just a bath mat. Sorry for any confusion in terminology.

The floor in the bathroom isn't spongy, only in the doorway which I do intend to replace.

It could be where they stood to dry off after a shower... I stay in the tub till I'm all dried off so it seems odd that it would still show up wet in that spot since I've owned this trailer now for 6 months and a couple of days. Every other area of the floors that were just as wet when I tore up the linoleum are completely dried out and have not gotten wet since. The plywood has been exposed to dry since early to mid December.

Regarding possible condensation from the toilet; that doesn't seem to be the problem. The toilet is plastic (or fiberglass) and I've not seen any condensation on it at all. See what you think in my next post (the update) with photos of the floor and markings I just made moments ago. I kinda went a little nuts with the drill but I figured I'm going to have to cut out this section anyway at this point.....

Regarding the water coming into the toilet....well, thats where the previous owner apparently had his head up his butt.... or somebody did. The hose that is clamped to the threaded brass elbow is not threaded itself. It's like someone took a regular garden hose (albeit white), cut it anywhere along the flexible area and shoved it over the elbow and used a clamp to try to hold it there. Not only that, the hose is too short which I feel contributes to it sliding off - there's no room for flexibility so just sitting down on the toilet sometimes is enough to loosen that hose from the elbow and cause a leak. I just took some pictures and will try to post them so you can see what I mean.

If you look at the hose to the elbow in the second picture you can see it's "straight". It goes directly into a hole under the tub at that wall. Where it goes from there I have no idea and I don't want to rip the tub out to find out and replace it. I'm going to have to add an extension to it somehow. (But I'll use lots of whatever kind of plumbers tape, cement, caulk or anything else I can get my hands on when I finally get to it.)

The very last photo is the brand new mechanism I ordered.

As for Harbor Freight, I did check their site on-line and didn't really see anything that would be cheaper than Home Depot. Also, Home Depot is only 2 miles away and Harbor Freight is about 6 -7 miles (one direction) from me and I only have a bicycle for transportation. I could go out there and take a look to see what they have in stock but again... distance vs prices and then getting it home.... I'll have to think about that. I do want something I can keep as I used to do a lot of home repair and building stuff and that sort when I was married and had land and a house, garage and basement to work in. I did the plumbing and everything.... my husband was too busy playing computer games to do much of anything. I did it all. (I'm also a whiz with a chain saw - or used to be.) None-the-less, I'd like something I can keep to use on any other projects that might come up like my desire to build some stuff for my cats once we get into a Class A vehicle (which is my future goal/desire at some point). For my ideas, I'd need a simple circular saw as I need to be able to drop it into the floor here, for instance, to make the cuts. I can't do that (I don't think) with a mitre or chop saw. Never used one.
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Old 02-08-2015, 01:06 PM   #12
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Now for the update:

Went a bit crazy with the drill today because this morning I found a 2 new wet spots in the bathroom floor.

Now... I opened the cabinet there so you can see where the pipes are. If you look closely you can see an old wash cloth underneath the black pipe at the left of the door opening. That was there when I bought this trailer. It's never been wet since I've had it and it's not wet today. NOTHING anywhere along the pipes as far as I can feel them, is wet. Not even damp. They seem to be sealed very well.

Between the cabinet and the tub is a small "kick wall" or whatever you call it and the pipes go through there to wherever they go to (gray tank presumably). That area is seen covered by the "parquet" patterned glued tiles and is situated across from the toilet and left of the bathroom cabinet. I'd like to remove that area and expose the pipes to see what is going on in there but I don't know how. I don't want to damage it either because I don't want to have to rebuild that whole thing too and then there's also the possibility of damaging the wall it's attached to in said "demolition". On the other hand....it's not wet along that area so I'm not sure if that would even be necessary.

I have the bathroom floor drying out yet again (for the 100th time) at this very moment. I've decided I'm going to have to cut this part of the floor out but I still need to figure out where the water is coming from so I can prevent it from happening again. This is why I need to figure this out, as I'm sure all of you can agree.

BIZARRE: What I want to know is, WHO previously drilled holes in that bathroom floor in the same area that I have found these persistent wet spots? When I cut out that linoleum, it was all still in one solid piece and went under all the cabinets. There were no cuts in it at all, anywhere. For someone to have previously drilled there.... they would have had to completely dismantle the entire trailer and lay all new linoleum throughout and then replace everything. I know darned well the previous owner (the only owner from what I'm aware of) didn't do that kind of work. They bought it new.

So... how did that happen and why didn't they fix it? Would they have done this at the factory and sent it out for sale anyway after it was built?
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Old 02-09-2015, 01:37 PM   #13
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That's a nice little saw...never used one, but it would do the job for you. As far as the leak....you are correct....bizarre. I would think it has to be coming from behind that wall, and running out into the room following the underside of the plywood...like this:


Too bad you wrote all over it, since I am quite certain, from a specific angle and poor lightening...I can....see........what looks ...like an Extraterrestrial....no wait....maybe it's a Flamingo...or Beelzebub
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Old 02-09-2015, 01:57 PM   #14
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Looking at the plumbing pictures you have standard reinforced vinyl hose. To splice in a piece the correct answer is a barbed splice and two clamp rings. This should get you a picture of the barbed fitting:

Shop Watts 3/8-in x 3/8-in Barb Fitting at Lowes.com

They come in sizes from smaller than 1/8 inch to bigger than 1/2 inch for use in any low to medium pressure system. If Home Desperate does not have them try Auto Parts (fuel and vacuum lines), Garden Supply (sprinkler systems), Aquarium (water) Hardware, etc.
Do not use Shark Bite fittings as they will not work well with vinyl because it is too soft. They are made for PEX. I think the picture shows a shark bite adapter that should be replaced with the correct thread to barb for vinyl in either brass or plastic.

The reason the vinly fails is that the inner layer gets damaged when it is pulled off a screw thread like is shown. What you are showing is a typical dumb stunt. Tubing has annular rings not screw threads. If you have a problem getting thing together try hot water or a hair dryer in that order. I'd put the extension together then cut the existing hose and make the second joint. That way I figure it out when I am not in a hurry. Wrote that before I saw the bigger picture. If that is a PEX sharkbite fitting the barbs are wide and shallow. You want closer and deeper. I also wonder at the tubing mix as vinyl is used for vibration or flexibility but you show a mix of vinyl and PEX under the counter. I'm not sure what they were up to unless the vinyl in the picture is the hose to the toilet.

When you put on the screw clamp rings tighten them with a socket wrench not a screw driver. Unless your hands are very strong you cannot get enough torque on a screwdriver handle but you can with a small wrench handle. The best tool is a small socket wrench.

Looking at the pattern of holes I don't think you went crazy. That is about what happens. I doubt the factory would drill holes looking for a leak. If the flooring was already down the cost would not be justified. They do not get wet until after the flooring is down (no water in the lines).

I now question if the drain lines are your problem. You could either have a pressure leak or roof leak. The roof leak could be the sealing around the vent pipe that goes through the roof. If you are on "city water" and have a pump you could try filling the tank and cutting off the city water. Listen for the pump running when it should not be. A leak will cause a pressure drop and pump cycle. Another test is to turn off the pump and see if the leak continues. Harder to judge as you do not have a good idea about how fast the leak occurs. Frustrating problem but the only way to tackle it is by eliminating a piece at a time.
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