An RV is a good thing to have. Not only can it serve as your second home, but it also helps you get around. Add a bit of curb appeal to it and you can even get around in style. But as is the case with all things, your RV can be subjected to wear and tear, and as an owner, it’s part of your responsibility to keep it well-maintained and functional. From tongue jacks to bathroom hookups, there’s always something going wrong in an RV.
It bears noting that no part of your RV receives more abuse than its floors. If you’re smart, you’ll be checking for floor damages — even the minor ones — on a regular basis. After all, you don’t want the damages on your RV floor to accumulate over time. That’s a disaster waiting to happen — not just for your RV but also your finances as well. If you want to save up on costs, early detection is key. The same would be the case with mobile home floors and their need for repairs.
But how do you spot the telltale signs that your RV floor is in need of some fixing? And how much would it cost you to repair them? And what are the instances in which you’d need to ask for professional help?
The easiest way to get the accurate cost for your RV floor repair or replacement project is by filling out the form above, and we’ll help you get quotes from the relevant contractors in your area.
Common RV Floor Problems
To start, let’s explore in detail the most common RV floor problems you need to look out for.
1. Unsightly gaps
Gaps in wooden floors aren’t exactly appealing to the eye. They stick out like a sore thumb and can negatively impact the overall look of your RV’s interior. These unsightly gaps occur when wood loses moisture, causing it to shrink, which is yet another good reason to monitor the air quality in your home.
The most recommended solution is to patch up these gaps using slivers of wood. Attaching them to the edges of the floorboards with strong glue can get the job done. If the gaps are too large, the best solution is to replace the shrunk flooring with new ones.
2. Floor buckling
Your RV floors may experience buckling if it’s exposed to moisture long enough. Spilling water on it, for instance, can cause the material to expand, disengaging it from the subfloor. Poor installation practices (using nails of the wrong size or inadequate fastening) may contribute to buckling as well.
Fixing buckled flooring can be a delicate procedure. First, you need to identify where the moisture is coming from. Next, you need to take out the molding using a hammer and screwdriver. After changing out the spacers, replace the damaged boards and then return the molding to its place.
3. Peeling Floor Finish
Finishes tend to flake or peel off when they are applied on a contaminated floor or if the floor was not prepared properly before the finishing process. Using incompatible products or excessive cleaning/abrasion may also make it difficult for the finish to stick to the surface.
The best course of action in fixing peeling finish is to do it all over again. Do some recoating, and re-sand it just the right amount so that the new finish will adhere more successfully to the floor’s surface. Hardwood floors can easily be refinished by a pro.
Cupping happens when the edges of the floorboards become higher than their middle parts. This normally happens when the underside of the board accumulates more moisture than the top. As such, cupping becomes a normal occurrence when floorboards are installed on wet surfaces.
The first step to alleviate cupping is to identify the source of the moisture. The usual sources are plumbing and water leaks, spills, and high indoor humidity, among many others.
5. Debris in the Finish
So you just had the finish applied on the flooring of your RV. A few hours later, you spot some debris on the floor — it could be a strand of hair, a small pebble, and what have you. It’s not visually appealing.
This usually occurs when wet finish comes in contact with dirt or debris. Before doing a finishing job, make sure that every surface in the room is clean and dry. Wipe them clean with a piece of cloth and use a vacuum to remove particles and pollutants that could ruin the finish.
If the damage has already been done, you can scrape the debris off and then recoat the affected area. You can do no wrong by cleaning the area using a floor cleaner as well.
6. Floor Deformities
Obviously, no camper owner wants to see uneven or sloping floorboards. These irregularities or deformities have many causes, and they are almost always physical in nature. Moving a piece of heavy furniture, dropping heavy objects on the floor, or the wear and tear that comes with heavy foot traffic are the usual culprits. After all, your floorboards can only take so much beating.
The good news is that irregular floorboards can be easily fixed. Using a high-quality drum sander can do the job. Just flatten the floorboards at the right angle and then have them refinished for good measure.
7. Wear and Tear
Wear and tear is inevitable. Sooner or later, you’ll just have to deal with it. But some floors reach the end of their shelf life way too soon. Poor maintenance is usually the main culprit. The materials used for the floor may be of poor quality or the finishing job may have been rushed.
Usually, you can extend the lifespan of your RV’s floorboards by recoating over the old finish. If the damage is more severe, the best course of action is to sand the floor down and apply a new finish. Good as new!
Factors Affecting Floor Repair Cost
Fixing a camper’s flooring can be costly, but it doesn’t have to be that costly. Thankfully, being aware of the factors that could affect floor repair costs can go a long way into minimizing your expenses.
If your floor is made of hardwood, dealing with small blemishes or peeling floor finishes on a regular basis comes with the territory. As explained in the previous section, a little refinishing and masking will do the job.The only issue with refinishing hardwood is that it will make the rest of the flooring look old, and in most cases, it would be much better to refinish the entire thing. Most refinishing jobs would cost from $3 to $5 per square foot.
Marble or hardwood floors, while durable than most types of flooring material, are more expensive to repair. In most cases, replacing the damaged portions is preferable. Installing hardwood floors may cost you between $9 to $15 per square foot. Laminate flooring is a little cheaper than hardwood, but is far more durable and has better quality than vinyl flooring or linoleum. Other than the type of material used, the unique finishes can also contribute to the costs involved in the repair job.
To give you a general idea about the costs involved in repairing or installing floors, below is a list of common materials used and the price range per square foot:
- Hardwood – $10 to $18
- Ceramic – $2 to $7
- Marble – $4 to $8
- Granite – $5 to $10
- Limestone – $6 to $12
- Slate – $4 to $10
- Porcelain – $5 to $8
Floating floor vs non-floating floor
A floating floor is a type of flooring that doesn’t require nailing or gluing during installation. You can install floating flooring by snapping the tiles together so no adhesives are needed. Installation is easy, and repairing them is much more cost-efficient than repairing non-floating onest. One disadvantage of using floating flooring is that they get worn out faster than their counterpart. While non-floating flooring is less prone to damages and has a longer lifespan, fixing or reinstalling them can be more expensive. ‘
Other factors that may affect the cost of repair
- Testing, removal, and/or remediation of asbestos, mold or other hazardous materials.
- Sales tax on labor or replacement materials used
- Thickness and supplier of the material used (high-end manufacturers will naturally charge you more)
- Scarcity of the materials used (clay, for instance, is more common and therefore cheaper)
Uneven or sunken floors can be a downright nuisance, but they also require your immediate attention due to the dangers they pose. More often than not, the more serious floor issues come right down to problems with the subfloor.
Simply put, the subfloor is the bottom-most layer of a flooring system, serving as the foundation that keeps the entire floor stable and intact. If you don’t keep it in good condition, chances are you’re going to have serious problems down the road. Here are the most common subfloor issues you need to keep in mind:
Your RV ceases to be a welcoming and comfortable place when every step you take inside it produces a maddening, squeaky noise. A creaking floor is more than just a mere nuisance, however. When floors creak, that’s a sign that the subfloor is not securely attached to the floor joists. The thickness of the OSB or plywood used may not be the right fit. That’s a disaster waiting to happen, and you’d do well to hire a professional flooring contractor to look into it.
A sinking floor is usually caused by a subfloor that was not installed properly. A sagging floor could mean that the subfloor is already old and worn out. It’s also possible that moisture or mold have already seeped into the subfloor, causing the floor to give every time you step on it. In such cases, it might be a good idea to replace it altogether.
An uneven floor suggests structural problems in the subfloor. Most of the time these problems are due to damaged or sagging floor joists. When this happens, your RV’s foundation becomes unstable, causing your floors to slope or become uneven. There are many reasons why you might wish to get the help of floor leveling companies.
Fixing uneven floors is no job for a DIY enthusiast. Foundation problems are complex problems, and only professional foundation contractors have the expertise and the skills needed to fix them.
Steps that a Contractor Will Take
So, you’ve decided to hire a professional contractor to work on your RV floors? That’s great! After all, DIY can only take you so far. When the damage your RV floors have sustained is too severe, professional help is always the best course to take. In the end, hiring a professional will save you more time and money.
With that said, it’s highly recommended that you familiarize yourself with the steps a contractor is likely to take during the repair job. This is your RV, after all, and you want to make sure that the contractor you hired knows what he’s doing. When you have at least a passing familiarity with the process, you’re more likely to ask the right questions and make the right suggestions according to your preferences. Not to mention help you determine if the contractor you’ve hired knows what he’s doing.
Check the severity of the damage
In any repair job, the first order of business is to check the extent of the damage. Expect the contractor to use an awl to determine the scope of the damage. How large is the affected area? Can it still be fixed? Will a reinstallation be necessary? These are just some of the questions a contractor will be asking himself before he starts diving into the actual work.
Contractors are likely to check the subfloor as well, looking for signs of moisture or mold. They’d want to ensure that the subfloor is in good condition for treatment.
Expose the wood framing underneath and leave it to dry
After checking the extent of the damage, a contractor is likely to remove the RV flooring, just enough to expose the framing underneath and allow it to dry for a minimum of one week. For better results, the RV can be moved to a location that is sunny, dry, and has good ventilation. This is to ensure that the wood is in the best condition for treatment and to prevent mold from regenerating or spreading. If the contractor you hired doesn’t give enough time for the wood framing to dry without using a special type of drying treatment, then you might want to consider hiring another one.
Remove mold and keep them from coming back
The next step is to kill mold from the RV flooring and keep them from coming back. One good solution is to use a sprayer containing antifreeze. Simply spray the solution on the surface and give it at least a week to dry out. A borax solution (one cup of borax per gallon of water) is also ideal for getting rid of the mold. The solution can prevent mold from regenerating so no need to rinse it off the surface.
If you want to get rid of the mold without compromising your health and the environment, there are eco-friendly borax solutions out there that you can use. You might want to ask your prospective contractors if they have eco-friendly solutions for killing mold.
Seal and waterproof the wood with diluted epoxy resin
Epoxy resin is waterproof and resistant to mold and mildew, making it a good choice as a coating material for wood projects. Applying epoxy can be time-consuming, but the increased longevity and minimal maintenance costs make all the effort worth it. If you plan on taking your RV to wet areas, using epoxy resin as a coating material should prevent all that moisture from compromising your RV floors.
Out with the old, in with the new (subflooring, that is)
After applying insulation to the flooring, a contractor is expected to replace your old, damaged subfloor with a new one. The contractor will make you choose which type of subflooring materials to use. If you’re on a tight budget, plywood is the way to go. It’s also the easiest material to install.
RVs are prone to molding when exposed to moisture on a regular basis. To prevent mold from regenerating, use a mold and water-resistant subfloor system. There are numerous budget-friendly options so don’t forget to ask your contractor about them.
Install flooring on the subfloor
For the last step, your contractor has to install the topmost flooring on top of the subfloor. Your choice of flooring material will depend on your budget and personal preferences. Considering that this is the visible part of your RV floor, you need to take into account curb appeal. To that end, you can go with hardwood floors if you can afford them. With regular maintenance, hardwood can last for decades. Plywood or laminate will suffice as well if you want a cheaper alternative. You can choose to install carpets if you want to go even cheaper. Bear in mind, however, that carpets require regular cleaning. If you’re not one for cleaning, then you might want to pick another flooring material.
RV floor repair jobs are a walk in the park if the affected area is wide open. Not so much if it’s within a narrow space or under hard to reach areas. Large rooms with complex architecture, uneven subflooring, and rooms with peculiar shapes might pose complex challenges to DIYers. In such cases, hiring a professional contractor is always the better option. Room installation is no laughing matter, and only a skilled professional has the expertise and the tools needed to do it properly.
Do you need to replace your flooring?
Floor replacements can be costly and time-consuming. But they are inevitable, especially if your RV is constantly receiving abuse from heavy foot traffic. Postponing a floor replacement job can be tempting in these trying financial times, but knowing when to replace your floors is critical to the long-term maintenance and structural integrity of your RV.
So, what are the signs you need to look out for? And how exactly do you go about replacing your RV’s flooring as soon as there’s a need for it?
Since the answers will depend on the type of flooring you’re using, let’s mention each of the most common flooring materials used and go from there.
The shelf life of carpets vary depending on make, quality, and the amount of wear and tear they’re being subjected to. With that said, there are signs you can look out for to determine if your carpet needs to be replaced.
This one’s quite obvious, but if carpet stains don’t bother you one bit, then you have the choice to still keep the carpet around. However, you might want to keep an eye out for stains that appear for no apparent reason as they could be a sign that the carpet is already accumulating mold and mildew. These bad boys are considered health hazards and can cause damages to your RV if left unchecked.
Nobody wants a smelly carpet. You can always get rid of the smell with a little washing so it’s no real biggie. But what if the foul odor stays on even after doing that? Usually, that’s a sign that bacteria and moisture have penetrated deep into the carpet’s fiber. Don’t take this lightly. Moisture can spread mold and mildew deep into the subfloor, which could cause potential damage to your RV and complicate your health.
Wear and Tear
Once your carpet has reached the end of its shelf life, the logical thing to do is to replace it. Wear and tear requires a replacement every time because damages are not localized. When the carpet has too many loose threads, rips, water damage, and who knows what else, there’s no question that your carpet has overstayed its welcome. Put it out of its misery and replace it with a spanking new one.
Worn down padding
Carpet padding provides a cushion for your feet, providing you comfort as you walk around in your RV. Stepping on a carpet with worn out padding might be tolerable at first, but do it long enough and it’s going to be painful on your feet. Carpet padding also serves to muffle the noise coming from your RV’s engine. Going on a trip in your RV can be rather noisy without it.
Hardwood floors are popular for their durability, versatility, and curb appeal. But there’s a downside — they are prone to small scratches, chips, and blemishes. Thankfully, you can get rid of them by simply refinishing the floor.
However, you can only refinish hardwood floors up to an extent. Here are the scenarios in which you need to replace your hardwood floors for new ones.
Hardwood flooring has been refinished too many times
As already mentioned you can get rid of small dents and blemishes by refinishing them. Each refinishing job, however, strips away some of the wood. Refinish the wood too many times and you’ll notice soon enough that it’s become too thin to become of good use. Obviously, you can’t keep refinishing it forever. Most professionals say that the maximum number for refinishing a piece of hardwood floor is five times. When you reach that number it’s probably time to install a new hardwood floor.
There are signs of water damage
Water damage can cause your hardwood flooring to buckle, peel, expand, and many other things. Water damage is bad news, and a replacement might be the best option if the damage is too severe.
If your hardwood floorboard shifts and wobbles every time you step on it, chances are it has structural issues that need to be addressed. You can hire a contractor to look at your RV floor’s foundation to see if the floors slope a certain way.
Tile flooring is known for its water-resistant properties, beautiful aesthetic, and cool comfort. It’s ideal for bathrooms, kitchens, and even bedrooms. Tiles are excellent building materials because they’re low maintenance. Better yet, they can be decorated with beautiful patterns that can spruce up your RV. But how do you know if it’s time to replace them?
Cracks and dents
One major disadvantage with using tiles is that they crack easily under heavy impact or pressure. Mild cracks are negligible at best, but if they appear for no apparent reason, chances are the foundation is already weak. In this case, you’d do well to have it replaced altogether.
Loose floor tiles
Loose floor tiles need to be replaced not only because they are unsightly, but because they pose safety hazards as well. Why do tiles come loose? The most common reason is adhesion issues. Moving heavy loads such as refrigerators, washing machines, etc. can also cause tiles to unlatch from their foundation. Whatever the cause, it’s recommended that you replace loose tiles with new ones as soon as you’re able.
RV Flooring Options
Before giving your RV floors a major overhaul, it’s imperative that you check up on the RV flooring options available to you. The ideal flooring for your RV will depend on many factors: your budget, what you’ll be using the RV for, the expected level of foot traffic, and so on. The common choices are carpet, linoleum, laminate, vinyl, and hardwood. To determine which RV flooring is the right fit for you, let’s discuss each one and explore their differences.
Carpets are always a popular choice among RV users for their attractiveness, cost, easy installation, and sound-muffling properties. Wouldn’t it just be great to have a flooring option that is more soundproof?
However, using carpets has its attendant disadvantages. They are prone to mold and mildew, stain easily, and incredibly hard to clean. Worse, they are notorious for holding foul odor.
As you can already tell, carpets require high-maintenance, but they’re not a bad choice if you have the diligence and the patience to keep them clean and pristine.
Vinyl flooring is the opposite of carpet flooring when it comes to their pros and cons. Vinyl is odor and water-resistant, durable, and easy to clean and maintain. Unlike carpets, vinyl requires more effort to install, partly because it can only be done over smooth surfaces. Moreover, using vinyl as flooring tends to give RVs a hollow sound.
Pros and cons aside, vinyl is the perfect choice for RV flooring if you’re the type who won’t allow wet weather to put a damper on your travels. If your RV is used frequently and receives regular visitors, vinyl flooring has the durability needed to withstand the wear and tear.
Laminate is like a cheaper version of hardwood, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that it doesn’t offer much in the way of quality. While it’s not as attractive and durable as hardwood, laminate is impressive as far as those categories go. It’s far easier to install (thanks to its click-and-lock fastening system) and less demanding maintenance-wise.
One major downside of using laminate is that it’s not waterproof. You’ll need to recoat the material on a regular basis since it’s’ prone to scratches and dents.
No flooring material is as elegant as ceramic tile. If you want beautiful floors for your RV, then ceramic is tough to beat. Moreover, ceramic tiles are easy to install and don’t require much maintenance. One major flaw of ceramic is that they tend to crack easily. Also, even a little moisture can make them slippery, making it a safety hazard for RV owners and visitors.
If your aim for owning an RV is for luxury purposes, ceramic is your best bet. But if you’re going for practicality and safety, you’re better off choosing a different flooring material.
If you want to sell your RV to the highest bidder sometime in the future, then you’d do well to install hardwood floors. Hardwood is highly valued for their natural elegance, rich grain, classic feel, and lasting appeal and helps increase your home’s resale value too.
One major drawback with hardwood floors is that they’re not easy on the wallet. Hardwood is also pretty heavy, reducing your RV’s gas mileage. Just like with laminate, hardwood requires regular refinishing since its porous material makes it susceptible to scratches, dents, and stains.
Getting Quotes From Competing Contractors to Save Money
Now that you’ve reached this far into the article, you’re well on your way to getting your RV floor fixed or replaced in the best way possible. You’re probably thinking about the expenses involved. Because let’s face it — fixing, installing, or replacing an RV floor can be a huge drain on the wallet.
The best way to minimize the costs involved is to get quotes from competing contractors. But there’s one slight problem — contractors or companies are likely to charge you for providing an estimate of the work you want to be done on your RV. Sure, there are companies or contractors out there who wouldn’t mind offering you a free quote, but then again, asking each of them for one can be time-consuming. You need your RV floors fixed so that’s time you can’t afford to waste!
So we’re offering you the chance to get free quotes from competing contractors all in one place! All you need to do is fill out a form which just takes a couple of minutes. Once you’re done, you’ll get all the information you need to make an informed decision on how to repair or replace your RV floors. Minimal costs and maximum return on investment guaranteed!
It even comes at no obligation to you and is free! What are you waiting for?