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DIY RV Flooring with a Flush Slideout

DIY RV Flooring with a Flush Slideout

Upgrading your RV flooring can make a huge difference in the look and feel of your home on wheels.

After 2 years, we decided to replace our linoleum and RV carpet and install laminate flooring in the form of vinyl planks.

In this article and video, we walk you through how we installed laminate flooring in an RV with slide-outs.

DIY RV Reflooring with a Flush Slide-Out

RV Flooring

We have a 2005 DRV Mobiles Suites. It, like many RVs, had carpet and linoleum in it from the factory. After over a decade of use, it was time for a replacement. 

After a lot of research we decide to install laminate vinyl plank flooring in our RV.

Flooring on the Slide-Outs

Many RVs have slides with carpeting on them, and this can make converting that RV carpet to a hard flooring like laminate plank tricky.

In our case, we had a flush slide-out in our RV, meaning the slide sets down when fully extended. We had to figure out a way to create a smooth transition from the slide floor to the main floor.

Drawing out a Plan

We started our project by drawing out the rough dimensions of the area we wanted to cover with the new RV flooring. We calculated that we’d need about 200 sq ft. of new flooring to get the job done.

Vinyl Plank Flooring for RVs

We decided to go with a vinyl plank flooring that looked like wood that we found at Home Depot. It is the Allure brand, and the color was Khaki Oak, which included some mixing of grays and tans.

It has a Grip Strip edge, which means there are some ledges on either side with adhesive on them, so when you place the planks side-by-side the adhesive ledges stick to each other and hold each other in place. ​

We also chose the Vinyl Plank style so that it was going to be flexible for going around the road, not a lot more weight (although it does weigh more overall than the linoleum and RV carpet we removed), durable (stand up to our dogs’ claws), waterproof, easy to install, and cost effective.

Removing the RV Carpet

In preparation of putting in the new carpet, we had to move all our furniture, remove the trim, rip out the carpet (and all the staples), and remove the linoleum. ​Removing the RV carpet is a pain because there are so many staples.

Tip: As you pull up the carpet, try to pull up as many staples as you can with it. Let the heftiness of the carpet pull the staples. Also, get some good pliers or a multi-tool and pull the staples as straight up as you can. 

Removing RV carpet from under the slideouts was also a bit tricky. Again, try to pull as many staples out as you can as you pull the carpet. We used a pry bar under the edge of the carpet to help lever the edge row of staples out as we went.

Removing the RV Linoleum

​Removing the linoleum for us wasn’t too bad because the manufacturer didn’t put a whole lot of glue on the floor. We have heard horror stories of people finding a LOT of glue underneath. We cut the linoleum around the island counter and used pry bars in the stubborn areas.

remove rv lineoleum flooring

The trickiest part was getting it out from under the kitchen slide where it was underneath the slide rollers. We ended up cutting it a couple inches in from the slide edge and leaving some in there.

Damaged RV Subfloor

After removing the old flooring we did some repairs to a damaged section of the floor where we had had an old water leak from a window. Take this opportunity to check for any other leaks you may not be aware of and fix spots like this. We repaired and leveled the damaged section with 3M Bondo Body Filler to prepare it for supporting the new floor.

Working with Allure Vinyl Plank in the RV

We were so pleased with how easy it was to work with the Allure vinyl plank. Having install hard-floor in our previous house and having to cut each piece with a saw, the Allure planks were easily scored with a razor blade and bent/broken off.  ​

The Grip Strip flooring design was handy over a click-lock type because unlike click-lock where the flooring has to be at a certain angle to install, the Grip Strip can be slid and pressed down into place. This makes going under a counter or under the edge of a slide very easy.

vinyl plank around rv toilet

We had to do some pretty intricate cuts up near the vanity and into the toilet room and closet. While time-consuming and precise, we were able to cut the Allure Vinyl Plank to fit all the tight corners and notches the RV floor.

Flush Slideout Hard Floor Transition

One of the biggest concerns that we had was that we have a flush side, and we weren’t sure how we were going to have the slide floor meet the main floor.  ​

Our RV has a black plastic ramp that runs the length of the slide. The slide rides up the ramp and in when it is coming in, then slides out and down to sit pretty level with the main floor.

Once we had the carpet out and could examine the situation, we found that there was a strip of plywood that covered a 2 inch gap between the plastic ramp and the slide floor.

rv slideout flooring flush transition

That plywood was just covered by the carpet and butted up to the foam carpet padding on the slide, so you didn’t really notice it. With the hard floor, we had to figure out a way to bridge this gap and make a smooth transition.

We decided to take one of the vinyl planks and put it over the gap. We did some tests with it and we determined that while it did have a little big of flex when you pushed down on that gap, overall it was pretty rigid and would do the trick. It would allow us to have this clean transition from the slide to the main floor. 

rv flooring flush slideout

Because this is a floating floor, we glued the first edge piece onto the slide floor so that it wouldn’t go anywhere and made sure it came to the point we wanted it to.  We used Liquid Nails construction adhesive.  We pieced together the whole length of the first edge piece and had 4 people lift it up and into place onto the glue stripe. 

We worked from there to the wall side of the slide.

Flush Slideout RV Flooring Outcome

The major drawback to this design is that when the slide is pulled in, it leaves a section of the plank hanging out over the edge without any support. We must be very careful when the side is in to not step on the plank because it probably will not hold up. 

Other Options We Considered:

  1. Plywood Layer on Slide Floor: We could have laid plywood down on the entire area of the slide to bridge the gap and make it even for the hard floor to lay on. This would have been a lot of extra weight on the slide, and would have raise the edge of the floor by the plastic ramp a bit, so we would have had to devise another solution for the transition piece – a piece of rubber or something.
  2. Strip of Metal to bridge the gap:  A thin and narrow strip of metal may have done the trick to bridge the gap, but again we would have added weight and the edge would have been slightly raised and in need of another transition solution.

*Update after 9 months of use:

Over time the rigidity of the plank wore out and the vinyl was cracking in a few places on our RV flooring. We decided to implement Option #2 from above and install the metal strip under the edge of the laminate flooring.

rv flooring metal strip for slideout

We were able to install a thin strip of aluminum the whole length of the slide to add support under the vinyl plank flooring.

We cut each strip the width needed to bridge the gap and slide under where the vinyl plank and slide subfloor were initially glued together – we had to do some gentle prying to get the glue to give enough to slide the metal in there.

In difficult spots we used a rubber mallet and a block of wood to tap on the edge of the metal strip and force it between the subfloor and plank.

We then glued the new metal to the underside of the plank lip. We allowed the glue to dry  before putting the slide back out. Old cracks in the vinyl were filled in with a gray filler and are now practically unnoticeable and the floor no longer sags at the gap when stepped on! ​

installing metal strip on rv flooring

The Result: Updated RV Flooring

new rv flooring

We LOVE this new flooring, and although we got a major scratch in it the first time we pulled the slides in after install from a screw poking down on the underside of the slide) it is 100 times better than the old stuff!

Time it took to complete RV Flooring Project:

It took us 3 days to rip out and put in the new floor.

Cost of RV Flooring Project:

It costs us around $400 for all the materials. We did this ourselves and with the help of family, so we had no labor costs (besides food and beverages for our hard workers!)

Before

After

new laminate vinyl plank rv flooring
We love the new RV flooring!

Liked this post? Be sure to pin it to Pinterest!

diy rv flooring with flush slideout

Do/Did you have a flush slide? What are your thoughts on making the smooth transition? Please share in the comments below.

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Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of The RVers, producers of “Go North” on Amazon Prime, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for Hwy.co and an Arizona travel guide.

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Mimi Johnson

Wednesday 14th of July 2021

Hi,

I got so excited when I saw the first picture on Pinterest because we have an identical DRV we’re moving into full time. I’ve had the allure flooring in my house now almost 10 years and it still looks great and wanted to use it in the DRV as well. I Will be doing the majority of the work alone and was very concerned about the slide. So thank you so much for all your great pictures and detailed information about your install and modifications needed for just that. I also have a few questions about how you manage bathroom storage as you know is sub par in these early models. Feel free to email me and thanks again!

Mortons on the Move

Friday 16th of July 2021

We're so glad you found the article helpful!

Pauline

Wednesday 30th of June 2021

We have a new to us camper with the same flooring replaced before we bought it. Love it. BUT. It buckled on us when it was really hot and we have no idea why or how to fix it. We thought it might be because it was chaulked on all edges so no place for expansion. Might you have any ideas?

Mortons on the Move

Thursday 3rd of March 2022

Thats a good guess, we only secured one edge and i think they recommend leaving 1/4 inch gap on the walls.

Gail W.

Tuesday 29th of June 2021

Your clear, detailed explanation has given me courage to go ahead and install the flooring we purchased months ago. We just couldn't figure out how to handle the slide edge, so we procrastinated. We were trying to make it so that none of the edging on the RV side of the slide would show, but it's apparent that there's no way to do that with a flush edge slide. We may still paint it grey to match our new flooring. Maybe it will look like a trim piece. I'll be saving the link to your page as this is such a common question that people have. I also appreciate the way you aren't afraid to experiment and try different things. What are we afraid of ;)

Mortons on the Move

Friday 16th of July 2021

Thank you! We hope it turns out well for you. :)

Annie

Saturday 22nd of May 2021

Hello! Where did you get the aluminum strip you placed under the tiles on the edge of the slide? I can't seem to find anything that thin. Thanks!

Mortons on the Move

Saturday 19th of June 2021

We just got some aluminum sheet metal from a local building supplier. You might be able to find smaller pieces at a home improvement store, but a building contractor will be able to get it for sure.

Stefanie

Sunday 25th of April 2021

Great information! Do you still have the vinyl plank flooring? How do you find it has held up during transport or in extreme weather?

Mortons on the Move

Tuesday 27th of April 2021

We do and are still loving it. Hot weather it is fine, but cold weather it shrinks a bit and gaps form. If storing in cold temps I would consider a different flooring rated for cold temperatures.

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