RV Floor Replacement Project Part 2: Realizing the Scope of the Problem

Author's note: I wish I could post all of the photos I took as I did this project. However, I took them with my iPhone and left it out in the rain. It completely fried the phone to the point two different stores couldn't even bring it back to working order, let alone retrieve all the photos. I'll do my best to describe everything, but I'm afraid I have no pictures. I created the diagrams in the Scribd file above, and inset into the post below, in a further effort to try and explain all that I did.

Click here to read Part 1: Admitting the Problem Exists.

Step 2: Realizing the Scope of the Problem

After a week of campping in which the camper floor resembled an inflatable bounce house (I exaggerate only slightly), the spongy and discolored floor of our 2000 Trail Lite Bantam finally demanded my attention.

We returned home from Mackinaw City on a Sunday, and the very next Saturday I loaded up my tools and headed out to my shirt-tail relative's Back Forty, the super secret (free) long-term storage site for our camper.

Before I tackled the floor, I knocked three other smaller projects out of the way. At some point when driving home, we lost the cover to our Fantastic Fan vent. It's the second time this has happened to us, and I pinpointed the problem to the gear mechanism in the arm that raises and lowers the cover. A simple fix to that and installing the new cover was done in no time flat.

The other two projects: Replacing the mixer (hot and cold water plumbing) in the shower and sanding, scraping and priming the tongue for Rust Converter. Again, simple (yet messy).

Then it was time for the floor.
Figure 1; showing key infrastructure of the camper

Figure 2; the layout of our camper
First, let me try to describe our camper's floor plan (see Figures 1 & 2). Standing at the door, which is mid camper, and extending counter clockwise from the right you have a U-shaped dinette at the front of the camper, the kitchen (which is directly opposite the door), a bank of storage cabinets and then a small all-in-one shower/bathroom which takes you to the rear of the camper Continuing on in the same counter-clockwise direction, is a single dinette and a small storage cabinet until you end up back at the door.

You can see a video of the project, including the layout of our camper, by clicking here.

Back to the floor: First I took my utility knife and scored the vinyl along the entire perimeter. Next I peeled back the vinyl, exposing what was underneath. What I found was a soggy excuse for 1/4-inch luan plywood, darkened black due to mold.The worst of it was right around the door, which is also where it was the spongiest.

It didn't take long realize that I had to remove cabinets and dinette benches (see Figure 3). The rotted wood undoubtedly extended under those as well.

First to come out was the small storage cabinet and the first bench seat of the single dinette to the immediate left of the door. Next came the U-shaped dinette.

I left the other bench seat of the single dinette (the fresh water tank is located inside it) and the shower/bathroom, storage cabinets and kitchen on the far wall. I wasn't about to make the project a total gut job.

Figure 3; showing the dinette and cabinets that were removed
Figure 4; the blue depicts the extent of the water damage and its source
With the cabinets and bench seats removed, I used my utility knife to score the new perimeter of the exposed floor. After that, it was relatively easy to peel back the vinyl. The water damage had caused the glue to fail.

With the vinyl off I was down to Styrofoam. This was saturated with water. Almost like a sponge in some places. I remembered that we had driven to Mackinaw City in a rain storm 10 days earlier and I was astounded to find so much water trapped in our floor.

Regardless, I now knew just how bad it was. And I also knew that I had a leak.

Next - RV Floor Replacement Project Part 3: Deconstruction