Wednesday, January 20, 2016

RV flooring

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We want to update our motorhome with new flooring. Our carpet is ten years old and looking nasty. We have agreed on plank flooring, but we can't agree on who the installer will be. I want a professional and my husband wants to do it himself.

Don't get me wrong, he's a handy guy. My concern is the expense of doing it wrong and having it ripped up. It's not a house, it moves. I'm thinking there are methods and materials that differ from stick house flooring to RV. My husband say's, "A floor is a floor."

What are your thoughts on installation?
--Floored in Florence

Dear Floored:
I am no expert at flooring but let me take a shot. I have done two rigs in the past: the first one with glued down tile and the second with a floating floor. Even though I wouldn't agree with, "A floor is a floor," I would say they are similar.

If your husband is handy, he should have no problem pulling off this job. There are many things to consider. With a floating floor you will need to make sure you leave a quarter inch gap on the edges, seal the edges so that moisture does not get underneath and then trim it in quarter round. I didn't care for how that job turned out as the quarter round did not give a factory look when finished.

Since I am in Quartzsite this week I talked to Tim Klenk of Master Tech RV. His company performs the entire gamut of RV renovations. He recommends a product called Karndean. It looks like wood plank but it glues down like tile, allowing a nice tight edge.

Once you decide on a material and a method, I would suggest you do a lot of studying. Listen to the many opinions you can find on RV forums and decide how comfortable you are doing your own work.

You might want to split it up. Perhaps removing old flooring and furnishings, having a professional do the install, then replacing furnishings yourself. That can save you on labor.

You can't keep a good man down. If you stop letting him do stuff he will have too much time on his hands and start getting into trouble.

My wife used to go for handsome, but now she goes for handy.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink


Unknown said...

I am REALLY handy, but we had ours done by a professional - - and it LOOKS professional. Every corner and nook and cranny is perfectly covered and trimmed. I doubt I could have done as good a job.

Anonymous said...

Please keep in mind that simply installing many flooring types, particularly the plank flooring, automatically voids manufacturer warranties.

Unknown said...

Follow instructions and its no problem. I did a room in my house, rv is not that much different. I'd leave an extra 1/8 inch clearance all around for movement coz rv will be in humid areas and dry.
Have faith in your man

Anonymous said...

Depends on the rig.
No slide outs, probably not a problem.
In order to do the floors in our rig, the slide outs had to be pulled part way out of the rig.
Some of the newer rigs have slide outs that go flush to the floor when out, and the floor can be changed without pull slides.

Anonymous said...

Meg and I replaced ugly brown carpet with peel & stick linoleum planks with convincing pictures of wood built in. We were floored by the difference and the low cost. Here is literally everything you need to know to do it yourself:

1. Remove anything that is screwed to the floor (as our removable table base is).
2. Use a sharp box cutter - carefully - to cut around the edge of the carpet.
3. Clean up the edges. Pain in the butt, but get all the leftover strings out from under the cabinetry etc.
4. START IN THE CENTER. Lay the first "plank" on the centerline. This is pretty much the only thing that could leave you saying "oh, how could I have been so dumb!" if you were to start by laying boards along one edge - and then ending up with a 1/4" gap on the opposite side.
5. When you finish the first row, start the adjoining two rows from the opposite end. And then add one on either side of those from the same end you started on. That will give you the clean, familiar pattern of floorboards.
6. After you have the first few rows down, check to make sure that you aren't butting the same "photos of wood" - most linoleum manufacturers give you 20 or so "photos" of wood and it looks weird if you butt the same photos next to each other. I hope this makes sense...
7. Continue until you get to the edges, where you will have to cut the last pieces to the proper width and shape to fit.

That is literally all we needed to do to transform really gross carpet to a linoleum floor that looks fantastic and is super easy to sweep.

Personally, I would look for the lightest flooring material you can find. Not only is peel & stick easy and good looking, but bear in mind every pound of weight you drive with bleeds mileage...