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How to repair water damage in front of the door
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June 29, 2018
8:14 am
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Calabrio
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I have a Retro 155 with the drop floor and just discovered a soft spot in front of the front door.  The damage is only about 1′ square.

While I’ve done plenty of home improvement and carpentry, I don’t understand how the trailer was assembled, so I’m not sure how to fix the floor.

If I cut the bad area out and replace it with 5/8 OSB, what is the current floor screwed or bonded too?  Do I need to extend the repair to reach the metal frames beneath?  Is it secured with self-tapping sheet metal screws? 

And has something come to market that will fix a small area like this with an epoxy or some other magic in a can?

 

Thanks-

August 27, 2019
6:56 pm
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Perrypridgen
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You can peal back the vinyl and cut out the damaged area and replace it with marine grade plywood

September 8, 2019
12:17 pm
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TanishaLambertson
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Usually, home tricks don’t work in these situations, it’s better to contact an expert. 

September 8, 2019
4:53 pm
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Perrypridgen
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If you have zero skills, it is best to leave it to the pros. I replaced almost all of the flooring in mine. It was a job but then again, I can do things.

October 5, 2019
5:21 pm
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Janineretro195
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We have a 2018 Retro 195 and love it, but just discovered some of the black/white flooring below one of the back windows near the bed is going all black like mold is developing just beneath the surface.  Has anyone else had this problem?  The roof is not leaking nor does there seem to be a leak anywhere along that side. We are wondering if there could be a leak around the window which is just above the darkening. Could water be leaking in between the outside and inside paneling to the sub-floor? Of course the warranty is expired. Thanks for any suggestions or ideas.  Janine

October 21, 2019
11:09 pm
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Geimer189
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I joined just to reply to this thread but hope to add more in time if I can be helpful. 
We have a 2016 189r and have similar issues to post #1 and #5. 
Replying to post #1. It sounds like I had the exact issue. A really soft spot inside the door. As we have an extended service plan we took to dealer who informed us the soft floor was not covered. They gave an estimate of 45 hours labor at over $100 per.   I am a bit handy so I tackled it myself.   I trimmed the vinyl flooring around the walls and found the floor to be rotten.   I had to remove some cabinets and found ingress of water from the wheel wells. I cut out the bad spot with great care to avoid piercing the membrane underneath.   Original floor was screwed to frame members set 20” center to center.  I cut out enough to obtain full support of the frame members and put in a piece of exterior grade plywood the same thickness as original floor.  Then recovered with the vinyl flooring after allowing a lot of drying time.  Then caulked around the edges of the flooring and used thin threshold material at the seam into bathroom and down the aisleway.  It looks professional and the floor is solid again.   THEN I took care of the original issue.   The wheel wells are NOT caulked on the outside.  I mean that if you remove tires, crawl under and look you will see where the siding comes down and overlaps the wheel wells the manufacturer never sealed it.   You could see fiberglass insulation inside.   I caulked and sprayed a LOT of undercoating in all the cracks there.   I believe this resolved this 1st issue.
This leads me to a similar issue as post #5.  I should have inspected the entire underside of this trailer.  Last week we drove through a couple hundred miles or rainy weather.  When stopping for the night we had a wet floor closer to the front of the trailer and even under the bed.  In the morning I looked under the trailer and behind the storage compartments.   Storage compartments showed moisture and AGAIN the entire length of the lower edge of the siding where it meets the floor underneath is NOT SEALED.  Upon arriving home I cut more vinyl flooring and pulled it up to allow the floor to dry. There is some mold forming.  But it had not rotted yet.   My plan is to let it dry completely, lay the vinyl siding back down and seal the living daylights out of the underside of this trailer like the manufacturer SHOULD HAVE DONE.  We love this trailer but water ingress will reduce the value to zero in a short time.  Every place a screw pokes through and every place a water pipe goes through or joint between siding and floor needs to be hermetically sealed.  It would have been better if Riverside made these things with a floor of higher grade plywood as OSB has a very short life when wet.  Once water gets in it has no place to go.   But not sealing it….. Riverside would not appreciate my comments about this.  

I do maintain my roof very well.  It seems to be very sturdy and has had not had any leaks.   Check the underside of your trailer….that is my advice.   

October 22, 2019
9:19 am
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Janineretro195
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Geimer189,

I think you are spot on with the problems of leakage in the retros.  I contacted White Water and they have asked me to take pictures of the mold developing, which I plan to do this week, and send it to them and the dealer from which we purchased the unit.  Not sure what they will do, but at least they didn’t fluff me off.  Should anything come of this, I will write about it in the forum.  I’m afraid at our age, we are not able to redo the flooring as you have done.  Thank you for your input. With your permission, I plan to use some of your wording when I contact White Water to explain better the leakage problem.  Thank you.  Janine

October 22, 2019
2:40 pm
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Geimer189
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Of course you can use what I have written. And I am glad that White Water did not ignore your contact.  Hopefully your feedback will result in design or process improvements or better quality control.  And of course I hope it results in rectification of your issues. I will send some pictures of our own too as soon as I reduce the size acceptable for use in this forum.

I wonder if PerryPridgen might comment if the issue experienced was on a White-Water make of trailer and how long it was owned before having to replace nearly all of the floor?

I was glad to have found the problems at the time I did before more damage occurs.    If I can dry things out, kill the mold and seal against all moisture we might keep the trailer. 

Good luck…

October 22, 2019
3:15 pm
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Geimer189
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Moisture1.JPGImage Enlarger
Moisture2.JPGImage Enlarger
Moisture3.JPGImage Enlarger
Moisture4.JPGImage Enlarger
“Moisture1” picture is inside the trailer with vinyl flooring pealed up a bit showing where moisture has intruded.  It looks a littl better at the time I took this picture as it had been drying for 24 hours by then.  It was quite wet when I first pealed back the flooring.

“Moisture2” shows under the trailer where the edge of the siding is folded under the flooring.  No caulking or sealing material there and on a rainy day on the road water seeps in.  The screw is rusty but which may not seem to be a problem but it is displaying how more moisture has entered there causing the flooring material to swell. Sealing the screw heads would have prevented this.

 

“Moisture3” shows the view into the storage compartment where the floor was wet and mold began growing. This is right above the area where “Moisture2” was taken.

“Moisture4” is the same view as “Moisture3” but with flooring pealed up and wet material under. It is drying out which I will let continue for about a week and then seal it all back up.  THEN I will use undercoating all over the bottom of this trailer.

In case anyone has doubts the other side of this trailer has identical issues… not sealed or caulked and water intrusion.  

Once water enters it spreads quickly by capillary action and with vinyl flooring just stays there.  Once found these issues need to be dealt with quickly.  

Again good luck

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October 28, 2019
10:55 am
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Janineretro195
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Dear Retro Owners: I’ve been following some of the other replies to my problem with our 2018 floor becoming moldy.  Geimer189 was one of those and I want to thank you especially because I used a lot of what you wrote in my email to White Water about our water problem.  You mentioned you thought it was mostly caused by water soaking the under carriage of the camper whether from the wheels spinning water off as we drive through rain or puddles of water, or just from splashing up into the under carriage during heavy rainstorms.  Well, I wanted you to know that White Water is willing to replace our flooring. The catch, of course there has to be one, is that we must drive it up there, wait around for a week, and then drive it home. But, since the summer is the best time to leave Florida because it’s usually so hot, we’ve scheduled the repair for June 2020 and will just play tourist in and around LaGrange, Indiana while it is being replaced. Maybe they took pity on us because we are in our 70’s and 80’s but whatever the reason, we are grateful that they will make the repairs and not charge us.  I will stay on this forum a little while longer and give everyone reading these the results of our efforts once the repairs are completed.  Good luck with everyone else. Janine195

November 2, 2019
6:57 am
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LloydJohnson
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If you are dealing with water damage problem in your house or at any property owned by you, then you will be always advised to have the service from the professional fire or water restoration company or agent. If you hire any restoration company on your own then there will be much risk to failing at the project or spending high price at service cost. Instead of Doing it on your own, you should have already done with the agreement of the insurance policy for the water, fire damage. When the water damage or flood damage occurs you can directly contact to the Insurance company or you can also claim on the company. If the insurance company is delaying the process then, in this case, you can contact to the public adjusters like Alliance public adjusters for the further legal process.

June 19, 2020
8:30 am
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Jazzdancer
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Geimer 189:  Thank you for your posts re: spongy floor.  We purchased new in 2015, Whitewater 177.  We are one of the lucky people we have all three issues with our retro; water leak at front door, water leak beside the bed and waterleak under dining table resulting in the need to replace the floor.  This all happened over the past winter.  RiversideRV will not cover the cost or part of the cost to repair even though we have used the trailer a maximum of six months intermittently  in five years.  This is our first trailer after tenting for 30 years and deciding we wanted to get off the ground for sleeping.  

Our RV dealer jerry-rigged a solution so we can at least walk on the floor without falling through.  My job today is to peel back the vinyl flooring so see what kind of damage has been done.  $100 an hour labour plus supplies is more than we can afford so will have to do the job ourselves and that is were your suggestions come in.

June 19, 2020
11:49 pm
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Geimer189
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Hi,  I hope the information I had posted was helpful.  Honestly I think there is even more to this…..

That trip we took back in October 2019 was the last time we used the trailer until two weeks ago (long story having been a caregiver for my Mom)  Mom passed in May and my wife and I took a greatly needed vacation in early June.   

I prepared by getting 4 tubes of Apoc #501 roof and flashing sealant and using it in all places under the trailer where the siding meets the floor (and in the wheel wells).   This stuff is meant for roof flashing but I thought it would be good as it has a 50 year warranty. You use a caulking gun to apply it in the seams and open places where needed. It flows in very well to fill those areas.   I used isopropyl alcohol to clean the surfaces before applying.  Then I used “Leak Stopper Rubber Flex Sealant” (a spray can type stuff) to spray everywhere under the trailer where anything protruded (drain lines, water pipes, screws that hold the flooring to the frame etc.)   Just everywhere I saw any potential leak I applied the spray.  I applied it to double cover the wheel wells to try to make sure of a hermetic seal.  Note that these trailers have a tarpaulin type material covering the floor underneath.  I am unsure of the quality of the material… hopefully great; but it is similar to the plastic tarpaulin material you see if you buy a tarp from a retail store.   I’ve been using these tarps for years and they do not stand up to years of exposure to weather and sunlight.   But when OUT of the sunlight they seem to last a very long time.   It is a kind of woven material type fabric embedded in some kind of plastic. It is pretty tough stuff.  This material covers the whole of the flooring material under the trailer.  The OSB (Oriented Strand Board) flooring material, about 5/8 inch thick, does not take moisture well.  The covering helps keep moisture out but with the openings around the base of the siding the water creeps in….   A LOT of water can creep in.   I do not know the quality of the OSB used in these trailers.  I have purchased roofing, or sheathing quality OSB for roofing applications and it will take a fair amount of moisture. I suspect this may be a lessor grade of material because shortly after it gets moist it seems to absorb the water, swell, become soft, and shortly thereafter begins to rot.   I am just relating what I have seen in our trailer.   I had used the rubber flex spray in all places where the OSB flooring material is screwed to the metal frame.  ANYWAY I digress.   We took a 2 week trip to northern Minnesota and then over to the U.P. just two weeks ago.  It was great but we had to drive through rain again. And I guess I did not seal things as hermetically as I had hopedWe had some water on the floor in the trailer again. In some corners the flooring had gotten soft.   Since I had made some selected cuts in the vinyl flooring to peel it back to see the OSB flooring material underneath and to let it dry we looked again and sure enough the material was wet in a few places and in a couple of places getting soft.  

First though now was: ALRIGHT WE ARE TRADING THIS DARN TRAILER IN.  But we did more research about types of trailers that hopefully might not leak and learned that THEY ALL LEAK!!!  That is one of the sad truths about travel trailers and RVs.  We read in another forum which seems to make sense…. driving in the rain creates hurricane forces on the trailer.  It just drives water into any place it can enter.   Even the Cadillac of trailers, (Airstream) develop floor problems and seam leak troubles; especially if not maintained.

Our second though now is WE ARE KEEPING IT. We really love the design of this trailer.  But our maintenance is going to be more diligent.  Although I have cleaned, caulked and UV treated the roof every year, from now on it will be twice per year.  Every seam and opening I will inspect, and clean and re-caulk where needed with high grade sealant twice a year.  We are building a pole barn to shelter thing when not used and finally I am going to just GUT the thing and replace the floor with sheathing grade or marine grade plywood.  I will be able to seal things much better from the inside when replacing the floor.  Sure the flooring may add a bit of weight but that couple of hundred pounds will remain WAY under the gross weight rating of the trailer and way under the towing rating of our truck.  

This will be a lot of work.. .no doubt… but I think it will improve the quality and longevity of it and help retain it’s grace and usability over the long term.         

I hope this does not discourage others.   We could never afford to HAVE this kind of work done.   A person has to learn the proper skills, has to research materials and construction methods, has to account for all of the environmental and natural forces their equipment will be subject to and to do the best they can to build the best to make things last.   Like an engineer… or a FARMER.   

Anyway that is going to be our approach.  I hope it works.   I would encourage others to at least inspect every opening in the shell of their trailer, including underneath it.  Clean and seal anything that could possibly leak… AND get a moisture meter to help detect issues before they progress.  Moisture will take the value out of a trailer faster than anything else.. It can ruin it in short order so we have to do our best to make sure it does not kill our dreams.

Good luck and all the best.

June 20, 2020
12:58 pm
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Jazzdancer
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Thank you for your post.  Our first thought was also SELL THE DARN THING, but on reflection I just could not in good conscience pass our problems on to someone else.  We have decided to replace the floor.  The smell of mould is over powering.  Next problem:  if we remove all the cabinets will that void the balance of our warrenty on the mechanics?  We have an additional three years on the warrenty and so far RiversideRV has lived up to the warrenty for anything they did not actually build.

It appears with the covid pandemic and the shut down of our provincial parks this might be a good summer to gut the trailer as we won’t be doing too much travelling.

I understand completely about not being able to afford the cost of having someone else do the work.  Our local RV distributor charges $100 CAN per hour for labour.

August 22, 2020
5:41 pm
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Janineretro195
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Okay, I have the most wonderful news ever on our experience in dealing directly with Riverside Retro in Lagrange, IN. Our checkered floor became moldy and soft like many of yours. After reading the Forum, I used some of your previous concerns but contacted Riverside directly about the floor and you may recall they said if we brought it up to them, they would fix it. We were to go in June but postponed until Aug due to the virus. Well, first off, the trip is great because it got us out of hot Florida. Second, this part of the country is beautiful. Third, Riverside went above and beyond our expectations. Our camper is completely repaired and then some.  Our needs were the floor to be replaced, a new awning added and a few touch up paint jobs on one outside which I scraped trying to get somewhere I shouldn’t have. What we got was:

Comletely new floor front to back – zero cost

New awning – $347

Paint touch up – zero cost

New tire (had unrepairable flat going to IN) – zero cost

Replaced monitor panel with updated board – zero cost

Replaced outside stove vent exhaust cover with newer model – zero cost

Spare tire holder was too flexible, replaced bracket with newer used one – zero cost

What can I say. They admitted that some models like ours were not wrapped properly in the factory (which we got to tour) around the back so rain eventually seeped in causing the floor damage, but if you are willing to take your camper to them, they will fix it at no cost. Our camper looks like it’s brand new again and we love it all over again.

We are so enamoured by Riverside, quality of workmanship and willingness to solve problems that we ended up ordering ourselves a new 189 Retro 2021 with a few extras now offered. Things we paid for previously are now standard, like the automatic tongue hitch, an oven and automatic awning. But we’ve also asked for twin beds and a single sink bowl in the kitchen and rear back up camera. Oh and a bigger refrigerator that uses only electric. And while we aren’t crazy about the bathroom tub, they will use us as guinea pigs and reconfigure the bathroom to be a shower by moving things around even putting the sink in the bathroom, which if you look at the 189 model, the bath sink is outside the bathroom area. We couldn’t be happier. 

For the folks in Canada, they hear your concerns and ask that you keep trying to bring your camper to them for repairs as soon as the border opens. They are happy to help.  Heck, I’m thinking we could start a business taking people’s campers to them once or twice a year for repairs and just charge customers our traveling costs. Please contact Bob Fish, Product/Sales Specialist, bfish@riversidervs.net, or call him at 260-564-3474.

One more important thing. If you want to purchase a new Retro through a wholesaler, please contact James Turnbull at American RV Center in Evansville, IN. Phone: 812-867-5200. Location: 600 E Baseline Road, Evansville, IN 47725. Tell him Janine Joyner recommended him. We will need to pick it up when completed (mid-Oct) to save $2000 in shipping costs to our local dealer in FL, but after such a fun trip, we don’t mind.

Janineretro195

August 23, 2020
5:55 am
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Jazzdancer
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Good news!  That is great. I hope you have many years of camping fun.

August 26, 2020
7:02 pm
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nola_cajuns
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I read this thread last night and decided to peel back the layer in the used 2014 177 we bought 6 weeks ago. I’m am distraught! We just got back from 3 weeks in it with our two toddler children and I can’t believe we were sleeping with all this mold for that long. It didn’t smell that bad and the floor had some black spots but we had no idea.

What do I even do as my next step?! I’m considering contacting riverside per the comment above…has anyone had luck getting repairs done on a used model from 2014? I’d even bring it up there and and pay for materials or something if it meant less than a dealership price.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Vm7zd6WLt1JqqgrR9

August 26, 2020
8:22 pm
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Jazzdancer
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Call them.  If it is at all possible get them to do the repair.  They will replace the entire floor.  We are presently repairing the damage to our 2015 177. It has been interesting but not fun nor easy.  

If you decide to go ahead and repair it yourselves contact me and I can tell you what we did.

September 1, 2020
10:45 pm
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Geimer189
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JanineRetro: I am amazed and greatly pleased that Riverside is making this right for you. It is my hope that they, as a company, continue to exercise diligence in their quality control for all their production henceforth. It is so essential to long term manufacturing and market success within their’s or any industry.  
I believe I will contact them directly as well. I would rather install a sheathing grade plywood (as is used for roofing) for my floor but wish to know if they can offer advice on weather resistance from the underside; specifically about this issue about being “not wrapped properly in the factory … around the back“
Thank you for sharing and based on their response that you received would encourage others to make direct contact as well when they have these issues.  
Good luck to all and happy camping.  

September 2, 2020
12:23 pm
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nola_cajuns
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I just want to add onto this post to explain all of the water leaks we found as we peeled back the damage.

The main inlet of water to our subfloor was the bottom bolts holding the awning to the trailer. I haven’t seen anyone post this but the bolts are attached to a small piece of OSB int he interior behind the wall and when we ripped open the walls it was SEVERELY rotted and have a sugar ant or termite nest living in it….on both sides of the awning. You could see where caulking was only put on the outsides of the bolts that were reachable and not the insides. 

Then we had intrusion at both of the back corners from the underside not being sealed/waterproofed. 

We have alot of work ahead of us to make repair and rebuild this thing.

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