We truly enjoy life in our Airstream. When you sit back and think about it, it does seem a little different that three people can live in just 240 square feet and be happy. But it works for us. However, after spending a good part of the last two years in our Airstream, we’ve come up with some changes that will make it work better.
The flooring was the first item to be tackled. While showing some signs of wear, it could have lasted awhile longer for us. But, we decided to change it for a couple reasons.
The first thing is that the lounge and bedroom areas are carpeted and the rest is vinyl sheet. Having carpet in the bedroom is nice as it is a bit warmer on your bare feet when you get up in the mornings. But having carpet in the lounge of an RV just doesn’t make a lot of sense to us. While we do take our shoes off upon entry, you still somehow get stuff tracked in. So we wanted that carpet gone.
Our second reason is that we’re changing up the dinette. Since the dinette is screwed to the floor, our changes would leave some screw holes showing, so the flooring had to be changed.
There’s several flooring options to choose from which were nicely covered recently in Airstream Life. What we decided to go with is vinyl planks from Konecto. They come in lots of patterns that emulate wood, bamboo and stone. We chose their Chestnut pattern from the Prestige line. We think the darker color nicely offsets our hickory woodwork.
Konecto is a floating floor and calls for expansion space to be left at the room perimeter. The floating part is good as the floor can expand and contract with the temperature swings we’ll see as well as allow for movement while going down the road.
The vinyl plank basically consists of two layers which are offset from each other.
The offset is about an inch in width and covered with adhesive. To adhere two planks together, you simply line them up
And press them together.
Even before using a roller, the adhesive starts working.
After getting two planks together, you then use a hand roller to get better adhesion. Then you want to use a 100 lb roller when complete.
Now, Konecto absolutely does not recommend their product for this application. They call for a stable subfloor, which does not equate to an Airstream going down the road. They also call for less temperature swings than we’re likely to see. However, I’ve read of several successful Airstream installations. So I decided to go with it and we’ll see how it holds up for us. With our small area, it doesn’t cost much to redo the flooring. One thing I have already found out is that it scratches much more easily than I would have expected. But otherwise, we’re happy with it so far.
I started off the install with a very important item.
Yep, we introduced Kathryn to a hero from our childhood. An Indy marathon is just the thing to keep her out of the way.
We then began the demolition. We were going to start from the front, so the couch and front cabinets were removed. Then we set in on pulling up the carpet.
This also gave us a chance to inspect the wood subfloor. We knew that the previous owner had experienced some leaks in the front, so I was happy to find the subfloor to be in great shape.
It was also interesting to see how the wood finish had aged from the sun over the years. I would have expected the sun to bleach the wood out, but the area exposed to sun is darker.
After that was out of the way, we could get ready to start laying the planks. Airstream helpfully left a pencil line down the middle of the trailer. Or at least almost down the middle. It was square, but about an inch off from being truly centered. But just having a line to reference from was a help.
We also had to decide which orientation we wanted the planks to be in. The vinyl sheet that came in our Airstream mimicked wood planks running length wise. So we could have gone with that. We could also run the planks width wise, which would have been the easiest hands down. But no…. I decided to be different… and difficult. I decided to lay the floor at a 45 degree angle. I think this would be more interesting looking than the other choices. It was certainly more interesting to lay. If you actually start measuring things, there isn’t much that is truly straight in our Airstream. So when you add an angle into the mix, it makes for a lot of fun.
So after measuring several times to determine the pencil line was square, then measuring off of that, along the front and side walls, and then making a paper template, I was able to lay the first plank. It was important to get this one right as everything else was going to key from it.
After getting this one in, it was just a matter of continual measuring and cutting. You want to stagger the plank ends so that the planks all interlock. Konecto makes a big point of being sure to properly roll each seam. So as each plank was laid it was then rolled with a hand roller. Then after about every five feet of trailer length, I rolled it with the 100 lb roller.
After getting to point above, Mary remembered that absence makes the heart grow fonder, so she went out with one of her girlfriends. But realistically, given the small space in the Airstream, this was basically a one person job. Two people would just get in each other’s way.
Here the floor is a bit further along.
You can see here the tools I used. First, a broom to be sure the floor was clean (previously swept and mopped as well) before laying the new flooring. As you can see, you can lay the Konecto planks over an existing flooring. I had a pencil both for marking paper templates where needed and marking where to cut the plank. The speed square made it easy to measure the 45 degree angle cuts. Depending on whether the cut was a straight edge or more complicated, I would use either the utility knife or the heavy duty scissors to cut the plank. After laying the plank, the seam would be hand rolled. Then after laying a few feet of flooring, I’d again use the 100 lb roller. I’d also work from three boxes at at time. Even though all the planks came from the same color lot, this ensured that I mixed up the color and patterns.
I got to this point in one day.
As you can see, I taped down the paper Konecto uses to separate the planks over the end where I stopped. This kept the adhesive tab clean until I was ready to start back up the next day.
I was then able to complete the job the next day.With all the angles and cuts in the bathroom, the hall and bathroom took almost as long as the rest of the Airstream did. But still, two days of work to completely change up the flooring is not bad time.
The remaining task was to cut, stain and install trimwork around the perimeter to cover the expansion gap that was left.
Here’s the lounge area with the new flooring.
This was my first time laying this type of flooring and I think it went fairly well. If the flooring holds up to the travel and temperature variations in Airstream life, I’d do this flooring again if needed.
Next up will be adding color to our Airstream.