Wednesday, March 29, 2023


My trailer has a soft floor. How much will it cost to fix?

Dear Dave, 
The floor in front of the RV’s bedroom is soft. Also, on the opposite side of the RV, the floor is soft in front of the bathroom door. We haven’t pulled up the floor yet to see the extent of the damage, but let’s say it’s medium damage. What would it cost to fix this? —Barry, 2016 Rockwood ?

Dear Barry,
When it comes to a soft floor, I have rarely found one to be “medium” in damage. By the time you notice the soft spot in the floor, water has typically entered somewhere from the roof or sidewall and migrated to the floor and caused damage along the way. Here is a soft floor we encountered in a 2019 Salem renovation project.

The leak started at the roof to sidewall joint and traveled down the sidewall and front cap. The owner removed the original molding and applied a liberal amount of caulk and new molding trying to stop it. By the time the floor showed signs of weakness and being soft, here is what happened to the inside of the wall.

There was mold and mildew all over the insulation and rotted framework. I’m not sure if your Rockwood has aluminum framework or wood, but if you have a soft floor you really need to see where it came from and what’s behind the interior paneling.

Cost to fix

The cost to fix depends on how much of the frame and floor joists are rotten, which will indicate the amount of time required to fix it. Materials will be minor, but if you need to pull off paneling and flooring and then replace framework, it will take quite a long time.

In this case, the entire front part of the floor needed to be pulled off and new floor joists installed around the perimeter and over half of the interior joists.

We also had to replace several wall studs and cross members. The labor on this was about 30 hours, which included removing the flooring, cutting out the rotten wood, replacing the joists and wall frame, reinforcing the new floor frames from underneath with a wood strip that sandwiched the joists, replacing the plywood, and then the new flooring material. At $150 per hour, that is a very expensive repair. And that doesn’t factor in the time we spent outside removing the trim, all the excess caulking, reinstalling a new trim piece with butyl tape and sealant, and painting.

The first step is the biggest

The first step is to pull back the flooring and inspect what type of damage and rot there is. Then start pulling off plywood and follow the signs of wetness and damage, and I’m sure it will lead you to the edge and up the wall. It could be the roof to sidewall joint, a window, or front cap.

We have had a few other readers that have tackled this type of project, so let’s see how much labor time they had. Readers?

Good luck, and keep us informed.

 You might also enjoy this from Dave 

RV’s entry floor soft from leak. Who can fix it?

Dear Dave,
We had a leak that has resulted in a soft floor around the entry to our camper. The dealer replaced the door gasket and added some sheet metal over the soft part but the soft area has grown. To repair a floor, does the camper need to go back to the manufacturer typically? Or can a fairly handy guy manage it? Or can such a repair be handled by some RV techs?  —Ed, 2018 Riverside Retro 189R

Read Dave’s answer.

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the author of the “RV Handbook.”

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1 month ago

I too have a soft spot at the bedroom entry in our 1994 Winnebago Class A. I contacted Winnebago for advice and they sent me the pictures of the layers involved and info on how to fix it. I haven’t had the time to go that part yet. However, my concern is, the propane tank is mounted under this area; not sure how that is mounted or to what.

Jim Johnson
1 month ago

For what it is worth… We have a kitchen slide out room that includes dual RV friges, stove & oven counter space, and next to it a sofa-bed. Water got in between the floor and an insulating layer below a frig. The water could not evaporate and rotted part of the floor. You don’t replace just part of a slide out floor. Fortunately our insurance covered the bill. Replacing the floor was the smallest part of the bill – and a far better floor was installed. The biggest part of the bill was disassembly & reassembly of everything that obstructed access to the floor. And it was all done on site in an RV park.

The insurance company of course wanted a bunch of extra documentation and that also increased the final estimate. The whole tab was quite close to $7,000. The repair workmanship was excellent by the way.

Donald Rice
1 month ago

We purchased a twenty year old 22 foot trailer in 2021 knowing the floor was rotted. The roof was solid, all the appliances worked, and were going to redo the floor plan anyway. But never again, there were only four metal bars holding that entire floor together! We had to build/laminate every floor panel from scratch outside and install it inside. Upgraded panelas had a waterproof plastic substrate, foam-board insulation, and waterproof plywood. Out went the woven paper, foam, and 1/8 inch laminate! Original owners had a water heater break and continued leaking caused the problem. Except for a bit of of leaks around the storage hatches the walls were good.

1 month ago

We have a soft spot in our trailer floor but no leak. Soft spots aren’t always from water. Our small area is completely dry. The wood flooring has pulled up from the brace below so when you step in that area it gives a little. In a house it would be a squeaky floor. I took pictures to document there are no water stains or marks. Good luck to the person asking about their floor.

1 month ago
Reply to  McTroy

Hey McTroy, soft spots like you said are common. One especially is when the floor was installed the span where the floor joist are & the flooring is attached causes the plywood to delaminate & it’s going to feel like a soft spot.
Barry did mention a soft spot in front of the bathroom door also. In any event, it’s going to be expensive to fix, unless you’re a handyman & do the work yourself!

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