After debating this project for two years and reading about issues of installing LVP in an area under a slide that was previously carpeted, I finally jumped into installing LVP in my 2001 Itasca Horizon. Like most rigs of my vintage, I had a combination of linoleum and carpet flooring. The problem for me was that I have a huge slide that included the couch seating area and the kitchen area. I read the posts of people that would convert the nylon glide strip with a carpet covered strip. However, with the kitchen in the slide area there was no way to extend the slide out beyond the coach to remove and replace my glide. Further, my slide was really large and heavy.
What follows is how I proceeded to install LVP and leave the original glide strip in place.
The first step was to strip out the old flooring and do some tests. I have an HWH system that the slide remains above the floor of the coach. I obtained some samples of LVP and set them up to run the slide in and out. What I discovered on my rig was that the slide over the couch area did not put a significant amount of weight on the floor as it moved in and out. As the slide comes in off the beveled ramp the front lip tips up as it comes in. The maximum pressure and stress is when the slide first starts to retract, coming off the ramp. I needed to keep the thickness of my LVP and low or as flush with the ramp that the slide rests on. The area in front of the sink stove area that did have a carpet covered glide strip born much of the weight, so since it was carpeted, I moved forward. I found that when the slide is fully retracted, in travel mode, it does not rest that hard on the floor.
I knew I would have to get an extremely scratch resistant product. What came next was watching YouTube videos to learn the ins and outs of installing plank as well as learning all the different options and types of LVP. If you have not shopped plank in a few years, there is new products and improvements coming out every year so be sure you look at the latest products. There is a lot of variables in LVP, from the wear layer, thickness, type of core, and most important for us in the RV world is the locking system of the plank. I found that most reviews did not discuss the durability of the locking system. Come to find out it may be the most important component, when shopping for a motorhome.
The most helpful Youtube resource for me was a guy Joe Latender, that produces a series of clips from techniques
to product reviews. https://www.youtube.com/@SoThatsHowYouDoThat
. It was the first of its kind I could find that showed me how to test the durability of the plank and techniques on how to install them. Highly recommend it. Simply see how easy or hard it is to break the tong if the locking system with your thumb, will give you a comparison of the durability of the plank. Because I was worried about the amount of stress, I would induce bringing the slide in and out combined with the imperfections in my floor, the locking system had to be really good.
I know that I had to keep my plank thickness at about 6.5mm so it would be flush with the glide strip. I looked at several different brands and types. I decided on Lifeproof LVP 22 mil wear
layer, 6.5mm thickness, solid core product. This product is sold at Home Depo. It is a bit heavy as it has a stone core but it has a very strong locking system and extreme scratch resistant surface. This was one of the products reviews Latender did and it had both a strong scratch resistant surface and locking system.
Installation and Tips
I could not remove all of the carpet out from under the slide so I opted to leave just enough of it so I could glue and staple it to the floor. I did install this as a floating floor but I had to secure the first row of plank meeting the slide such that the slide would not push or move it. I decided to glue the first row down with a silicone adhesive. Locktight makes a good product. (not a sealant, but an adhesive) and then I also glued and stapled the carpet in front of the slide area. The rest of your installation is keyed off that first row, it has to be straight and it canít move. So in addition to gluing, it I also drilled in a few screws through so it would not move during the install, that I later removed and filled with wood puddy. (Latenders tip)
I planned it out so I would not have to use transition strips going into the bath shower area. I used a chalk line near the middle that I constantly checked my work against.
I spent extra time to be sure that my floor was as close to flat as I could get it. Floor prep is important. I did a fair amount of wood filler and sanding to get out as many of imperfections that I could. My cab area has a steel deck, not a plywood floor so I decided to use a rubber coin flooring in that area. I purchased that from RecPro and glued it down to the floor.
In the bathroom. I had to keep the black tank flange the same height with the floor so my gasket would get a good seal, so I cut out a ring that allowed for expansion. Lastly, I installed quarter round molding to hide my expansion joint. At the end of the day I think laying LVP in a house would be easy compared to some of the extra steps we have to take in a motorhome with a slide that is constantly moving in and out over our project.
I am happy with the outcome.
It took me awhile to get up to speed on the different types of LVP and some tips on how to install it. If you take your time and do your homework this is not difficult and a good winter project. It makes this old girl look pretty good.