Replacing An Older RV’s Enchanted Carpet

So 10-year-old carpet doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but somehow it was. The area where we place our feet at dinner and where Cricket the RT (Roaming Terrier) Wonderdog sleeps when the bed is made up had become…well…used. In the two years we have owned our 2005 210 Popular we have scrubbed, shampooed, washed, pleaded, cajoled and otherwise tried to clean the original, now 10-year old blue plush carpet. Not that we are terrifically rough on carpet, it already had eight years of use by four previous owners . It was simply time to replace it.

Though small, I used large needle nosed pliers to grab the carpet .

Though small, this piece was mighty. I used large needle nosed pliers to get enough grip to pull up the carpet..

It’s a small patch of carpet roughly two feet by five feet and optimistically, it should be a small, simple job.

First we needed to select new carpet. What color should we use? The original color was too hard to duplicate exactly, and besides we were hoping for a new look. And what type would be easy to clean? Fibers, patterns, colors, nap, after a while it all ran together and even the thought of it started a little twinge halfway down the back of my neck. So we threw out the idea of carpet and went to hard surface flooring. Those long 12 by 24 inch vinyl tiles in wood pattern were perfect, but they were all the kind that “floated” on the floor,  and glue needed to be applied only on the edges…BAH!

Long story short(er) we found some “stick-down” vinyl tile in a marble pattern with hints of all the colors we might need to complete our redecorating project.

So when you tear up a Roadtrek installed carpet, expect some work.  This is no easy feat as it is stapled, it’s glued, and it’s blessed with some magical spell entitled “Stickimus-Apocolyptimus,**” which is Druid-inspired Latin for “stay on the floor until the end of all time.” Pliers were applied, old biceps bulged (and cramped) and finally the stubborn woven adversary was released from the floor.

The adhesive, which I later came to nick name "poo glue was left in a fine one eighth inch broken layer.

The adhesive, which I came to nick-name, “poo goo” was left in a fine one eighth inch broken layer.

Well, not quite. Carpet left the residue of its magic stuck to the floorboard. An eighth inch thick layer of glue, strands, fibers and errant staples pock marked my subfloor in . This new foe was resistant to scraping, and greedily grabbed the scraper right from my hands. I wanted to try to heat the layer and scoop it up more easily, so I fired up my wife’s old super hot hair dryer back from the Age of Aquarius.

Bad idea. Think of what comes out of a hot glue gun, now lace it with trash and spread it randomly across the floor.

My simple job was turning decidedly more complicated.

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An idea! Cover the the old board with another! Better still, just take out the old board and replace it! With this in mind, I equipped my Ryobi power drill with those square bits to fit screws that you find throughout a Roadtrek and are used everywhere in the world, except the U.S. Also planning ahead, I realized a new board would need a hole cut into it to accommodate table stand. Oh well, better to cut the hole than spend a week scraping goo. As I dug through the goo to find each of the screws holding down this sub-floor I noticed how they were placed symmetrically on the board. The screws came out. The board was free but still precisely in place. So precisely, in fact, that is was necessary to take out the storage doors and remove the hinges to release the board. These piano hinges stick out an eighth of an inch and that was enough to keep the floorboard in place. z20150811_143928It was marvelous too, that Roadtrek thought to install the subfloor directly onto the fiberglass , without glue or adhesive.

I also got another glimpse of Roadtrek engineering as the fiberglass was formed to allow pipes and wires to get to their destination. Bonus! The table stand anchor hole was in the middle as well. To my delight the hole was exactly in the middle so I could flip the board and it would line up correctly. And the bottom of the board was clean and perfect and ready to accept new tile. All I had to do was clean off the bad side, not make it pristine or perfectly smooth, turn it over and presto! The old board,  with all the screw holes pre-drilled and with a new side for the new tile on the way!

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I had to marvel at the precision of the Roadtrek building process. I’ve been to the factory and I know they use multi-headed drill presses and other computer aided manufacturing. I was told that the result is picture-perfect fit and finish. Now, in the simple act of flipping a board and reusing it and all the holes lining up, I was seeing that precision in action.

The worst of the prep was over. I was prepared to drill new pilot holes into the fiberglass, but that was unnecessary, the holes already lined up.   I also painted the new plywood side with stick-on vinyl tile prep, a solution to make the tiles adhere better.

The floor tiles were cut and placed, the table stand screwed back into place and soon the rug was completely replaced with tile. There was chrome trim attaching the carpet next to the shower pan. I used a three eighths aluminum angle to replace it. Now it covers the tile and the end of the plywood and protects the shower pan. I could have used a standard stair step cap, but they seemed too large.

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In our 210 Popular, Roadtrek had a problem matching the cupboard wall material with the solid pine cupboard doors. The blonde patterned laminated plywood was too light and didn’t really match. And as it aged, it lightened even more. We are looking for a way to paint it or cover it. In the floor area I had just tiled, that same cupboard wall material was used to build the storage doors and frames around them.  It seems natural to continue the marble tile up those walls, cover the doors and complete the look. The picture reflects half of that job completed.

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

** Spell discovered while reading Harry Potter, Book 5.  Perhaps if the results are good in the rest of the project, I will try to invoke the spell to keep the tile stuck to the walls…

 

 




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