From carpet to cabinets to furniture and more, your trailer’s living space can be better than new
Home-improvement shows are wildly popular these days. People just love seeing what’s possible when a renovation expert gets his or her hands on an old house that has great “bones” but is simply worn out and in need of a little love. As an RVing enthusiast, you may not be aware that the very same thing is possible in your trailer — but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Sometimes, a rig just fits your lifestyle — it’s got enough room, the floorplan is perfect, and everything works properly. But years of use have left the interior looking a little shabby, making you long for the days when it looked and smelled new inside.
Just like your home, the interior of a trailer can be upgraded, even completely remodeled to suit your needs at a fraction of the cost of a new trailer. Dave and LJ’s RV Interior Design of Woodland, Washington, 30 miles north of Portland, Oregon, specializes in making older RVs new again. The company opened its doors in 2007, but brothers Dave and LJ Ast (say “Ahhst”) actually were raised in the business, helping their father at his interior design company when they were growing up. Today, pretty much anything goes, including basic flooring replacement and upgrades, reupholstering, and installation of window shades, electronics, cabinetry and more. The company also has the largest RV furniture and interior products showroom on the West Coast, making the business a one-stop shop.
Typically, motorhome owners are Dave and LJ’s biggest customers, so we were interested when the brothers called to let us know they were undertaking a complete fifth-wheel renovation for good customers. Originally planning just to replace the worn furniture, the traveling couple decided not to stop there and wanted to switch out the carpet, swap the sheet-vinyl flooring for Congoleum tile, create a matching backsplash and have new window shades installed as well. After about three days’ work and $10,000, the job was completed, leaving an interior that not only looked better than new but was much more comfortable and durable. No doubt, home improvement isn’t just for stationary homes anymore.
The ceiling-assembly shroud is removed to gain access to the hold-down bolts,
which are removed to release the air conditioner from the roof.
The return-air divider is removed from the ceiling assembly. It will not be used with the new air conditioner.
The Molex connector, supplying 120-volt AC power to the air conditioner, is disconnected. The new air conditioner will plug into the existing connector.
The thermostat and furnace trigger wires are identified and cut.
The wires are bundled and secured so they won’t interfere when placing the new air conditioner in the vent opening.
Pushing up on the air conditioner from the inside releases the gasket from the roof so it can be removed.
Climbing rope is tied around the original air conditioner and used to guide it down the rails of an extension ladder.
A second person helps stabilize the air conditioner until it reaches the ground.
The same rope and extension ladder are used to hoist the new Blizzard, still in its box, to the roof.
The air conditioner is maneuvered over the roof-vent opening.
Available in black or white, the high-impact-polypropylene injection-molded shroud
and base pan have been redesigned to eliminate bird nesting and protect against corrosion and rust. New styling presents a modern look.
Once the air conditioner is in place, the wiring is completed ...
... and secured to the wood frame in the ceiling opening.
The previous air conditioner required four thermostat wires versus three for the Blizzard, making it necessary to note and color-code to the terminals on the thermostat circuit board.
Long ¼-20 bolts are driven into the air conditioner to seat the gasket. The new gasket is softer and thicker, and can be damaged if the bolts are torqued too tightly.
A few cuts are necessary to fit the return-air divider in the ceiling assembly.
Once cut, aluminum tape is used to fill any gaps.
The foam insulation is measured ...
... and positioned before cutting ...
... and the backing is peeled away so it can be applied to the side of the return-air divider. You get only one shot at this, since the adhesive is very sticky and almost impossible to remove without damaging. A tight seal is necessary to prevent the return and cool air from mixing, leading to decreased efficiency.
Access and filter covers slide into
the ceiling-assembly shroud ...
... which is screwed into the ceiling. The new shroud is smaller, leaving unsightly holes in the ceiling material.
Two-inch maple molding, found at a local building-supply store, is used to conceal the old holes and bunched-up material. Cuts were made on an inexpensive miter saw, which were less than accurate. Thinner molding that does not need to be removed to slide off the filter cover will be cut later and painted to match the ceiling.
Two-piece panels provide access
to the ceiling assembly and foam filter ...
... which should be checked monthly during regular use of the air conditioner.
The filter can be cleaned with soap and water.
The ceiling assembly has a modern and tidy look, and the slide mechanism for securing the panels works well.