Our Wonderful Followers who come back again and again to read about us...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Motorhome Modification - BATHROOM FLOOR REPLACMENT

To get through the long boring winter, I am going through our Motorhome Modifications from A to Z...   to help make my blog interesting to the RVers who follow me, and not have it only chock full of my fiber items I am working on.   These are items we have done over the last 5 years to our Safari Serengeti motorhome.

Today is some more of the B's.... BATHROOM! 

In October of 2009, we noticed some softening  to our bathroom floor, along the  edge of the cabinetry on the passenger side.  

So we pulled back the vinyl flooring, only to find our subfloor was rotting !  Upon further inspection, we had three sources of water intrusion. 

  • 1. It turns out that the wheel well area  had a leak from the outside and was exposed and it seems it was kicking up water when driving in the rain.  
  • 2. Our washing machine had never been winterized properly by the previous owners.  We found out it had a cracked pump, and replace it, but not before the damage was done with with leakage over a year or so? When winterizing, you have to not only get antifreeze IN the hoses going in, but also IN the pump for the water that goes OUT. Lots of folks miss that step.  
  • 3. the worst intrusion was along the three horizontal bands of aluminum on the exterior.  The top edge of the band allows water in if the clear caulking has worn away.  We sealed it up again with ProFlex clear silicone, that is UV resistant.  It's a good idea to recheck these three bands of trim around the sides of the Safari motorhomes of our vintage.  

As we started to tear up the floor, we never realized the damage was this severe.   

Our friends Sam and Donna at :   http://samdonna-5thwheelvagabonds.blogspot.com just went through the same thing, a major floor repair/replacement job! 

This was quite a project! 

First we needed to remove all of the vinyl flooring.  Over the bad part of the floor, it was easy to pull the vinyl flooring off of, but the rest of the flooring was stuck firm with glue!   In the photo above is on the driver’s side of the rig, where it was glued down tight and firm.  So it meant we had to be down on the knees and using a putty knife for a few hours to get it all torn out. 

replacing bathroom floor 5

We did not have to pull out the toilet, we had to just remove the pedestal housing that surrounds the actual base.  That made the job even easier! 

replacing bathroom floor 7 
(did you know RV washer/dryer combos have CEMENT block weights inside to help with counterbalancing the spinning action? So they are MUCH heavier than household washing machines... ack! ) 

replacing bathroom floor 8

Now for the messy part:
replacing bathroom floor 9 replacing bathroom floor 10

We found the wood was more and more rotten, the deeper we dug.  We wore masks and gloves because of the moldy wood we are grabbing and tearing out, piece by piece.  We were finally down to the chassis frame and rigid foam insulation.  From the bottom up, outside, we cleaned and sealed the wheel well with spray-on pickup truck bedliner.  We also resealed the side trim strip on the wall with a new bead of some heavy UV caulk made for outdoor applications.  We will be sure to keep checking it for any future leakage!

After ripping out the rotting wood, we also realized the location in the cabinetry had the washer/dryer combo sitting on just ONE brace of the chassis frame!   That very heavy 150 pound machine plus the weight of water when in use  was only centered on one piece of frame?  That meant the four corner legs were not even on any support other than the flooring and vinyl and foam insulation? hmmmmmm

So we beefed that up too with more bracing  on each side before sealing all the bottom up and laying the subfloor and underlayment. 

replacing bathroom floor 11replacing bathroom floor 15

replacing bathroom floor 13
Once we got all the bad wood out, we coated the leading edge of the good wood on the remaining floor with this hardener product, just to be sure no rot would spread any further.  The wood was now dry and ready to lay in the two pieces of wood on top of each other.  The sub floor and underlayment are also both of treated wood.   We coated the two new wood  sections with a waterproof sealer on all sides and edges too. replacing bathroom floor 14

We worked like a team, (just like when we built our house together)  and it was a fun project, once we got the rotting wood out!  We laid in the two new layers, firmly screwing them down and sealing in between with the layers with construction adhesive.  Now the new boards brought it up to the same height as the old floor, so all was level and ready for the new flooring across it all.  

replacing bathroom floor 16   replacing bathroom floor 17 

Now the fun part starts!  Laying on the new flooring!!  It’s a laminate product similar to the new hardwood floors, but this in a faux ceramic tile design… almost a match for the previous color of vinyl we had in there, and it matches our carpeting very well too. 

replacing bathroom floor 1replacing bathroom floor 18 

replacing bathroom floor 19   
It was just measure, cut, click…  what fun!  
The angles around the shower/tub and sink were a bit complicated, but we used paper templates and transferred the angles onto the panels.. Easy Peasy! 

But for extra peace of mind, now the whole washing machine  was put in a heavy duty *drip pan* to prevent any future possible damage too.  The rubbery plastic pan was from the local farm supply store called a "Rabbit Droppings Pan"!    It allowed us to slide it in the cabinet easier without damaging the new flooring too. 

replacing bathroom floor 20 replacing bathroom floor 21 

replacing bathroom floor 23

It sure made a huge difference in the stability of the flooring through that whole area.  It must have been rotting away under there for years, each time we drove in rain or snow! 
Steve finish-nailed the trim thresholds back into place on both doorways, and added new quarter-round trim behind the toilet and in front of the cabinets.  We put the base-surround on the tub again, and the pedestal to the toilet back into place. 
It looks as good as new!


replacing bathroom floor 22

On other notes, today is closet cleaning day in the house.  I am armed with large bags and boxes, destined for St. Vinnies and the Harbor House women's shelter.  If I don't see myself wearing it in the next year, out it goes!

I did a good purging two years ago and got rid of a lot of my business suits/blazers/skirts and many many pairs of high heels, all left over from my Real Estate days... I donated those to a Woman's Closet at a local job-skills incubator program.  Ladies could pick out an outfit to wear on interviews and feel good about their appearance after "graduating" from their course in job skills.  

This weekend is going to be boring with no Packer Game... so Steve said maybe we will tackle the garage and do some sorting there too.  It's so unseasonably warm in Wisconsin right now.  It's already 40 degrees this morning at 8 am.  Our propane tank usage level is loving this warm weather, we have only used 20% of our tank in the last 8 weeks!   That is amazing-----  sure helps on the meager heating budget.


  1. Hm, we had a residential washing machine with a honkin' big cement block in the bottom. I thought they all came that way? I made sure to remove that sucker and carry it out on it's own before hoisting the dead machine up a flight of basement stairs though. Heaps lighter without the cement in there.
    Machines now a days quite often are balanced digitally, and will make several attempts to balance a load before spinning.
    Just sayin'.
    Nice job on the floor. Had we kept our motorhome, I was eyeing a few more little jobs that I wanted to do. Ripping out the carpet was one of them. Never happened.

  2. wow now that was a big job in the bathroom..turned out great...looks gorgeous...

  3. Boy, you guys do such good work.. Wish we were just a tiny bit handy but we are not...
    You really are getting things done so you will be ready. Good luck!

  4. Very thorough job. I like the way you did that. It should last. (I enjoy your post, too!)

  5. The washing machine I inherited in this mobile home could use a cement block or two. It shimmies and shakes, and sometimes I just go hold it during the spin cycle. That flooring looks GREAT, by the way.

  6. Interesting post. I have never heard of that type of flooring. Sounds good and looks fantastic.


  7. Unusually warm here in Nebr. too for January. Broke all temp records yesterday and Wed. as well. Strange, strange weather, but I'm enjoying every minute of it!!

  8. I think I'll be giving the Trek a close inspection underneath! A wonderful 54 degrees here in Illinoize! :-)

  9. Great job on the floor. We never thought of water coming in from the outside. We have had numerous leaks coming from loose pipes inside.

    We, too have a purging day ahead. It is amazing how much stuff accumulates. Goodwill will do well out of us!

  10. The new floor looks great. We have met so many that have had to do repairs from water leaks. Water leaks are definitely the RVers biggest enemy.


Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog! I moderate all comments so it may take a little while for your comment to appear.