Tuesday, March 24, 2009

RV window shades, finally something better!

For many years most RV manufacturers have offered two choices for window coverings. Mini-blinds or pleated day-night shades have been installed in a large percentage of both motor homes and trailers. Both of these choices definitely have their downsides.

Mini blinds generally built from plastic or aluminum can rattle as you go down the road, become brittle or bend and also have nylon strings which over time can wear out and break.

Pleated day-night shades are functional, but also rely on nylon stings and are very difficult to care for and clean.

MCD RV Innovations is bringing a better solution into the RV market. Currently available as OEM equipment in some of the high end motorhomes, the American Duo shade is a great solution to the problems found in traditional RV window coverings.

The American Duo day-night shade system is a two part advanced roller shade. The day portion is a clearview solar sun screen, allowing easy vision out while blocking the view looking into the interior. This material is commonly seen as an exterior sun shade on the front of coaches. The night portion is a solid sheet of 4 ply vinyl/fiberglass material.

The shades are operated by simply pulling the head rail of either day or night portions down to the desired location. A slight pull downward on that same rail releases the shade to slowly retract back up to a preset stopping point.

They can also be built in a power version to be operated on a switch or remote controlled by a handheld remote. The power operated units are a great fit for the front of a Class A coach where access to hand operate the shades is limited.

Installation of these shades is fairly simple with the provided snap-in clips.The spring tension can be adjusted to change the speed at which the shades retract. The uppermost stopping point also has to be pre-set before installation. This will be determined by the size of the window valances the shades are being installed into.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Flat screen TV installation in an RV

Until the last couple of years, most RV manufacturers were still installing traditional CRT (cathode ray tube) televisions. Most new RVs are now coming equipped with LDC (liquid crystal display) televisions. The LCDs are more attractive, have a better picture, and are much lighter-normally at least a third less in weight. Their narrow profile provides more mounting options as well.

In motorhomes with an above dash center mounted television, the cabinet can be moved forward and up out of the way, to allow easier access in and out of the coach. On most motorhomes we will remove the factory center TV cabinet and build a new one tailored to fit the customers choice of LCD. This usually requires replacement of the front section of headliner as well.

In bedrooms, and the occasional kitchen. The TV installations normally require some custom built cabinetry to frame in and finish around the TV. Swing out brackets are another popular choice. These articulating brackets can improve the viewing angle as well as provide access to storage space made available due to the thin profile of the new TV.

The coach in the photos received three new LCDs. In the front we rebuilt the center cabinet in matching walnut. In the kitchen we built a walnut face frame, and in the bedroom the opening was enlarged and custom trimwork built for the top and bottom.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Installing laminate flooring in an RV

Many people are looking for an alternative to the factory installed carpet in their RV. Beautiful, durable and easy to clean, laminate flooring is a perfect option for most RVs. Most manufacturers offer both wood grain and tile patterns.

In an RV, with all of the flexing of the floor and the variation in temperature, the installation process is completely different than in your home. Sound barriers or padding are not used. The flooring should be glued down to the floor and together in the tongue and groove area. This prevents separating, and also stops moisture from penetrating. Using this installation method also makes it acceptable for use in both kitchens and bathrooms.

If your RV has slide outs that will be traveling over the laminate floor, you will want to consult the manufacturer or an experienced RV flooring installer to make sure the new floor wont be damaged. Many slide outs ride on top of a roller or nylon runner, which will work fine over a laminate installation.
For do it yourself installers, I would recommend purchasing an installation kit. These generally consist of a tapping block, and pulling bar. These two simple tools will assure a tight connection of all tongue and groove joints. Pre-planning the layout of the pattern is another important step. In the most visible areas you will want full pieces showing and even cuts on both sides.

Once the flooring is installed, matching trim (available from most manufacturers) will finish off all of the outside edges, around the stairs and transition to the remaining carpet.

Thanks for visiting

David Ast