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Old 06-14-2021, 09:27 AM   #1
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Spongy Floor!

Well it happened, spongy floor in the front storage compartment. The initial investigation found a cut in the thin underbelly fabric where a junction box cut/wore through the fabric leaving a 4" long slice. do you think this is the root cause? I only question because the damage seemed pretty extensive to be caused by one cut that would let road spray in. once water gets in is it incapable of drying out and it just builds and builds?

Once the root cause is truly identified, should i rubberize the bottom or even install some thin aluminum sheeting? I don't like that thin plastic sheeting is all that separates the world from the insulation and subfloor.
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Old 06-14-2021, 09:39 AM   #2
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I would doubt that a spot in the sheeting could cause the damage you have. How large an area is spongy? That sort of thing is nearly always caused by a water leak either from your plumbing or from a leak from the outside when it rains. I would assume that you have a travel trailer? Do any of your water lines pass through that storage space?
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Old 06-14-2021, 09:39 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGopher View Post
Well it happened, spongy floor in the front storage compartment. The initial investigation found a cut in the thin underbelly fabric where a junction box cut/wore through the fabric leaving a 4" long slice. do you think this is the root cause? I only question because the damage seemed pretty extensive to be caused by one cut that would let road spray in. once water gets in is it incapable of drying out and it just builds and builds?

Once the root cause is truly identified, should i rubberize the bottom or even install some thin aluminum sheeting? I don't like that thin plastic sheeting is all that separates the world from the insulation and subfloor.
Not familiar with the construction of your rv, but if the flooring material is OSB or wafer board, water will wick into the material and spread far beyond the initial entry point.

However, what you describe seems much worse that damage from road spray, as you suggest, but without pictures of the cut location and the location of the damage, it's hard to know. If the fabric is not bonded to the underside of the flooring, and the cut creates an open space or bubble, water can certainly enter much farther into the area and soak the flooring. Possibly an indicator of that would be where the damage is relative to the cut in the fabric. If it has spread rearward from the cut, that would be consistent with wind from traveling blowing moisture into the space between the cut and the floor.

All that being said, I am suspicious of such a large area of severe damage being caused by road spray. More likely water entry from the outside roof or sidewalls that hasn't been detected yet, or possible a plumbing leak.
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Old 06-14-2021, 09:50 AM   #4
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I agree with the previous posters and without knowing how your trailer is contructed, it's difficult to guess. Some trailers had floors made out of a foam and Luan sandwich which didn't hold up.....could be plywood, OSB, or?

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Old 06-14-2021, 10:22 AM   #5
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Thanks guys, I'll add some detail.

Viking 17BH travel trailer.

I cut out the vinyl in the storage compartment and the damage is pretty much the full width but clearly emanates from the front of the trailer.

There is no plumbing through this entire area, neither in the floor or walls.

The floor construction is vinyl/OSB/fiberglass insulation/plastic fabric layer. the final bottom layer of the plastic fabric is loose and baggy.

Is the outer layer of the fabric only used because of cost/weight?

I was skeptical that the 4" cut could cause it, but i feel like once water gets in there it's just a big wick that can't dry out?

Today i will try both fresh water tank and city water with the trailer tipped down a bit to see if any water flows to the front of the trailer. This would confirm or eliminate a plumbing source.
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Old 06-14-2021, 10:42 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by TheGopher View Post
Thanks guys, I'll add some detail.

Viking 17BH travel trailer.

I cut out the vinyl in the storage compartment and the damage is pretty much the full width but clearly emanates from the front of the trailer.

There is no plumbing through this entire area, neither in the floor or walls.

The floor construction is vinyl/OSB/fiberglass insulation/plastic fabric layer. the final bottom layer of the plastic fabric is loose and baggy.

Is the outer layer of the fabric only used because of cost/weight?

I was skeptical that the 4" cut could cause it, but i feel like once water gets in there it's just a big wick that can't dry out?

Today i will try both fresh water tank and city water with the trailer tipped down a bit to see if any water flows to the front of the trailer. This would confirm or eliminate a plumbing source.
Thanks for the detail.

Note bold, IMO that explains a lot. Water entry from the underside immediately will be wicked inside by the fiberglass insulation and remain there, in contact with the OSB. Bad situation.

We don't know how long the underside was exposed to road spray or how many years you've owned the rv, but if the cut was original, four years is enough time for that kind of damage. Still would not rule out some other source of water, but start by eliminating the obvious.

Good luck and keep us updated.
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Old 06-15-2021, 06:34 AM   #7
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Update: with the nose tipped down I tried both city and tank water and no sign of leaks anywhere. also did not hear the pump going off at any time. I'm fairly certain that it was the cut in the underbelly causing all the havoc over time. the cut looks old as there was some wearing around it, since i know what caused it, i'm guessing it happened on the first trip out and the camper is 4 years old.

Next question: I don't like that the thin plastic/fabric sheet is all that separates my insulation from the road and the world. are all TT like this now? I'm tempted to attach a thin sheeting to the underside frame rails to block off the whole thing, or a rubberized coating? my concern with the coating is then i am just adding more weight to the fabric.
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Old 06-15-2021, 09:56 AM   #8
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First thing is open the area up and make sure the fiberglass insulation is not wet. If so it needs to be removed, as it will NOT dry on its own. Also check for mold, mildew and rot. Possibly the floor can be reinforced from the bottom. Then just seal it back up using gorilla tape, and add the inspection of this to your PM schedule.
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