By Russ and Tiña De Maris
One of the biggest ways to make your older RV feel new is to install new floor coverings. Face it, after a fair amount of living in your RV, those “show every spot of dirt” carpets that manufacturers so thoughtfully install begin to look a bit “doggy.” Can you replace it, or will you need a professional to help? Much depends on the design of your rig.
Rigs without slideouts aren’t usually too difficult for the careful do-it-yourselfer. Slideouts can create problems, depending on how they operate. In our rig, where our slideouts drop down even with the main floor, an overlap of carpet from the slideout covers over the seam where the two floors meet. The overlap is a factory hemmed edge. If we replace the carpet, we may need to get someone to install a hem for us. Your rig may have an entirely different setup; it’s best to examine everything cautiously before undertaking a carpeting job.
If you decide to make a go of carpet replacement, here are some tips.
You’ll likely find that when your rig was built, the carpet was laid on the floor platform, then partitioning walls laid over the carpet (and kitchen vinyl, too). You’ll need to cut out the old carpet, cutting right along the edges of cabinets and walls. A specialized carpet cutting tool can help in most areas; a sharp utility knife will be needed in tight corners. If you carefully cut as close as you can, you can use the old carpet as a template to cut the new one.
In our fifth wheel, when we replaced the living room carpet, carpet tape and tack strips never entered the picture. Rather, the carpet was laid out flat and stapled along the walls. A metal termination strip was placed between the kitchen flooring and the carpet, and it’s never been a problem in several years of living. Some RVers have found that often a carpet really doesn’t need to be tied down at all. If fit properly, then “held down” with furniture, it stays in place, and then occasionally it can be lifted and dirt and sand (which invariably finds its way through the carpet fibers) vacuumed out.
Is carpet really the way to go? It’s up to your taste. We HATE the light colored carpeting in our current big trailer. It shows every spot of dirt. When replacement time comes, we may opt to install laminate flooring.
In our fifth wheel, the manufacturer had carpeted throughout the rig. Have you ever dreamed of a shag carpet in your kitchen and bathroom? We installed laminate flooring in both kitchen and bath and have never looked back. It’s wonderful stuff. True, it’s cooler on the feet than carpet, but it’s a whiz to clean up, and no more stains.
In our fiver living room we installed low-pile commercial carpet in a dark blue that appealed to us. It’s been down for years, and we’ve used an extractor to clean it. We were happy with that choice – it’s oh-so-much better than the current stuff in our “big” trailer.
Whatever choice you make, be sure when you shop to check out the “remnants” section of the floor covering retailer. Many RVs are small enough that you can often find small lots of laminate flooring or “end” portions of carpeting that will fit just fine – and save you a bundle.
Photo credit, laminate flooring replaces carpet, courtesy Larry Page on flickr.com under creative commons license.