Ever since we bought our Airstream we knew the day would come when we would take out the old sub-floor and see if our frame was rusted out or if we would get lucky and find it completely dry underneath with no problems!
Well, this past week, we removed the front section of floor. The plywood looked like it had some water damage but thankfully the metal frame wasn't too bad! We had some rust and some rivets come unattached from the belly pan but we could work with it.
To remove the front piece of ply wood we cut it into pieces with a circular saw, chopped at it with a hammer, and wrestled it out. We tried un-bolting and un-screwing it but, the bolts and screws holding the plywood in place were rusty and impossible to move. Once the wood came out we got the grinder after the remaining bolts and screws.
To prevent any further damage from rust on our frame, we cleaned all the rust off we could with a wire brush. Then we spray painted all of the metal with Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer then gave it a top coat of enamel spray paint.
We bought a new piece of ply wood and cut it to fit the front section of the Airstream. We made a template with a piece of foam and then used that to trace our cut we needed to make on the plywood. Once the wood was cut, we painted it with two coats of Polyurethane to protect it from any water that may try to sneak in (water is tricky like that!).
Once the spray paint and poly were all nice and dry we laid down some insulation. Then, it was time to put the new piece of flooring in. The plywood goes into a track at the base of the shell of the Airstream walls. We got the plywood into the track on the right side and then hammered the piece into place about 1/2 an inch at a time. It is a tight fit and the wood doesn't slide in easily but, once we pounded our piece into place it felt nice and firm. We went around the edges and re-bolted the places near where there were bolts before (we had to redrill some holes to hold our new bolts).
We went around with Vulkem to water-proof specifically around the metal sheet where the spare tire goes.
Next up we will keep replacing the old flooring until we get to the water tanks then we will see what kind of shape they are in before we continue laying new floor. We will also put the front two pieces of banana wrap back on since we had to take it off to put the bolts in around the edges of our flooring.
This has been my favorite project so far in our Airstream renovation because we are adding to the structural integrity of our trailer and hopefully adding many many years to it's life!