This will Floor You!
After 94,652 miles the carpet in the MotherShip is worn out. The
dark section in the middle is actually in the best condition as it
was covered by a runner. The sides, however, are worn, filled with
dust and stained on the right side.
For months we have visited dozens of flooring companies and looked
endlessly online. Matching carpet is not available. Amazingly
Monaco has access to the original kitchen tile, so we could tile the
entire floor. While this was our preference, Pete just didn't think
he could match the quality installation of the existing floor. And
we don't have the tools and it is messy. So, carpet and tile are
out. How about high quality wood flooring? No! We learned from
variety of sources that real wood is inadvisable in a motorhome. The
twisting and bumping will separate the planks. Okay, there is LVT
(Luxury Vinyl Tile) and laminate flooring. LVT is very nice, not
too expensive and easy to install. However, we did not feel it would
look good next to the ceramic kitchen tile. So the hunt began for
the best complimentary laminate flooring. After visiting many stores
we landed at Flooring 101 in Ventura, California. There, Gilbert
took a great interest in our project and reviewed many samples with
us in the Mothership. Laminates come in thickness from 7 to 12 mm,
low to high gloss, beveled edge, micro-beveled edge or square edge.
Our preference was the thickest, glossiest and square edged to keep
the dirt out of the groves. This was not to be. We did find one in
Maple, but it clashed with the tile. We finally chose Armstrong
Afzelia with an oak look, 12 mm thick with micro-beveled edges.
The job began. The carpet and padding was cut into pieces and
removed including eight years worth of dust. That was easy. What
was difficult is the carpet was installed before the walls and it
can't be removed at the edges. So we cut and hacked and pulled with
pliers until we got as much as possible. Using our new Dremel Saw
Max we cut off the rounded tiles and cement board underlayment.
Then vacuumed up the mess and were ready to install.
Planks can shrink and expand with changes in temperature and even
more so with humidity You need to acclimate your planks to your
environment for 48 hours before installing. No problem it took us
that long in preparation.
Surprise, surprise! The tile in the kitchen is one inch above the
floorboard, but the tile in the front is only 1/2 inch! The new
flooring with its underlayment is 5/8 of an inch, taller than the
front and shorter than the kitchen tile. What to do? Remove all
the tile; remove the front tile, give up? Too late, the carpet has
been shredded. The decision was made to raise the floor with 3/8
plywood. Plywood was cut, glued down and screwed down.
Next, the slide trim molding was too low to clear the new flooring
when the slides are brought in. This "hack" job took a while and
wasn't pretty, but the results will be covered.
Underlayment is soft and comes in various thicknesses. We choose
the thickest, 1/8 inch with a foil moisture barrier that goes on the
bottom side. It installs in just a few minutes and is held in place
by water-resistant tape.
Finally the fun part begins. Laying this laminate is very quick as
it uses the Armstrong "Lock and Fold" method. You begin your first
row by cutting a plank to fit your starting point on the left. Then
lay in planks to the right and cut the final right side piece.
Continue with each row being sure to randomly position the breaks in
The floor looks pretty nice now, we just need to trim it out.
Caulking was used at the walls. The only tricky part was where the
flooring is 1/2 inch above the front tile. Triangular trim was cut
from planks on a table saw. These pieces were glued down and
And now, "be floored".
Check out the old to new comparisons.
And we just couldn't resist another look at this beautiful floor.
Material costs were:
Laminate $3.27 per square foot.
Underlayment: $50 for 100 square feet.
Plywood, glue, screws and caulking: $90 for three sheets.
Plastic runner: $20 for 20 feet.
Dremel Saw Max: $110. This saw was great for this project and many
more. Except for the cutoff saw and table saw, we carry all the
tools we used. It could be done without the extra saws but would
have required much more care in cutting.
This project was pretty fun. Total time was about 30 hours. Laying
the laminate was the shortest time. Most of that time was cutting
planks on an angle or around corners or wires. All laminate brands
have planks that lock lengthwise into the previous row of planks.
The locking edge will look something like this.
Many laminate brands then require that you tap on the right end to
push it into the plank on its left. The Armstrong laminate we used
is called Grand Illusions Afzelia (L3030). It uses what they call
"Lock and Fold". After you lock in to the previous row, you just
fold the plank down. It couldn't be easier.
Overall an inexpensive way to cover your floors, unless you have to
pay for the labor!
We are home for a month, so our travelogues will be about a variety
of topics or non-existent. Enjoy a safe new year. Our prayer for
you is that He blesses you and your family in 2014.
Love, Pete and Ellen