A Camper in Rehab: Laminate Flooring

Since we got the camper in 2011, it has been a pet project of mine to replace the original carpet with laminate flooring. With the leak in the Carver Cascade water heater manifesting itself whilst away in France last September and destroying the carpet around the kitchen area, this became more of a necessity during this year’s winter lay-up. There was also a small ( 450mm x 150mm) soft area which I guessed was the beginning of  delamination by the rear axle which I wanted to attend to. Having spent my teenage years working on Mirror dinghies and other small boats, I was confident in my ability to handle a small patch of delamination which requires epoxy resin to be injected by a syringe into the cavity between the plywood and the underlaying polystyrene insulation. The relevant Haynes Manual gives good advice and the confident DIY-er should have no problem if they have used epoxy resin before. O’Leary’s Motorhomes do a good kit containing all the elements required and this is the one I used – I’m sure there are plenty of other dealers who do similar packages elsewhere. Do take care when drilling the holes for injecting the resin and don’t be shy when injecting the resin into the holes.

I’d spent a good few months on the internet researching the laminate flooring. Google “laminate floor motorhome” for pages of results. Many US RV owners have done similar work without too much difficulty. Obviously, a campervan/motorhome/RV won’t need much wood to floor it out, though the cutting around awkward shapes will pose some problems. Best advice is to buy slightly more than you think you’ll need so you can afford to make a mistake or two. I used leftover wall board from the relining of the campervan to make templates for awkward shapes such as around the Carver heater. Another word of advice when buying laminate flooring: many large hardware chains will heavily discount the laminate flooring but will fleece you on the underlay, trim, crossover metalwork and so on. My advice is to get the laminate flooring in these chain-stores but to shop around for the underlay, wood and metal trim you will need. Each make of laminate flooring has its own peculiarities when it comes to laying the floor. You’ll either be happy to do this or not, so I’m not going to go into major detail on how I did it. The only advice I can offer is to buy more materials than you think you’ll need, measure twice and cut once, make cardboard/ply templates to go around awkward shapes and make sure to leave a generous expansion gap.

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