How to lay new floors in your Camper or RV easy
It is the perfect time to update the Camper a little to shine and look pretty before you go back on the road again. A new floor makes a huge difference, especially if your Camper has carpet inside.
And until today I can’t figure out why they would lay carpet in an RV? It is impossible to keep clean.
I get it, this is why you finally decided to add some new floors in your Camper but you have no clue how to do that and where to start?
- You don’t have time and money for a big remodel?
- You feel a little overwhelmed?
Then follow these easy steps ‘How to lay new floors in your Camper easy’ and start the remodel.
Step 1 – How to start preparing:
How to prepare your RV for the new floor:
O.K. then let’s get started with adding new floor in your Travel Trailer:
If you have carpet – get rid of it:
Do you have old and nasty looking brown carpet in your Camper? It smells bad, is stained and needs to go fast?
But you don’t know how to get rid of the carpet?
These are the tools you need to remove the carpet:
What tools do you need to get rid of the old carpet:
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Start right here and take the carpet off:
Cut into the carpet around the edges of the furniture as close as you can with the carpet knife. You have to use pressure to get thru the whole carpet and its backing. Then cut carpet strips of about 20 inches width. Smaller strips makes it easier to pull off. Take the pliers or a multi tool and pull the carpet strips off.
Depending on your Camper this might take some strength, or it could work pretty easy. But this is the easiest way to get the carpet off.
If you have a slide and the carpet is stuck underneath, bring it in a little bit so it lifts up. After that, pull it up and try to get the rest of the carpet out. If this doesn’t work, cut it off as much as you can. Afterwards put some edging/trim over it to hide the carpet rest and the little step.
Why is it so hard to remove the carpet?
Why is it such a pain to get the carpet off?
When building a camper, the carpet goes down first, followed by the walls and everything else.
Just note: The carpet is stapled into the floor with thousands of staples. These staples have to go before you start laying your new floor.
Use your pliers to pull all of these staples out of the plywood floor after the carpet is gone.
The floor has to be clean and even! It can take a while to get all the staples out. Hammer them all the way into the floor if you can’t get some of them out.
If your Camper has old linoleum floors:
If the linoleum in your Camper is in pretty good shape – good for you. Keep it. Don’t remove it. You apply the vinyl floor on top of the linoleum.
If the linoleum has holes and tears and doesn’t really stick to the subfloor anymore, you have to take it off. It shouldn’t be hard to remove, just pull it out carefully.
Step 2 – Buy the right material -How to lay new floors in your Camper
What is the best material to get:
Have you decided what floor you like in your camper?
The easiest and most budget friendly floor is vinyl floor. I picked white peel and stick planks Luxury Vinyl from Stainmaster for my Travel Trailer. I paid 99 cents per sqft. but sometimes you can even get it cheaper for a certain design. The floor I picked was on sale at the time – I was lucky.
My vinyl planks still look great after 2 years.
Then decide if you want to add the new floor in the whole Camper or only in your living space.
- Do you have a slide out?
- Do you want to add the new floor on the slide too?
- Can you remove the furniture from the slide?
If you are able to remove all the furniture out of your RV, then it is no problem laying the new floors.
We have a small Travel Trailer with a slide. The sofa on the slide can not be removed because it sits right on the wheel and would have been a huge issue to take out. So we decided to keep the sofa and the linoleum under the sofa as is.
How much floor do you need?
This is how you measure your demand:
Length by width plus 10 % is the rule of thumb
Here are some different floor options I think would look great in a small Camper:
Also check out your local stores, sometimes you can get amazing deals at Lowes or Home Depot.
Do you like a tile optic better? Here are some cool looking designs for small Campers:
Step 3 – Prepare your subfloor before laying the new tiles
How to prep the subfloor before laying new floors in your RV
No holes or water damage, the subfloor has to be perfectly even and clean.
If the subfloor has holes, you have to close and sand them before you start laying the vinyl floor.
Close the holes or uneven parts by using a wood filler. Let it dry over night and sand it the next day for a smooth finish. Sweep all the dust and dirt off the floor.
If you are not sure if the adhesive of the tiles/planks will stick on your floor, try it out. Put one tile down, put some weight on it and leave it as recommended on the package. Then try to remove it.
If you want to be sure your tiles will stick good, put this primer down before adding the floor. It dries very fast and helps to prepare the floor for painting. I have used it in my bathroom before laying vinyl tiles and it worked very well.
But read the the description of the floor you bought, if they recommend something else for preparation follow the instructions.
If you travel to extreme temperatures a precaution is to use additional adhesive.
There are different kinds available like High Strength Paste Carpet & Sheet Vinyl Adhesive or Spray Glue from 3M.
Step 4 – Lay the new floor
Now start laying the floor in your RV
- I measured the length of the living area to decide how to start. Because you want to reduce waste, I calculated how many planks I would need for the whole length. It came out that I needed exactly 5 planks in one row.
- Also decide where to start. Do you have a straight line of cabinets where you can orientate your first line of planks? Do you have a slide out?
- Lay down the floor planks to see how many you need to cover the whole width of your Camper.
- Do you end with a full width plank or do you have to cut it thinner? How much do you have to cut it down? If you only have 1-2 inches left to cover the whole width, you might want to start with a half width of a plank to make the pattern look more even.
I started with a full size plank on the right side. Using a level to keep straight lines I added more full size planks to end the first row totally straight.
The second row I started with half a plank resp. I started in the middle of the first plank. You don’t need the level anymore, just lay it right next to the first row and it will be straight.
You just work your way down to the end applying this pattern. Make sure you cut the planks correctly, so your seems are in one row. In order to cut the planks straight, use a carpet knife and a level. Cut into the plank a couple of times and then you can just bent and break it off.
Are you overwhelmed and don’t know where to start with your remodel? Get the easy to follow Ebook and know what you are doing:
Will the slide scratch my new floor?
As long as your floor is not thicker than what you had before, you should not have any issues with the slides coming in and out. This is why I recommend using vinyl planks. It is easy to lay, doesn’t add a lot of weight and height to the Camper and you won’t have issues with the slides scratching over the floor.
Add a couple of tiles on the floor before you glue them down and bring the slide in. Then you will know if it scratches or not.
Just be sure there aren’t any leftover staples or screws below the slide which could cause scratching when you bring the slide in.
A slide out slicker prevents the slide from scratching the floor when you bring it in.
A plastic trim hides/protects the step from the slide.
A stair nose is another option to cover the slide gap
At Vintage Trailer Supply you can find a lot of trims and accessories, they ship everything you need.Vintage Trailer Supply, Inc.
How long does it take to lay the vinyl planks?
It took me one afternoon to lay the new floor in my RV. I did not remove the linoleum and the floor was in good shape. That means, I only cleaned the linoleum floor and then started laying the new vinyl planks on top of the linoleum.
Because the planks are big, you will see a good progress in short time. Just stay on it and you will be done fast. You will love the look afterwards.
Summary of How to lay vinyl floors in a Camper
This was an easy and fun project. Don’t be scared to start adding new floors in your Camper. It is definitely worth it and I am sure you won’t stop with more updates after you are done with the floor.
This is How I remodeled my Travel Trailer easy and cheap. Get the Ebook and you will know what to do to glamp up your Camper.
I hope you will start with your remodeling soon because it is time to get back on the road.
See you then,
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