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Old 11-08-2015, 02:22 PM   #1
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Advice sought Re: subflooring and carpet installation

I am restoring a Winnebago 1986 Chieftain 27RT and have an issue with the floors. There are a couple of springy sections that I want to fix.

Winnebago tells me the subflooring is 3/4" plywood. My first thought was to set my saw to cut 3/4" and remove the springy sections and replace them with new plywood. I nixed this idea because I realised the probability of the cuts not being neat a support underneath was really high. I can't replace full sheets because that would require demolishing the interior walls, which I'm not going to do.

I have since removed the carpeting and pad and I found the springy sections are where two sheets of plywood meet. There is, apparently, nothing below the joint to reinforce it. Although the wood looks fine on the top, I don't know what the underside looks like and suspect dry rot as it doesn't feel like 3/4" plywood from above.

I could sheath the current flooring with 3/8" plywood or OSB and use a lot of screws to join the two together but that would add a couple hundred pounds to the overall weight.

I would appreciate any thought or other suggestions of what to do.



I've done residential carpeting and always used tackless strips. I read that stapling it in was a recommended method in RVs. I have a pneumatic stapler (1/4" 18 GA), so can do that easily. Any experiences between tackless and staples?
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Old 11-09-2015, 01:36 PM   #2
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Not exactly your situation, but maybe this will help you a bit: How I reinforced floor from above
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Old 11-09-2015, 06:56 PM   #3
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You won't increase the weight with a few sheets of plywood. How many places does it feel mushy?
I doubt that you have 3/4 plywood as original flooring.
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Old 11-10-2015, 01:11 AM   #4
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I estimate it will take four sheets of 3/8" OSD to cover the floors. At 40lbs. each that comes up to 160 pounds + the weight of the nails.

I need to figure out what is there now, Winnebago told me they used 3/4" plywood, but it doesn't feel like it. I need to crawl underneath and who how it is and maybe drill a hole and check. It appears the underneath supports are about 3 feet apart and there is ni support where edges meet.

Smithers: That you for you link. It reminded me to make templates, which I probably wouldn't have thought to do.
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Old 11-10-2015, 05:54 AM   #5
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use construction adhesive and screws to install that 3/8 osb
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Old 11-10-2015, 11:48 AM   #6
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I meant screws when I typed nails.

The problem is each place two pieces of plywood join together, there is nothing supporting the edges. I do need to crawl underneath and see what the bottom side looks like. That may be a few days since it just rained and the ground is muddy.
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Old 11-10-2015, 12:19 PM   #7
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You won't increase the weight with a few sheets of plywood. How many places does it feel mushy?
I doubt that you have 3/4 plywood as original flooring.
You are correct, I measured ours just now and it's 1/2" plywood for the original flooring. I believe that I had mentioned in a different thread that it was 3/4". What is 3/4" flooring is a raised floor underneath the galley sink. I had measured that and assumed that all of the flooring was 3/4".
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:27 AM   #8
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I think I've come up with a good way to fix the floor, and one not requiring the addition of 200 pounds of plywood. All I really need to do is stiffen the existing floor. There is currently about a quarter inch of play at the seams because the flooring is not supported by floor joists like in normal construction. If I take a 2x4 or 2x6 and run it down the center of the RV underneath the floor, add a bead of construction adhesive and then drive a bunch of screws in to pull everything together I should get a pretty solid feeling floor.

I'm thinking the only hard part (other than crawling underneath) is lining everything up. If I predrill and countersink holes in the flooring, I should be able to see a nice row of holes on the underside to figure out where to place the joist.
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Old 11-12-2015, 02:13 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by alvo View Post
I think I've come up with a good way to fix the floor, and one not requiring the addition of 200 pounds of plywood. All I really need to do is stiffen the existing floor. There is currently about a quarter inch of play at the seams because the flooring is not supported by floor joists like in normal construction. If I take a 2x4 or 2x6 and run it down the center of the RV underneath the floor, add a bead of construction adhesive and then drive a bunch of screws in to pull everything together I should get a pretty solid feeling floor.

I'm thinking the only hard part (other than crawling underneath) is lining everything up. If I predrill and countersink holes in the flooring, I should be able to see a nice row of holes on the underside to figure out where to place the joist.
I think that is a very good idea, just make sure that you do not drill into any of your tank's or wires!, and also use some "liquid nails" on the 2x4
when you get ready to screw it down tight! Do you have a basement underneath? If so, you could also add a cross support or two for the 2x4 you just installed? If you have the room to do? Just a thought? Rail!
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Old 11-14-2015, 01:30 PM   #10
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I managed to crawl underneath and realized that's not the way to go. The space is really tight and I just managed to fit underneath the rig. To work under there would require it to be jacked up, and I'm smart enough to know not to do that.

I did discover that the wood flooring inside isn't accessible from the bottom. There is metal sheathing and, I assume, insulation as well, so the issue would have to be tackled from on top. I still didn't want to add a new layer of plywood or OSB over the existing flooring. I'd have to rent a truck to get the sheets home and then cut and wrangle them into the RV by myself.

Then I had a third idea. If the edges of the sheets are moving why not just fasten them together? I picked up a few steel mending plates and figured that placing them about six inches apart would probably be good enough to remove an objectionable amount of spring.

Turns out my estimate was way off. After screwing down the first plate the section of floor felt rock solid. I'm still adding the other two plates in the joint for good measure and it's about $4 a joint for the plates and screws. Since there is padding and carpeting going on top the extra bump from the plates and screw heads won't be noticed.

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Old 11-15-2015, 12:56 AM   #11
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Glad that worked out for you! The next time you need to get under your MH, you can drive up on some stair'd boards, easy to make, 2X12's screwed together work the best! Rail!
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Old 11-15-2015, 02:04 PM   #12
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btw I added the other six screws after I took the photo. Not because I needed to, but because it wouldn't hurt and they had made the holes.

Thanks for the advice about getting underneath although since I really hate to do this kind of work, I hope never to need the suggestion. I don't have a lot of money, but I hope enough to pay somebody else to crawl under there and work.
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Old 11-15-2015, 04:13 PM   #13
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A note for people with floor issues in the future: The floor in a Winnebago isn't 3/4" plywood like they told me; it's 1/4" plywood on top of 2" of foam on top of a piece of thin sheet metal (steel). 30 years of use has weakened the structure. Apparently they don't expect their product to last that long.
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Old 11-15-2015, 04:26 PM   #14
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common structure- called vacubond.
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