Replacing Your RV's Flooring


Your RV's flooring is designed to survive years of wear and tear. But like all things, the material holding your flooring together can break down with age or through water damage. To avoid that sinking feeling the next time you set foot inside your RV, you'll want to replace that damaged wood right away. The following offers a few important tips for removing and replacing your RV's flooring.

Assessing the Damage

When you first step inside of your RV, what do you feel? A sudden split between two otherwise solid sections of flooring will likely reveal a crack or a split in the underlying wood structure. Old age and rough treatment of the flooring itself can easily cause the plywood or particle board underneath to crack apart.

If you feel a soft, spongy spot in your flooring, then chances are you're dealing with water damage. This usually happens due to a plumbing leak, usually at times when an RV is more susceptible to freezing temperatures. Leaks around the exterior of the RV can also let water snake its way through the interior walls and into the flooring.

You can also use an awl to probe the extent of the damage to your flooring. This will help you get an idea of how much flooring you'll have to cut out in order to repair the damage.

Removing the Floor

Before you get to work on removing the flooring, you'll want to dismantle and/or move any cabinets or furniture out of the way. USA Today recommends drawing an accurate diagram of your RV's interior on graph paper, making sure to mark where all of your equipment and appliances are currently installed.

Pull up any carpet, vinyl or linoleum flooring until you've exposed the flooring underneath. Carefully mark out the areas you want to cut out with a felt-tip marker and then use a circular saw to cut out those sections. Make sure it's set to no more than the thickness of the floor itself; otherwise you'll end up cutting through the underlying support structure and outer sheet metal.

The key to a successful floor repair is to remove as much of the rotted, damaged wood as possible. You'll also want to get rid of any underlying insulation or sound deadening material, as it's likely to be damaged as well.

Controlling Mold Growth

Once the flooring is removed, the next step involves dealing with mold. Even if there aren't any apparent signs of mold growth, you'll want to take proactive steps towards treatment and prevention. You can use a wide variety of products to disinfect the underlying structure, including:

  • Commercial mold and mildew sprays
  • A mixture of borax and water (which can be used as a spray or a paste)
  • Household vinegar and water

Some people may even recommend antifreeze for curbing mold growth. However, after being given more information antifreeze's toxicity and attractiveness to small animals, it's often more trouble than it's worth. After allowing the disinfectant to dry, you can use a penetrating epoxy resin to seal the wood against moisture.

Replacing the Floor

After allowing the resin to dry, you can start adding your new insulation or sound deadening. Any cracks or gouges left behind by the circular saw in the underlying support can be filled in with a bit of bondo, as it's flexible enough to withstand the vibrations and motion of the RV.

Measure the width and length of your new plywood and set it in place of the old flooring. It's a good idea to use marine-grade plywood that better resists moisture. Use countersunk deck screws to secure the plywood to the underlying support structure. The screws offer a flush fit that won't show through the floor covering.

Re-cover the plywood with your choice of carpet or vinyl tile. You can use transition strips to join the old and new flooring together, especially if it's made of two different materials (such as carpet and vinyl). At this point, you'll want to re-install your cabinets and any hardware you've moved out of the way.


17 November 2014