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.
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.
Pro Tip: Upgrade your RV with this guide on How to Replace RV Ceiling Panels (Plus 5 Alternative RV Ceiling Ideas).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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!
The Result: Updated 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!)
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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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