After our first season of RV, I couldn’t believe how much dirt was coming in the trailer. That was until my husband decided we should get some stair covers. The problem was they wanted $20 for a cover. With two steps, it would cost us $40 for rugs.
I’m sure they fit amazingly and are easy to put on, but there was no way I’m paying that much for something I felt was a luxury. That is when I hit up the dollar store and ended up creating DIY RV Step Covers for $12.
DIY RV Step Cover
The concept is simple. I needed to find a way to secure a rug to a step on a vehicle that is exposed to the elements and traveling down the highway at 70mph. What I did not expect was how easy they were to make. Here is how you make them.
- 1 – 2 inexpensive Floor Mats (Dollar Store)
- Grommet kit, containing 20 grommets
- Duct Tape
- Rubber Mallet
- Ball Pein or regular Hammer
The grommet kit was the most expensive purchase but it ended up being the best kit I’ve ever had. The rest of the supplies are at the Dollar Store or maybe around your house already. They sell duct tape, ropes, and the most important part, the mats. Before buying a mat, make to measure your step. Steps are typically 19” or 23” long. The dollar store sells a 23” x 15” mat making it perfect, with room to completely cover.
How to make the DIY RV Step Cover
Cut Mat to Fit
Layout your mat on a hard surface. Cut it to size if it doesn’t already fit the length of your step. Add a layer of duct tape on the outside edge to prevent fraying if you ended up cutting it.
I also added a layer of tape to the area where I was going to put the grommets. This will give it a little extra support.
Adding Grommets Holes
Some RV Steps have a curve to them, while others are straight. If you have a straight edge step, you’ll only need 3 holes on each side. If you have a curved step, I recommend 5 holes. This will give the mat more points of contact to tighten around the curve.
Make five grommet holes along the edge of the mat. Leave a half inch-to-inch space between the hole and the edge. I ended up folding the mat in half and eyeballed where to put the matching holes.
You don’t have to be perfect, but you want to be relatively close to keep the mat as flat as possible when secured to the step.
Adding the Grommets
The grommet kit I purchased had a cutting tool including. Because of the thickness of the material, I recommend making sure you have a cutting tool.
A grommet tool is very simple to use. To make your cut with the tool provided, determine the location of the hole and put the wood block behind the mat. Place the cutting tool over it.
Using a ball pein hammer, strike the cutting piece, rotate it a quarter turn, and to it again. You can use a regular hammer too. It should only take a few hits to cut through the material depending on the thickness of the mat.
You’ll know you’re through when you stick to the piece of wood underneath.
After you’ve cut all the holes, assemble the grommets. Turn the mat upside-down and assemble the parts per the instruction.
The top piece of the grommet fits into the anvil tool, while the bottom sits in a curved mettle holder to ensure it doesn’t flatten when hammering it. Put the two pieces together.
Using a hammer or rubber mallet, strike the center of the tool. A couple of hits should be sufficient.
Lacing up your steps
After getting all your grommets in, lay a mat over your step. Cut a length of rope, 2.5x the length of the step. Start with the bottom step, if you have one, and flip it over. This makes it easier to lace up and tie off.
Now comes the fun part. Lace-up the step, similar to a shoelace. Once you got it all laced, start pulling the ropes tight to account for any curvature you have in your step. Then tie it off.
I ended up tieing it in a knot and then again a few more times to give it some extra security. Flip the step over to see your work.
If your step doesn’t flip over (like the top step), put the mat on underneath the step and lace the top. Keeping everything as loos as possible, rotate the mat around the step.
Because the steps already have slip-resistant grips on them, it will take a little more maneuvering. Keep the laces as loose as possible. Then tighten and tie off.
Be careful when fitting the mat to keep it centered on the step. If the mat is not completely flat near the edges, it will not fold up properly. Commercial mats run an inch smaller than the step to prevent this.
You’ll also want to avoid thick mats as it could prevent the stairs from properly folding up. Because of the slight cover to my steps, the rugs had a wrinkle in them initially. After a few trips, the rugs will adjust and it will lay flat.
How do they hold up?
These DIY step covers have been going strong for 4 years now. The laces haven’t needed any adjustments. If you are looking for an inexpensive alternative to RV step covers, you gotta give this a try.