The Airstream Diary

Airstream Trailer Answers and Questions

Looking for a Spring Break

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The wind is swirling around North Texas today, as winter’s last gasp is a big breath.

Yesterday, we went out to A&P to see if we could lay the Marmoleum and also some flooring that goes under the back bed. That last item, flooring under the new bed at back, was no small task. I am the one that was “hard to please” when it came to a small patch of flooring that no one will ever see.

Seeing as we have a massive new area under the bed at the rear of the Airstream, I wanted to find some kind of floor that would reflect light in that new cavern of space. I went down a road that lead to the wrong item – snap together plastic coin flooring. It certainly is white, but too thick and … plastic! So that’s getting shipped back, and as you can see, once I got my mind off white it was easy to find flooring that worked.

We found it at Home Depot, and it’s about the right thickness, is fitted together like a puzzle, and extremely durable. We bought enough to go over the edges, then trimmed it to the edge of the deck – doing away with the exposed tabs and tucking it under where the support wall for the bed will hit the floor (that sitting on top of marmoleum). It’s a very dark grey and still has the “coin” pattern. The pattern combined with the composition of the tiles should prevent things from sliding around too much, but eventually I will be going back in with velcro tabs and ties for the things that need to be secured but removable underneath the bed.

Airstream Trailer floor
It may be invisible, but it’s a place that could get a lot of wear – flooring for compartment under bed.

Overlap reasonably.

cutting airstream flooring
Cut carefully. Red arrow denotes one of those epoxied forstner countersunk elevator bolt holes – sanded SMOOTH.

The rain let up, and we were finally able to lay out that flooring and trim the round edges, and also allowed the plywood deck to dry out. Leslie was anxious to lay the marmoleum and drop the shell back on top, but I knew we needed our advisers to tell us what we were getting into …

Thank goodness we waited until Ann & Paul returned to talk laying marmoleum. What we didn’t know is that marmoleum gets brittle in colder temperatures and WILL CRACK if flexed just wrong! Disaster averted. So we unloaded the roll of Maromleum (probably about 125 pounds), re-covered the deck, and retreated to A&P’s for an afternoon imbibing of a “Dark & Stormy” which looks the color of ice tea, and is anything but Texas tea.

Airstream flooring
Flooring gets put together, placed, marked underneath with pencil, un-puzzled, and then cut.

So the marmoleum is ready to lay, and is in waiting for warmer weather to make it more pliable. Then we will roll it out, cut the wheel well from the template Leslie created, roll it up and then roll it back out on the deck. There are a few things to know, and remember about using Marmoleum on Airstream trailer floors.

First, Marmoleum is sheet style rolls of linoleum. It’s organic.
Second, make sure temperatures are at least in the mid-60′s and 70′s to 80′s is even better – when handling sheets of Marmoleum.
Third, cutting Marmoleum is like cutting linoleum – use one of those hook tipped knives, new and sharp. I will make sure to demonstrate the cutting technique in a later post.

I’ll detail the amount of Marmoleum we used to cover (not completely) our floor. Rolls of Marmoleum are not the full width of an Airstream trailer floor. That means there will be a seam. That means we had to order extra to cover that remaining area, but that seam will not show – except for a small area coming out from under the kitchen toward the front street side (long ways).

There are a few nuances to putting in new flooring during a full monty restoration of an Airstream. You can put the trailer back together and then flush cut your flooring to the walls of the trailer. OR you can lay the flooring and then put the trailer back onto the decking, sandwiching the flooring under the U channel and creating something of a gasket between the trailer and the floor. I chose the latter because it is a lot easier to simply draw around the rounded corners of the deck (from underneath) onto whatever flooring is used, and have a highly accurate cut-to-fit.

The reason I was adamant about getting some floor covering under the bed before we put the trailer back together is because of that sandwich effect. Imagine allowing part of the trailer to rest on a sandwich of Marmoleum and part of it resting on the plywood decking. There’s the probability that the old rivet holes for the inside skins would not line up to the tune of 1/8-inch. So if you are going to sandwich, sandwich it all. Many folks with better financial means would choose to go Marmoleum front to back (under the bed and all), but I wanted something more durable that Marmoleum for that back storage – who knows what’s going under there? These rubber coin tiles cost a fraction of Marmoleum, and are within thickness tolerances of Marmoleum – making for an even sandwich.

The last observation is one that’s easily overlooked. ONCE YOU have your new flooring on your new decking, and your trailer on your frame, it needs to be immediately WEATHER PROOF. Before it goes back together, we have three fan holes (take that down to two?) and a gaping hole where there used to be an air conditioner. All of these need filling, and preferably with the actual appliances – obviously not before the framing comes out from inside, but as soon as that framing comes out and those holes are accessible —- SAME DAY. The search now begins for fans and a new air conditioner. After the A/C there’s really only one major high cost appliance left – the refrigerator.

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