Trailer rebuilding: grouting

Today was another unseasonably warm day, even more so than yesterday. A great day to grout your tiles. Unfortunately, there are always a number of things you need to do before you can actually start that.

The first thing was a trip to the store for some supplies. From there we headed up to the trailer, but of course, we arrived much later than normally.

The next thing was to put the border down between the edge of the tiles and the laminate floor so I would have something to grout up against. After starting it and thinking about what I was doing, I had a change of heart and decided on a different approach.

You see, I had a rather wide piece of border – around 2″ (5cm) – that I was going to attach to the laminate floor and have it overlap the gap up to the tiles. Then I started thinking about that gap and why it is there. The instructions for installing laminate flooring have you put in a 1/4″ (6mm) gap between it and the walls, so I did the same thing when it got up to the cement board where the tiles were going. You do this to prevent buckling when the floor expands and contracts due to differences in temperature.

Our trailer experiences the full gamut of temperature deltas, much more so than your average house. That floor will probably expand and contract quite a bit. If I were to attach the border to the laminate and then grout up against it, it’s likely to either pull away from the grout, or crack it when the floor expands when it gets warmer. At least this was my reasoning.

So option two was to glue a small boarder to the cement border itself for the grout barrier and then put a separate border over the gap. Luckily, I had materials for doing that.

Here are the tiles after I removed all of the spacers and cleaned them up.


I don’t actually have a picture of me putting in the border, unfortunately. But after all that starting, and then changing our minds and such, it was getting on towards lunch. On top of that, the place where we got our panels from called us and said our new ones had arrived. So we headed out, had something to eat and picked up our stuff.

By the time we got back, it was late afternoon (15:30ish) which, at this time of year, means it is going to be getting dark in about an hour. I quickly jumped into the grouting and went full bore on that. Here you can see me working with on the sponging.


It took me about an hour to do it all, which is good because it was getting dark in the trailer. I managed to finish it with just enough light left. This end picture was taking with the flash on.


Hopefully that will have a chance to cure overnight and we can clean it up tomorrow. Then we can bring in the wood stove and reconnect it to the chimney. After that, we’ll have some heat, finally 🙂

Kat was not idle during all of this either. She put down the insulation on top of the kitchen slide-out in the morning. I have a picture to prove it too.


We’re planning to just put plywood on top of that section as there isn’t any point in using the laminate flooring because it won’t be seen when we put the cabinets and counters back in. My only dilemma is how to secure the plywood. We could screw it down through the insulation to the OSB below, but that OSB is the outside wall. If we go through it, the screws will be exposed to the outside. Of course, I supposed we could always insulated it from the outside on the bottom to compensate for that. Also, it being OSB, you really want to have a decent penetration depth for the screws otherwise they just won’t hold.

The other option I’m considering is to just glue the plywood to the insulation, but that doesn’t give much of a solid connection to the OSB. The insulation is just taped down with two-faced carpet tape.

We’re certainly open to suggestions if you have any.


4 thoughts on “Trailer rebuilding: grouting”

  1. Not sure if you have access below but if you do your original idea of screwing down through the OSB and allow it to break through into a piece of wood strapping (a length of 2×4 perhaps)… it would serve two purposes by hiding the exposed screw and acting as a solid brace (be sure to use a long enough screw to eat into the wood strapping). It would be like the insulation is being sandwiched between these wood bracings and the plywood above.

  2. I don’t see a ton of alternatives. You could build up the 2″ insulation like a floor I guess – 2x strapping @ 16″ with the insulation between. You would still have a cold bridge – which could be solved by adhering a layer of insulation to the underside of the slide out?

  3. Yeah, I thought about putting insulation on the bottom of the slide-out, but it’s extra complicated as there are these huge metal struts under there that hold up the entire thing and are part of the mechanism that allow the slide-outs to slide. It’s doable, but it’s a PITA if you’re using something like rigid foam. More spray foam would do the trick, but I’m not sure I’m willing to go to the trouble for that right now.

    Gerry’s suggestion may be the better alternative. I could always use some canned spray foam around the blocks that end up underneath.

    Then again, are we over thinking this as I do plan to include the slide-outs as part of the skirting, so their under parts will be closed off to the wind and weather.

    Thanks for the suggestions.

  4. I’m not sure what the ‘R’ value of wood is or how well it may protect against a cold bridge. But if it is applied as strapping in this scenario, it would give you pretty good flexibility to expand on (such as adhering more foam board on it, etc…). In addition to providing a solid structure for the floor above.

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