Installing new flooring in the Toyhauler RV
It has been some time since my last update on our Toyhauler RV project. If you have been following along with my previous posts you will know that my husband Lance and I have purchased a 50’ Vintage Outlaw Enclosed trailer with living quarters. And it has turned into quite the project. Check out the previous post to see what we have tackled up to now.
With the cabinets installed, it is time to lay down the new flooring. After researching different types of flooring and see what others had installed into their RVs, we opted to go with Luxury Vinyl Planks.
So what is Luxury Vinyl Flooring?
Luxury Vinyl Plank is similar to vinyl sheeting or linoleum. However, it is typically thicker, and therefore more
durable. Luxury Vinyl is also much easier to install, as it isn’t attached to the subfloor in any way. And because of its waterproof material, it makes it a perfect option for an RV flooring.
Luxury Vinyl comes in planks and tiles and has many different looks, from hardwood to stone so you can be sure to find one that will match your design desires.
How is Luxury Vinyl Installed?
Luxury Vinyl is a floating floor, meaning that it isn’t attached to the subfloor. Because of this, it can typically be installed over existing flooring. Providing that floor is structurally sound and smooth. The original floor in our Toyhauler was everything but this, so we ended up installing our new planks directly over the new subfloor.
The smooth part is incredibly important, however. Because these planks and tiles are thinner than actual hardwood or stone, any uneven spot or little pebble will be noticeable. So just be sure you take the extra time to clean and level out whatever you are placing the Luxury Vinyl over.
Each manufacturer of Luxury Vinyl will include instructions on how to install their flooring. It is imperative that you follow each step to ensure your floor with last for years.
We used Tarkett Luxury Vinyl Planks in our RV. As per their instructions, a ¼ inch gap was required around all edges. This allows for the flooring to expand and contract with temperature changes.
Then it is as simple as laying the flooring down. This particular flooring has tongue and groove connectors on each end. This means that installing the planks is as easy as snapping the pieces together. You can either work row by row, or in a stair step method, left to right.
It is most likely that you will have to cut an end piece in each row. Be sure to check which end of the tongue and groove you need. This way you won’t accidentally cut off the piece you need. It is also recommended that none of the planks are less than 12” in length.
Our Experience with Luxury Vinyl Planks
Because we had replaced our subfloor we were fairly certain that it was as smooth as it was going to get. So we just had to match sure to clean the floor well before laying down the new planks.
We also decide to add an underlayment between the subfloor and the vinyl planks. Even though this wasn’t a necessary step, we thought having the extra layer for noise insulation would be nice.
Then it was time to lay the planks. Starting in the front of the trailer and on the left-hand side, we laid the first full plank. The interior width of the trailer is 96” and the planks are 36” long. So each row of planks would have to be cut. We also wanted to keep the seams staggered. I don’t know if this really would matter, but we thought it gave a nicer look overall.
Because of this, and the desire to use as much material without waste, we opted to work 1 row at a time starting in the left and working right. Then we would work lay the next row starting right and working left. Because of this, we were able to use both ends of the plank we needed to cut, reducing waste.
Cutting the Planks
To cut the vinyl planks, we used a utility knife. By using a carpenters square and masking tape we marked our line to cut. Then with the utility knife, we scored the plank. This allowed us to snap the plank in half at the scoreline.
I am sure that there are other, less trying ways to cut the vinyl planks. We tried using an oscillating multi-tool. And while it worked well, it also left dust to clean up, and since we were trying to keep the mess down, we felt the utility knife was the better option.
As mentioned before, it is important to keep the length of each plank longer than 12”. The manufacturer of the Vinyl planks we used also stated that each seam should be more than 12” apart. This was another reason we decided to lay the planks the way we did.
Benefits of Luxury Vinyl
By deciding to go with Vinyl planks in our Toyhauler we discovered many benefits that go along with it.
Unlike hardwood or stone floors, Luxury Vinyl requires virtually no maintenance. No sanding, staining or re-grouting necessary. And because the floor is a floating design, you don’t have to worry about glue letting loose over time.
Because we are putting this flooring is an RV having to do minimal maintenance was a ✅ in the pro column.
Vinyl is soft and absorbs pressure as you walk. Because of this it will feel almost spongy and will result in less foot and back pain if you are on your feet a lot.
Luxury Vinyl also adapts to room temperatures. So even in the dead of winter, your floor will feel warm.
Luxury Vinyl is incredibly tough flooring, making it ideal for heavy traffic areas. Unlike other types of floors, Vinyl absorbs shocks. Because of this it won’t chip or crack if something is dropped on it.
Luxury Vinyl is colored all the way through. While scratches are rare, they can happen. With the trough coloring, they will be less obvious.
Still to come:
Now that we have the flooring installed, we can move on to the millwork. Having never installed any trim work, this is definitely going to be a learning experience for us.
Stay tuned for more updates on our progress as we get closer to finishing our Toyhauler makeover.