...and crafting a purposeful recovery

Fast floorward

Change of plans.  Seeing as how it’s the dry season (and I haven’t been able to round up an assistant for my leak test), I am going to leapfrog that step and spend some time on the floor – literally.  With knee pads affixed to my cranky joints, I spent yesterday inspecting suspect areas.  As I have mentioned, Sparta’s floor is in better-than-average shape compared to some of her contemporaries that I have seen in person and online, but serious work needs to be done.  Honestly,  there is a part of me that just wants to replace the entire floor and rest easy knowing that for the next 60 years I or my heirs will have a uniform layer of solid, 3/4″ plywood underfoot.  But frankly,  that is just too much work.  You see, these trailers were built with a wood floor sandwiched between the steel frame defining the perimeter and the aluminum body.  Sparta’s shell literally sits on top of and is bolted to it.  To get it out requires sawing it into manageable pieces and pulling it away from the walls where it is pinched between the frame and the entire weight of the shell…yikes.  Daunted by the magnitude of that task,  I have chosen a path of less resistance.

Sparta’s floor falls into three general categories – 75% of the floor is rock solid, unaffected by rot or insects, and it responds with a reassuring “Thwack” when hit with a hammer.  That majority will be left alone and covered with new flooring.  15% is completely rotted out, most notably in the bathroom, and will have to be completely torn out requiring considerable effort as described above.  These sections can be pierced with a screwdriver.  The final 10% is salvageable but when hammered responds more meekly with a reedy, slightly hollow sound.  That portion resides mostly along the Sparta’s edge where water was present either from leaks or years of condensation.  These are the areas I addressed on my knees yesterday and they look like this:

sparta floor 3

The white wood is suspect. Corners in particular. Note pilot hole to the middle left. This I drilled to determine the area was salvageable.

 

sparta floor edge

The edges are marked with small areas of rot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To fix these areas I purchased from Amazon a product called “Rot Fix“, a two-part epoxy that purportedly forms a rock-hard bond when infused into a porous but viable floor.  The sales pitch claims that the treated area firms up stronger than the original flooring, much like the doctor told me my healed leg would after I broke it skiing over 40 years ago.  We’ll see.

Sparta rot fix2

So the procedure yesterday was as follows.  As recommended by the product-maker, I drilled small holes throughout the white-stained, compromised areas.  I set the drill bit depth to slightly over 1/2″ by wrapping it with painter’s tape.  This I did to ensure that my punctures did not completely perforate the 3/4″ plywood and allow the epoxy to escape through the floor and onto the belly-pan where it would do no good.  Then, as directed, I mixed the product in smallish batches and applied it to my Swiss cheese floor, basically going “dot-to-dot” with a steady stream of epoxy.  Finally, after giving it a few moments to fully penetrate,  I brushed the treated areas to force the remaining pooled glue into the holes.  Have a look.  I will give it a solid day to cure and will check it out this afternoon.  Results to follow.

sparta floor drillsparta floor holessparta floor dotssparta floor appl.sparta floor 1

Postscript: I visited Sparta last night to see how the treated floor looked after a 24 hour cure.  The hammer test went well, for the most part.  The smaller edge areas were sound and responded to the hammer with a convincing timbre.  The two larger corner areas, while improved,  are going to need another coat of Rot Fix.  I’m encouraged and I think that will do it.

sparta floor after

It’s Hammer time

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