RV Flooring: Need Our Help?
It’s time to replace your RV flooring. Maybe you’ve experienced water damage, or perhaps you’re tired of that 20-year-old carpeting and you want a new look. You’re thinking it’s going to take a weekend to get your floor replaced and then you’re done.
With 30 years of experience behind us, we can tell you, it’s going to take a bit more time than you think. If you’d like to do it yourself, we’ve got a few tips to make the process go smoother.
RV Flooring: The First Step is Simple
Often, we see RVs with 20-year-old carpeting, vinyl, or linoleum. Ripping out carpet isn’t all that challenging but it’s time consuming to pick out the staples.
Carpet is often held in place with tack strips nailed to your RV’s subfloor. These tack strips span the perimeter of your coach. When carpeting is installed, it’s placed on one tack strip and then stretched to the opposite wall. Cut a slit in the carpet and then start pulling up so it separates from the strips to tear it out.
Once the carpet is pulled up, roll it up, and remove it from the coach. Rolling it up makes it easier to carry. It’s heavier than you think. You may need two people to lift it.
If you encounter stains on your carpet, hold your breath when you’re pulling. Gritty dust escapes; sometimes it’s dried pet urine.
Now, if your coach has a slide out, it’s going to be even more challenging. Many older RVs have drop outs that go the entire way out whereas newer ones have drop outs come out and then make the floor flush. You might find it useful to jack up the slides to work.
RV Flooring: Staples are a Challenge
Then pry up the tack strips and staples. If you don’t get them all, you’ll have bumps under your flooring. You’ll be stunned at the number of staples.
Some staples are easy to pull out. Grab pliers and yank upward or wedge a flat head screw driver underneath, push down on the handle and it’ll slip out.
Other staples are tough. Use diagonal pliers to make it easier. If a staple piece snaps off and gets left behind, diagonal pliers will grab the broken pieces, too. It’ll go much faster.
While you’re yanking staples, you’ll be down on your hands and knees. Sometimes you’ll be flat on your belly reaching in tight places. Depending on the flooring that was put down previously, you might even stick to the floor. That happens with peel and stick floor tiles. You’ll find staples in every corner of your coach and your hands and fingers will be sore from pulling them all up.
RV Flooring: Clean Up and Prime
After they’re all out, sweep or vacuum up the debris and double check for staples you missed the first time.
Once you’re finished ripping out the carpet, you’re going to need to sand down the surface. You want it free of any bumps and fill your gaps in with primer.
It’s important to make sure that the flooring is smooth, clean and there’s no glossy paint left behind. Otherwise the flooring might not stick. This part isn’t easy. Sometimes you need a belt sander to get this done.
You’re also going to need to make sure your subfloor is level, otherwise your new rv flooring can crack when you step on it. If you’re not sure how to shim that, luan makes a great option.
It’s also important to seal your bathroom area well. As you know, water makes wood and wood laminate swell and contract.
It’s even better to make sure that when you’re ready to install the new flooring that you give it time to rest in the natural environment.
Now prime the floor. Primer can take a long time to dry. In Florida, it can take up to 3 hours with all the humidity.
RV Flooring: Get the Okay
Now that you’re ready to put in the new floor, make sure it matches the interior. A lot of guys I see run into this problem. They put down the new flooring only to discover their better half doesn’t like the color because it doesn’t match the interior treatments.
If you’re doing the work, make sure you get the okay first.
Then, decide where you want the new flooring and measure it. Make sure you have the right color, pattern, size and dimensions.
From there, pick a line that’s square and lay down a chalk line so you get it nice and straight. It’s tough because lines aren’t always square. Now start laying the floating floors one-by-one.
Floating floors can be bolted down on one side. Then lightly tap the piece in place with a rubber mallet.
Make sure you keep any unused flooring flat on the floor to settle so it doesn’t warp.
Lay floors plank-by-plank, making sure to alternate the direction of the grain so it doesn’t look fake. You don’t want all the pieces to lay so the joints match up. It looks best staggered. Also, it’s best to notch the flooring and make sure you cut around door jams before you lay it down. It won’t snap into place otherwise. Do a dry fit to check.
If you’re installing floating floors, you should know they may be bolted down on one side and then float above the subfloor. The floor fastens together and can be put in place with light tapping from a rubber mallet.
RV Flooring: Finish It
After all the flooring is laid, make sure to trim it out so it looks finished. We think one of the best ways to finish it off is with quarter rounds for shoe molding. Then it’s time to paint.
RV Flooring: Leave the Dirty Work to Us
Now that you know all the steps involved in laying rv flooring, do you really want to spend your weekend doing messy, dirty work?
We’ll do it for you.