Are you considering replacing the flooring in your RV? Are you concerned about how or where to start? Here are some tips when considering installing Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) flooring in your rig.
Removing your old flooring
This is the part where you learn just how many staples go into the manufacturer’s installation of carpet and vinyl sheet flooring. It’s a painstaking process but really important that you get each and every staple out of the subfloor. The easier way to do this is to remove the old flooring and then shear off the staples with a multi-tool, pictured on the next page. You simply place the flat extension of the multi-tool directly on the floor and just push forward and the tool will cut the staples right off. After you have completed this step in your RV, you’ll want to sweep really well and vacuum, too. If you find that you have small heads of staples still sticking up, you can simply hammer them down.
Picking your Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring
This is the fun part! There are so many variations of colors and textures in LVP that your options will be endless…almost. LVP offers the traditional look of wood flooring with a host of other benefits like price and durability. The most important step in choosing the right LVP is the depth of the flooring. We always stay at 5mm or less to make sure the flooring does not interfere at all with the slide. Having the proper clearance to avoid scratches on your floor when the slide comes in and out is the key. There’s nothing worse than putting in a new floor just to have deep scratches appear the first time you put your slide in and out. Our favorite Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring is the DuraLux Performance line that can be found at Floor & Decor. It’s easy to work with and comes with a foam back that acts as an underlayment. Underlayment is not necessary when choosing your flooring because it’s 100% waterproof but it does add that small amount of extra protection and padding.
Installing your new floor
Tools that you will need to install your flooring are:
Metal Straight Edge
Sharp Utility Knife
with Additional Blades
Table Saw (optional)
Knee Pads (optional)
When we install LVP in each of our renovations, we always start at the lip of the slide (not on the actual slide itself) since it’s a straight line, and from there we work out into the space. We usually floor the slide last. Working plank by plank, click together the tongue and groove using a rubber mallet to make sure each joint is secure. When you get to the end of a row, use a metal straight edge and a utility knife to cut the plank down to size. The remaining portion can be used to start the following row. Using the end of one piece to start a new row will help ensure that all seams are staggered. Once finished, then your baseboards and/or quarter round will finish off your look. You’re going to love the result!
How to avoid scratches from your slide
Even when taking the right precautions and using 5mm or less depth flooring, sometimes the slide has a mind of its own. It can shift slightly in the track over time and sit lower on the floor, dragging anything that might get stuck under the slide (sand, gravel, dirt, etc.) with it, leaving scratches or grooves on your floor. A few things you can do to avoid this are sweeping and vacuuming the floor thoroughly before you put the slide in. You can also use felt anti-scratch pads on the under side of your slide. We use these in every renovation we do and have yet to be disappointed! The large anti-scratch felt pads can be purchased at any big box home improvement store or online through Amazon.
To install, simply open/extend the slide out and go to the outside of your rig. You’ll need to use a floor jack and 2×4 to prop up the side of the slide out so you have at least 1 inch of space raised above the inside flooring. You should be able to see outside from the inside of your rig while doing this. This is usually a two person job. One person lines the scratch pads up on the outside and the other person makes certain the pads are lined up from the inside. You should not be able to see the pads under your slide lip from the inside. Once things are lined up properly, you can remove the adhesive on the back of the felt pad. We always add extra spray adhesive as well and then stick the pad in place and push up. Repeat the same step on the other side and in the middle of the slide as well. Once the pads are in place, you’ll want to bring your slide back in so the pads can adhere from the weight of the slide sitting on them. The slide should be resting on the pads when you bring the slide in. These steps should help with any scratches from your slide and you’ll be glad you went the extra step to protect your work and new flooring.
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