If you’ve recently bought a pre-owned RV, or if your RV is starting to show its age, then you may be considering doing some DIY updates to freshen it up. What’s great about RVs is that since they usually have a pretty small footprint, DIY projects are totally doable. And one area that can wear down fast is the flooring. Is the carpet stained? Is the vinyl scratched or fading? Years of coming and going or traveling with kids or pets can really do a
Out With the Old
Saying goodbye can be hard, but ripping out dirty carpet or old vinyl flooring may be the easiest goodbye ever! If you have carpet to remove, you’ll handle enough staples to last a lifetime. For carpet removal, you’ll want to have a mask, heavy-duty gloves, pliers, a pry bar, a sharp cutting knife, and kneepads. To remove vinyl, all you’ll need is a straight edge, a sharp utility knife, and a power floor scraper (optional but very nice). For laminate flooring, you’ll need a skill saw, chisel, and a mallet. Tools, like the floor scraper or skill saw, can always be rented from home improvement stores if needed.
The saying of beggars can’t be choosers does not apply here. You have every right to be choosy when giving your RV a new look! You have a variety of options when searching for new flooring, and some are better than others for an RV. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each flooring choice:
Vinyl: Vinyl flooring is inexpensive and an easy DIY project. Look for sheet vinyl which is probably the easiest vinyl to install. Vinyl is very durable, has superior resistance to moisture, and it looks great! While a great choice for your RV, vinyl can show marks from rubber soles, give off toxic gasses due to its make-up, and it is not biodegradable.
Laminate: Made of pressed wood,
Hardwood: Real hardwood flooring is great in a home, but it really has no place in an RV. It’s heavy, expensive, and high maintenance. Save it for your dining room at home.
Tile: Similar to hardwood, tile also isn’t a great choice for an RV flooring. It’s heavy and labor intensive to install.
Carpet: For a soft, warm touch underfoot, carpet is the way to go—especially in the bedroom or in the living area. Nylon carpet withstands traffic patterns better than other kinds of carpet and it tends to last longer. If you’re tearing out carpeting, use the old carpet as your template for when you cut your new carpet.
Weight: When making modifications to your RV, it’s always smart to take into consideration the GVWR of your unit. This is the maximum allowable weight of your RV, and you do not want to exceed it for safety reasons. As stated above, both hardwood and tile are heavy, so adding a layer of these materials to your floor can greatly affect the weight of your rig and cause it to be unsafe for towing. With this in mind, vinyl, laminate, and carpet are safe choices.
Upkeep: Something else to think about is maintenance. While the smooth surfaces of vinyl, laminate, hardwood, and tile are all easy to sweep clean with a broom, carpet can be rather high maintenance. Plan to vacuum it often to suck out dirt and sand that you’ll track in daily while camping.
Cost: If cost is a big factor in your decision, look at vinyl and laminate as the most affordable options. Hardwood, tile, and carpeting will most likely be the more expensive options. However, if carpeting is a must for you, it’s always easy to find inexpensive remnants that might be just right for your smaller RV spaces.
Have you given your RV a fresh look with a flooring update? Tell us what material you chose in our Comments below. Or share a snapshot of the before and after photos with us on our Facebook or Instagram pages.