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Old 03-31-2012, 07:23 PM   #15
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The floor is only partially done. The photo is not good, but maybe you can get the idea. I coated the subfloor with two coats of spar urethane.

You can see water spots on the plywood at the bottom of the photo.

Before I started laying down the flooring I checked to make sure I had enough (paranoia) and drew lines on the floor where each piece goes. In have two extra planks, so I figured it right. Then I numbered the boxes and the back of the flooring which also are marked which way it goes. There are only 4 different designs in this flooring, so I had to work out the pattern so no two pieces that were the same next to each other.

Instead of starting at one end, I started at the one closest to the bottom of the photo on the left because there was a difficult fit there and then worked forward to the bedroom, then started moving the other way toward the rear of the trailer. The transition piece between the bedroom and hallway is screwed down with screws buried in the carpet, so I bent it up to fit the floor just under it leaving some space for expansion. I will bang the metal transition strip back in place wioth a mallet and block of wood. I had to buy another strip to go between the bathroom and the hallway since I did not remove the bathroom vinyl. It looked ok, so I left it.

I built a box with a slot running through it so I could clamp the flooring down and cut it with a sabre saw with a laminate blade. This works great for long cuts. For fitting around corners, doorways, and such, I cut it with either a utility knife or carpet knife with new blades. There are a number of places (door frame for. ex.) where I cut a piece out of the bottom to fit the flooring under it because it is impossible to put trim around these areas. The threshold under the exterior door has to be removed and cut to fit a higher floor. This is a good opportunity to clean it up, sand it, and use many coats of spar urethane.

To make sure the floor is straight, use a square to line it up to the edges of the plywood—I have to assume the plywood is square to the trailer. The cabinets and furniture may not be straight and it is best to find that out first. I use a large square and a carpenters square. The hallway and the kitchen have many ins and outs making all this complicated. Planning makes sure you don't have a thin piece at the edge of something like the partitions or furniture. The planks I am using are wide enough so 3 abreast are more than enough to fit across the hallway and just cut the edges of two planks. They all look fine. No narrow pieces. Stagger the planks so you don't have a seam all the way across the hallway. That means cutting 1/3 off of one, then use a full on, then the other side, cut 2/3 off—if you have wide planks. For thinner ones, same idea, more cutting. It is difficult to cut this particular floor with a knife, so for long cuts the sabre saw makes it easy. I find that using a knife means it can go off line easily, so be very careful so as to not ruin a piece of flooring. Use a straight edge to guide the knife. Watch your fingers too—they cut a lot easier than the flooring.

With flooring it is important to think through each stage and do all the prep work. For ex., I have already urethaned all the quarter round and sanded them smooth. When I cut them, I will put urethane on the edges too. If you have a finishing nail gun, it will be easy to nail trim in place making sure you miss the new flooring and hit the subfloor or the cabinet behind it. If you use a hammer, blunt the tips of the nails to keep the trim from splitting. Don't nail right at the ends because they will split there no matter what you do. If you hit the trim with a hammer, immediately put a wet tissue on the blemish and the wood may expand and remove the dimple. Sink the nails with a nail set and then use some wood putty.

I will have to cut the flooring where the dinette seat goes. I plan to establish where the screw holes are, drill the flooring where the old screw holes are, and put something in them to locate the seat exactly, then put the screws in loosely, cut around the seat base and drop the seat down to the subfloor and tighten the screws. The seat will be 1/16" lower than it was, but that is insignificant. The table leg will have to be shortened to make up for the higher floor so the table isn't off level.

How this floor works with extremes of temperature remains to be seen. The actual laying of the floor takes a lot less time than the prep. The trim also goes slowly.

Gene
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:29 AM   #16
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.....Before I started laying down the flooring I checked to make sure I had enough (paranoia)......
LOL, same issue here! Now we are trying to figure out how much sq st is need it to do the trailer without removing the the closets, rear bath or the center twin beds...pretty much we don't really want to gutter the trailer for flooring.

....I coated the subfloor with two coats of spar urethane....
I.... have already urethaned all the quarter round and sanded them smooth. When I cut them, I will put urethane on the edges too....
Excuse my ignorance in the subject but what it the urethane for
...so I bent it up to fit the floor just under it leaving some space for expansion...
How much room are you leaving?
Thanks again Gene!
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Old 04-05-2012, 11:00 AM   #17
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The urethane is to seal the subfloor. If it gets wet, it will better repel the water, though the edges and bottom side are still vulnerable. As I lay the planks, I see the subfloor has some swells in it along one seam where some water got on top. It is not something you can see easily or feel when you walk on it, but when putting down the flooring I could feel it with my hand. The urethane may not help much, but water being a nasty threat, avoid problems when you can.

The space inside the trailer is pretty small. Normal spacing would be a 1/4"-3/8" with a normal sized room and most flooring. The manufacturer of this flooring recommends something like 3/16" outside or in an RV, and I am trying to keep to that, though because of the small area, less will probably be ok (1/8"). The rubber molding I will use around the curved sink cabinet doesn't cover the gap well, so I am keeping it to less than 3/16". With quarter round, 1/4"-3/8" is no problem. It depends on how badly I screw up the cut too. Curves are my weak point. This company says no expansion space is necessary indoors, but I wouldn't believe it—the flooring may not expand, but the wall can and crunch the flooring. So, no set amount within those parameters because the cuts are always a little off and the cabinets and partitions are not square. Measure a lot before you cut because the carpentry is not all that great.

Gene
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:07 PM   #18
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Believe I already clicked on the THANKS button, CrawfordGene for your post above. As nice as any seen on this subject across this board, IMO. That FineHomeBuilding practice sure pays off!

We used glue down cork on the Silver Streak shown in the sig link. Floor prep was mainly in removing old staples, etc and some sanding on floor joins (could have been better but my excuse is that we were full-timing). Our single instruction to the installer was in using the floor joins as a line to respect due to likely expansion/contraction. Over the next two years noted no problems (heat and very high humidity prior to dehumidifier use). While the floor did "telelgraph" some high spots I would (will) use laminate cork floor tiles again. Heavy sheet cork (the type that will last 70+ years in commercial spaces) would be considered if I removed the interior cabinetry (a distinct possibility on an SS as it's fairly easy).

Otherwise, I think Marmoleum has no GP peer for a TT. Carpeting, though, is a good choice for those who replace it annually or semi-annually (as did my parents). Carpeting is, when one has a built-in vacuum system, awfully easy to live with when well-chosen. (Yes, I know the counter-arguments). A combination of carpet squares (very highest quality) and Marmoleum would be a great combo for some floorplan arrangements and type of traffic (whether or not kids, pets, etc).

I write this as the above combo is acoustically quiet. More important than some would think. The level of ambient noise with A/C running can be high, etc. I was pleased that cork had the same "quiet" quality as carpet (surprised it was as good as promised), better than wood. But with the quality of wood otherwise: warm in winter and cool in summer (physical insulation) plus maintenance practice. Marmoleum and carpet would be second.

If I went with a full Marmoleum lay out then the size and placement (plus maintenance) of rugs would easily be as high a concern as the rest of the job (time & effort in exploring options). A "loud" floor is detrimental in a number of aspects. Shoes left outside covers much of what problems owners expect to solve with some flooring types. Such small floor space without adequate appreciation of sound level / sound quality can change the experience in the wrong way. The popularity of bare metal walls, etc, only intensifies this concern. Living inside a tin can is not to the end of re-creating our selves.

In all the above I would most of all recommend a systematic approach. The type and quality of cleaning/maintenance agents is just as important in enclosed spaces as the covering itself. I would accept or reject, also, on this basis.

This product, as example, caused me to feel okay about wood or cork in a trailer (not some fake or poor laminate with questionable factory application that wears quickly away). I didn't wind up using it, but will in the next instance. Don't really want to do it again (would be the main emphasis).

.
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Old 04-05-2012, 02:04 PM   #19
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I didn't really search for products that much. I have done tile and laminate floors—both real wood laminate and all fake laminate. So I have a basic understanding of flooring, but a trailer is different enough to make me look for alternatives.

I started looking at products at Big Box stores to see what was easy to find. Then started finding out things on the internet including this Forum. Our nearest "big" city is Grand Junction. We looked over products in the Big stores and found nothing we really liked. We thought of going to Denver for more variety, but started going to small flooring stores. The prices were very, very high, but there was more variety.

We saw a product that had some of the characteristics we liked—wide planks (fewer cuts, laying pieces goes faster, fewer visible seams), attractive design, perhaps no need for permanent glue (I hope), no flimsy locking system (none at all), thin enough to not cause too many problems with cabinet door clearance, and it seems to be all vinyl and will not absorb water and swell. Though I don't like vinyl for several reasons, we weren't finding many alternatives. This did appear to be a much better quality product than the Big Box stores. Then I had to find a non-permanent glue with a wide temp range. It may be ok at high temps, but not below 10˚ F, but no one is in the trailer at that temp and perhaps it will work. If not, pick up the plank, spray some more glue, put it down. How simple could that be? The planks are not rigid, so they kind of peel upward. To get one up in the center, apparently a suction cup will work. If I had less experience with floors, looking for a floor appropriate for the job would have taken longer. I was also getting bored by the search—not as bad as shopping for clothes—but I was about done with the shopping part. After we left the overpriced store, I found the same flooring on the internet far, far cheaper. It's mostly in, though trim still has to be done. It looks good so far. When I sit on the floor, I see the seams, but when I stand up, I can't.

If I were more patient and willing to go to Denver at the time, I would have found flooring stores with Marmoleum, rubber and cork alternatives. The latter two would be easier on our feet, but that is not a big problem in the trailer. Our house is mostly tile, so we can tell the difference, but the vinyl we bought, besides being flexible, has some spring to it, so it will be easier on our feet than a hard laminate. If you have the time and can go to a big city that is not so provincial as Grand Junction, the alternatives we were interested in may have been a better choice. I was motivated by getting it done and "this looks like it'll work". I am also aware that this is not my home—it is a trailer and does not need quite what I do at home.

Any hard laminate that has a substrate that can absorb water may not be a good idea in a trailer. I learned that from installing one at home in a kitchen. If you have such a laminate, buy enough extra pieces to be able to replace any ones that may get damaged in the future. Be aware that the interlocking tabs on some laminates are flimsy and once you pull it up to replace damaged pieces, you may have trouble getting it together again. More extra pieces are needed. Normally I provide for 10% waste when I order stuff—mistakes and strange cuts that waste a whole piece can eat that 10%. When using water absorbent laminates, I would get a lot more making them possibly very expensive. Flooring comes in boxes and you may be short one tile or plank and have to buy many more than you think you need. That's another consideration especially if you are buying something that is no longer made (the way to get big bargains). Better get more than enough because you may not be able to get it again.

Measure the floor carefully. It is a series of rectangles and each one needs to be measured and added to the total square inches. See what different sized pieces will fit well in the most visible spaces—hallway especially. Our 10" wide planks fit really well across the hallway and down to the end of the trailer without having to cut much from either edge. Usually big tiles or planks don't look good in narrow spaces, but these do. If they had high contrast between pieces, it wouldn't work. If these planks were 9" wide instead of 10", it would not have worked easily and I would have had used 1/3 more planks to cover the same area. I was lucky to find them. I would have been glad to find smaller tiles of linoleum, rubber or cork, but didn't. If you want to really drive yourself nuts (and have a lot more waste), install tiles on the bias. I don't think it would look good in small spaces, but I'm sure it has been done.

Gene
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Old 04-06-2012, 01:04 PM   #20
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REDNAX, we do think alike... I have been dreaming of marmoleum + FLOR carpet tiles as an accent for my SS. But I know: systems first!
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:42 AM   #21
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New Flooring

After talking to many flooring people we decided to go with Karndean - Van Gogh. It's been in for only a week and still putting everything back together. We're very pleased with the appearance and the installer did a great job (it took 4 days, along with carpet in the BR).
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Old 04-30-2012, 01:59 PM   #22
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bganso, did you get the loose lay or what? Karndean suggests gluing the edges on exterior applications and leaving some space around the edges (hide it with trim) for the loose lay. When it shrinks, it is mostly along the long way and the seams open that way. For warmer days (coming soon here) I'm hoping they close. We used a removable glue so I could check the condition of the subfloor periodically. Did the installer use a permanent glue on yours?

We've had a few cold nights recently and the seams at the ends opened enough to easily see. It still looks better than the OEM vinyl.

Yours looks good and the colors match the sofa and cabinet. Good choice for your trailer.

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Old 04-30-2012, 09:56 PM   #23
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Gene,

Thanks for your positive comments.

I think we're in a similar climate to you. The installer has been in this area for over 20 years, so I assume he knows whats he's doing. Many of the homes in our area are vacation residences and not always heated during the winter months. Although we don't keep our AS in Truckee in the winter, it'll be here during some varying temps. Freezing - 85 degrees in 24 hours (such is life in the mountains).

The installer used a Karndean adhesive with a notched trowel. The entire floor was glued down. Before the vinyl was laid he leveled the plywood floor, then installed a 1/4" birch plywood underlayment. He said I probably gained a few pounds, but didn't think it was significant. We ditched our spice cabinet and folding table/storage compartment, so I'm probably ahead on the weight game. BTW, we had carpet and pad throughout previously.

Bruce
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:24 AM   #24
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I'm in love with that couch, bganso. (And the floor is great!!).
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:06 AM   #25
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New Couch

Thanks Rednax.

My wife loves the couch in the Dorsey Airstream, so we took our old couch and a picture of the Dorsey one to a local upholstery shop. We opted for faux leather vs. the real stuff to hold the cost down, but we asked the upholsterer to replicate the picture. Here's a picture of the old one. We're really pleased with the result.

Bruce
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