Underside of bunk ends….is that industry standard?

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by cherk, Jul 10, 2015.

  1. cherk

    cherk New Member

    Jun 13, 2015
    Hello, just curious….we're looking at purchasing a new Viking 2107. The underside of the bunk ends are unfinished plywood (not painted or sealed). Is that normal? I was also looking at some Jayco models, but didn't remember to look on the underside of the beds. I know they'll be pushed in when the tent trailer is folded-down and stored, but shouldn't they also be protected from the elements when they're pulled out and used at the campsite?
  2. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    Yes, that seems to be the norm, The theory is that it allows the wood to dry out if it does get set. Otherwise, it would have to be sealed well on all 6 sides/edges, so no moisture finds its way in. Same theory holds for the floor, BTW.
  3. dion

    dion Member

    Apr 26, 2012
    The underside of my bunkends are made of aluminum. Nothing to rust, nothing to rot. There's not a splinter of wood anywhere in the trailer, until I stock the galley with toothpicks.

    But yeah, I think many manufacturers use pressboard and don't bother to finish it. If you find actual plywood, it sounds like the trailer is better than many.
  4. cherk

    cherk New Member

    Jun 13, 2015
    Okay, the drying out part makes sense to me now. Thanks kitphantom.

    dion, you are right about it not being plywood….it's actually an "insulated/laminated" bed platform according to brochure...
  5. cherk

    cherk New Member

    Jun 13, 2015
    Hmmm,,,,it looks like the underside of the bunks are unfinished / unsealed, but the floor (when looking from underneath outside) is painted? I get the part about drying out, but shouldn't it all be painted?
  6. 94-D2

    94-D2 Happy Campin'

    May 21, 2010
    Sutter Creek CA
    Your body permeates moisture right through the wood product. There are some schools of thought that sealing that moisture from the underside can create problems in keeping your body warm and expelling the moisture we naturally pass through the wood products. Wiki g the moisture away from the body makes scenes to me. Sealing the underside of the pup seems to logically be counter productive to that premises. I use thermarest type sleeping pads under my bunk end mattress for insulation and added padding. It seems to work well cause I have never been cold while sleeping, even in 28 degree nights. Some folks put the foiled insulated panels (such as refectix) under the bunk ends. But wicking the moisture away under the wood product seems to be of issue. I can tell you from experiance that the self inflating pads do just fine in any condition since then transmit the moisture away while sleeping and the oem wood product in tact under the bunk.
  7. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

    May 20, 2008
    Seattle, Washington
    Re: Underside of bunk ends�.is that industry standard?

    The underside of the floor and the bunk ends are not supposed to be sealed. Leaving them they way they are allows moisture to get out. Otherwise rot would be promoted. Fleetwood/Coleman had a statement about this in their brochures for several years. (They may still but I haven't seen a recent Coleman brochure.) They used a Weyerhaeuser (sp?) product called Structurwood. They and Weyerhaeuser both said it should not be be sealed. Other companies use similar products. The dealer told me the same thing when I bought my original PUP, a 2007 Fleetwood Yuma.

    BTW, don't put Reflectix under a mattress. According to the FAQ section of the Reflectix website Reflectix needs at least one side exposed to air to function properly as a thermal reflector. This requirement is not met when the Reflectix is sandwiched between the bunk end floor and the mattress. All it can provide in that situation is a measly R=1.5. Also, Reflectix will trap the moisture emitted from the bodies of people sleeping in the bunk and make the bottom of the mattress damp. Stryofoam is a better under-the-mattress application.
  8. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

    Mar 3, 2006
    1-1/4” Laminated
    Insulated Bunkend
    (N/A 1706 LS)
    • Double the industry standard
    • Solid wood, steel reinforced frame
    filled with 1” thick high density
    foam and laminated with wood
    panel on top and bottom
    • Yields a more stable bedend vs.
    chipboard or spliced plywood
    used by other brands
    • Insulation improves comfort
    and warmth
  9. boondoggle

    boondoggle New Member

    Dec 28, 2014
    I don't think I'd want to sleep on a slab of aluminum sheeting. That would be cold at night around here. Aluminum is a great conductor of heat and would suck the heat right out of the bed. brrr...

    Neat idea not to have wood but aluminum seems like a bad choice for a bed.
    Alan likes this.
  10. niagarafam

    niagarafam Active Member

    Jan 25, 2014
    Ours are coated a pressed composite wood product with a black coating on them. Supposedly it is a sealer designed to allow the wood to breath while also protecting it(?). Sounds to good to be true. I think it's called Performax 500. The top is not coated wight he black stuff. They look like wood product pressed in a glue/resin. The floors are the same stuff. Only time will tell if they are durable.
  11. vinmaker

    vinmaker Member

    Aug 22, 2014
    My new rockwood has untreated wood on the bunk ends also. As was stated, I believe it is for moisture release. You need to let the wood dry out.

    Surprisingly the underside of the pop up is also bare wood. The wood is basically particle board or chip board. Maybe the glue is treated.

    I believe there are many people on this forum with older pop us that have had no problems with a bare wood bunk or floor.

  12. Canoe2fish

    Canoe2fish Member

    Apr 14, 2014
    Mine is too. 22 years old, unpainted and not rotten. OSB is treated with a water repellent if I recall and can withstand some moisture (but not immersion).
  13. hiker74

    hiker74 Member

    Aug 3, 2012
    Amen brother!
  14. hiker74

    hiker74 Member

    Aug 3, 2012
    We have the factory mattresses on the aluminum ends and they are fine, but we added a memory foam mattress topper and its perfect. Plywood/OSB would only be marginally better.
  15. edh

    edh Active Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    OSB that does not get wet will last. OSB that gets wet will mildew, swell and rot. Coating the OSB would reduce the likelihood that the OSB would absorb water and deteriorate. If you look at the Forum posts there are many with rotted floors after leaks allowed water to enter.

    I have trouble buying the explanation that OSB is left unpainted to permit vapor to move through it; if water vapor needs to dissipate it should happen via venting and air circulation, rather than expecting it to move through plywood or OSB. I might buy the explanation that paint or other sealing would deteriorate over time, perhaps allowing water in but delaying its exit, and thus damaging the OSB. Otherwise I see this explanation as simply a way of deflecting questions about why the OSB isn't painted or sealed, as would be better practice.

    It all hinges on the OSB's exposure to moisture: the "hard" side (the one labelled "this side down" and that generally faces the exterior of your camper) can better resist moisture penetration than the "soft" side, so it gets splashed and then dries. The interior side, if it becomes wet, absorbs the moisture, swells, mildews, and if it stays wet long enough, rots. A sealer that would prevent absorption of any such interior water would seem like a good idea. Seems like it would be better to have it sit on the surface and evaporate than migrate through the wood.
  16. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

    Unless you're parking over a sprinkler head and extending the bunks, how is the underside of the wood going to get wet in practical use? There's no need to protect it, that's the job of the canvas.
  17. brainpause

    brainpause New Member

    Sep 29, 2018
    Nashville, TN
    I know this is a three-year-old thread. But about 12 years ago I overhauled a mid-80s Starcraft. I thought I was replacing one small section of flooring but once I got into it, I had to gut the whole pop up. Turns out the manufacturer tried to seal the bottom using aluminum sheet metal. It was obvious to me that water got in but couldn't get out. It turned into a nightmare trying to get that whole thing fixed. As I recall, I researched it and Starcraft stopped using sheet metal the very next year.

    I came across this thread because I'm trying to see if there are any advantages of Somerset's use of Performax500 for the flooring versus a Weyerhaeuser type product. I'm a little concerned about the flooring being shielded and sealed for the above stated reasons.

    Any thoughts on this? Especially those that might be Somerset owners?

  18. jeeper88

    jeeper88 Let's go Camping and Jeepin

    Apr 24, 2011
    08 fleetwood westlake and bare presswood on mine too. No problems..
  19. xvz12

    xvz12 Well-Known Member

    Apr 6, 2017
    New Plymouth, ID
    '84 Coleman, unpainted actual plywood, still looking good.
  20. rich2

    rich2 Active Member

    May 3, 2007
    Northampton, PA
    Just because I have to be differant, I have a '65 Cox, both bed ends are painted from the factory, 52 years old and still going strong

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