We decided to remove the carpet from our motor home and install the Allure TrafficMaster flooring from Home Depot.
Removing carpeting and installing new flooring in any type of Recreational Vehicle, would be a difficult job, but one with slide-out rooms just adds to the issues you have to deal with.
Allure flooring is a heavy duty vinyl flooring that is installed as a floating floor, similar to laminate. It comes in either a wood look, or a tile look. The wood look planks are 6 inches by 36 inches. The tile look is 12 inches by 36 inches.
It’s made for Home Depot and to my knowledge cannot be purchased elsewhere. However, I did see something very similar at “Flooring America.” They were priced about the same.
We paid around $50 per box for the tile look, which covers 24 square feet. The wood look planks are around $42 per box (24 square feet). We decided on the tile look because we thought it would give a nice contrast between the floor and our oak cabinets. The wood look would have been much easier to install and with less waste because there would have been no pattern match. If you’re undecided between which to go with and are 50/50, keep in mind the wood look would be much easier to install.
We are happy with the color (Sierra) we chose and think it is very rich looking. We were concerned the dark color would make the motor home look too dark, but it doesn’t.
We thought it would be lighter in weight than the old carpet and padding, but the opposite is true. Allure is very heavy! No weight savings here!
On the photo below, you can see the gray strips, which are the sticky tabs. There are 2 corresponding sticky sides on the bottom of the each piece that hold the two pieces together. The directions suggest the flooring be installed in temperatures from 65 to 85 degrees, to allow the glue to stick properly, but they also say that if it’s not that warm, you can use a hair blower to warm up the glue strips.
We started in the rear of the coach, removing carpet around the bed.
We were concerned about how to remove the carpet under the both the bedroom and the living room slide. The bedroom turned out to be easy. The bed lifts up with storage underneath. It turns out that underneath that storage area is a removable panel on top of the slide mechanism. Once that was removed it made it easy to remove the carpet underneath the bed, and see the clearance needed for the bedroom slide.
We got the carpet up and found a nice level wood floor, but signs of a former water leak by the slide. We remembered one night during a heavy rain and water was running in through the slide. We think the seal on the top of the slide wasn’t turned properly, and let water run down the sides. Anyway, I put some Kilz down in those areas.
After we removed all the carpeting, and staples that held down the edge of the old vinyl, we installed the new flooring. This is a picture of the bedroom.
From the bedroom you go to the hall/shower/vanity area that originally had vinyl. We decided to leave the old vinyl there and put the Allure right over it. We put felt roofing paper on the bedroom wood floor to bring it up to the same level as the vinyl. We had a roll of 15 pound paper already on hand. I had to use 3 sheets of it to make it the same level. It was not a problem to put down.
These next photo’s shows the kitchen back towards the bedroom. We’re working our way from back to front.
We removed the carpeting from the sides and back of the steps. There is a light light brown rubbery stair tread on the actual steps. It has been stained and we would like to replace it. I found some places online that have replacement stair tread, but we may just try to clean the stains. It's going to cost about $80 to replace the rubber on the two steps. I really hate to spend that for two little steps...but I know I won't be happy unless I do. Now, it's just a matter of deciding what style, color and where to order. Wish I could find it somewhere that I could look at it and not have to order online and pay shipping. Any ideas?
We weren’t sure how to remove the sleeper sofa through the narrow front door, but Al figured out how to remove the arms and back, and we were easily able to get it out of the RV. We found 2 new recliners to replace the couch. We found special smaller recliners that are only 32 inches wide, but are very comfortable. They are on order and should arrive mid March. Al assures me they will fit in the door. I sure hope so!
This is what the couch after we took it apart. We had no clue that it came apart like it did.
Once the couch was gone, it gave us more room to work. The photo below is where the couch was which is across from the living room slide. The carpet didn’t look nearly as bad as the picture makes it look. In fact this carpet was like brand new…really!
Al continued removing carpet and staples and I continued laying the flooring, working my way up from the back. I have been laying the flooring sideways (east/west), verses lengthways. It seemed the best way to avoid more difficult cuts. It’s not hard, but you have to plan each piece to match grout lines, and there are a lot of cuts. All you need to cut this stuff is a razor knife and a straight edge. You just score it and snap it apart. If you need to make an unusual cut you can use snippers to just break small pieces away…after you score it, or you can even cut it with heavy duty scissors if you need to cut around a curve.
Our intention is to do the entire coach, and not stop where the captains chairs are like most people are doing.
We had a little trouble figuring out how to remove the captains chairs. It turns out there were 4 bolts holding them to the base. You also have to remove the wire that allows the chair to swivel, and the bolt for the seatbelt.
I have read on different forums about people who did the whole project in a few days. That’s not going to happen here. It’s very slow work and only one person can lay the flooring at a time. There is simply not enough room for 2 people to lay flooring at the same time. There are very few easy pieces, and most have to be cut. With the tile pattern we chose, you have to match up the grout joints with each cut piece. The wood look would have made it easier with less waste, and we would have
been done much, much quicker. On top of slow going, if you’re over 50 it will darn near kill you! Getting up and down constantly and working on your knees, is real tiring. Of course we spent approximately 50 % of our time searching for: pencil, knife, snippers or straight edge! No matter how careful I was laying these items down, they always seemed to move right before I needed them!
Here is a list of the things you will need to install Allure Flooring.
1. box cutter knife
2. straight edge
3. needle nose pliers to pull staples, or a grinder to grind them down
4. hammer to hammer staples.
5. knee pads
7. heating pad
8. cold pack
9. vodka and tonic and or beer
We have done a lot of research on different forums on the best way to handle the issues on the living room slide. Our slide is a long slide, about 12 feet in length. Part of it is the kitchen area which is over the old vinyl flooring. That part of it rides about 1 inch on top of the vinyl. The other half of it is where the dinette set is. It’s carpeted and sits on a carpeted base that is about 2 inches high, and rides right on the carpet. There is very little room under this part of the slide where the carpet from the platform meets the carpet on the floor.
These are pictures of the front of the portion of the slide where the dinette was on. You can see it sits up a few inches.
Some people have managed to remove the carpet from under the slide. They say to cut a few inches in front of the slide and just pull on the carpet until it comes out.
With ours, we weren’t sure it would be possible to get it out this way. Our slide sits heavily on the carpet and it appears that it is a solid piece of smooth metal that rests on the slide. We were concerned that if we didn’t get the carpet from under the slide it would bunch up when we pulled the slide in and out.
A few other people said they just stapled the carpet in front of the slide right next to the slide, and then cut it off close to the slide. Then they put some trim on the front of the slide to cover that, or a “t-molding” like is used for laminate flooring. The trick is to keep the carpet in place under the slide so that it doesn’t bunch up. We decided we will staple the carpet down right in front of the slide, cut it and them put some glue on the edge to keep it from raveling. We will butt the flooring up close to this edge then cover it with trim. Hopefully this will work. We didn’t want to mess up the slide mechanism. We think we can put some trim on the edge of the platform the slide is on and cover up the gap between the slide and the Allure. It’s a work in progress, and you have to just work things out as you go.
The following are pictures of the slide where it will meet with the Allure. You can see it is a raised slide. The narrow strip of carpet on the side was an issue as well. We cut it off, and will have to use some trim to cover the gap. We couldn’t get the carpet up from under the slide.
Here it is after we cut the carpet in front of the slide. We will remove the carpet on top of the slide where the table is and tile it as well. The carpet under the drawers will stay.
I am doing the tile installation, and Al is doing the carpet removal and trim work. I have more patience to match up the strips and Al is better with the other part. With the tile look, no piece just lays down without a plan and some cuts. It’s slow going, but we are getting there, slowly but surely.
This is the outside of our motor home. The slide comes out along with the storage bays. It is difficult to get under the 12 foot slide to try to pull out carpet from the outside (as some people have done)
We have a heat vent on the floor that previously came out the side of the sofa from the floor.
We will attach the vent to the floor and leave larger holes for the screws into the Allure, so that the Allure will be able to expand and contract , as the floor floats and will need room to move. Or maybe we won’t screw it back into the floor at all? Still deciding!
The seat belt bolts will have to be handled the same way. We are only going to put them back so that we can use the seatbelts to anchor the recliners when we travel. At least that is the plan right now.
The next photo’s are what the flooring looks like next to the slide. The slide seems to go over the flooring fine, no scratches so far!
The gap where the carpet shows will be covered up with some kind of wood trim. That is another work in progress that we’re still trying to decide on.
This is the finished area by the passengers chair. We have added some brown flexible rubber strips along the wall and some black flexible rubber strips around the doghouse. It covers the gaps where the vinyl met the wall or doghouse.
The area around the doghouse is turning out to be a little more complicated than just removing the captains chairs. Our intention was to remove all carpet possible. We knew we would not be able to put Allure down on the doghouse and have been looking for other options. One poster on the RV-Net Forum said he took rit dye and stained the doghouse. We thought that might be a good idea, so I bought some dark brown dye, put it in a pistil grip sprayer and sprayed it on. I rubbed it in and so far it looks much better. The old carpet was kind of a khaki color and had faded from the sun. The next picture is what is looks like partially done. Not too bad huh?
It’s a little uneven yet, but I think another coat will fix that. Of course now that means I also have to spray the area in front of the seats on the wall!
One issue we found in this area was not discovered until we had already removed the carpet from the passengers side. We started removing it from the drivers side and found under the carpet was a thick padding with silver aluminum foil type of paper on each side. We assumed it was to keep some engine heat out of the coach. We (I) were afraid to remove it…after all, if Fleetwood put it down, it was there for a reason. Right? Anyway we cut around the area and decided the captains chair flooring would have to look different than the passengers side flooring. We’re not for sure what we will do yet though. We figure once the chairs are there you’ll hardly see it anyway. It turns out under the chairs is a pedestal that doesn’t sit level with the floor and is carpeted. That carpet needs to stay there because there are big bolts and it would be impossible to tile over. The chairs cover that little rectangular area anyway. We also thought the area by the gas and brake pedal would be tricky to lay vinyl, so carpet might be better, and since the heat shield is there, we may just leave it. We thought we could put a black rubber mat down? Now I see why most people don’t tackle the doghouse area! Still a work in progress. That is one thing we found out about this project. If you try to figure everything out before you start, you won’t get started. Just get a plan, the best you can, and figure the rest out as you go. You don’t really know what you will find until you start ripping things out! One thing, we have learned about how our motor home is built, and we have been quite pleased with the quality. But we have also found a few areas where we had some leaks we never knew about.
Here is a picture of the bedroom area with a piece of quarter round. I don’t think Al had it tacked down yet though. You have to remember to let the floor float and not nail the trim to the floor.
This is under the kitchen part of the slide.
This is the rubber stripping we are using for trim in some areas. There are a few areas that would be impossible for quarter round or baseboard. This will be used in those places. Some areas have too much curve, so this is perfect…easy too!
This is what is looks like installed.
The next photo is what the steps look like. We pulled the carpet from the sides and back and are left with a rusty metal and some rubber tread mats that are stained. This is another part of the install where we are still trying to decide how to handle. One thing at a time!
This is another example of something that looks really horrible now , but with the carpet on it, it didn’t look bad at all.
Here is a picture of the living area with the tile down. Excuse the mess!
One other area we haven’t discussed much is the bathroom where the toilet is. The toilet sits on a raised panel that has the old white vinyl on it. The white vinyl is also on the lower lever. It’s a tiny bathroom, but in order to do it right, we may have to life the toilet. That’s another area we will worry about it when the time comes!
This is as much as we have done so far. It’s taken us a good while and we both have sore knees and pretty much are sore all over. I guess it shows how out of shape we are.
I will post more pictures as we wrap up the rest of the project. I know a lot of people are wanting to remove the carpet in their motor home and this is our experience.
We won’t be getting much done this week because Al is out of town and I also need a break to let my knees heal! If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask. I know it’s a daunting project, but I think it’s one of those things you just have to figure out as you go. Each motor home is different and there are different issues to address.