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How to Remove Carpet From Under RV Slide Out

RVs and travel trailers are a lot of fun, but they’re also a lot of work to maintain. It’s common to want to change and upgrade things inside and outside your RV as it gets older. Just like with houses, upgrading is entirely possible, as long as you know what you’re doing and have the tools you need.

One of the most common changes people want to make on their RV is the carpet in the slideouts. Carpet is fairly difficult to maintain and keep clean inside of a camper and therefore requires frequent maintenance and replacement.

Whether you want to give it a deep clean or replace it, it’s important to know how to remove your slideout carpets.

This process is easier said than done, however. There are important steps to remember and follow when attempting to remove your slideout carpets.

In this article, we’re going to walk you through the process and prepare you for what lies ahead if you are trying to remove carpet from under RV slide out. I’ll also let you know what tools you’re going to need and the cost of replacing your carpet.

How to Remove Carpet from RV Slide Out

RV Slide Out Carpet Removal

Removing carpet from under your RV slideout is actually a challenging and tedious process. It will require blood, sweat, and tears, but it’s definitely feasible. There are many reasons for wanting to remove carpet from your RV, but the main reason is that it’s very difficult to maintain.

Campgrounds aren’t exactly known for their cleanliness, and it’s extremely easy to drag dirt, water, and nastiness in general into your RV from the outside.

Here is a step-by-step process of how to remove your RV slideouts carpet.

Make Sure That You Have All the Tools and Parts You Need to Complete the Job

Before starting your project, you’ll want to make sure that you have all the tools you need. Speaking from experience, it’s extremely frustrating to be making trips back and forth from the hardware store every time you realize you’re missing something. Here’s a list of what you’ll likely need.

  • Utility knife
  • Extra blades for the utility knife
  • Needlenose pliers
  • Crowbar
  • Hammer
  • Screw gun or screwdriver
  • An appropriate bit to remove your RV’s screws
  • Cleaner
  • Trash bag
  • Gloves for protection
  • Vacuum sweeper

It sounds like a long list, but to do the job correctly, you’ll likely need most of these items.

Start by Cutting Around the Edges of the Visible Sections of the Carpet and Split Them Into Manageable Sections

You’ll quickly notice that your slideout carpet tucks up underneath the slideout walls and trim pieces. The first thing that you’ll need to do is cut around the perimeter of the carpet and remove the parts that you can physically see and grasp.

This process is easier if you cut the carpet into smaller, more manageable sections. Continue to cut away at your carpet until it’s completely gone, aside from the sections you can’t access.

Grab and Extract the Carpet as You Cut and Loosen It

As you’re cutting the carpet into sections, dispose of each section in a garbage bag to keep your workspace as tidy as possible. Make sure not to cut too deep into the carpet that you damage the flooring underneath. The flooring often consists of vinyl or a similar product and is very easy to damage if you’re not careful.

Scrape Away the Glue or Adhesive that Fastens the Carpet to the Floor

There are several ways that the carpet gets attached to the slideout floor. One of the more common methods is with an adhesive such as glue. The glue will make it tougher to remove the carpet due to how aggressively it adheres to anything it touches.

Once the carpet is removed, and the glue is visible, you’re ready to begin the job of scraping it off the floor. Scraping away glue is hard and tedious work, but it’s an essential part of the carpet removal process.

Use a putty knife, a cleaning agent, and possibly a crowbar in extreme situations. Also, make sure that you’re wearing gloves for this step, as it’s easy to cut your fingers and knuckles while scraping.

If the Carpet is Fastened With Staples Instead of Glue, Remove Those As Well

The alternative to using glue to fasten the carpet to the slideout floor is tacks or nails. While removing the carpet, you’ll need a hammer and crowbar to remove each and every nail.

Don’t Damage the Layer Underneath the Carpet as You’Re Cutting and Tearing

I once again want to reiterate the importance of not damaging the layer of flooring beneath the carpet. To avoid doing this, it might be necessary to gently lift the carpet while you’re cutting. This will add slight pressure to the carpet so that you don’t have to cut quite as aggressively and reduce the risk of causing damage.

Remove Any Parts Underneath Furniture and Walls

With all of the visible sections of carpet removed, it’s time to remove the parts that you can see but can’t grasp. These sections of carpet might be under pieces of furniture, behind the trim, or tucked behind the walls of your slideout.

If necessary, remove any screws that are holding these components in place and set them aside. Remove the old carpet, and reattach anything that you detached.

Vacuum and Thoroughly Clean the Floor Beneath the Carpet

Once the carpet is removed and the glue or nails have been extracted, you’re ready to clean up. Make sure to use a vacuum to clean away every piece of debris. The last thing you want to do is start installing a new floor only to discover a bulge underneath the finished product because you left something behind.

If you follow these steps to a T, you should have no problem removing the old carpet in your RV slide out.

How to Replace Your RV Slideout Carpet

RV Slide Out Carpet

Removing your old RVs carpet is difficult, but it’s just as difficult to install a new one. With the old carpet removed and set aside, it’s time to decide what kind of flooring you’d like to reinstall.

The easiest choice is carpet since that’s what your slideout is designed for. It is possible, however, to install vinyl or plank flooring in place of the old carpet.

Let’s first look at how to install a new carpet in place of your old one.

  1. Measure the room and purchase a carpet slightly longer and wider than the size of the room. This extra size will allow you to cut the carpet as needed and leave extra material to tuck underneath the trim and furniture. You can make a carpet shorter, but you can’t make it longer.
  2. Make sure that the subfloor, the layer of flooring underneath the carpet, is properly prepared. If you cleaned and vacuumed the floor after removing the old carpet, making sure that no glue or nails got left behind, then the work is mostly done. If minor repairs or extra subflooring needs to be added, then make sure to do this before laying the carpet.
  3. If necessary, you might have to place floor tacks around the perimeter of the room to attach the carpet to. Floor tacks are a good alternative to glue and nails and are commonly used for carpeting in houses.
  4. Installing a carpet in your RV is slightly different than installing carpet in a house. Carpet padding is usually added next in houses, and you can optionally add it in your RV or go without it. It will largely depend on the thickness of the carpet and whether or not you need the extra comfort.
  5. Next, measure the carpet and cut it to the size of your room. In the steps that follow, you’ll learn how to anchor and stretch the carpet as needed.
  6. Lay the carpet out on the floor, securing it first along the wall and anchoring it to the floor tacks.
  7. Stretch the carpet out so that it fits perfectly inside the room. Make sure that every inch of flooring is covered and that there aren’t any bumps or bulges on the floor. For this step, you’ll likely need some special tools to stretch the carpet without damaging it. This is one of the most essential steps to the carpet laying process so make sure to take your time and do it right.
  8. For the final step, you have the option of adding transitional strips on the floor to give your carpet a more finished look. It’s like adding trim at the end of laying flooring to cover any gaps between the floor and the wall.

If you choose to add a different type of flooring outside of carpeting, there are a few other considerations to keep in mind.

Can You Replace the RV Slideout Carpet With Flooring?

RV Flooring

You can indeed replace the carpet in your RV slideout with a different type of flooring rather than a new carpet. However, because of how a slideout is designed to move in and out and slide over the top of your flooring, it’s a little more difficult.

Carpets are frequently used in RV slideouts because of their flexibility and ability to slide over the top of any existing flooring in the way.

When installing laminate, vinyl, linoleum, or hardwood flooring in place of a carpet, the most important part is to make sure that you don’t end up ruining the rest of your floor.

You also want to make sure you pick an option that’s lightweight and easy to install. Slideouts aren’t designed to handle an infinite amount of weight and choosing a lightweight option is paramount.

Outside of the weight of the flooring you use, you should also remember that different types of flooring react differently with frequent movement.

A cheap tongue and groove flooring are more likely to split and crack as you move your slideout in and out. You may want to opt for something with a little more sturdiness such as bamboo or hardwood. This type of flooring is more expensive, but it will also last longer and look better.

FAQ’s About Removing a Carpet from RV Slide Out

Question: Why Do Slideouts Often Have Carpet Installed on Them?

Answer: There are a variety of reasons that RV slideouts have carpet instead of other types of flooring. Carpet is cheaper, lighter, and easier to install than other types of flooring.

RV factories make their money by using cheaper products and installing them fast. Carpet is the only option that checks all these boxes. Carpet also has the ability to slide over the top of the existing flooring in your house and reduces the risk of causing any damage.

Question: How do I Keep my RVs Carpet From Getting Damaged?

Answer: The best way to protect your RV carpet is to keep everything outside the RV on the outside.

Question: Can You Visibly Tell If Your Flooring is Water Damaged?

Answer: If you want to tell if your floor has sustained water damage, it’s fairly easy to tell. Water damage will leave very distinct stains and marks on the areas of your floor that are ruined. There could also be sagging and soft spots in areas that are water-damaged.

Question: Is it Expensive to Install New Flooring in an RV?

Installing new flooring in an RV is not as expensive as new flooring in a house, simply because of the size differential. New carpet will cost you anywhere between $200 and $1000 per slideout, depending on the quality of carpet you choose.

Linoleum flooring is the cheapest option and will cost you around $200 for glue and flooring. Plank flooring is the most expensive option, and there are lots of different qualities to choose from. This type of flooring will cost anywhere from $500 to $1500.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of the reason that you want to remove your RV slideouts carpet, extracting it is no small task. It is, however, something that DIYers can do and doesn’t always require professional assistance. Being thorough and staying is safe is the main component of any successful project, and carpet removal is no different.

Removing and exchanging your old carpet is a great way to add comfort and value to your RV. It will get rid of pesky stains and smells that your carpet soaks up over time and that there aren’t good solutions for outside of replacement.

Don’t let a stinky, smelly carpet ruin your camping experiences. Follow the steps and tips in this article to make the most out of your adventures.