Have you got a new RV whose floor needs a new look or your old RV that needs a floor upgrade? It is quite easy and affordable to change the RV flooring and customize it to your liking.
Laminate floors are easy to install. As a RVer, laminate flooring is a great choice as it withstand scratches and dents – flooring in an rv are prone to scratches and dents. You can install them without getting any professional help. Not to mention, they are inexpensive as well.
In this article I will teach you how to install laminate flooring in an RV with slide outs
First things first, here are the basic tools you need.
- Sidebar Screw /Angle Bar screws
- Measuring Tape
- Circular saw
- Vacuum Cleaner
- Abrasion Tools such as Soft-Grinder
- Laminate Planks
- Cutter /Power Saw
- Right Angle
- Drill Machine
- Knockout Cutter
Any additions to the list can be made if you think they will make your work easier and more comfortable.
Prepare a blueprint of your RV with all the measurements. A 3D sample or an image of the final product would be very helpful.
I want to keep it short, but without skipping any important steps. Let’s get started!
A work plan is essential no matter what the work is. You can stay organized and efficient with it. I will follow a simple work plan that includes all the tasks and trials required. The work plan is divided into three phases.
DIY projects cannot be completed without proper measurements, and this is no exception. To estimate how much laminate flooring material is necessary, I need to measure both the RV and the slide-outs. Planning and measuring properly can minimize waste.
Of all the phases, this one is the most crucial and time-consuming. You will learn how to properly cut, paint, and apply laminate flooring to the RV in this phase.
The follow-up phase will consist of maintaining your new rv flooring as well as some handy tips that will be useful to you in the future. Let’s get to work!
Step 1: Removing the Carpet
We cannot install a new flooring without any prep on the RV, I’m going to start with removing the old carpet of the RV. Despite the difficulties, I can accomplish this.
The purpose of this process is to replace old laminate flooring with new ones. If you’re starting from scratch, you don’t need to remove anything. Hence, you can skip this step.
Method 1 : To remove the carpet, start with the staples with diagonal pliers and pull it. It’s beneficial to start it from the corners of the RV and drag it till the end.
Method 2 : With a standing knife, prep the edges of the carpet. You can then use your hands to pull the carpet once they’ve been prepared. The carpet will come off with a satisfying popping noise.
With a RV with slide out, you may face difficulties while removing carpet underneath the slide. Because, there’s a little space between .
A fantastic way shared by a reddit community user is, use a 2X4 jack to raise the slide from outside. You’ll be able to raise it to a decent height.
You can use METHOD 1 or the screwdriver to remove any screws, staples or nails that remain on your floor.
Next, take the linoleum off. Linoleum is sometimes difficult to remove from corners if too much glue is used. For this, you will need a utility knife. If one or two inches of old RV flooring remain in hard-to-reach places, it’s okay.
Use a scrapper to remove any residues, such as glue.
Depending on your model of the RV, there may or may not be a black strip below the carpet that acts as a bridge between the door and the RV. That strip is not needed and you should remove it because I’m going to work on the whole RV.
Below the black strip, you might find some gaps or the area might be uneven compared to the whole of the RV. You will have to use plywood or fillers to make sure that the surfaces of both the RV and the strip area are even.
It is also alright if you are unable to remove some part of the carpet, as long as it does not interfere with the installation of the new floor.
Step 2: Cleaning the RV Sub-Floor
After you finished removing the carpet and linoleum, it’s time to clean the sub-floor. The reason to clean the RV sub-floor is so the laminated floor can be pasted with ease.
You will start by dusting, vacuuming, and mopping the surface of the floor. Make sure that there are no uneven surfaces.
Well, if you find any water-related damage, buckling or gapping in the sub-floor, don’t forget to repair that before putting a new laminate flooring above it. Fix all the issues of the sub-floor proceeding to next step.
In the case of uneven surfaces, please use fillers or plywood to make up for it.
Step 3: Smoothing the Sub-Floor
A smooth floor is essential to installing a new laminate. It is essential because you do not want the laminate floor you’re going to paste to be uneven and have little air-bubble spots on them. You can use several tools such as sanders to smoothen the floor or you could simply use a floor-leveler and do it yourself. While sanding is not budget friendly, use floor levelers for smoothening the sub-floor. Remember to wipe out excess leveler solution.
Be sure to fix any patches or anything that needs repairing before you go any further with the installation of the new floor.
Step 1: Measuring
Finally, we’re getting there. Take out your measuring tape and get to work! We will need to measure every inch and corner of the RV so that our laminated floors will fit. There is a saying in construction: “Measure twice, cut once“.
We will be leaving some space when pasting our laminated flooring, because laminate flooring expands and contracts with temperature and humidity, and you do not want your laminate flooring to buckle.
Step 2: Cutting
You’ll need a saw for this one. Cut up the laminated floor planks based on the measurements you took earlier.
It would be most effective to cut one by one based on the measurement. If you cut multiple planks at once, the planks will be sloppier. Before cutting, measure the planks because the RV floor will not always be at the right angle.
Keep a 1.5inch-2inch space to avoid peaking.
Step 3: Pasting
Now it is time to glue the laminate floor to the RV sub-floor.
I need to glue the subfloor first. The process of gluing is very sticky. Some people prefer to paste glue into the planks, and others prefer to glue into the subfloor. I prefer the latter because I can paste glue in a larger section for multiple laminated planks at one time.
Ensure that the planks are being held in place by some weights. It would be best to paste the glue directly onto the floor and use it to keep the laminated floor in place – which is what I am doing.
You might need a rubber-mallet to press them and lock them in place.
Keep some distance from the sides and start with the corners. Start laying them down one by one.
As a rule of thumb, it is advisable to start with the longest wall, since that is the easiest to do in a short amount of time.
Finally, don’t forget to read the user manual for any necessary instructions.
Step 4: Install Slide-out Flooring
The installation of slide-out flooring is one of the most challenging tasks for RVers. The gap between the main floor and the floating floor floor creates difficulties when installing laminate flooring.
Different RVs offer different kinds of slide-outs. Consider putting down an underlayment in the slide if your floor and slide-out floor are uneven because of the roller. While you can buy separate underlayment, it is recommended that you buy laminates that come with an in-built underlayment.
Be sure to measure properly if you’re buying separate underlayment. Also, check if they are fitting perfectly.
Trim may not be stable enough without an underlayment.
It is normal to find a couple of inches of gap between the main floor and the slide floor. You can install a large, sturdy plank above that gap to fill it. When slides are pulled back toward the main floor, this covers the gap and provides a smooth transition.
Installing laminate flooring planks on sliding floors follows the same concept as installing them on the main floor. First, glue down the edge planks. It’s made to withstand slide-out movement. The edge planks must remain as static as possible. All the other planks will lock into place within the three RV-walls.
Finish the edge of the slide-out with a trim piece. A bullnose stair moulding is a great choice for such a purpose. You can also use a pine molding if you want to paint it to match your rv flooring color.
Step 5: Installing in Transition and Odd Areas
Transitions between rooms, islands, and cupboards make the RV flooring oddly shaped. To fill the void, you’ll need small pieces of plank. The key to this is measurement. Make sure to measure the odd spaces and use a jigsaw to cut pieces of planks. Once you have the perfect pieces of tiny planks, you can start installing them.
Keep a gap of 1-1.5 inches to allow for laminate expansion due to temperature changes.
Step 6: Install a Baseboard
A baseboard will help in better looks and safety. It will also lock the space and any gaps to prevent insects/rats and such from entering your RV.
Let the glue dry and you are ready with your own new custom laminated floor on your RV!
Now that I’m done with installing laminate flooring in my RV, how about some handy tips?
Use 3M slide pads to avoid scratches
Use 3M slide pads to avoid scratches: There’s going to be a need to maintain a clean and healthy floor in the RV. A scratch is the last thing you would want on a newly installed floor. The safest best to go for would be a 3M slide pad that could reduce the chances of getting a scratch while sliding the door.
Use small carpets while sliding to prevent scratches
Use small carpets while sliding to prevent scratches: If you cannot have a slide pad, it would be in your best interest to get a small carpet to use that could prevent scratches during sliding. You can also use this along with a 3M slide pad.
Rubber seals the corners and small holes to prevent insects
Nobody likes insects crawling in their personal space, in this case, an RV. A rubber seal to close the gaps and holes can help prevent insects from entering your RV.
Now that we’re done with installation of the floor, here are some tips on how to maintain a clean floor in an RV.
How to maintain a clean floor in an RV
- Sweep Daily: Just like a normal house, your RV needs a sweeping daily if it is possible. Consistency is the key.
- Use a combination of ¼ Vinegar or ammonia + one gallon of water, lightly dipped in a dry mop. This will help maintain a good shine on your floor as well as keep it clean.
- Place a rubber mat on the stairs: It is always best to dust your footwear before entering. A rubber mat would help with that, especially when you are travelling.
- No spills: Be careful of all the drinks. If anything pours on the floor, clean it up as soon as possible!
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