How to Install a Hard Floor in a Toyota Dolphin Motorhome

One of the things that makes our Dolphin so special is its low milage and excellent preserved condition. However, that also means it has all the original, factory-installed interior….from 1989. Yeah….we’re talking pink carpeting and 80’s-licious wallpaper. The wallpaper we can live with, for now, but that carpeting had to go FAST. (To read how we ended up living and traveling in a 1989 Toyota Dolphin see our post Flexibility- The Key to our Happy Travels)

So our first big RV renovation was the removal of the carpet and installation of Trafficmaster Allure flooring

Inside La Peregrina just after we bought her.

Inside La Peregrina just after we bought her.

For those not familiar with it, Allure vinyl flooring is a floating linoleum flooring that has a wood floor look to it. “Floating” means that it does not need to be glued or nailed into the floor. Instead, the Allure flooring boards have a sticky edging that allows them to interlock with each other seamlessly and sit on top of the motorhome floor. This design allows expansion and contraction in different temperatures. Allure flooring is also waterproof, making it an excellent option for a motorhome that spends most of it’s time on the beach with a wet dog running in and out of it. For all of these reasons we decided that Allure flooring was the best vinyl plank flooring to use. 

Here is a list of the tools we used for this project. All of these items can be found at Home Depot:

  • Box cutter
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Measuring tape
  • Wood screws
  • Liquid Nails
  • Mitre Saw
  • Allure flooring
  • Floor edging/molding
  • Threshold pieces
Wallpaper on the floor?

Wallpaper on the floor?

The first step to installing vinyl plank flooring was to measure the floor and calculate the square footage so we would know how much Allure flooring we would need to purchase. We needed a little over 30 square feet, so two boxes of Allure flooring was more than enough with 20 square feet in a box.

The next step was the scariest because once we started there was no turning back! We ripped out all the carpeting in the main room of the motorhome. Since the carpeting goes into and under the cabinetry we just took a box cutter and cut it out as close to the cabinets as possible. Once we got started, ripping out the carpeting was pretty fun! 

Indy overseeing our work.

Indy overseeing our work.

 

For those of you who will be doing this renovation on a Toyota Dolphin we found a thin layer of foam under the carpet, and then a layer of plywood under that. Some of the plywood under the carpeting had wallpaper on it! So I’m guessing they use the extra wall pieces for the floor base on these. We removed the foam layer as well as the carpeting, so the Allure flooring was installed directly on the plywood floor base.

Next, we measured and cut the Allure floor boards and began installing them. We found that it was easiest to measure, cut, and install one board at a time. Motorhome floors are very small, and the floor was not a perfect rectangle, so this allowed us to make tiny adjustments as we went. The Allure flooring boards interlock and are very easy to install! 

Once we had all the floorboards installed Tom used the Mitre saw to cut the floor edging pieces. These pieces would line the edge of the floor where it meets the cabinets, couch, etc. Tom used a Mitre Saw so he could cut the ends of the floor pieces at a 45 degree angle, which allows them to sit flush to each other at the corners. 

Threshold piece that transitions from the hard floor in the motorhome to the carpeted cab area.

Threshold piece that transitions from the hard floor in the motorhome to the carpeted cab area.

We used liquid nails to attach the floor edging pieces, which worked well because we did a very thorough job of cutting the carpet all the way back. We used a hammer to tap these pieces in snug. Real nails could also be used for this, and actually may have been easier than the liquid nails.

Finally, there were two areas in the motorhome where we needed threshold pieces that would allow a transition from the wood to carpeting since we left the carpeting in the cab and the bathroom (we plan on replacing the bathroom carpeting with Allure tile flooring in the future). We cut the threshold pieces to size, and used wood screws to attach the securely to floor. 

Installing vinyl flooring is a project that could be completed in one long day, though we divided it up into two short days of work. We now have a modern, easy-to-clean, comfortable floor in our Toyota Dolphin!

Have you made renovations on your motorhome? How did it turn out? Tell us about it in the comments!