Slide-outs are a popular feature on pretty well every make of motorhome today. Originally developed by Newmar Corp., they can now be found on all makes. Depending on the manufacturer, these living-space expanders may be hydraulically or mechanically actuated. Like nearly all great features, slide-outs come with some possible trade-offs.
First, the mechanics, no matter which system is employed, take space.This loss of space is usually found in the basement, lowering the ceiling of the storage area beneath each slide.In addition to the actuation hardware required, a sturdy structural frame must be used to support the perimeter of the slide opening. These add considerable weight to the vehicle.
Over the two-and-a-half decades that slide-outs have gained in popularity, more luxurious floor coverings have evolved. High-quality ceramic tiles with inlaid granite accents, custom-finished hardwood flooring, and polished marble-like surfaces can be found in select motorhome models.
When slide-outs are retracted, many require the support of the interior floor that would be visible when extending. The support must move across a portion of the floor, generally using a plastic composite-like wheel. This presents an issue as the wheel, regardless of how clean it may have been initially, will eventually damage the floor material. This can cause several wear marks to be visible on that particular area. Fortunately, this is usually experienced in only one slide on most coaches.
So, how can you prevent this problem? Well, it requires a protective shield between the floor and the wheel’s travel area. A simple non-skid place mat laid over the area that the wheel will roll on can do the job. Some manufacturers, like Newmar, have developed a drop-down black plastic-like piece that has a 90-degree bend at the very end, just enough to hook into a cut slot. These work fairly good, I believe, on the normal sized slide, however may be more challenging on the full wall slide applications. The weight of the full wall unit and the position of some rollers, in relation to furniture, may require the use of rubber non-skid pads in two or three positions in lieu of the black pieces.
Either way, if you own a motorhome that has a slide that sits on rollers when it is in, you will probably want to protect the floor. If suitable floor protectors are not available for your unit from your dealer, get some non-skid place mats or a bulk roll of non-skid material from your local building supply store. This will help to keep your rig looking new for years to come.