Monday, December 4, 2023


Replacing the RV carpet

Dear Gary,
We are considering replacing the carpeting in our motorhome with new carpeting or vinyl flooring. Should we see an RV service dealer or a carpet store?  Thanks! —Carole B.

Dear Carole,
A lot depends on if you have slideouts in the motorhome. With today’s proliferation of slideouts, I’m going to assume you do. With that in mind, it would be best to contact an RV outfitting (decorating) company. There are quite a few located throughout the country. They differ from a regular dealership or standalone service center in that they specialize in updating, upgrading and redecorating primarily the interiors of coaches. Start with a Google search for “RV Outfitter” or “RV Decorator” in your area.

The slideouts pose the biggest problem for any service shop or RV decorator. Some rooms simply slide above the main coach flooring while others are flush with the finished flooring when extended. The shop must have experience with partial removal (at the very least) of the slideout room in order to get the finished flooring properly attached under the leading edge of the slide room in either case. To do so requires an expertise not usually found in a “typical” service shop. That said, it’s entirely possible your local motorhome dealer has that capacity. Most assuredly, a retail carpet store will not.

So you should first learn exactly how your coach manufacturer installed the existing flooring and see if that would present a problem for any shop to remove and install a new flooring surface. Carpet or vinyl, either way, it will probably have to be tucked under the slide room and secured properly.

I’ve gotten quite a few emails from readers who have experienced the problem of the slideout catching on the edge of the new flooring and damaging it. Most shops familiar with slideout removal and adjustments will probably have the tooling necessary to fully or partially remove the room, or at least tip it back somewhat, creating room for the installer to get in there to attach the raw edge of the new flooring correctly. But it is certainly doable.  

gary-736Read more from Gary Bunzer at the See Gary’s videos about RV repair and maintenance.





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TravelingMan (@guest_77005)
3 years ago

For consideration…

We replaced our carpet in Nov of 2019. We went to a carpet store to pick out the carpet (a significant upgrade). We went to a home building supply for the padding (a significant upgrade from the carpet company). We had both products delivered to the RV Service Center ahead of the install date.

Upon removal of the OEM carpet, many flaws were discovered in the way that the OEM carpet had been installed. The slides (in our case) slide over the carpet and vinyl floor. There is a height separation between these two surfaces. They were not set properly causing stresses in the slide out. As many may know, carpet and flooring are generally one of the first things that go down. Then the walls are set on top. Where the carpet and slide come together (at the exterior edge), there is a metal or plastic strip that holds the carpet down. The problem is that when weight presses the carpet and padding, the screws begin to stick up higher than the carpet and plastic strip. In turn, that screw begins to gouge the plywood floor of the slide out. To remedy this, the slide out floor has now been installed with a leveling board that is coated with felt to slide over the vinyl. Screws are recessed. A weatherstrip has been added to the interior edge. A metal strip has been installed and back-supported.

In addition to the repair work that was performed, we also installed the alumi-wrap (aluminum bubble wrap) under the main floor carpet. It is installed over the slide outs because the only thing that provides any temperature protection is the carpet itself. There is generally no padding or insulation installed in a slide out floor.

All this said, I had one over site… When you put in thicker carpet and padding and alumi-wrap, that raises the overall height of the slide out compared to the cheap OEM carpet and 1/4″ padding installed at the factory. Not a big deal when viewed from the interior. In fact, we couldn’t be more pleased with the appearance or install we had completed. But when viewed from the outside AND you have full body paint, you may notice that your lines don’t line up any more. Ours are now off by about 3/8″ or so. Most people would not recognize this and it certainly won’t apply if you have a solid exterior body color. But, as a perfectionist, I was disappointed that I did not catch this until after the fact. I should have recognized this potential.

If you plan to replace carpet, consider the age of your unit. We were at 6 year old. It was best to remove the slide outs and do this right. It allowed a chance to replace all of the slide out seals as well. Because we did this properly, we were also able to catch another problem from the slide-out in the kitchen. At the end closest to the mid section, we discovered that there was not a steel support at the corner of the slide out. They were spaced too far apart. This caused damage to the pantry as the wood split at the bottom. The frame had begun to bow in between the frame supports. We corrected that which lifted the slide out back to it’s proper height. The slide seals also now fit better at the top as well.

Hopefully, this information might help you if you decide to replace the carpet.

If you discover that you need to replace a floorboard in a slide out, costs can vary due to width and length. But for an estimate, each slide out we had to remove cost us $1200 in labor. And, it can be 4-6 weeks in some cases to get one (depending on size and design cut).

Tina (@guest_45652)
4 years ago

I’m surprised the gentleman from Minnesota who had the nightmare with his new trailer that the dealership would not take responsibility for “replacing” the entire unit. For 70k , not only for their reputation but avoiding bad press. This is ultimately the dealership responsibility to make this right, not the customer. He should turn in to the dealerships worst nightmare. OP-eds in local papers are wonderful.

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