Riggins with little brother Charlie and little sister Sadie.


Monday, October 17, 2011


Hey, Its Donna.  If you read Sam's blog from yesterday you know we have some problems with the fiver. The guy who came yesterday for some reason did not set well with me.  He is recommending doing a 3/8" overlay of plywood over the existing floor.  Now it is wet and mildewed. He said he has mildew cleaner and driers that would dry out the existing wood.  I am concerned about leaving the old rotting wood there. And
I think the price of 2500.00 is a little steep considering he is just going to put the wood and lineoleum in.
Need your advice or experience in this.....Is putting new wood over old a good idea??
Thanks to all who respond


  1. Not sure if you ever heard of a show called Holmes on Homes but his mission in life is to make it right for homeowners who have been scammed/misguided by disreputable contractors. He ALWAYS removes soft/mildewed/dry rot wood and replaces it with new wood. Sounds like your $2500 dollar guy would be one that Holmes would not recommend dealing with. You would have to wrangle with the ethics of selling your 5r to someone else knowing it was sub par if the purchaser wasn't smart enough to pick up the bad patch job. Your call.
    Bev in HFX, NS

  2. Not a good idea to put new wood on wet rotten wood. Sam's pretty handy I'm sure he could handle this job.

  3. Leonard and I agree - that rotted wood has to go!

    We are so sorry to hear that you are having these issues. And very true - RV mfgs use the cheapest materials possible.

    If you read Nick Russell's (Gypsy Journal) blogs, he recently wrote how the RV industry has "guidelines" and not firm standards in their construction unlike like the airplane and automotive industry.

  4. I would not recommend putting good wood over wet and rotting wood.

    I know we were looking at replacing our carpet in the MH and the price for someone to do that was high. When we asked why??? the answer was the small space and many cuts that would have to be made to replace it and of course depending on what we chose to replace the carpet with.
    Wouldn't it be nice if they did it right the first time???
    Good luck guys....I would replace the wood.

  5. I would also recommend replacing the wet wood!..better to start fresh!!

  6. Can you guys post some high res pictures of the damaged area's? I'm getting very good at looking at damaged floors!

    Ok, I'm going to look at this from two directions because I have experience with a rotted floor in the sticks and bricks and because I also have experience with a rotted floor in the RV.

    In the sticks and bricks you have joists under the floor that support the floor and sub-floor. Because of this replacing the floor is relatively easy because you can join the new subfloor to the old good subfloor easily.

    Now the RV, it also has support joists but they aren't the same as in a house plus the cost to do it right, if there is such a way really is very high and here is why.

    When the RV is built they use cheap untreated OSB which loves to soak up water and they put it down in sheets and build on top of it and the joists are situated many times in such a way there isn't a way to tie all of it to the rest of the sub-floor so the areas that are cut need to be joined, old floor to new floor. Otherwise they'll sag when walked on and could let mother nature in from underneath.

    My experience with RV repair centers is they do the VERY LEAST to make the repair and if you don't babysit you will be going back.

    I went through this and this is what 3 different repair centers told me. They can rip out the old sub-floor but there is no guarantee that the new floor won't have issues where they try to join the old floor to the new floor because of the way my rig was built.

    So, because the rot was in such a small area I chose to use self leveling thinset (not what it's called, I need to look it up!) I put pictures on my blog. This stuff bonds with the wood and turns to a substance almost like concrete. The area use to sag when stepped on, now it feels solid like the rest of the floor. I'm going to be putting Allure flooring on top.

    Does this mean it was the right repair? I can't say for sure but the cost of ripping out the toilet room floor only to find out there might not be a good way to join the new subfloor with the rest of the subfloor they didn't rip out, not worth the cost to me.

    If you could post pictures of the affected area's I'll show them to the guys I have been working with and maybe they can give me some advice I can pass on.


  7. Ok, I found this product which can help. I need to actually see the product I bought since I have no reference for it here at work.


    There are several to choose from here.


  8. If I was in your situation right now, I think I'd be looking to get the advice of a good carpenter rather than an RV Tech.

    I think a qualified carpenter would be in a better position to tell you whether the wet floor spots can be dried out safely or whether the wood is actually rotted and needs to be replaced.

    RV Techs are 'jacks of all trades' but a carpenter is a wood specialist.

    That's just my 2 cents worth.

  9. I'm with Rick on this one. An RV "tech" doesn't have to know too darned much. I've seen some of them work. It's like grade eight shop class.
    And my answer is "NO", to doing anything over damp or rotting wood. Depends of course on the extent of the dampness, but I'd want it completely dried out ahead of time. This isn't even the season to do that. Best to wait until spring.
    And $2500? Wow. I think I'll be hiring myself out to work on RVs when we get back home.
    And yes, Mike Holmes would not approve. You've probably never seen the show, but you still don't want to be one of the ones who could qualify as being a "guest".
    I just googled Mike Holmes, and there's gobs of info.

  10. check your email Sam and Donna we have had the same problem in a past motorhome...and we pretty much did what Erik did...made sure it was dry and no mold then went to town ....ours wasn't under warranty at the time and instead of soaking us to the limit the RV center used this levelling method...we never had a problem after wards and had the rig quite a few years....good luck

  11. Home Depot sells a product "Mold Blaster" in a gallon jug, you mix with water and spray on. I had to use it in a closet after the roof over my front porch leaked. It took away the moldy smell and cleaned up the spots on the wall. You could use this product over the winter, make sure everything is dried out and then maybe that self leveling stuff will work as a prep for a new floor.

  12. Wow! It is incredible how the blogging community responds to serious questions! Love it! Good luck figuring out exactly what to do. You've definitely received some thoughtful input!

  13. I'm sure that Sam has the talent to fix this himself. Remove the rotten wood! Here is a place to start.


  14. Hey guys... I read the blog out loud to Steveio and all the replies.

    He said:
    First thing, find out where the water is coming from! I seem to recall the soft spots were near the entry and near the cabinet for the sink. Soooo are the leaks around the door? Or from under the sink? Or from underneath the belly of the fiver and road splashing rain coming in?

    Next... identify where the floor support joists are and can you tie into them with a seam on top, supporting new wood to old wood?

    Then... there are products on the market to firm up rotting wood (we used the Minwax one) if the degree of rot is not that bad. If it's plywood is it laminate separattion or OSB wood where it's a mess of sawdust?

    We faced this ourselves in our motorhome bathroom and we cut down, replaced the sub floor, then the underlayment and then laid a new floor covering on top, similar to Allure. One mention though, you have to be VERY careful using laminate floorings like this because any water getting down in the seams can make it swell and come apart.
    Here is our link to our repair:


    Back to your floor.... If the rot is in a small area or not too bad, perhaps the self-leveling is an answer? But if you are ripping up ALL the vinyl flooring anyhow to replace that, you might as well do the floor repair correctly too.

    That is, after FIRST finding out where the water is coming from.

    (gosh I wish you guys lived closer and we could tackle this one in the driveway!)

    Karen and Steveio
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  15. OH .. forgot to mention, we also gave three thick coats of waterproof sealer to the new sub-flooring and underlayment on all sides before installing it in the motorhome. Making sure this don't happen again!