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Water damage in ceiling, plywood warped, contact paper bubbling u

1990 coleman trailer, pop up.

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Seal roof seams. set up camper . prop peice of plywood slightly bigger than damaged area under damageshim to acheive moderate pressure. wait a week & remove. If it comes back down will have to replace paneling.

Posted on Jul 25, 2009


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We have a 2006 Rockwood 5th wheel and the floor in front of the sink is becoming soft and don't know what to do.

The softness in the floor is probably due to water damage and rot. Because this is happening at the sink, the most likely cause is a leak in the drain piping. The trailer is not very old and I don't think that the source is from outside. It is still something to consider, after doing a good investigation of the sink piping. In order to fix your problem thoroughly you will need to find and fix the source of the water, as well as making repairs to the soft flooring.

Most flooring in 5th wheels like yours is a plywood base with an overlay of another flooring material. If you have carpet or vinyl over the plywood it will need to be pulled up to assess the damage. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may want to look into getting a professional to do the work. Your own experience, and how much time or money you have to put into the project, should guide you on whether or not you want to do it yourself.

You may want to go ahead and pull up the flooring, even if you are expecting to hire somone to do the work. This will give you an idea of how much work needs to be done. When you have removed as much of the covering as you think you need to, check the plywood for discoloration and softness. There may be rings of discoloration that will give you clues as to the source. These would be much like growth rings on a tree that get bigger as they go out from the source.

The softness of the wood (often called punkiness) will help you determine how much of the wood you will need to replace. Some of the discolored wood may be able to be saved. You should replace all of the soft wood and any wood that is starting to get soft. Cut out some of the worst to get access to the underside for inspection with your hand and an inspection mirror if you have one. At this point you should have a good idea of how much work it will be to put the floor back together after you cut out the bad pieces. You will probably need to cut out some good wood with the bad to get sections out that are easy to replace.

I recommend taking a lot of pictures as you tear stuff out to help in the restoration. The flooring is usually installed before the interior. This may make the repair much more difficult if the bad flooring extends under walls and cabinetry. A lot of careful deconstruction may be necessary to get to flooring under these things. Pictures will help you to put things back the way they were.

While you are taking everything apart, you should be looking for the source of the leak. You will probably need to turn on the water and let it drain for a bit. Keep an eye out near the area of most damage. This may be at the source or just a low spot that collected water. Either way it may give a clue to the location of the leak. Inspect the area under the flooring for damage to the framing and anything else that may be susceptible to water damage as well.

When you have determined how much of the flooring to replace be sure to choose the right material to reinstall. Your trailer probably has an enclosed undercarriage. You can probably use standard plywood for the repair. I recommend getting a marine grade plywood, though. This is a bit more expensive, but if there are any further leaks, it will stand up to the water much better. Be sure to get the correct plywood thickness, too. Measure a good piece of the original to be sure. You should also use new fasteners that match the original installed. Use stainless fasteners (also a little more costly, but best for the same reason as the marine plywood). Any good hardware store can find you matching fasteners.

When you are planning how you will replace the flooring take a lot of measurements and make drawings to help. Use what the original flooring looks like to plan the new sections. The framing under the floor should guide the sizes and shapes of the new pieces. If you can't make joints line up with the framing you should add a support under the joint that is attached to the framing. Plywood comes in 4 by 8 foot sheets, so your sections have to be smaller than that. Remeber that the flooring will need to support the weight of someone walking on it (and probably jumping on it if you have kids).

Once you have the repair planned out, cut up your parts and install them. This will be the easy part. The hard part is going to be putting the rest of the trailer back together as it was. If you paid attention to how all the pieces came out, and took pictures, it will be much easier.

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Water leak in travel lite truck camper has caused over cab bed area plywood to decay. Need diagram or schematic to determine best method of repair.

Hi brad, I had the same problem with a camper. I do not know of any available schematic, but would recommend dis-assembly of ceiling area to fix. It's not any easy job, but the only way to fix it properly. Remove all water damage section, make sure water is not pooling on the exterior roof. If it is collecting on the roof, you must brace it from underneath to raise any 'dips' so it sheds water, and make sure you apply a sealing coat (available at trailer stores, or on line) on the exterior. Also, if you park the camper when not in use, make sure you tilt it to help shed water more quickly. You have to use your carpenter and auto body skills to fix this. Don't put it off, I did and the roof deteriorates very quickly once you notice you have a problem. To remove plywood that is damaged, use a skill saw set at the minimum depth (thickness of the plywood) so you don't cut thru anything else. Use a drill to determine the thickness. To install new plywood, cut to fit the opening(s). Next get 3" wide by 3/4" thickness boards, place above cut out area, half on existing ceiling, half hanging over cut out, screw in thru existing ceiling into boards, attach replacement piece, screw into overhanging boards. You can putty over the joints, sand sand and paint, or just glue some sort of fabric to cover the area and make it look finished. Good luck!

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