What kind of parking pad for your RV at home?

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

In a recent RV Daily Tips Newsletter we asked readers, “How important is it to you that an RV park campsite have a concrete pad?” Most of you – 70 percent – thought a concrete pad was nice, but certainly not important. From the comments left, most were concerned that regardless of the pad type, a level place to park the RV was a critical issue.

But what about when you get home? Do you have a designated spot to park your RV? Are you considering putting one in? Here are some thoughts and suggestions on the different types of materials and design considerations for the at-home RV parking pad.

Keep off the grass! It may be the easiest and the least expensive route, but parking your rig on grass has a few drawbacks. In addition to killing off the grass, the moisture-carrying aspects of parking au-naturel could damage your tires. Think in terms of dry-rotting your expensive investment in rubber. Additionally, grass may be a greater attractant to pest infiltration. If you need to temporarily park on the lawn, tuck a vapor barrier between the sod and your tires – more on that below.

Growl at gravel? Don’t shake the idea off immediately. Gravel and crushed rock allow water to dissipate and hence are a lot more tire-friendly. Just how thick to make a gravel pad is the issue. Much depends on the soil conditions where you live. In some types of soil, putting down gravel is just great and it’ll last for years, wherein other areas it may vanish, swallowed up by mother earth in a short time.

Graveling over the top of larger stone can sometimes offset that problem. One RVer who did his own gravel parking pad dug down six inches. The bottom four inches received “L” sized stone, and after compacting, was topped off with regular sized gravel. Look around your area and talk to others who have gravel driveways and see what they’ve experienced.

Paving with pavers? These are an attractive option, after all, it’s a do-it-yourselfer project many could undertake, and they look pretty attractive. Trouble is, they may not be tough enough to take the weight of some RVs. Cracked or broken pavers can lose their appeal quickly.

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Here’s a concrete alternative to pavers: Interlocking concrete pavers. Invented by those clever Dutch folks, they’re stronger than the aforementioned regular pavers, are relatively easy to work with, and are permeable, allowing water to head back down into the soil. They’re strong enough to take the weight of your RV.

Is asphalt asinine? To some, absolutely. It looks good, sure enough, but the trouble is the oil that’s in asphalt can damage tires. And if you’re in an area that tends to get heated up in summertime, putting down your automatic levelers on an asphalt surface may leave an impression that’ll be hard to erase – or forget. Temporarily parking on asphalt? Use a tire vapor barrier.

Finally, a poured concrete slab: Like gravel or interlocking concrete pads, there are no petroleum products involved that can damage your tires. However, water doesn’t flow through, so the pad should be designed with a slight crown at the center to urge water to roll off the pad, rather than pool.

How thick? Reinforcement materials like rebar? Those are questions we can’t get into. Best to ask for a professional’s advice on the design, or hire the job out.

And about those vapor barriers: Keeping your tires out of direct contact with the ground and certainly with asphalt when parking for a while is a good idea. Some outfits will be happy to sell you RV-specialty vapor barriers – for a price. But one of the most interesting and cost-effective ways to put the barrier in place is to invest in a simple plastic cutting board, even a cutting mat. Just make sure that the entire area of the tire that comes in contact with the parking surface sits on the vapor barrier. Here’s a set of cutting mats from Amazon.com.

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18 Thoughts to “What kind of parking pad for your RV at home?”

  1. Gary Reed

    I use concrete turf blocks. They about 6 inches thick and measure about 10 inches wide by 18 inches long. They have a honey comb design and have good drainage. I fill the honey comb holes with pea gravel. The turf block pad is laid out so the blocks are under the entire length of the trailer including the tongue.
    You can drive over them as well.

  2. Ale

    Two by eight treated boards with leftover fiberglass shingles stapled to the boards. Shingles are great moisture barriers – most of us live under them.

  3. Jake

    I layered flat pieces of aluminum siding down with solid rubber matting on the metal sheets and then non-treated flat oak wood ..I feel it’s doing the job as I bought much larger tire white covers so actually the tires are not exposed ..I used the the expandable cords that came with the covers..I was told by a tire dealer to use “303” spray on the tires when storing for any length of time.. I am told that parking on concrete that gets wet is no good as the moisture is always in the concrete..

  4. Wayne J.

    I have a 29 foot clàss c. From day one has been in a fully in close metal. Car Port. Dug down 4 inches put in gravel. Layed down HD tarp then càrpet under all wheels have power port and dump. If you keep your unit for years like I do keeping it out of weather is very important

  5. Jeff

    We have our 5th Wheel under a Gorgeous 48 ft. Fully Enclosed Metal Shed on a Concrete Slab. Power Surge protector and all for year round storage.

  6. Dave

    I put down a 30’ X 10’ tarp to act as a vapor barrier under the entire travel trailer, not just the tires. To level the trailer on the sloped site, I raised the tires on a 4” x4 “, so they sit on wood, not the wet tarp. It seems that it drains quite well. Is leaving the tires on wood a problem?

  7. linda

    Any reason why i should not use plywood or welcome mats under my tires on top of asphalt?

  8. Dr4Film ----- Richard

    I have a thick concrete pad under our second floor Florida house where the coach sits for the winter months when not in use. It can be used for a guest house or most of the time it is my man cave.

  9. Randy Bitner

    I made two ramps of 1×6 treated wood each ramp 2 feet wide 8 feet long (1 foot center support) to get off the grass. Have had then for four years. Never thought about putting a mat under wheels. After first freeze-thaw they sank about inch, so filled up with crushed stone where the ramps sit. Nice thing raised up, easy to crawl underneath for maintenance. Dual axle, 38 feet long, 12,000 lbs. I back onto the ramps.

  10. Anita

    We dug down a foot, covered the site with landscape fabric, edged it with railroad ties flush to the ground (raised in the back for a retaining wall), filled with gravel to top of ties…my husband ran water and 50 amp service from the house to the pad for use when needed…

  11. Gene Bjerke

    We park our Class B motorhome on our concrete driveway. However, we expect to move into a condo or town house in the near future and I worry about where we will be able to park our motorhome, boat trailer, and car since I like to keep them handy.

  12. GG

    After killing the grass in 3 different locations, I am now in the process of making a parking pad. I have cut an opening in my pine plantation next to the garage. Gravel will be placed to level the ground. Then I will be using “rubber backed carpeting” by the steps and the hitch area. Under the tires I will just “throw a couple boards down”.

  13. Tommy Molnar

    Years ago we had a concrete pad poured for our old trailer. The new one fits just fine, though I wish it extended a bit father back into the yard now.

  14. Sue S.

    We have a poured concrete pad next to our attached garage. Our electrician son attached a 30 amp box to the side of the garage for us.

  15. LD

    I built an RV port ( carport with taller sides ) and put crushed rock down. I have irrigation lines running under the port and didn’t wish to cover those with concrete. It has worked quite well so far.

  16. Jeff Arthur

    Really , put a couple boards down,

  17. Wolfe

    I park on an asphalt driveway pullout, and if I don’t move the trailer every few months (at the longest) there will be noticable sunken divots that collect rainwater around each tire.

    I also have had what seems like an unusually high number of tire failures, so I now wonder whether there’s more to this parking surface thing than I’ve given credit to… :-S

  18. Bob p

    I bought 18” rubber backed carpet squares for patios, each one is large enough to fit under dual wheels, then I cut one in half that fits under the front tire.

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