Installing laminate floors in my motorhome

Today I am installing laminate flooring in my motorhome. I bought 4 boxes of laminate from Costco and some moisture barrier from Home Depot…just a 6 mil thick sheet of black plastic sheeting. We chose a light shade of laminate called “Golden Aspen” from Harmonics Flooring.

The light shade of this wood helps mask dust. This is very important in a RV. I have installed cherry colored laminate from the same company in my townhouse. It sure looks VERY nice but we notice that the dark color shows dust a lot. We also liked the [relatively speaking] lack of too much grain in Cherry. I never liked the grain of Oak… way too much grainy.

I went to Lowes and they had a very nice Maple finish laminate. I placed an order for it but somehow it got discontinued :-(

Anyway, today I started installed it in the morning. First I removed the jacknife sofa and ripped out all the old carpet and Vinyl. Then I cleaned the subfloor and removed all this tiny staples. I was a little surprised that motorhomes are also built like regular stick built homes [well, almost]. It made it rather easy for us DIYers to work on these things. Anyway here is what it looked like stripped down to subflooring.

Now I put down a sheet of moisture barrier and starting installing the laminate.

It was pretty easy until I hit the bathroom area. That involved lots of cardboard templates and re-cutting. Eventually the bathroom looks like this:

The stairs were also a challenge. The stripping out part was easy, just yank out the carpet!  However the walls were made of metal.

That required some liquid nails [adhesive] on the back of the laminate. This part too took a lot of time. I still have to install the molding and stair nosing. I placed an order and maybe will arrive by the weekend. After that I will post some more photos.


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4 thoughts on “Installing laminate floors in my motorhome

  1. Curious if you had any issues with the floor buckling when driving the RV. I would think that turns and shifts as you are driving would cause problems. Let me know because it looks great.

    • No, Jeremy I do not have any buckling issues. I guess that is because the laminate floor is just “floating” over the sub floor…meaning it is not attached to the subfloor (nailed or glued). It is just sitting there.

      However, I do see one potential problem with this laminate floor in my motorhome now. In just a couple of places, the edges of the laminate are starting to lift up so very slightly. It is not buckling or anything. It is just that at those two-three places…..the joints seem to have a very, very tiny rise at the joint. It is only visible if you see light’s reflection over there. Maybe it is because the laminate got wet? Maybe….but this laminate is rated for bathrooms. I have the exact same laminate in a townhouse….I installed it there myself and is doing fine after 2 – 3 years of use.
      I suspect that the laminate cannot handle hard freezes. In a usual home, this is not a problem, however my motorhome sits in a parking lot for most of the freezing winter……so I do not know :-) I will report back if it gets worse. For now all is well.

  2. I am interested in replacing the carpet in my Class A RV with laminate flooring.
    This Costco product (Harmonics) you used seems like a good choice. Do you have pop-out’s that roll over the floor? If yes do you have problems with the rollers scratching the floor? It appears that this product is padded on the bottom and is supposed to be somewhat water resistant. Do you think you needed the water barrier?
    Any newer comments about the flooring after a year or so of use?


    Jim Okvist

    • Hi Jim,
      No I do not have any pop-outs in my Motorhome. So I cannot comment on the rollers scratching the laminate. However, these laminates are pretty hard and scratch resistant.

      I highly recommend the water barrier, that is just a thick black plastic sheet, nothing more, but it is supposed to prevent water / moisture from getting to the bottom of the laminate.

      As for laminate’s water resistance, that is a whole another discussion. Here is what I feel about this project now:
      If I had to do it again, I probably would not install laminate in a motorhome.
      I would go with floating Vinyl tiles which look very much like wood flooring. The main problem is water resistance and (maybe) wide temperature swings. If you still want laminate, I would say install them everywhere other than in the bathroom. In my RV’s bathroom, this laminate soaks up water very, very easily. Then it swells up and gets out of shape. It does recover quite a bit, after letting it dry. While installing it, I sealed the edges, as per the instructions, using silicone. However some of the edges, especially the shoe molding is probably not sealed as well. That swells up quickly.

      I am looking at the local flooring warehouse. They have vinyl flooring which looks very authentic. It also has tongue and groove style installation just like these laminates. It sounds attractive, but I have never used them. I have used the peel and stick type vinyl tiles in bathrooms. They do survive hard use in rentals. Also they are very easily replaced individually.

      Let me know if you need more info and good luck with your project :-)

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