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Old 04-16-2012, 05:28 PM   #1
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Delamination of flooring - repair ideas

Got a couple of 'soft spots' in the main living/dining/kitchen walkway. Had it checked for leaks, and none were found.

Wondering if the flooring (plywood or what ever it is) has simply de-laminated (came unglued and has separated) causing soft spots. If so, without ripping up the carpet could some screws or nails or what ever be put down to re-adhere/attach the flooring to the floor? Of course, I'd have to know where the runners/floor joist were located as well as electrical wiring and plumbing are located.

It's a 1985 chieftan winnebego with metal flooring under the subflooring. I'm just trying to avoid a rip up of the sub-flooring, if I can. It's just a couple of soft spots, nothing seemingly major.

Any ideas? What about drilling a few holes and squeezing in some epoxy or glue to the spots? Appreciate any ideas or comments from those who have had a similar experience. Thanks
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Old 04-17-2012, 05:20 AM   #2
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I think you either have or have had a water leak that is the source of the problem, and you should make sure that the water leak is fixed before assuming a patch job is all you need. Dry rot is a serious threat to your RV.
As far as fixing the floor, it depends on a couple things...mostly how large the weak area is and where it is. If it's small, you may be able to get away with epoxe, bondo, or one of the specialty products sold in high-end lumber stores that are designed to strengthen dry-rotted wood. If it's larger than about 8 inches square, I wouldn't be afraid of cutting out the old floor section and replacing it with new wood. There are a couple of things you will have to deal with in doing this. First, there is likely styrofoam or some type of insulation in the floor. It can get in the way, but can also be replaced. Second, there may be electrical or plumbing lines underneath to make your job more interesting. If you cut through the plywood, it's smart to make sure you cut through JUST the plywood by setting the cut depth of your skill saw appropriately. If you can plan the repair, you may be able to span two cross-supports with the patch.
If not, you will need to provide support for the patch at the underside by making a supporting edge around the perimeter of the patch with strips of plywood screwed into the good part of the floor and extending into the hole. This can be done from the top, or inside the coach. It will look like a square man-hole that you can then put a new piece of plywood into and screw it down. If you need the surface absolutely flat, you can use self-leveling flooring compound for that purpose. Once you put in the new vinyl or flooring, it will be invisible and as strong as new.
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:07 AM   #3
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Full, thanks for your helpful response. Well, at least the soft spots are less than 8" inches, about 2-4". I have heard that the 80's and 90's winne's had de-lamination of flooring material quite often, I am hoping it is that and not dry rot from a prior leak. It has no apparent signs of leaks as far as I can tell. The dealer said it has no leaks, as well. It was stored indoors it's entire life. It looks as though some minor resealing has been done around the windows and roof, but I'm thinking it was just for precautionary purposes. It's still at the RV dealer where I purchased it ( he is installing a used awning) and storing it for me for a few weeks until I am able to pick it up. I am thinking I will phone the dealer (who does rv repair) and have him investigate the soft spots. He should be able to tell whether or not it has de-laminated or has had a prior leak. He has guaranteed a minimal labor cost for any future repairs when I purchased the rig. I noticed the soft spots when I purchased it but they were small and I thought little about them when the dealer said it has a metal floor, so you are not going to go through it! He said it probably was de-lamination of the flooring because the rig is 1985. It is pristine in every other way. Thanks again for your advice.
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:40 AM   #4
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Hmmm...

If you are relying on the dealer from whom you purchased your RV for an objective opinion about the floor, he might be motivated to tell you everything is fine because to admit otherwise could raise his costs a lot.
You might be smart to get a second opinion from someone else.
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:39 AM   #5
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Depending on what you want to achieve, you may be able to inject epoxy into the floor and tighten things up. I've seen it done before. Not exactly the correct solution, but can make sense in some cases.
I would check www.delamrepair.com for glue
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:04 AM   #6
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Not Glued?

Is it possible that the laminate was never glued?

I found this to be the case in our previous RV, a fifth wheel. None of the flooring was glued in. The manufacturer laid the laminate on the entire floor area an built on top of it. It turns out that this practice might actually make a longer lasting flooring in things that move & flex a lot, TT & fivers. They've been doing this for years.

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Old 04-20-2012, 06:13 PM   #7
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As long as it's not dry rot because of a prior leak. I'll have to find that out when I finally pick it up from the dealer in a few weeks. I'll have to inspect it very carefully. At first inspection I did not see any signs of water leaking and I tried my best to check in every nook and cranny, but I'll have a closer look. I'll check window sills and roofing as well. If I spot something I'll make the dealer fix it before taking ownership of it. Thanks for your comments and I hope it just delamination. Planning a trial run out the the pacific ocean just south of Lincoln City at Sea & Sand in mid June. That's a great place. But I'll have it at my house a week or so prior to that detailing and packing it and again, making sure everything is in working order.
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Old 04-20-2012, 06:54 PM   #8
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Plywood is glued together with either Interior grade glue or Exterior grade glue. I give 9 to 1 odds that the de-lamination was due to water damage of plywood with interior grade glue. Maybe the leak has been solved, but the damage still remains. If you can hold back some money until the issue is resolved, you will be more in the driver's seat. Funny thing about dealers...once they have your money they become a lot less interested in helping you out. You become a cost to them when you need warranty service and no longer a potential profit. Stay on this, don't postpone it and hold back the money! Get out your pocket knife and dig into the soft areas.
If it's water damage, the wood will likely be blackened. That's the color of the bacteria that causes dry rot. Good luck, and let us know what happened.
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