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 > Rotted plywood ceiling, can it be replaced and reglued

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ThomasTravels

Portland, Oregon

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Posted: 10/21/20 08:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Recently I bought a travel trailer with the intention of converting it into a full time home. It is older, and I knew there were several soft spots in the floor. Upon closer inspection, it looks like the whole front side of the trailer has water damage, and about half of a sheet of plywood on the ceiling is rotted out.

I suspect it is from the front termination bar failing, and allowing water to slip down the rubber roof into the wall. I am wondering, is it possible to replace the rotted sheet of plywood and glue the same piece of rubber down, or do I need to replace the whole roof? I don't have the money to have it professionally done, so I would need to do it myself, which I am fine with. My concern is that I live in Oregon and I am not sure how much more nice weather we have.

Any advice on this would be very appreciated.

Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 10/21/20 08:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Better get yourself a bunch of tarps, gonna need it for this repair.

Most likely you will find that the rot extends a lot further than what you think and the only way to know for sure is to rip out everything until you find good wood.

This means you most likely will need to pull out the ceiling material, pull back the roof material and then replace wood framing that is rotted, put down new roof decking then glue down the roofing material.. Then on the inside you would need to replace the old ceiling paneling and insulation with new material.

Not impossible to do, but takes a lot of time, material, your labor and bunches of money..

If you hire out, the labor alone will far exceed any "value" of the trailer.

Been there, done that..

In all honesty, you most likely will be farther ahead by scrapping the trailer, selling off windows, doors, A/C, Furnace, water heater, stove and the frame with legit title and you most likely will get more money out of it than what you paid for it.

Then take that money and buy a newer trailer that is in better shape..

I don't give up easily, but after two full on rebuilds and hundreds of hrs per rebuild (took 9 months on my current TT)I think you will find your time is more valuable than what you think. You can't get your time back and the next owner isn't going to pay you for the time you put in it..

ThomasTravels

Portland, Oregon

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Posted: 10/21/20 09:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gdetrailer wrote:

Better get yourself a bunch of tarps, gonna need it for this repair.

Most likely you will find that the rot extends a lot further than what you think and the only way to know for sure is to rip out everything until you find good wood.

This means you most likely will need to pull out the ceiling material, pull back the roof material and then replace wood framing that is rotted, put down new roof decking then glue down the roofing material.. Then on the inside you would need to replace the old ceiling paneling and insulation with new material.

Not impossible to do, but takes a lot of time, material, your labor and bunches of money..

If you hire out, the labor alone will far exceed any "value" of the trailer.

Been there, done that..

In all honesty, you most likely will be farther ahead by scrapping the trailer, selling off windows, doors, A/C, Furnace, water heater, stove and the frame with legit title and you most likely will get more money out of it than what you paid for it.

Then take that money and buy a newer trailer that is in better shape..

I don't give up easily, but after two full on rebuilds and hundreds of hrs per rebuild (took 9 months on my current TT)I think you will find your time is more valuable than what you think. You can't get your time back and the next owner isn't going to pay you for the time you put in it..


So I have already pulled the plywood from the walls, and part of the ceiling. Only the front piece of plywood seems to be rotting. Everything before that seems solid.

Time is the one thing I have plenty of, so I don't mind putting the effort into repairing the thing. Just want to make sure I do it right.

With you having done multiple rebuilds, can you tell me, is it possible to glue down the existing sheet of rubber on the roof to a new piece of plywood?

Lwiddis

Lone Pine, CA

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Posted: 10/21/20 09:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You won’t be full timing in that TT for months if you decide to fix it. If you want a project, great. If a home, buy another TT.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watts solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL pole for flags. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560)


midnightsadie

ohio

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Posted: 10/21/20 09:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

get some covers, winter is here.

BurbMan

Islip, Long Island

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Posted: 10/21/20 09:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The rubber is typically not glued down to the roof. Watch some YouTube videos on how trailers are made. They roll out the rubber on the plywood, and it's secured at the edges by the trim and also where the a/c, hatches and vents come thru. You should be able to re-use that rubber with no issues. If it's torn, use some EternaBond tape to seal the tears. I just completed a rebuild of a water-damaged truck camper (see link in my signature) and used EternaBond to seal all of the corner seams to prevent any future leaks. In my case, the roof was fine, but every window was leaking.

Most trailers are framed with 1x and 2x material with 1/4" ply on the exterior walls, 1/8" ply on the inside, and 3/8" (or optional upgraded 1/2") plywood on the roof. If you have basic skills they are easy to repair, the biggest challenges are the time it takes and having a dry place to work. I rigged up a 30x40 tarp over the camper with a rope system to keep it off the roof so I could work under it. The winds beat the **** out of the tarp, so I wound up with a 20x30 tarp on top of that one as a rain fly, and it help us nicely, even in tropical storm Isaias. The tarp was up a total of 4 months and kept everything dry while the camper walls were open.

I would also check the floors for soft spots, water that comes in up top usually finds its way into the floor framing at some point.

You say "converting it into a full time home"...if the trailer is already located where it will stay you may want to consider a metal lean to roof like this one from the get go instead of temporary tarps.

[image]

If you mean full-timing in the trailer while you travel around, then you need to pay attention to weight of materials used and good strength so it withstands bumps and flexing going down the road. I used a LOT of PL Max construction adhesive on mine.

Post pics if you can, like GDE I've done this 3x now and have a ton of resources in my files.


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ThomasTravels

Portland, Oregon

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Posted: 10/21/20 10:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BurbMan wrote:

The rubber is typically not glued down to the roof. Watch some YouTube videos on how trailers are made. They roll out the rubber on the plywood, and it's secured at the edges by the trim and also where the a/c, hatches and vents come thru. You should be able to re-use that rubber with no issues. If it's torn, use some EternaBond tape to seal the tears. I just completed a rebuild of a water-damaged truck camper (see link in my signature) and used EternaBond to seal all of the corner seams to prevent any future leaks. In my case, the roof was fine, but every window was leaking.

Most trailers are framed with 1x and 2x material with 1/4" ply on the exterior walls, 1/8" ply on the inside, and 3/8" (or optional upgraded 1/2") plywood on the roof. If you have basic skills they are easy to repair, the biggest challenges are the time it takes and having a dry place to work. I rigged up a 30x40 tarp over the camper with a rope system to keep it off the roof so I could work under it. The winds beat the **** out of the tarp, so I wound up with a 20x30 tarp on top of that one as a rain fly, and it help us nicely, even in tropical storm Isaias. The tarp was up a total of 4 months and kept everything dry while the camper walls were open.

I would also check the floors for soft spots, water that comes in up top usually finds its way into the floor framing at some point.

You say "converting it into a full time home"...if the trailer is already located where it will stay you may want to consider a metal lean to roof like this one from the get go instead of temporary tarps.

[image]

If you mean full-timing in the trailer while you travel around, then you need to pay attention to weight of materials used and good strength so it withstands bumps and flexing going down the road. I used a LOT of PL Max construction adhesive on mine.

Post pics if you can, like GDE I've done this 3x now and have a ton of resources in my files.


Thanks for the response. I do mean living and travelling in it full time.

I am going to be replacing the sub floor myself as there are several soft spots. I already knew I would be doing that. I am pretty good with building stuff, and I am not working right now so I have the time to put into a project. Just trying to keep costs down as much as possible.

From what I have seen online, I thought the roof membrane had an adhesive under it to keep glued to the decking. I will have to investigate some and see if it is just being held down by the termination bar or not. If it isn't, that will be very helpful.

Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 10/21/20 10:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ThomasTravels wrote:



So I have already pulled the plywood from the walls, and part of the ceiling. Only the front piece of plywood seems to be rotting. Everything before that seems solid.

Time is the one thing I have plenty of, so I don't mind putting the effort into repairing the thing. Just want to make sure I do it right.

With you having done multiple rebuilds, can you tell me, is it possible to glue down the existing sheet of rubber on the roof to a new piece of plywood?


As long as you have no tears and no leftover wood still glued to the roofing in theory, you should be able to reglue the roofing down. Just be aware anything still glued to the roofing will leave bumps in the roofing surface. Those bumps can be a potential leak down the road by poking through.

The roofing will need to be in decent shape and you will need to figure out exactly what material the roofing is for the correct adhesive to use.

Roofing could be vinyl, EPDM, TPO.. Not really a rubber like in a car tire, more of a plasticized material. Using the wrong adhesive can attack and damage your roofing.

Terryallan

Foothills NC

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Posted: 10/21/20 11:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Any thing can be fixed. All it takes is know how, time, and money.


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CharlesinGA

South of Atlanta, Georgia

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Posted: 10/21/20 10:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The rubber IS glued to the roof. The entire roof is coated in adhesive and the rubber put down on top of the glue and smoothed with a soft push broom or a wide paint roller with a new pad.

The adhesive is water based and has to have wood for the water to soak off into to cure. If you apply the adhesive over old adhesive the glue will never cure, as the old adhesive seals the wood. Some people skin over the old roof wood with thin luan plywood glued with construction adhesive and short nails, but this leaves reused corner trim not fitting and adds significant weight. I opted to remove all roof sheathing and replace it. We lay out the rubber, got it all positioned, folded back the front half and rolled the adhesive on, and very carefully pulled the front half over the adhesive, smoothed it down with paint rollers, then folded the back half forward and did the same thing over again.

The roof came out very nice.

The interior ceiling is attached to the roof trusses and framework, then it is flipped over and installed on top of the walls, sandwiching the ceiling luan plywood in place making it impossible to replace.

Charles

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