Ask an RV Expert: ‘How Can I Update the Flooring Inside My Rig?’ Your RV Flooring Questions Answered

Feb 2, 2023 | Advice Column

Ask an RV Expert: ‘How Can I Update the Flooring Inside My Rig?’ Your RV Flooring Questions Answered

By RVillage Experts

Welcome to Ask an RV Expert, the advice column where RVillage experts answer your questions about the RVing lifestyle and common maintenance problems.

Have a question? Email and we might answer it in a future column.

Dear RVillage Expert: We’re remodeling our 1998 travel trailer, and removed all the carpet and linoleum. What do you suggest for updating flooring? —Lisa K. 

Is your rig due for a little refresh? Replacing your RV flooring can be a great way to give your home on wheels an updated look. The best part? This job can typically be tackled on your own, saving you money and the hassle of hiring a service technician or carpenter. With a game plan, the right tools, and a DIY mindset, your RV can go from outdated to upgraded in no time.

If an RV floor remodel is in your future, here are a few things to think about before ripping out your rig’s vintage carpet, linoleum, or other unfavorable flooring material.

RV Remodeling, Renovation, and Restoration

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Choose your flooring. You likely want to replace your flooring with vinyl planking, laminate, or carpet, unless you’re remodeling your toy hauler garage. In that case, you might want to consider a heavy-duty rubber flooring upgrade so it can withstand the wear and tear of loading and unloading gear. 

Just like in a residential home remodel, you can choose an RV floor material that meets your style preferences and needs. You may even want to choose different materials throughout your rig, like carpet for bedrooms and vinyl or laminate for other living areas. Keep in mind, RV floors tend to get dirtier quicker, especially if you camp with kids or furry companions; consider flooring that’s easy to clean in heavy-traffic areas of your rig. 

Consider slide-outs. For rigs with slide-outs, you need to choose a flooring option that allows the moving parts of your slides to operate as usual. If your flooring material is too thick, this could prevent your slides from moving in and out. Install flooring in any slides separately, as it likely requires a more customized fit, and you need to ensure that all edges are properly installed and sealed to prevent moisture damage to your slide room.

Remove old flooring materials. Before removing your floor, ensure that your new flooring materials are ordered and readily available once your old flooring is ripped out. You don’t want to start this process too soon, only to find out your new flooring could take weeks or months to receive. 

For carpet, you’ll most likely need to remove staples, which can be a tedious process, so be prepared. If your floors are linoleum, you can use a utility knife and floor scraper to remove flooring. Or, if you have peel-and-stick tile throughout your rig, a crowbar can be used to lift these pieces off your subfloor. You also need to remove furniture like dinettes and seating areas before installing the new materials. 

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Inspect subfloor. Be sure to thoroughly inspect all of your subflooring once the old floor materials have been removed. Check for water marks, warped or worn boards, and any other damage that might compromise the integrity of your subfloor. Replace and repair any area that shows signs of damage before laying your new floor. 

Install underlayment. If installing a laminate floor, consider placing an underlayment barrier over the top of your subfloor. This helps keep the laminate flooring in place, and it provides a protective, cushioned layer between your new floors and the subfloor. 

Install flooring. No matter what flooring you install, proper measurements are key to a successful upgrade. Your overall installation process will vary depending on your flooring material as each type of flooring comes with its own set of instructions. 

For vinyl and laminate, be conscious of your flooring pattern as you install the different pieces, and remember to make cuts that go against walls, cabinets, bed frames, or other furniture. You don’t want your cut pieces to align with other flooring, as this can leave an unfinished and uneven look.

Trim and transition finishes. After the new flooring is installed, finish your updated look with new trim and transition pieces. This is especially important if you have slide-outs, as you’ll likely remove the original trim barrier between any slides and the rest of the living space. If you have different flooring materials throughout your rig, you can use trim to transition between the different materials to protect the edges of your flooring.

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RVillage Experts

The RVillage team consists of people who know the RVing lifestyle inside and out. From product experts and service specialists to camping pros and outdoor enthusiasts, we’re here to pass along our know-how to help you troubleshoot, travel, camp, and enjoy your RV adventures. Need advice? Send us a note: