How can I replace the carpet in my RV’s slides? I have a 2017 Keystone Alpine 5th wheel. —Debbie
We did a total floor covering R&R in a 2003 Winnebago Brave that we had an issue at almost every turn. It started out as a product showcase using a padded vinyl that is used in luxury boats. The owner of the motorhome had carpet that looked like it was used for the Rhino house at the local zoo! The Brave had a driver side couch/dinette slide as well as a bedroom slide.
The process of replacing the floor covering
The first step was to remove the couch and dinette to get access to the entire slide floor. Most manufacturers cover the floor completely with carpet at the time of assembly. They then simply mount the couch and furniture on top of it. I think it’s easier removing all the furniture rather than trying to cut out around the existing furniture.
Typically, the couch is secured to the floor with lag screws and can be taken out with a socket wrench. The dinette has a few screws in the base frame and a few angle brackets to the wall. We had difficulty in removing the dinette. It had been replaced with a pedestal center leg and glued to the sidewall! We had to rip off some paneling that we later replaced with decorative paneling behind the new computer desk replacement.
Since the floor of the slide room was plywood, the old carpet was simply stapled to the plywood. However, the front and sides of the floor were tubular steel so that portion was glued. Since we were going with a padded vinyl, anything that was not covered by a couch or dinette could not be stapled, as you would see the staples. That is the beauty of carpet: It is very forgiving when reinstalling, as you can splice pieces and corners and merely fluff up the two sides and not see a seam.
Remove old carpet in one piece, if possible
One tip: Try to remove the old carpet in one piece and keep it as a template for the new material.
Same with the edges at the walls. Carpet hides any imperfections in the cut. But solid material such as vinyl and wood most likely need a trim piece as there will be gaps either from the new flooring material or the wall.
New furniture complicated new floor
The next obstacle was the owners replaced the couch with a new leather couch that pulled out to be a queen-size air mattress bed. The new furniture did not have the same fabric “lip” on the front, so it did not hide the front face of the slideroom floor. This meant we had to come up with a decorative trim piece. We also had to make sure that it would slide back and forth on the actual motorhome floor without pulling off or gouging the new flooring. Same thing with the back side, as the vinyl had to be wrapped around the back facing which is actually outside and fastened.
The best thing to do, we found, was bring the slideroom out about ½ way so you can “rock” the room back and forth slightly and shim 2×4’s under the bottom side. This will give you access to what the room slides back and forth on. Ours had a plastic runner going side to side that was designed to glide on the former carpet. Some have rollers at the wall and others underneath the room.
We didn’t replace bedroom carpet
In the bedroom we decided not to replace the carpet as it was in decent condition and was softer. Also, there was very little carpet that was not covered by the bed so we ended the vinyl at the doorway and added a trim piece that matched the woodwork. We also looked at how much work it would have been to remove the bed and pedestal and replace the carpet all the way to the wall. Only about 2 feet was exposed when the bed was retracted! So you actually saw no flooring material that was actually on the slideroom floor.
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.
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