RV floor repair is something that MANY, if not MOST, RVs will need to face if they have any expected lifetime at all. Why? I'll explain below.
First, check out the VIDEOS below for GREAT instructions on how to repair your RV floor.
But the question I FIRST want to address is: Why will you face rv floor repairs in your RV?
First and foremost, RVs face more water difficulties than regular homes. Some of the reasons for these water difficulties are:
- RVs are mobile. This mobilities causes your water system to experience vibration and the vibration makes leaks extremely likely. It just takes one leak to hit the wood in your floor to start the long process of decay.
- RVs experience turning water on and off – which in turn causes more stress in the water system and eventually leaks.
- RVs experience weather changes in a greater way than sticks and bricks home. They have less thermal mass and therefore experience the changes more completely than a sticks and bricks home.
- RVs experience indoor condensation greater than sticks and bricks homes – this means that when it is cold outside and warm inside, you will get condensation inside the RV – and I strongly believe substantially more in an RV. Our Open Range 399BHS experienced condensation every day all winter when we lived in it. This will eventually have an impact.
Next the RVs construction doesn't help. The PRIMARY reason is the copious use of OSB (“oriented strand board”) lumber.
OSB lumber are great for use in areas where water isn't a factor. It is very low cost and has many excellent properties that are superior to plywood.
However, one of the properties that isn't so great is that water is VERY VERY hard on OSB.
The combination of OSB planks used on RV flooring *AND* the RVs propensity for water damage is a horrible combination.
Since you know this combination exists, just gird yourself for the fact that you'll need to repair your RV floor.
The number one way to know if you are headed for a floor replacement is “soft spots” when you are walking on your RV floor.
Another thing to be aware of is that OSB which is weakened by water has many nooks and crannies for mold. So you need to pay attention to floor weakness.
Lets say you now established your floor is weak and likely has to be repaired.
I'll outline the basic steps here. This isn't a step by step how-to, but rather a “quick assessment” guide to let you know what you are getting yourself into.
Basic RV Floor Repairs steps & key notes:
- KEY THOUGHT: Fixing an RV floor will be just like fixing a regular sticks and bricks floor EXCEPT everything is smaller, thinner, and lighter. Same basic steps with some limitations.
- Assess the damage. This is a smart step that falls under the rule of “measure twice and cut once”. Make sure you know the extent of what you have to do before you start.
- Plan the job and acquire everything you need. Know what you will do, purchase the correct materials, ensure you have the correct tools. If this is beyond your capability – call an expert. Review the videos again and again that are on this page.
- Remove the bad flooring. This means removing everything: bad OSB, vinyl, insulation, everything that is unusable and better off being repaired. Since you are doing the work and have everything open this is NOT the time to cheap out and leave something that should be repaired.
- Repair/Renew any wiring, ductwork. I think this requires mentioning before getting to the put on new flooring. This is a great time to protect any ductwork and make sure wiring is very sturdy. It might even be a good time to add some extra wiring or features to add some cool things to your RV – like extra speakers.
- Focus on any possible water leak sources. Remember, it is why you are doing this.
- I would highly consider trying to waterproof where possible.
- Put in insulation. Great chance to have new insulation.
- Measure & cut replacement flooring including any cutouts for vents, etc. I suppose you could replace the flooring with OSB… but this is something you may want to pick a very high grade plywood instead just because of the water resistance.
- Put the new flooring in place. This is something worth spending time on… If you can focus on getting a very smooth surface you'll buy yourself more options on the types of coverings you can use.
- Put a nice decorative floor covering over the flooring. There are lots of choices here. One thing to think about is weight on your RV. So if you are considering the ceramic floor planks that look like wood, make sure you have plenty of extra weight capacity (Gross Vehicle Unloaded Weight Rating) in your RV. If you only have 500 or 600 carrying capacity, then you might pick the lightest flooring you can find.
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