At long last, we have new flooring. Now let’s hope it lasts a long time.

This is a project that had many false starts.

When we bought The Toad late in 2014, it was 6 years old, and we hated the carpet immediately, but we spent the next two years focusing on mostly structural and mechanical upgrades, with a few cosmetic ones thrown in for good measure (see bottom of page for a list with links).

Early in 2017, we met new friends David and Cheryl of Landmark Adventures, and they gave us the name of the Dallas/Fort Worth area company that had replaced all their RV flooring. We tried to set something up with Dodson Professional Carpet when we were stranded just south of Dallas in March, but unfortunately our schedules were incompatible.

Then in June, we tried to hire a flooring company in Goshen, IN, to do the job, while we were in town for the Heartland North American Rally, but their estimate came in well above our budget.

And that’s when we decided we’d just do it ourselves. And those plans failed too, not once but twice, as we learned in two different states that “IN STOCK” at big box home improvement stores is sometimes followed by, “except for this one you actually want, which we’ve run out of, and it will take us two weeks to get more.” Due to other upcoming plans, we did not have that kind of lead time.

Finally, as we were nearing our departure time from our work camping gig with Amazon Camperforce in TN, we decided that since we’d be heading back to Texas anyway, we’d go back to where we started this process, and schedule a firm plan with Ed Dodson, of Dodson Professional Carpet.

And that is how the job finally got done, in mid-January of 2018, in Roanoke, TX. We wrote a check and got out of the way as Ed’s man, Ruben, replaced the smelly, stained, worn-out carpeting in the bedroom and on our slide-outs with new carpeting; and replaced the central living area carpeting, and kitchen and bathroom linoleum with luxury vinyl tile (LVT).

Actually, the LVT had to be done twice. The first round was a lower quality variety, and it shrunk and separated at the seams within a day. It was Ed’s mistake to assume we’d want to go cheap; and our mistake to choose from amongst the one brand of samples he showed us, without asking about other options and researching their suitability.

Ed then showed us some higher quality samples. He split the cost of the upgraded flooring with us, and he did not charge us for the second round of labor at all.

Thus ends the “how we did it” part of the story. We paid for it. Budget: $2,000.00. Original estimate: $2,000.00. Final cost: $2376.00.

Here are the Befores & Afters.

The old carpeting and some of its many stains
Not pictured: the feel of completely worn down padding underfoot, or the the funk of ten years worth of trapped odors.

Thankfully, we thought to make note of the location of all our furniture strap anchors before we removed them, and the new flooring then covered the existing holes.

No surprises during demolition. The subfloor was level, with only a small spot or two of minor water damage from leaks we’d long since repaired.

Out with the old, and good riddance!

Ed’s original plan did not include installing carpeting under the bed — until we offered to remove and replace the bed ourselves.
Ruben did an excellent job of piecing both padding and carpeting in and around the slide hydraulics, and now we sleep warmer at night.

LVT installation, Take I

Main living area before, and after the first round of LVT…

… and midway through the process of removing the bad (light grayish) and installing the better (dark brown).

Our hallway and stairs, before, during, and after.
Note in top left photo that after the carpeting was removed, we found linoleum under there, extending out in a single sheet from the bathroom on the left. Oh, and that you can see outside through that gap between the floor and the wall. Nice.
The thing that looks like a trap door is in fact a trap door. Beneath it is a square cubby where we toss our dirty laundry right into a basket, thus keeping it out of sight and out of smell.

Top: bathroom before and after
Bottom: Tim’s desk slide-out, midway and after

Kitchen before and after

At last, we’ve got some color cohesion in here!

Here too.

Main living area, before and after

View from bedroom steps to rear of RV, before and after

Final verdict: We are very pleased with the transformation. We can now feel the padding underneath our carpeted areas, and we love the warm, chocolaty look and easy care of the LVT.


Our other mods and upgrades: Some early ones are described on this page, and I either blogged or posted quick social media updates about

Best Money I Ever Spent: RV Accessories That Were Worth Every Penny

Are you ready to make a shopping list?

About a month ago, I asked a few Heartland RV owners to help me warn others about regrettable RV accessory purchases: items they bought that just didn’t work out.

This month?

This month, it’s time to flip the coin and report from the opposite side.

Items are listed in alphabetical order, and the cost approximated to account for differences in retailer pricing, tax, shipping, and special offers.

Links to manufacturer/retailer pages were provided by contributors as a starting point for your research. You may find better pricing and selection elsewhere.

BodySpa RV Shower Kit by Oxygenics

$45.00

“Uses less water and the pressure is great. My family loves showering in our RV now.”

Stacy Vaughn, owner of a 2017 Road Warrior 427

Photo source: Camping World


30-Pint Electronic Dehumidifier by Haier

$160.00

“Where we live is hot and humid, and we will soon be moving to the wet Pacific Northwest. We found that we were sticking to our furniture and bedsheets, and the bathroom just never seemed to completely dry out after showers. This dehumidifier has curbed those issues, and as a bonus has helped with the efficiency of our the A/C units.”

Carissa Edwards, owner of a 2014 Big Country

Photo source: Target


Elongated Ceramic Toilet, Model 320, by Dometic

$200.00

“Our new toilet eliminated some unpleasant issues. It’s taller so it’s more comfortable to sit on; the bowl is deeper so there’s plenty of space between us and the water; the seat and lid are both sturdy wood rather than plastic; the seat is elongated instead of round, making…um…personal hygiene tasks easier; when flushed, it rinses all the way around the bowl from under the rim; and it has a hand sprayer to quickly dispatch any stubborn residue. In short, it’s much more like a residential toilet, which is exactly what we want in our full-time home. It was easy to install, too. Who knew a lowly toilet could make us so happy?”

David Goldstein, owner of a 2013 Landmark San Antonio

Here’s a video of the product installation on David’s blog, Landmark Adventures.

(Author’s note: We at OwnLessDoMore also upgraded to this toilet, and our behinds stand behind David’s assessment.)

Photo source: Amazon


GlowStep Revolution Step System by Torklift

$600.00

“What makes them worth every penny is that they easily adjust to a variety of terrain, and have adjustable stabilizing legs which make contact with the ground, eliminating bounce. The step size between each step adjusts equally, so there is no gigantic step at the top or bottom of the rise. No need for a portable extra step, ever again! For me and my poor knees, these steps are a true lifesaver. I no longer have knee stress with step sizes that are uncomfortable. These steps will go with me if we ever change coaches.”

Erika Dorsey, owner of a 2016 Heartland Big Country 4010RD

Here’s a full write-up of the product installation on Erika’s blog, Mammoth Travels.

Photo source: Erika Dorsey

Feel free to comment below with your own tale of money well spent!


Author’s note: A version of this post appears at Heartland RVs. It is printed here with permission.