Demolition of the Airstream Part III

The demolition phase is finally over. And this is very much how I feel about it....

The Airstream was never supposed to be torn down this far. In my perfect, naive world, I would have removed the furniture, appliances, walls and tiles to reveal an immaculate plywood sub-floor under my feet. But from the moment Lindsay and I started dismantling the back bedroom, it was clear the subfloor was nowhere near perfect.

First it looked like a bit of floor rot in the back. No big deal. A quick patch job. Annoying, but this could be knocked out in an afternoon. Pete, Bobby and I started pulling up the back half of the floor. 

6 hours of intense labor yielded about 5 square feet of nasty, dusty, stupid floor.

Getting this out was not as simple as just making a few cuts and easily pulling the pieces out. Each slab of 3/4" plywood was attached to the frame with 2 kinds of screws (Most of which were stripped or rusted, not in ANY sort of a consistent pattern and were hidden under a layer of tile and glue causing us to dig for them using the crowbar like a hatchet), stapled together (again, no rhyme or reason to the placement), and wedged under the "C channel" (I now know what this is) around the perimeter of the trailer. It became increasingly clear why I saw several "As-is" Airstreams on the market with the interiors gutted and the subfloor in shambles. It became clear because fuck this. 

But Day 2 would be easier. Day 2 I would be able to remove the rest of the pieces I wanted to. Day 2 I had Ryan the CARPENTER and Jeremiah the BADASS.

Day 2 I learned that the rear joist was rusted away and would need to be replaced.

But, this fear of the new welding job was completely overwhelmed by the fear of the mouse tombs we were slowly uncovering in the insulation.  Every section of subfloor we peeled up revealed shredded insulation, mouse mummies and more rusted joists. This is where I made the tough decision to take up the entire floor, remove all of the insulation and build back up from the true shell of the trailer. 

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The next couple of weeks were intense. Every spare few hours I had were spent pulling out floor tiny piece by tiny piece. Every piece was a puzzle. Hidden screws, random glue and the simple element of the weight of the shell on the frame made the process a nightmare. My body ached. Some days I wouldn't succeed at removing any floor. I searched #airstreamrenovation on Instagram and contacted strangers who appeared to be replacing subfloors for pointers. I cried and swore and bled and bled.

Then, one final day, with the fresh eyes and smart brains of Keeley, car jacks provided by Mark and one idiot (me) losing balance and falling through the belly pan, we got the last damn piece of floor out.

Everything suddenly felt possible again. That last bit of wood marked the peak (or the valley depending on perspective) of this project. The Mobile Studio is officially gutted.

As quickly as the rusted frame issue had come up, it was solved by one of the many talented, helpful people in this sweet city.  In the couple of weeks following the floor removal, Max was able to weld a few new joists and patches to replace the areas rusted away on the frame. Killer.

And here were are. 100% gutted, 50% of the way through the project and 2 months until the Launch of the trailer. Like any project I've ever participated in, I am behind schedule but extremely giddy and hopeful. 

This weekend the new subfloor goes in. I'm still accepting volunteers.