How to Replace the Flooring in an RV

by Nicole Vulcan
Self-stick vinyl tiles are an easy replacement for existing linoleum or carpet.

Self-stick vinyl tiles are an easy replacement for existing linoleum or carpet.

Best-case scenario when you need to replace the flooring in your RV: Your tiles or carpet are worn out and need some cosmetic sprucing up. Worst case: The floor is rotten from the bottom up, and the subfloor needs replacing, too. Unless you have soft or wet spots in your floor, the only way to know how much work your floor replacement is going to be is to start removing the top layer and see for yourself. Before you begin, make sure your RV is parked on a level surface.

Use a crowbar or shim to remove any trim where the floor meets the walls or cabinets. If the trim is free of mold and not warped or otherwise damaged, remove it carefully so that you can use it again and save a few bucks.

Pull up the existing carpet, linoleum or vinyl with your crowbar.

Check the subfloor for any signs of excess moisture or soft or black spots. If you don't find any, your floor is ready to have a new finish layer on it once you scrape any adhesive or glue off the subfloor, using a paint scraper or other scraping tool.

Remove the portions of the subfloor that are rotten, using a crowbar or a hand saw. Note the thickness of the subfloor material so you can replace it with plywood of the same thickness.

Use a circular saw to cut new pieces of plywood to fit in the rotten places. Install the new pieces by drilling the plywood into the joists under the subfloor. Lay a level down on the installed plywood to ensure the floor is level.

Install self-stick floor tiles over the subfloor. You can use many types of self-stick tiles, from cheap vinyl to more expensive bamboo or composite materials. To install, lay down the tiles in the center of the room first, like the professionals do. Use a razor blade or box cutter to cut any edge pieces to size. Press the tiles down firmly to get them to stick properly.

Replace the trim pieces you removed in the first step by nailing them back onto the cabinets or walls.

Items you will need

  • Crowbar or shim
  • Paint scraper
  • Hand saw
  • Circular saw
  • Plywood
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Self-stick floor tiles
  • Small nails
  • Hammer

Tip

  • Take a "before" picture before you begin the work, in case you need to remove appliances or furniture pieces to get to the flooring. Then you'll know exactly where they go when you go to put them back.

Warning

  • In the worst-case scenario, your entire subfloor could need replacing, including the joists underneath. In this case, you'll need to remove all the cabinets in the RV to replace all material underneath. This is a mammoth job that could take several weeks to complete. If you have to do it, be sure to disconnect your water, electrical and gas lines before you take out the cabinets.

About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

Photo Credits

  • Background from a piece of linoleum. image by Egor Tkachenko from Fotolia.com