After building all of the frames for cabinets, the next step was to get the flooring down and countertops made. While I was at it, I finished the media system installations as well.
One of the biggest single changes to make the trailer feel complete is flooring. Up to this point I had just been working on the subfloor. Some people when they renovate choose to lay flooring on the whole trailer before they install anything else. It has some advances – fewer cuts, flooring is even under your cabinetry and in storage areas, etc. But, it adds a lot of weight (and cost) because it doubles both of those. We went with a luxury vinyl plank flooring from Floor and Decor in a color way called Twilight Ash and in a herringbone pattern. Herringbone is more difficult to install but it looks a lot nicer and it effectively hides out-of-square places like where two walls are not precisely parallel to one another. It also requires some planning to make the joints line up where you want – you don’t want to get further down the line and find out that there is a too-tiny piece of flooring where it meets the edge of the kitchen cabinets, for instance. Because of that, the flooring starts slightly off-center in the bedroom but that makes it line up really well down the entire length of the trailer. The flooring install took 4-5 days, though I still have to finish the shoe moulding trim.
For the countertops, we wanted something that had a retro vibe without being too in-your-face. Ultimately, we landed on Wilsonart’s Yellow Glacier Boomerang. It’s predominately white and the pattern is subdued at a distance.
Given the custom sizes involved and the interest in making sure we keep things as lightweight as possible, I had to build the countertops. A normal countertop in your kitchen has an edge around 1.5-2″ in depth, even if the actual countertop underneath is thinner. To keep with the scale of the interior of the Airstream where we have cabinetry using somewhat thinner wood and the fact that everything is so tight, I decided it would be best to build 3/4″ counters. We decided that we would want them to be aluminum edged as well – it’s more durable and will match up nicely with the Airstream interior. For that we used 13/16″ fluted T edging from Eagle Aluminum.
To make the countertops, the first step is to cut the foundation boards – 3/4″ particle board which is straight, true and flat – and dry fit them onto the cabinet bases. I think made minor adjustments until I got the fit I wanted and cut any larger openings for items such as the sink, cooking range, and garbage can before moving on.
Once those are all cut, the task of laminating is a chore in itself. The laminate comes as one gigantic (12′ x 5′) sheet and I had to plan out all of the cuts for all the pieces, then successfully make all of them without chipping or damaging the formica. Once you have cut pieces you are ready to glue it down. This involves using contact cement on both pieces, letting it cure for awhile, then carefully attaching them to one another and using a J-roller to get good attachment and make sure there are no air bubbles trapped.
After laminating, the laminate needs to be trimmed to size – this is done with a templating bit on a router and running it along all of the edges to make them align with the particle board edges.
Next is the edging. The edging is 13/16″ because the laminate has dimension too – so the particle board at 3/4″ plus the laminate at around 1/16″ gives you a countertop that is 13/16″ in height. The edging we used has a friction-fit T channel on the back. You use a router with a bit designed to cut a slot and, after aligning it properly, cut the slot all around the piece and tap in the edging.
Once all of these steps are completed, the counters are ready for installation. The photos show the progression of the lamination and installation of the table assembly. Note that I reinforced the flooring where the table attaches – it so happens that it hits precisely zero metal framing members.
Last, I also spent some time completing the AV installation. In my previous post I had a photo of the Furrion DVD entertainment system, but now I also was able to install the TV mount, replace the speakers, install the cellular booster and plug everything in as it should be. I used a 19″ TV that runs on 12V power as well as 120V too, so if we are dry camping we can still watch TV.
Next up – curtains, upholstery and building all of the drawers!