By Curtis Carper
Buying a used RV or even having your own little mishap can leave the kitchen cabinets looking a bit tattered on the inside. Be it a plumbing problem gone unnoticed or a long-ago spilled container of cleaning product, the cabinet floor or shelves can become stained or damaged to the point you often avoid opening the door to retrieve your cleaning utensils.
A quick, easy cure to the unsightly mess — assuming the wood is still structurally stable — is to cover up the stains with vinyl flooring material. This provides two functions: Not only does it immediately clean up the area and provide a nice, fresh, inviting look to the inside of your lower cabinets, but it also protects them from future spills and accidental damage.
The best choice is to install a single piece of vinyl flooring cut to match the area. Simply remove all shelves and drawers and make a paper pattern of the area. You can likely buy a scrap of vinyl at your nearest home center that will leave you with very little waste. The pattern isn’t all that important because the doors will be closed most of the time. The goal is to clean up the area, not necessarily decorate it.
In some cases one-piece vinyl is impossible to install. In my instance there was a vertical separation that would have made it very awkward to install. The next best solution is to use 12″x12″ peel-and-stick vinyl square tiles. With care you can trim and install, making sure the seams meet solidly. This will make an almost waterproof surface and still provide a high level of protection against further damage from spills.
If you live in a cold climate or have other concerns that the peel-and-stick adhesive will release, you can install spiral nails that are normally used to install carpet trim strips. Just nail down each corner of the tiles and your new covering will stay in place through most anything.
This same technique can be used to give worn closet shelves a fresh, new look. The paper woodgrain-covered boards used in closets tend to peel off their covering over time. It’s a simple matter to peel off any loose paper covering and install a layer of floor vinyl. Peel-and-stick tiles work very well for this purpose, as well.
This is an easy project that can go a long way in improving the look of your older RV. Opening cupboard doors to see fresh, bright vinyl is just so much more appealing than looking at stains and damage caused by leaks and spills.