One of the things that makes our Toyota Dolphin motorhome 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. Read on to learn how to install a hard floor in a motorhome. (Spoiler: RV floor replacement is easier than you think!)
For those not familiar with it, Allure vinyl plank 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 camper 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. If you’d like to see the fully finished Allure flooring in our camper, check out this video tour of our Toyota Dolphin.
Here is a list of the tools we used for this project. All of these items can be found at Home Depot:
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!
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 vinyl flooring and began installing it. 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 Allure vinyl flooring 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.
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 on the motorhome floor 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 them securely to the camper floor.
Replacing RV 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 motorhome!
Want more DIY RV tricks? Visit our post on installing a USB charging port in your camper.
Also, read why we still LOVE traveling full time in our Toyota Dolphin after nearly a year on the road, and check out this list of our top 10 essential motorhome accessories!
6 thoughts on “How to Install a Hard Floor in a Motorhome”
Thanks for uploading this!! My boyfriend And I just purchased a 87’ dolphin and plan to do this very soon so I’m having fun getting good info from all your posts! 🙂
Hi Allyson, congratulations on your new Dolphin! Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions about your upcoming camper life! 🙂
Thank you for uploading so much information RV traveling. I recently got an opportunity from a good friend who is supporting my travels by offering to trade a 1983 Toyota Dolphin 4-speed rwd 4 cylinder with 54,000 miles on it, for my 1996 Toyota Tacoma 4-cylinder with 230,000 miles on it. It needs a lot of interior work but is there any tips of renovating a Toyota dolphin from scratch? What to look for in terms of mechanical factors? It starts up and runs so well. Any advice would help!
Hi Pluma! The BEST place to find information about renovating Toyota Motorhomes is the Toyota Motorhome Club Facebook group. Use this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ToyotaMotorhomeClub/
and then click "join". They accept everyone into this group, and there’s TONS of information about purchasing and renovating Toyota Motorhomes.
Hi there, thanks for this great post! I’m just starting out on the vinyl flooring for my warrior, and I’ve totally gutted it and removed the dinette and couch. I’ve been told I should lay the flooring all through the floor, but it seems to make more sense (and be a bit lighter/easier) to re-install the couch and dinette, and work around that, like you did here. Have you had any issues with it done this way? Any buckling of the pieces?
Thanks in advance for the help!
Hi David! Nope, no issues with the flooring. We were very careful with our measurements and took our time getting each piece in snug, which I think was really important to avoid any bubbling over time. With that said, if you already have the dinette and couch out then it may be worth putting the flooring down first? I’m not sure, I’m trying to picture what that would look like with the tanks and everything. One nice thing about doing it without the couch and dinette inside would be the extra work room. It was a really tight squeeze in some spots!