Tuesday, June 3, 2008

New flooring in Casper

We are still in Casper, WY, where we spent the night at Home Depot (map).

We found a flooring that we liked and which was in stock, a "no-glue" sheet vinyl from Armstrong in a sort of natural oak pattern. Home Depot's installers were booked out two weeks, and that turned out to be true for everyone else that we called in town as well. There are also no more Home Depots (or anything else, really) on our route until we are in Gillette at the end of the month.

We really did not want to wait. One reason we're replacing the carpet is that, after four years and three cleanings, it's just done -- all carpet in an RV ends up in a "high traffic" area. But the other reason is that one (or maybe both) of the cats has peed on the darn thing perhaps a dozen times. It had finally gotten to the point where no amount of enzyme cleaner or "Dumb Cat" could rid us of a faint odor of cat pee and enzyme rising from the floor every time the humidity changed. It was at the point where the last two sets of guests we had on board were not even shown the bedroom during the tour.

So we decided to bite the bullet and put the thing in ourselves. We bought a 6'x12' section of flooring, or eight yards at just under $8 per yard -- $64 worth of floor (for which we'd been quoted $400 and up for installation). We also bought leveling compound and a trowel to smooth out the subfloor, a seaming kit, and the special double-stick tape that Armstrong sells to secure the floating vinyl in strategic places like seams and transitions. All told, about $100 in supplies, but we were sure we'd need to run back into the store several more times before the end of the project.

Realizing we were looking at a two-day affair, I asked the store manager if we could stay in the parking lot for the night. As we've been told at Home Depot before, they generally do not allow it as a matter of policy, and this store does not even allow trucks making deliveries here to overnight. To his credit, he made an exception, but for only a single night -- we need to be done and out of here today.

We immediately set to work removing the old carpet, carpet pad, staples, and tack strips. As soon as all the old soft goods were out of the coach, the odor problem pretty much went away entirely, but Louise put her sniffer (which is more sensitive than mine) to the subfloor and determined that we needed to spray the Dumb Cat on it before the new flooring went in.

That took us all the way to a late dinner time, and we stumbled across the street to the local Mongolian BBQ place. I spent the rest of the night downloading installation guides and tips from Armstrong and elsewhere.

This morning I sanded lots of imperfections, spilled adhesives, etc. off the subfloor, and we made a template of the very complex floor layout on kraft paper. Once the paper was up, I was ready to unroll the material in the parking lot to let it relax while I leveled the floor with patching compound, however, by this time the wind had picked up to about 30mph. We had to pack up and move Odyssey to the lee side of the store to be able to work outside.

Once the patch compound was down, we went out to start cutting, and we really had a challenge wrestling the template onto the vinyl in the wind. I have my fingers crossed that it all laid down and lined up "close enough" for a nice fit when we start putting it down -- I cut it a little large to cover any minor goofs.

Some of the patched areas needed a second skim coat, and now I'm waiting for that to cure before we can put the flooring down. Two hours is plenty of time to clean up and still leave me time to post this update here (but not enough to answer all the questions about fuel and fuel tax, which I promise to get to in the next few days).

(Edited by Louise to add: The floor is in, and it looks great! I'm really happy with the results. We still need to add molding/trim around the edges, but the overall look is just what I wanted.)

Since our welcome here at Home Depot runs out tonight, we'll cruise back over to Wal-Mart after the floor is in place and we're all packed up.


  1. Looks nice! This replaced the bedroom carpet? I used the same stuff around my house. Much easier upkeep when you have animals!


  2. You two are an inspiration. Hubby & I would have come back in two weeks to have a "professional" do the job - we would never attempt this chore. You two rule!

  3. I saw you had used++ Plynyl+++ for some of your flooring and really thought it looked good. How did it hold up for you? I'm considering using it on a 89 BlueBird-----thanks for your posts --from Michael in Mass

  4. @Michael: We love our Plynyl floor. We would never try to install Plynyl ourselves, though -- the material is too expensive to want to make many mistakes, and it's more challenging to put in than regular sheet vinyl.

    We've had the Plynyl in the high-traffic salon area for 18 months now, and it still looks great. It also feels great to walk on, thanks to the neoprene backing.


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