When we bought our used travel trailer we decided to add bamboo flooring to cover the unattractive beige laminate floor that came with the 2003 original built. When we researched flooring options that were suitable for a travel trailer or RV, our criteria were 1. eco-friendliness, 2. light-weight, 3. water and scratch resistance, 4. low cost.
Although we loved the idea of using reclaimed wood, there were three main problems that came with it: 1. Finding reclaimed wood is hard to find if you live in New York City and don’t have a car to drive around and search for it, 2. wood is quite heavy and would have added a lot of weight to our trailer, 3. it can be more costly than some other options.
We learned, that Linoleum flooring would be a great eco-friendly option as the material is made of natural solidified linseed oil, pine resins, ground cork dust, wood flour, and mineral fillers such as calcium carbonate, most often on a burlap or canvas backing. Linoleum flooring comes in different colors, is water resistant, lasts for up to 40 years and is low-maintenance.
Vinyl flooring is commonly mistaken as being the same as Linoleum flooring but the truth is far from it. Vinyl is a synthetic product made of mostly petroleum, a non-renewable resource. It is inexpensive, water resistant, wear resistant and easy to peel-and-stick to the floor, but we decided against it as it is not an eco-friendly option.
Cork flooring is another natural and eco-friendly option as cork is being harvested from tree bark of Cork Oak Trees, and the bark is growing back after stripping it. Cork flooring is great because it has a warm look, somewhat soft surface, helps to insulate the floor, it is waterproof, mold and mildew resistant. The eco-friendliness of the manufacturing however can differ greatly as well as the cost.
Recycled tiles are another eco-friendly option for a house, but not for a moving RV that is going through earth-quake like vibrations every time it moves.
Bamboo flooring has grown in popularity lately and for us it was the best solution for our travel trailer renovation project. Bamboo is a fast growing plant and much more sustainable than wood. We recommend to buy bamboo from a provider that is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified. FSC is a global organization devoted to responsible management of the world’s forests. Another point to consider is purchasing a better quality eco-bamboo that is made with low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) components.
We decided on bamboo because it is low-maintenance, water resistant, easy to install, somewhat light weight and affordable all while having the warm look of a hardwood floor. We have been happy with our decision on the floor and it has held up well so far.