Friday, March 18, 2011

Carpet Covering and Replacement

Most LD owners find it necessary to do something to protect
their factory-installed carpeting from getting worn and/or soiled, or they
choose to replace the carpeting with some other flooring material.

The easiest approach is find something with which to cover the existing
carpeting. One very effective carpet cover is something called Carpet
. It's a thin material backed with a thin foam layer that clings to the
carpeting so it doesn't creep. It comes in any length you want and you
can cut and trim it to fit. It is easily removed for shaking out periodically
and is washable either by hand or in a washing machine.

Another approach is cut a new piece of carpeting that merely lies atop
the existing carpet. Check at any store that sells carpeting to see what
will work best for you. For the carpet to keep its shape it needs to have a rigid
backing. The more expensive carpet has stiff backing. Carpets with weak backing
will stretch out of shape quickly. It looks bad and becomes a trip-hazard. A
heavy, thick backing also keep dirt from migrating through the carpet.
Using heavy craft paper, make a template of all the carpet and floor area you wish
to cover. Using scissors and masking tape, piece the template together so it covers
the the nooks and crannies.

Flip the carpet and template over and tape the template to the carpet, after making
sure both the carpet and template are flipped (failing to do this is a quick way of
wasting a good piece of carpet). Then trace the outline of the template on the
carpet's backing, with a Sharpie. Cut the carpet with a new, sharp utility knife.
Change the blade if it starts to get harder to cut. Use a straightedge to guide the
knife on the long straight cuts. Take your time cutting. An tightly fitted carpet
locks itself in place.

Where the carpet meets the Factory hard floor, use sticky-back 1" wide Velcro
tape on the floor. The carpet has a strip of 1" wide Velcro, without the 'sticky'
(adhesive), glued on with a solvent-based contact cement.
The indoor/outdoor carpet is thin enough not to make the carpet feel to deep or soft.
It's pleasant to walk in bare feet and is a lot warmer. I'm finally happy
with the carpet and it seems to be holding up fine after a lot of dirty campsites.
If it gets dirty where vacuuming doesn't clean it, wash it. On a hot summer, the
carpet can be rolled up and taken outside. Lay it out on the driveway and wash
it with a push broom, a bucket of soapy water and a hose, with a nozzle.

Once you feel that it needs to be replaced, pull it out and save and use it as the
template to cut a new piece. The most difficult part of the job is cutting the first
paper template. Subsequent replacements will use the old carpet as the template.
To cover the cab, lounge and bath cost less than $75. You should get 3-5 years
out of the carpet before replacing, so the cost is minimal. It is more comfortable
temperature wise, summer and winter, than hard floors would be with throw
rugs or a single layer of carpeting.

A more extreme approach to flooring is remove the factory-installed carpet and
install some sort of hard flooring, be it wood, tiles or linoleum.

Chris and Frank pulled out all the existing flooring in their 2004 30' TB and
installed vinyl tiles throughout. Details and a couple of photos can be found
on their blog:

Here's their report: After looking at several options for solid flooring (Pergo,
hardwood planks, cork, bamboo, sheet vinyl and vinyl tiles), we opted for vinyl
tile. Not only is it the lightest weight option (we have to watch our rig's weight)
it was also the easiest to install and the least expensive.

We used Cryntel 12", peel-and-stick, vinyl tile in the Italia Travertine color and
found them at Lowe's. Here is Lowe's web page for more details:

We looked at sheet vinyl too because we didn't really want seams, but
we didn't want to try doing the installation ourselves. With all the
curves, angles, notches, etc. on the walls, it's a pretty complicated
installation. Plus, we didn't want to have to add baseboards which
would pretty much be a given with sheet vinyl since the precision
required to fit it exactly to the wall would be nearly impossible.

The installation was not difficult, but it took some time. Pulling up
the carpet was easy, but extracting all the hundreds of staples that
were left behind was tedious. The old sheet vinyl came up using a
blow dryer (for heat to soften the glue) and a pry bar. After some
prep work on the sub-floor, the new "whole" tiles went down quickly
and easily. Installing the edge pieces was slow work since we wanted
to fit them precisely to the wall to eliminate gaps and possible
shifting. That part was a bit tricky and I'll be happy to send more
details if you decide to go with tiles.

It's been a year since we did the installation and we are very happy
with new flooring. The tiles have been through some pretty extreme
heat and cold situations as well as a year of travels and daily use.
They have held up well and have had very little shifting. It still
looks new and cleaning is a breeze. The only downside is that it is
cold on the feet, but we wear slippers and have a few throw rugs.
Bottom line - I would do it again and wish I had done it sooner.

Contributors: Chris W., Larry W., WxToad
Revised: 19 Jan 2012

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