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RV Living in the 21st Century
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Our unique one-of-a-kind RV RENOVATIONS!
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In 1999 John and I bought a four year old 1995 Luxor Diesel pusher with NO slide. It was the top of Winnebago’s line in ’95 but it is now seven years old. Since we have no kids and very few overnight guests we decided to renovate the inside for easy living. This high-end unit will still be in its prime 10 years from now but we have no plans to trade up. Our coach mileage is only 70,000 and a diesel is good for 300,000 to 450,000 miles we decided this was the time for a complete up-grade that would give us more living space.
Several months ago CJ Vermuelen as the Armchair Mechanic wrote an article in the RV gazette explained several different types of laminated flooring. Ourselves along with our professional floor installer Randy Pieters considered the options of adding the ‘floating’ laminated flooring but because we have two dogs (who sometimes have accidents) and the fact we plan to keep this unit for a long time we decided the higher quality, and more costly, glued down 4-foot by 3-inch vinyl plank strips that are almost indestructible would better suit our situation. I will add more on the flooring throughout the article.
Our first priority was to remove the couch and cheerfully rip up the carpet. Although the couch fabric would never wear out, it was almost impossible to restore its original lustre. The foam had lost its ‘memory’ -- we could have replaced or recovered it but eliminate it was more agreeable. It has only been used as a bed twice in three years so we didn’t feel we really needed the sleeping end of things. (By the way we now have three loungers in our new set-up plus we have room for a double air mattress if and when we need extra accommodations---there is also usually a motel nearby).
Our quality leather barrel chair was still in good shape but it was very large and cumbersome---we wanted to increase space with these renovations so that too became history. Thankfully our park transported our couch to the dump and Randy found a use for the chair. We planned to add two of the new style loungers on round bases to replace the couch and chair. At FMCA convention in Perry Georgia we saw many of these chairs in high end units plus fulltiming friends have one they love in their 42 foot diesel pusher. Vendors at that convention were selling these chairs for $895.00 US$.
After Randy came to visit for the first floor estimate we began to look for chairs. We found several different leather designs at the Brick --- a high volume/fair price furniture store. These chairs are also available in vinyl but since our two front chairs are quality leather we decided we had no choice but to purchase leather chairs --- they would probably last longer. Our choice of colour was wine, green, black, and beige. To us wine was our only choice. We decided to go with two renowned ‘Palliser’ lounge chairs with separate food stools, one was a special order to colour coordinate---routinely that chair is only stocked in black. The straighter back was a better design for John’s new computer workstation. Chair cost were $450.00 and $550.00 (Cdn$)---Brick had a ‘no tax sale’ happening but with 5-year insurance for foam replacement, rips, tears and mechanical problems the total cost was $1212.67. In comparison they had two vinyl chairs, similar design, were on sale for 2/$300.00. How much you want to spend is up to you. Our choice of chair colour determined our renovation colour.
At Randy’s final measuring visit, we decided the metal front portion over our generator/driving area and the stairwell would be a short pile wine carpet. During restorations everything moveable would be eliminated or piled on the bed to provide as much working room as possible. The vinyl strip plank floor would cover from the driver/passenger chairs to the bedroom door---not in the bedroom. Randy’s friend had a big red barn not too far away where we could park so he was able to work even if it rained. Monday 27 May we parked our almost empty motorhome inside under cover. John and I put our dogs in kennels and we set off to ‘hotel-it’ for a few days The planned conversion time by this professional flooring expert was two days but it actually took about three and a half long days. We drove the Luxor home late on the third day but Randy came out for another half day to finish the final details. The end result is we have a quality wood-like, almost indestructible and easy-care vinyl floor that simply looks outstanding.
Work in Progress
One reason it took longer is because of unexpected challenges, such as the bathroom hallway that was a half-inch lower than the kitchen. We requested he remove the tiles in the bathroom and replace the entire area with vinyl strips; the tiles were glued onto a board, which was glued onto another board, which was glued to the sub-floor. He removed the toilet to make life easier. Then he added a half-inch plywood to the entire bathroom to level things. Front to back a 3/8-inch good one side plywood sub-floor provided a smooth base. This may add some extra pounds (estimated at 250 lbs) but we did eliminate the weight of the couch and vinyl chair. John and I generally travel well under the GVWR of our unit but we will be weighed at our first opportunity---if we are over we’ll off-load. It has been two years since we did a complete house cleaning.
The sub-floor was to support some soft spots on our floor, not due to water damage but of lack of support at a seam where two pieces of plywood were joined on the manufacturer sub-floor---if it had been there in the beginning it had disappeared over the years. To accommodate this, Randy screwed the new 3/8- inch sub-floor to the original sub-floor---he covered the original kitchen hardwood for more support. Next step was to caulk each screw so there would be no uneven surfaces; followed by gluing each 1/8-inch vinyl strip over top just as if he was applying hardwood. Our unit now has solid footing front to back---what a pleasure. The entire image is in tune with the quality cabinetry of our unit. It looks fantastic just like a superior hardwood floor in any home but without the up-keep. Randy did have his work cut out for him but he willingly met each challenge---final step was to refit all cupboard doors that he had to remove because in total the floor was raised a ½ inch.
Such a big job
When Randy finished his portion then I began my decorations. We found beautiful inlaid rugs (Oriental style) at Wal-Mart during a 5 PM spot sale (regular $20.00 reduced to $7.00Cdn$). I bought wine upholstery fabric and café curtain fabric at a Fabricland sale---three meters (39 inches) for the price of one ($55.00). My curtains rods are ½-inch-dowling that I stained---we drilled a hole into each end and they are connected using an ‘s-hook’ (drapery style hook used to hang curtains) into the cloth side window valences. These could also be attached with brackets beside the window frames.
I covered our original valances with a strip of upholstery fabric and pinned it in place with hidden colour coordinated straight pins---These were hemmed with iron on tape to avoid a les than perfect hem seam. On the corner I pleated a section with the iron and iron-on-tape and again pinned it in place, followed with a display of decorative flowers. There was one wall behind the couch where the paneling was marked so I simply added a panel of the same upholstery fabric. A covering on the drapery tiebacks completed the window décor.
final step was to add an 8-inch lacy-design border (applied as normal with
vinyl to vinyl glue) just under the windows throughout the living area.
The kitchen and bath received a wine dress-up and I sprayed all
accessories such as the soap dish, napkin holder, and several baskets etc.
with a covering of coordinating wine spray paint. Several wine bath rugs
completed the bath decor; a new quilt and bedskirt in the bedroom
added the final touch. (Note. Do not put rubber-backed rugs directly on a
vinyl flooring, they will eventually leave a mark).
I put a cloth rug under our two vinyl ones to stop this marking.
Costs to do this will very. (see side bar on left for details) We covered approximately 28 feet of flooring and three feet of carpeting. Our professional installer was met with more than a few unexpected challenges. Just for info costing is included on the left. There may be cheaper ways of adding a wood-like floor but we plan to keep this unit for a long time so we chose to add a long lasting floor. Our neighbours installed a floating floor laminate directly over their coach floor for much less outlay, they seem happy with their results as well. Will it wear well as long as ours, only time will tell? The most amazing thing is the amount of extra room we have and our front room is so cozy.
with my sister Diane and hubby Don.
finally has a workstation, Randy also ran an electrical cord and a
telephone extension in the area where the carpet and floor meet---we added
a power bar to that. This way John has access to these connections at his
new desk. On the social side
we now sit down for meals together and I can also feed four people for a
sit down dinner---this is a first for us in many years. We even splurged
and bought colour matched dishes, glasses etc.
For ease of travel we left one seatbelt near each chair.
I simply load the footstools, and miscellaneous ‘stuff’ into
each chair and secure with the seatbelt.
If we have passengers the extras will be securely stowed in the
This floor is almost indestructible but to be on the safe side we have added strips of carpet to the base of chairs, to the footstools and/or to tables to avoid the possibility of scratches. I want the floor to stay like ‘new' and trouble free for many years to come.
those who live in southern Ontario and would like Randy's services (M.R.
Carpet and Vinyl) can contact him through this website at email@example.com
mainly works out of his shop truck in a home environment but this talented
technician also came highly recommended by an RV tech and an RV dealer as
the ‘expert’ for installing RV floors as well. We have now added our
recommendations to the list as well. Thanks Randy we love our 'new' home.
Our Incredible 10.1 mm laminate Complete with underlay pad in Bedroom by Randy - Added September 2006
More pictures at www.rvliving.net/gallery
Page 11, Sep-October events
The Cherry (wine) colour co-ordinates with our wine rug
under the Front Chairs
Patio Stone Floor tiles enhance KITCHEN appearance
added Feb 2006
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Many Recent Updates - Advice and How To;