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How to Replace RV Flooring

Are you looking to replace your RV flooring? Check out how we did just that in our motorhome to give it a more rustic modern vibe. | MountainModernLife.com

As you may already know, we are in the midst of transforming our (new to us) RV into a rustic modern motorhome before we hit the open road in July. For those that are curious we have a 2008 Tiffin Allegro Openroad 32LA. When we purchased our coach we knew one of the first projects we would tackle would be to replace the boring beige carpet and tiles. Besides, traveling in an RV with carpet and fur babies just sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

After doing tons of research online and in the RV forums Eric and I decided that vinyl plank style flooring was going to be our best option. Hardwoods can be heavy, and laminate and water don’t mix well so when it comes to our house on wheels we opted for a waterproof flooring that would provide the rustic style we prefer, with the durability we need. Most importantly, we wanted something that looked and felt like wood.

We recently teamed up with Floor & Decor for this project and you may recall our previous trip to a local store where we looked at various options, and even put our 2 favorites up for a vote. The winner was Nucore Handscraped Ashen Oak. Isn’t it dreamy with it’s warm tones and the subtle hint of gray?

NuCore Handscraped Ashen Oak from Floor & Decor | MountainModernLife.com

It’s new technology only available at Floor & Decor, and although it’s not exactly vinyl it’s an engineered flooring with a layer of luxury vinyl adhered to a waterproof core. It also has a hyper-allergenic cork backing that is soft underfoot and resistant to mold and mildew.

It checked every box so we knew it would be perfect. Of course right before we began to replace the RV flooring we ran into a pretty big issue, we had a really bad ceiling leak in the RV that spanned from the bathroom into part of the kitchen. Bleh.

Dealing with an RV Water Leak in the RV before installing the Flooring | MountainModernLife.com

That certainly set things back a bit but we are super excited to finally share our new flooring with you. Now keep in mind that we still have a laundry list of projects to finish but we wanted to share the progress that has been made so far. We will share additional photos of the flooring once the renovation is complete.

A couple of our big concerns with replacing the carpet in our RV with new flooring, was how we would address the slide-out and the area around the “doghouse” aka engine cover.

Although I assisted Eric throughout the process, he did the majority of the work so I’ll let him give you all the details on how we replaced the RV flooring, along with some tips we learned along the way. Even though we installed this flooring in our RV, it’s technically made for a sticks and bricks home, so if you don’t have an RV I hope you find this post helpful as well.

We we replaced the carpet inside our RV, a 2008 Tiffin Allegro Openroad 32LA | MountainModernLife.com

How to Replace RV Flooring

As Katie mentioned, we recently discovered a water leak in the RV. We made the decision to remove the bathroom walls and fixtures in order to remove the damaged ceiling panel. We planned to make updates to many of these items anyway so it wasn’t a big deal, but this isn’t necessary if your only objective is to replace the RV flooring. If you want to remove some of your furniture first you can see how we removed our sofa here and our dinette set here.

The style in our RV wasn’t awful, but it didn’t feel like home to us. The new flooring has made a huge impact on the overall feel of the RV, despite so many unfinished projects surrounding it.

mint-border-mountainmodernlife.com

Materials Need to Install the flooring:

NuCore Flooring

Spacers

Rubber Mallet

Ruler/Square

Pencil

Tape Measure

Utility Knife

Jigsaw

Drill/Forstner Bit (if you need to make holes for any wires)

mint-border-mountainmodernlife.com

The NuCore flooring we used is essentially a “floating floor” so it can be placed over most existing flooring, with the exception of carpet. Technically we could have placed it over the tiled areas of our RV, but as many of you may know, weight is of upmost importance in the RV and we wanted to ensure everything was level. For this reason we figured it would be best to remove the old flooring in order to eliminate as much weight as possible. The other great thing about this flooring is that it doesn’t need to acclimate before installation. It’s ready to go out of the box.

First thing’s First, Remove the Old RV Flooring

We started by removing the peel and stick vinyl tiles we had throughout most of our unit. These were relatively easy to remove with a miniature crow bar. What was surprising was the weight of the tiles. When you hold just one it didn’t seem that bad, but once you had 3 or 4 in your hand the overall weight will blow your mind.

Removing the tiled flooring from the RV with a miniature crowbar | MountainModernLife.com

Removing the Tile Flooring in the RV | MountainModernLife.com

Removing the toilet in the RV before replacing the flooring | MountainModernLife.com

After we had all of the tiles removed we turned our attention to the carpet. For those that don’t know, the flooring is generally installed inside the RV before the walls are put up, which can make it a bit trickier to remove. Wearing gloves is highly recommended during this process.

Removing the Carpet and Tile from the RV before replacing the Flooring | MountainModernLife.com

I wish I could tell you that the carpet removal process was as easy as the tile, but I can’t. Due to the number of staples used, it may take a bit of time to get all of the carpet removed from your RV. After seeing the number of staples used in the carpet of other motorhomes, I actually think we were pretty lucky. Even so it was still a bit rough.

Removing the RV flooring around captain's chairs for new floor installation | MountainModernLife.com

I used several different tools in an attempt to gain any advantage I could, but the most useful were the utility knife and a pair of square headed pliers.

Removing the carpet inside the bedroom of the RV | MountainModernLife.com

You may get frustrated and exhausted while pulling up the carpet, but know that the outcome will be well worth it. You just may never want to see another staple. Ever. Again.

Once the old flooring was removed we vacuumed the subfloor and made sure it was clean and smooth.

How to Cut the Flooring

You can cut the flooring planks by using a utility knife and a leftover piece of flooring, or a square. I opted for the square when cutting straight lines, however as you progress through your RV you will notice many detailed cuts you need to make. For those cuts I used our jigsaw.

There were a few pieces we needed cut down pretty narrow and I used our table saw for this. Although this isn’t necessary it certainly sped the process up a bit. When cutting the vinyl plank flooring with a jigsaw or any other saw it is important to wear both safety goggles and a face mask as there will be A LOT of debris flying about.

How to Install Flooring in the RV

When installing the flooring in your RV you will want to start with the planks against the longest wall in the unit.

Once you have your flooring in hand you will see that it has different connectors on each side that interlock. You will want to have the female connector of the plank facing away from the wall, as the male connector comes down on top to connect.

Tools used to install flooring inside RV | MountainModernLife.com

Ok, so now you are ready to lay your first piece on the LONGEST WALL. Make sure to use your spacers to create space for the flooring to expand and contract with the climate changes.

Side Note: In a rush to replace the RV flooring after all of the obstacles we hit, I ended up starting our flooring against the passenger side wall (which is not our longest wall). Once past the kitchen cabinets we had to start a brand new section from the back left corner of the RV and start coming back toward the front. We had measured the distance from side to side in our RV at three different locations and they all lined up so we knew that it would all come together, at least we hoped it would. Luckily it did and we didn’t need to use a transition strip. As long as you follow the included instructions you should be good to go.

Line the female connector from the first piece up with the male connector of the second piece and give it a slight tap with the mallet to secure it. Continue this process down the length of the wall.

In the photo below you can see that the female connector faces away from the wall.

How to install planked flooring inside RV | MountainModernLife.com

Once you arrive to the end you may need to cut the last piece to finish the row (when doing this, do not cut off the side of the plank with the connector you need).

Use the leftover piece from your cut to start your next row, this is an easy way to ensure your joints are staggered.

The angle-tap installation makes this process pretty easy. Just make sure to attach your next piece at a 45 degree angle then push down to ensure they snap together. Then securely attach the end with a few taps from your rubber mallet..

Here’s a photo of the flooring after we finished up a few rows:

Are you looking to replace your RV flooring? Check out how we did just that in our motorhome to give it a more rustic modern vibe. | MountainModernLife.com

It’s important to remember that you do not want to have any pieces that are less than 12 inches long. If you do not have to cut one to fit at the end you will still want to cut a piece to start your next row. I say this because you do not want the seams of side by side rows to match, in fact the seams should be staggered at least 12 inches apart.

The only area that we didn’t follow this was the small 3 inch gap between the stairwell and our kitchen cabinets.

Are you looking to replace your RV flooring? Check out how we did just that in our motorhome to give it a more rustic modern vibe. | MountainModernLife.com

At one point we considered completely removing the kitchen cabinets, but due to the water heater being secured underneath them we decided it wasn’t necessary. I will say this, make sure you keep your vents inside the cabinets unlike we did. Of course removing them from the floor is a good idea.

Floor Vent Painted and installed with new flooring inside RV | MountainModernLife.com

Cutting Holes for Electrical Wires and Chair Bolts

We didn’t want to leave any of the carpet up front so we removed our Captains Chairs, which also allowed us to run the flooring throughout. This in turn left the four bolts for each chair that we had to operate around. We measured out the exact location of the bolts on the planks and then drilled the holes with our Forstner Bit.

How we installed flooring inside our RV | MountainModernLife.com

Our bit size was 1 1/2 but with every RV being different you should find the size that is right for your situation. If you don’t have a way to drill the holes I would suggest a Forstner Bit, it made this job extremely easy.

Creating hole in flooring with forstner bit to create space for bolts | MountainModernLife.com

Installing Flooring Around the RV Doghouse

The framing around the doghouse gave me a bit of anxiety in the beginning. I mean I was just getting started on the install and I had already drilled out the holes for the bolts of the captains chair and now I would have to make the flooring hug around the doghouse.

Side note: After we removed all of the carpet from the driver area and doghouse we insulated it, which you can see in this video. We also built a custom doghouse/engine cover.

Unscrewing RV Doghouse with Drill before Removing the Carpet | MountainModernLife.com

It wasn’t nearly as bad as I had anticipated. I used cardboard from one of the leftover boxes from the flooring to create a template.

Creating a cardboard template to cut around odd angles inside the RV | MountainModernLife.com

As you continue throughout the RV you will need to make other precise cuts, so I would suggest keeping the cardboard boxes in order to make your templates.

Do I need to replace the RV flooring under the bed?

For us, the answer to this question was no. We have seen where other people completely removed their bed frame in order to get the flooring underneath. However, the mechanical system for our bedroom slide-out is actually located under our bed. (This is also the reason we had to nix the murphy bed idea.)

RV Bed Frame with Slide Out Mechanism Underneath | MountainModernLife.com

For this reason we decided it would be best to cut out as much carpet as possible before installing the flooring around it.

Removing the Carpet from around the RV Bed Frame | MountainModernLife.com

We removed the panel at the foot of the bed in order to make this process a little easier.

On the sides of the bed I ran the planks about 8 inches underneath it. With the 8 inches under the bed I was still able to lock in the joints of the flooring while also creating the appearance that the flooring was running all the way beneath.  It was a lot easier than I expected and I think it turned out pretty good.

Rustic Planked Flooring installed around the RV bed | MountainModernLife.com

Installing Flooring on the RV Slide-Out

This is another section of the RV that had me a bit in knots. Although there is some information out there, there isn’t much and every RV is different. So unfortunately there’s no cookie cutter way to replace the RV flooring in a slide-out. So we did what anyone would do, and attacked it head on.

RV Slide Out with boring carpet before we installed planked flooring | MountainModernLife.com

Removing the carpet from RV Slide Out | MountainModernLife.com

Removing old flooring from RV slide out | MountainModernLife.com

Installing the flooring in the slide-out was as easy as installing it everywhere else in the RV. However, you may need to install a level subfloor first if your slide has rollers that make it uneven.

Where the biggest issue came in for us was with the lip of the slide out. Below you can see a picture of the slide out with the flooring installed, however you can see it doesn’t have a finished look on the edge.

Rustic style plank flooring installed inside the RV | MountainModernLife.com

We had removed the black plastic trim from the edge of the slide-out and also removed the “female connector” from the last edge of the flooring.

How to Replace the Flooring inside the RV Slide Out | MountainModernLife.com

After looking at different transition options, we decided to go with outside corner trim for the edge of the slide, which is essentially a piece of wood at a 90 degree angle.

We were not able to find a outside corner trim piece that was the perfect size, so we had to rip it down. We then cut both ends to a 45 degree angle to create a finished look on the corners, then nailed them into place with our nail gun.

You can find a more detailed post on how we installed flooring in our RV slide-out here.

Here’s a before photo showing a close up of where the slide-out meets the rest of the flooring:

Before photo of the old carpet and tile inside our RV | MountainModernLife.com

And here’s an after photo:

Are you looking to replace your RV flooring? Check out how we did just that in our motorhome to give it a more rustic modern vibe. | MountainModernLife.com

Adding Quarter Round Trim

We added quarter round trim around some areas of the RV using our nail gun. Use caution whenever screwing in or nailing items inside the RV. We used smaller nails along the edge of the walls and it seemed to work just fine. You may want to consider using something else, maybe even carpet tape to attach it to the walls.

We have custom furniture plans in the works so we didn’t add trim everywhere as you can see in some of the photos. We figure we will wait until all of the furniture (and walls) are back in before finishing up the rest of the trim.

Measuring our quarter round trim for flooring installation | MountainModernLife.com

Installing Quarter Round Trim for Planked Flooring | MountainModernLife.com

When I first thought about replacing the RV flooring I have to admit I was a little nervous. I had never installed flooring before, let alone inside a moving vehicle. Sure, I had my moments when I had to make some crazy cuts (like around the toilet), but overall the jointing system on the NuCore flooring made it literally and figuratively a snap. After you make a few cuts you get the hang of it allowing the process to speed up.

It may not be perfect, but we are both excited about how it turned out. It’s certainly the first step in transforming our RV into our rustic modern motorhome.

Are you looking to replace your RV flooring? Check out how we did just that in our motorhome to give it a more rustic modern vibe. | MountainModernLife.com

Are you looking to replace your RV flooring? Check out how we did just that in our motorhome to give it a more rustic modern vibe. | MountainModernLife.com

Well that about wraps it up for how we replaced the RV flooring. So what do you think so far?

I hope this post was helpful for you.

Update: You can find our post on the RV slide-out flooring installation here, and see our new engine “doghouse” cover here.

Do you have any tips when it comes to installing flooring inside an RV? If so we would love to hear about them in the comments. And if you plan to update your flooring be sure to stop by Floor & Decor for beautiful yet affordable options that are easy to install.

Thank you so much to Floor & Decor for providing us with such beautiful flooring! As always, all opinions are 100% our own.


You can find all of our RV-related posts here.

Prefer videos? Be sure to visit our video page or subscribe to our YouTube Channel.


49 Comments
  • Mom
    Reply

    The flooring looks amazing, I can’t wait to see it this weekend!

    March 22, 2016 at 12:18 am
  • This is such a great post! I’ll be bookmarking it for sure – we plan to invest in an RV this spring/summer and I’m sure we’ll be going the fixer upper route. The new floors look great!!

    March 22, 2016 at 11:36 am
  • So helpful!! Thanks for sharing! We just pulled up most of the vinyl and carpeting in our RV and were totally stumped at what to do with the lip of the slide, but I love your solution. How well has the flooring held up in terms of scratching? Also, I’ve heard the slide can give the flooring under it a bit of a beating, have you had any experience with this? Thanks so much for the great piece!

    March 23, 2016 at 9:59 pm
  • This is GORGEOUS! OMG – I can’t wait to see shots of the entire thing!

    March 27, 2016 at 9:19 pm
  • WOW this is an incredible amount of work but it looks amazing! LOVE how you showed all the necessary steps and walk us through it.

    March 28, 2016 at 9:47 pm
  • Tracy Boillard
    Reply

    Were purchasing our RV this weekend and i’m super nervous and excited all at the same time to get the remodel going! neither one of us are “handy”.. so fingers crossed!!

    April 15, 2016 at 10:24 pm
    • How exciting Tracy! Have fun and we would love to see the progress you make! We are doing a lot of these projects for the first time too so just try to be patient and know the end result will be worth it 🙂

      April 21, 2016 at 1:40 pm
  • Pat Collins
    Reply

    This is the most complete post I have read to date. Thanks so much. Hubby is really concerned about the slide I think this will give him some relief.

    May 7, 2016 at 6:55 am
    • Hi Pat,

      I know it was a lot of information but we certainly wanted it to be helpful so that’s the best compliment you could give us 🙂 We even wrote a second post with tips for installing flooring inside the slide-out, which you can find at the link below:

      http://mountainmodernlife.com/replace-the-flooring-inside-a-rv-slide-out/

      Have a great weekend and let us know how the flooring install goes!
      Katie

      May 7, 2016 at 11:19 am
  • Hello , sorry for my English, I speak French. I would put the same floor attorneys in my rv but I live in Canada. Floor & decor not book there. Do you know another similar mark ? Thank you !

    May 9, 2016 at 9:56 pm
  • Lief Ostrom
    Reply

    How did you get the carpet out from underneath the slide – the carpet from the coach floor that goes underneath it?

    August 5, 2016 at 10:11 am
  • Donna
    Reply

    Love post on you new flooring in the RV. We have a 2005 Monaco Diplomat and need redo ours. Your pictures and explanations are so helpful. Great job, going to show my husband.

    August 5, 2016 at 11:04 am
  • Larry Witzig
    Reply

    Hey Eric,
    I’m doing my 91′ Fleetwood Limited and decided to remove the dinette and put a loft bed for my son and 72 inches of cabinets underneath. Should I lay flooring underneath it all or set the cabinets and bed and floor around them?

    August 13, 2016 at 12:21 pm
  • Steve Turner
    Reply

    Hi Eric,
    The flooring looks great! I own a 2007 Allegro Open Road (very similar to yours) and I also want to replace the carpet in my RV. My plan is to go with a laminate as well. Will you please answer a couple of questions for me? Regarding your refrigerator slide-out, does the rollers on the slide come into contact with the main floor? If so, what did you do to prevent the rollers from damaging the flooring?.As the slide is fully extended, it tends to slightly drop down as it seats in the fully extended position. Does the front edge/corner edging of the slide hit or rest on the main floor? if not, did you do anything to prevent it or is their enough spacing to begin with? Thank you for your time. Im really impressed with the transformation you are doing to your RV!

    September 2, 2016 at 2:37 pm
  • Steve Turner
    Reply

    Eric,

    Thank you for responding! Your answers have cleared up my questions. And, you have given me a boost of confidence to replace my flooring. Thanks again and safe travels.

    Steve

    September 7, 2016 at 10:54 pm
  • Kathy Maultsby
    Reply

    This is one of the most detailed, relevant, and well-written articles I’ve ever read on RV remodeling. Thank you for being so thorough.

    September 16, 2016 at 8:39 pm
  • Thanks for sharing your transformation. It looks GREAT! Wow! We thought about doing pre manufactured flooring but decided to do something we’ve never seen done in an RV. Recycled PALLET WOOD flooring. Check out our flooring install here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueTKXvHT0vI. We are very happy with how it turned out! Check out all of our RV renovations @ http://www.youtube.com/DuetJustusVlogs.

    September 18, 2016 at 3:48 pm
  • deb
    Reply

    hi Eric the flooring looks fabulous!! is there a special kind of vinyl flooring you have to use for rv?

    October 18, 2016 at 8:54 am
  • Hi Eric and Katie!

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write such an in depth post. My fiancé and I are buying our first RV this week (a 2001 Coachmen Catalina) and will be renovating the inside ourselves, starting with the floor. I’ve looked at both vinyl and laminate options, and have read similar posts on installs for both, but am still kind of at a loss for which way to go.

    We’ll be living in our rig full time, and traveling cross country continuously for my work. Very rarely will we be parked anywhere for more than a few days or a week at a time. I’ve read that floating floors can experience separation after extensive travel in an RV, and it’s been suggested to use vinyl planks in conjunction with adhesive instead. Have you had any issues with separation or movement with your floating flooring over time?

    Thanks in advance for any insight you might be able to offer 🙂

    Elli

    November 21, 2016 at 11:25 pm
  • This is really great stuff that you’re putting up. Clearly, we all appreciate these posts. I have a question on the main floor replacement.
    How did you handle getting the new flooring UNDER the slideout? I’m in the process of re-flooring my tagalong camper with vinyl plank flooring and I’m at wit’s end on how to handle that part of the project. I’d love some helpful suggestions on that portion of the project.

    November 27, 2016 at 10:44 pm
  • Jay Barstow
    Reply

    Hi guys … great job of educating. I have read that large temperature variations can cause problem with seams on vinyl planks … we’re looking at near freezing to over 100 degrees when not in use … what’s been your experience (I just bought a BUNCH of NuCore for MY RV project … THANKS!!! btw, there is a cutting (not sawing) tool for oscillating saws that is not toothed, but wavy, and it went through our carpet like butter completely flush with the edges …

    January 13, 2017 at 11:49 am
  • Linda Brooks
    Reply

    Thank you for all of the info. Can you post information and pictures on how you tackled the step when you enter the motorhome?

    February 27, 2017 at 1:09 pm
  • Hi, Eric.

    Thanks for sharing such detailed information on how you installed your flooring. We went with the Nucore product as well and will be installing it this week. I know you’re supposed to install it on the longest edge–but does that also include the slide out edge? It’s not necessarily a wall, but I think we could install it there. There’s a little bit of a lip that we could tap the boards against. However, the slide out edge isn’t the straightest either… Any advice? Thanks!
    Ashley

    April 3, 2017 at 10:20 am
  • Hey Guys,

    Great article! Just curious now after having the floors a bit if you are still thrilled with them. We recently purchased an old airstream and are researching flooring options. Like you, my primary concern is expansion/contraction of the planks (leaving gaps). Thanks so much and have a great day!

    June 28, 2017 at 10:25 pm
    • Hey James! The floors have held up great so far, and are easy to clean. The only thing I would maybe change is to go with a slightly lighter color just because I like to “see the dirt” and the dark color hides it better. I know some people prefer floors that hide the dirt, so that’s really just a preference thing, and we vacuum nearly every day anyway since we have pets. Overall, we love the flooring!

      June 28, 2017 at 10:31 pm
  • Kristine Symes
    Reply

    I really found your information to be the most detailed and helpful of all the makeovers I have looked at. I hope to tackle my trailer in the Fall. I want to paint the interior, do wall paper, and add new flooring I know i will be referring back to this blog for a lot of help. I hope to find some talented men to assist me with my remodel. Being a woman, its not that I don’t think I can do it, its a matter of mastering the tools….. The tools get me everytime, but I will give it my all and have some great ideas for changes to the decor. I have a 2004 Jayco Eagle and it is time for an update.

    July 15, 2017 at 11:17 pm
    • Yay, that sounds so exciting and good for you for stepping outside your comfort zone! We really didn’t know what we were doing either, haha. Best of luck and let us know how it goes!

      August 3, 2017 at 12:57 am
  • Brandon Currie
    Reply

    Great article as we start our rv renovation. We have an allegro open road 35 qba that looks to have the same slides. It looks like you used flooring that is 6.5mm thick. Did this give you any issues when moving the sides in and out? Did you need to adjust your slides to compensate for the thickness difference from the original laminate? Thanks in advance for your help!

    July 30, 2017 at 1:19 pm
    • Nope, we didn’t have to make any additional changes and the slide-out rolls over with no complications. There haven’t been any scratches to our floor and it’s now been over a year since we installed it. The only thing we have noticed is that a few of the nails in the slide out trim piece (not the flooring) have popped up a few times and we had to hammer them back down. Using contact cement may have been a better option for that…

      August 3, 2017 at 1:01 am
  • Love love love your tiny home on wheels — what an inspiring space 🙂 We are in the middle of our own flooring renovation (carpet and linoleum and about a million staples have been removed) and we’re still wavering on which flooring option will be best for us. We have several carriage bolts sticking up 1/8 inch above the plywood so we’re grinding those down just a bit and we’re thinking of going with the NuCore flooring and digging out just a little from the bottom of the planks where it will rest on top of the carriage bolts. Did you encounter bolts like that?
    Just curious as well how much the flooring weighs. A similar product we saw at Home Depot (lifeproof brand: no acclimation, waterproof) would be 420 lbs for our 250sqft project. I couldn’t find the weight online for the NuCore…wondered if you still had a box laying around and could post that info?
    We’re planning to build a box for the doghouse as well. And we’ll have to get a little creative in our living room slide-out, but we’re feeling fairly confident it’ll come together 🙂 Thanks for all the helpful posts!
    -Maggie

    August 29, 2017 at 11:21 am
  • Garth Hetterly
    Reply

    Great job. I look easy but I suspect it was quite difficult, love your solutions – one problem then one solution.

    Wondering about the dog house do you happen to have pics of that? I planning on tackling a similar project

    Nice choice of colors.

    September 2, 2017 at 11:18 pm

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