Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We have discovered a dirty little secret the RV industry has. I am sure we are not the only ones who feel entrapped by manufacturers and dealers when it comes time to replace carpeting in an RV with slides.
We just discovered that the cost of putting new wood plank flooring down was going to cost us over seven thousand dollars because the slides have to be removed. The materials cost one-tenth of that, so labor is where they make all the money.
Now we know how people felt when Jesse James boarded a train and left with all their valuables.
--Watching our money slide away in Sarasota
I hope you still have your hand securely fastened to your wallet. If you want work done on your rig you don't go with the first pitch you hear and consider it the gospel according to the manufacturer.
There is usually an easy work-around to your dilemma but you have to work at figuring it out. I recommend using RV forums so often, I am probably beginning to sound like a broken record. But again in this case, that is where your answer lies.
There are all kinds of slide mechanisms. You have to figure out how yours function. You may have more than one type. Common slides are supported by rollers or friction shoes. Going from carpet to vinyl can sometimes cause scratching so you need to understand your slide mechanism and often do a work-around.
I couldn't agree more that the industry is steeped in a tradition of highway robbery when it comes to inevitable renovations. Two of the biggest rip-offs include interior flooring and exterior finish.
I have done a couple flooring jobs in my RVs over the years. If you are handy it is really no more complicated than doing work on your home.
My suggestion would be to leave the flooring under your slide in place. Cut the carpet in front of the slide and use staples or a transition border to secure the carpet under the slide.
When you bring the slide in the first time you can put a thin protective surface down and see if the slide runs on it. If it does, you can buy "slide slickers" that are made to protect your new flooring from the slide mechanism.
An easier solution is to use an area rug in front of the slide on your new flooring. That will protect the new flooring and let your slide work the same way it was designed.
One of the best resources online for information is a guy named Ernie Ekberg. He specializes in RV floor renovations. Not only will he do your job much more reasonable, he is very generous with his knowledge and seems to be willing to help those who want to tackle the job themselves.
You will also find a plethora of opinions online as to which type of flooring to use. That is a personal choice but you should consider what is involved with each type, pros and cons, care, etc.
Do your homework. A fool and his money are soon parted.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink