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Old 06-23-2018, 02:24 PM   #1
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Soft Floor

Hi, I have a 2008 Escape 17b.
I noticed an area about 6 inches in diameter on my floor that feels soft/swollen. When I step on it, it feels spongy. It feels like an air pocket under the vinyl. The area is just ahead of the shower door, close to the shower wall.
I worry about water damage but can't imagine how water may have accessed that area. I did have a leak around the shower roof that driped into the shower area. I haven't seen any water under the front bench or rear cupboards. I don't see any access area under the camper.
Any ideas what is going on here??
Thanks for your help;
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Old 06-23-2018, 03:01 PM   #2
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Perhaps some of your roof leak went along the top of the shower liner then down inside the interior wall to the floor. I’d think you need to open it up to see, as well as make sure that the roof vent seal is for sure sealed.
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Old 06-23-2018, 05:45 PM   #3
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If that is what happened, how can I fix it?
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Old 06-23-2018, 06:19 PM   #4
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We had two incidents of soft floor in our Nash stick built trailer. The first involved two leaks, one near the front and the other near the back, stemming from slow leaks at the roof level. The front and back walls also went soft. Replacing the rotted wood framing in the walls and the floor, plus the filon skin (wrinkled cardboard with fibreglass applied) and flooring: $6800 The second incident was one leak and the estimate was only $5000. We sold the Nash and got an Escape 21. I can't see leaks affecting more than the floor, insulation and interior cabinets.

Beyond finding and fixing the leak, as far as I know, the only structural component you will need to replace is the wood flooring and vinyl in the spongy area. That requires experienced and likely professional hands, though someone with good handyman skills might be able to do it with guidance. From my experiences with Escape I expect they could give you good advice on this. Call ETI and ask to speak to Reace. He and Tammy have given me sage advice many times. It's their awesome support that adds to the value of Escape trailers.

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Old 06-23-2018, 10:37 PM   #5
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If you have a access to a moisture meter that would be a quick way to find our if the area is wet and rotten.

Since there is a problem and you do have to find out what it is I'd use the most non-destructive means possible. I'd use a straight edge and sharp knife and make a cut along the "grout" line. Just a few inches would give you enough access to poke the wood and determine if it's soft. If it's still solid the problem may have been that moisture loosened the vinyl and you do have a bubble.

A bubble would be easy to deal with. Rot would require you to make an "H" shaped incision larger than the damaged area. You could also just cut out a square section but it's a little harder to glue back and match perfectly. The damaged wood could be removed and some new wood added and glued in with epoxy.

There is a seam glue for vinyl to glue the cut seam.

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Old 06-24-2018, 04:39 AM   #6
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I'd do as Ron suggests, you need to determine the extent of the damage. Personally, I'd remove the vinyl from the get go. If it's just a bubble, you could replace it with Pergo or whatever strikes your fancy. If it's the wood, you'll have a good indication how bad the damage is, at least the visible damage.
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Old 06-24-2018, 06:16 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the advice. I will investigate what's going on under the vinyl.
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Old 06-24-2018, 08:08 AM   #8
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And find and fix the leak, or it’s just going to happen again.
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Old 06-24-2018, 08:21 AM   #9
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This makes me sad. I think this is the very first Escape build where I've read there's a problem with floor rot.
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Old 06-24-2018, 09:10 AM   #10
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I have never understood why FG trailer manufactures do not use treated plywood coated with an epoxy resin . It wouldn’t stop leaks but it would stop floors from rotting
All I can surmise is that it’s a violation of some code or it’s the cost factor .
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Old 06-24-2018, 09:46 AM   #11
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I have never understood why FG trailer manufactures do not use treated plywood coated with an epoxy resin . It wouldn’t stop leaks but it would stop floors from rotting
All I can surmise is that it’s a violation of some code or it’s the cost factor .
Steve, the problem you run into is that epoxy resin will not stick and/or bond to treated plywood. You can put the resin on the wood, let it cure, and then just pop it right off. That's why they make marine plywood which is stronger, laminated with resorcinol glue, and doesn't rot but can be laminated with fiberglass.

Now, why don't trailer manufacturers use marine plywood? Cost.
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Old 06-24-2018, 09:50 AM   #12
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Shall we wait to see what the issue is instead of leaping to assumptions?
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Old 06-24-2018, 10:01 AM   #13
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Steve, the problem you run into is that epoxy resin will not stick and/or bond to treated plywood. You can put the resin on the wood, let it cure, and then just pop it right off. That's why they make marine plywood which is stronger, laminated with resorcinol glue, and doesn't rot but can be laminated with fiberglass.

Now, why don't trailer manufacturers use marine plywood? Cost.
I bought a product that seals and waterproofs treated plywood . I used it when I built a small treated plywood basement area under my cabin . That was 30 years ago so I can’t remember the name of the product and if I remember correctly it was for exterior use only
Marine plywood would probably be a better choice and in my opinion OSB or standard exterior plywood is not the answer
Glenn may be right with not rushing to judgement , it may be nothing more than an adhesive failure .
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Old 06-24-2018, 10:07 AM   #14
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I thought I saw a build picture where the wood is encased in epoxy in the floor, it showed the wood and the trunnions around the perimeter. Looked very impenetrable....
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Old 06-24-2018, 10:32 AM   #15
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I thought I saw a build picture where the wood is encased in epoxy in the floor, it showed the wood and the trunnions around the perimeter. Looked very impenetrable....
Jim, I don't want to drag this out but there is nothing but bare wood on my floor. Even though the Escape video shows some kind of coating being applied - my trailer doesn't have that. The only thing on my wood is a coating of floor glue.

Oh, and the vinyl will pull up with little effort. Just cut along the edges and it will come right up.
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Old 06-24-2018, 10:33 AM   #16
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When I was up at ETI In April, I asked them what grade of plywood they use and was told that they use marine plywood for the floor of the trailer
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Old 06-24-2018, 10:35 AM   #17
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When I was up at ETI In April, I asked them what grade of plywood they use and was told that they use marine plywood for the floor of the trailer


I wonder if they were using marine ply back in ‘08, when OP’s trailer was built?
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Old 06-24-2018, 10:37 AM   #18
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This makes me sad. I think this is the very first Escape build where I've read there's a problem with floor rot.

Had the black tank vent leaking this past winter, the caulking had released from the plastic of the vent. Best I could tell water was coming in and running down the outside of the bath enclosure showing itself on the inside of the window frame. I can see how something like this would work it's way to the floor, soak the plywood. Don't know about fiberglass trailers but my sticky once wet would never dry. Just last week wile covering the trailer I noticed the Proflex around the bathroom vent needed to be redone. I've got to keep a closer eye on all the caulking.
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Old 06-24-2018, 11:06 AM   #19
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I have never understood why FG trailer manufactures do not use treated plywood coated with an epoxy resin . It wouldn’t stop leaks but it would stop floors from rotting
All I can surmise is that it’s a violation of some code or it’s the cost factor .



Or use one of the newer materials like Coosa board.
It's a plywood replacement, easy to use and can handle loads and impervious to water damage. An advantage for us is it also has a slight insulation rating so it could help with cold floors.
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Old 06-24-2018, 11:06 AM   #20
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When I was up at ETI In April, I asked them what grade of plywood they use and was told that they use marine plywood for the floor of the trailer
Marine plywood uses resorcinol glue and is supposed to be voidless. From what I saw of the plywood that my trailer has - it is probably marine grade. Using marine grade plywood and incorporating the drain channels in the bottom of the trailer, Escape's approach to the floor seems to be the best way to do this.

Encapsulating the flooring can cause water to collect inside (holes drilled, cracks) and you end up with a fiberglass shell with soft wood inside. I've worked on restoring old boats that had the stringers encapsulated but with holes drilled for wiring and the stringers were completely rotted with the fiberglass still intact.

I don't know if Escape used marine plywood back in 2008 but I am still betting that the vinyl had come unglued and caused a bubble. Hopefully the OP will let us know.
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