RV Floor Replacement For Rotting Wood and More

RV Owners

Rotting RV flooring is no laughing matter. If you skip out on RV floor replacement after finding soft spots, the floor will only continue to rot, leaving you with a pretty useless RV. Fortunately, it is possible to take on your RV floor repair yourself. In this post, we’ll walk you through the basics of how to fix RV flooring, so you can get back on the road in a jiffy without having to spend an arm and a leg at the repair shop.

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Find the Source of the Damage

The very first thing you’re going to want to do when tackling an RV flooring repair? Figure out what caused the damage to the floor in the first place. In most cases, a rotten RV floor indicates a water leak somewhere in the roof or walls, it could also be caused by a leak in the RV’s plumbing. Inspect the rotten area closely. Check nearby walls, windows, the roof above, and any water lines or drain pipes in the area. 

Once you find the leak, repair it. It’s important to do this as soon as possible in order to avoid worse damage and before making your floor repairs so your hard work won’t be ruined. 

Discover the Full Extent of the Damage

Next on the list of steps for RV floor replacement? Check the entire RV floor for more soft or spongy spots. As mentioned above, a spongy RV floor indicates rot in the subflooring — usually the plywood underneath the laminate, tile, or carpet. Since this is most often caused by water and water likes to run, it’s possible you have more rotten spots in the RV. 

Once you’ve located all of the soft spots, cut and peel back the laminate or carpet to reveal the rotten subfloor. Some people choose to do this step very carefully, cutting along the wall, so they are able to use the same floor covering after the repairs are made. No matter how you go about it, keep peeling the flooring back in all directions from the soft spot until you locate good, solid wood that is not discolored on all four sides. 

Remove the Rotten Wood

Now you can remove all the rotted wood. This can be done using a small saw to cut up the subfloor and a pry bar to dig the wood out. 

If there is foam under your subfloor, be careful to remove the wood, but not the foam. If there are wooden supports under your subfloor, you will want to remove enough wood that you meet up with supports on at least two sides and then cut the hole to be a straight-sided rectangle to make things later when adding new wood. 

No matter what is under your subfloor, you will want to ensure that all the old, rotted flooring is completely removed. You don’t want any damaged wood remaining, as this can actually cause the new wood to begin to rot all over again. 

Dry Out Wood

Once the damaged subfloor is gone, let any exposed wood framing and the wood around the soft spot dry out completely. This could take a week or more, but it will help to ensure you won’t encounter the exact same problem once you complete the RV floor replacement.

Note: If your wood frame is rotten, you may find that you have to remove and replace certain pieces. This can be done, but you’ll want to make sure you have some carpentry skills to do it. If the styrofoam under your subfloor is wet, it may need to be replaced as well. 

Apply a Mold Killer

The next step to fix RV flooring is to kill any lingering mold caused by the water damage.  Some chose to use antifreeze to kill any mold that might still be around. This can be accomplished with a sprayer used to apply the antifreeze to the surface of the wood, making sure to let the wood dry for a week or more after. 

Another option that could be used to kill the mold is a borax solution. It works just as well, but it’s more expensive.

Note: It’s important to know that antifreeze is poisonous. It can be harmful, and even fatal, to animals or humans if consumed. Thus, you must use extreme caution while using this product!

Seal the Wood

Now you’ll want to seal the wood around the damage to protect against further rot, strengthen any wood that might be compromised, and prevent mold growth. An epoxy resin such as Git Rot is perfect for this. 

Simply combine the two parts of the epoxy wood rot repair system, making sure to follow the included instructions carefully. Once it is combined, simply spray or brush the solution over the wood around the damaged area. It is also possible to inject the epoxy into the wood for even more strengthening power. 

Depending on the hardener and epoxy that you buy, you will have anywhere from a few minutes to an hour to work with it before it begins to harden. However, you will need to wait a week or two before the stuff hardens completely. 

Note: It’s important to note that the fumes from epoxy can be harsh. You should only mix it if you are in a well-ventilated area. Also, it is important that you wear disposable gloves and a respirator while you are working with it. This also holds true for xylene.

Replace Wood

Now you will add new wood to fill the hole created when you removed the rotten wood. Make sure the wood you choose matches the current subfloor in thickness in order to ensure the new piece lays even with the current floor. 

If there is a wooden frame under your subfloor, you may also need to add some cross supports before putting in the new subfloor. You will need to consider your unique situation to decide whether this is necessary, but honestly, it doesn’t hurt to go ahead and add them. 

It’s very important that your new piece of RV flooring fills the subfloor hole as perfectly as possible, so be sure to measure twice, cut once, and cut as straight as you can. Add wood glue to the bottom side of the new wood (or to the top of the foam), place the new wood in the hole in the subfloor, and (if applicable) screw it into the support pieces below. 

Smooth the Edges

Now that the new wood is in place, you will want to sand down the edges to ensure they meet up nicely with the original subfloor. Use a sealant to fill the cracks where the new piece meets the old floor and let it cure completely. 

Cover the Subfloor

Lastly, you will need to cover the newly laid subfloor. You could reuse the RV flooring you pulled up, but RV floor replacement can be a great opportunity to upgrade to a different material. 

Not sure which type of flooring is best? Well, in areas that are prone to spills and wetness, like the bathroom and kitchen, you’ll probably want a vinyl or laminate RV flooring. On the other hand, areas like the bedroom and living room can be made cozier and inviting by utilizing carpet instead of harder materials.

Many modern RVers are opting for laminate planking, which looks like hardwood floors, and is adaptable to be used throughout the RV. You can add throw rugs to this style of flooring in areas like the bedroom and living room, but still maintain a single, stylish, easy-to-clean material throughout the RV. 

A DIY RV flooring repair is not an easy task, but it is doable if you have some basic tools and a knack for fixing things. Still not sure you can tackle the job? This YouTube video might help!

By now you should have a pretty good idea of how to fix RV flooring. Why not jump in right now? The sooner you finish your RV floor replacement, the sooner your RV will be ready for adventure once again!