In the past few weeks, we have been taking the bus apart in various ways but the one thing that has made the most progress is the floor.
We started by ripping up the old rubber and plywood flooring to see just how bad (or good) our sheet metal underneath might be.
Starting with brute force, we ripped up the rubber with nothing but determination and a few cuts using a simple utility blade.
What we found underneath was plywood that had been wet in a few places, which let us down a little as this meant that the possibility of our floor being rusted out was higher than we originally thought.
We attempted to pull the plywood up with nothing by a hammers claw but that turned out to be pretty much useless so we ran over to our favorite discount tool place and found an inexpensive( $18 ) 3ft pry bar which helped out immensely!
Finally, we had all of the old flooring up and were able to inspect the damage from
the retained water that the plywood soaked up. Our flooring was relatively clean, with most of the rust being concentrated in the back behind the wheel wells.
The whole process took an entire day.The next big task was to clean up and scrape off as much surface rust as we possibly could.
We had an inexpensive angle grinder with a wire wheel that we were sure would make quick work of the rust, but unfortunately, this idea was quickly killed when it died about 4 minutes into the process. Not fun.
What we ended up using was a collection of; a wire wheel on a cordless drill, a orbital sander with 80 grit, and the most useful and odd choice was a chisel.
This chisel is becoming one of our favorite tools as it helped us get the rivets out and it made quick work of the loose rust that was on the floor. Big chunks would fly off like it was made of wood. After that, Cheyenne hit it with the wire wheel on the drill and Blake would follow with the orbital to make sure that we were getting all of the surface rust off.
After that, we used a rust converter on the floor utilizing a spray bottle that we
found in the front of the bus when we were cleaning out the compartments. When we were done spraying, we spread it and scrubbed it in with a car wash brush.
This had to sit for roughly 24 hours and during this time the converter turned all of the active brown rust to a inactive black color! Alas, it was time to clean a bit more and then seal it all up!
I don’t know if you’ve checked out the “whoops” area in the paint section of a big box store where they put all the paints that have problems( wrong color mixed, dented can, etc) But! we found a gallon of paint marked down from $30 to $9. This is especially awesome because after we lay the flooring down, we’re never going to see the color of the paint ever again! We lucked out and got white, all because the can of paint didn’t have a handle on it.
And so after all of this, we have a beautifully painted, white floor that is willing and ready for the next layers of insulation, plywood, underlayment, and flooring!
We have been going back and forth trying to figure out what kind of floor to put down in this bus of ours.
Hardwood? too expensive but would be really cool to have. We really tried to find some that was on craigslist or elsewhere that was even attainable price wise. We liked that we could stain it match whatever other woods we were going to put in the bus after. Plus, it doesn’t really bend and move with the bus. $3.50sqft and up
Laminate? cheaper, but not real wood, composite/pressed wood underneath but ultimately durable. It’s not waterproof though. $0.99 sqft to around $3
Vinyl? Cheyenne was pretty against it initially, but after seeing some of the better looking options, opened up to the idea. We found some that we liked, but were going to wait and see if any sales popped up. The stuff we liked was around $2 a sqft which was a little more expensive than what we were hoping for.
All Labor Day weekend we ran errands and while running around we would go to Home Improvement stores looking at various things that were in clearance or on sale. (We seriously went to almost every Lowes and Home Deopt in Tulsa.
Eventually we ran into this Laminate flooring that had a good color to it, and surprisingly, was priced at 0.68 cents a sqft! We also noticed that a few of the boxes were opened or had a couple damaged pieces inside. Blake thought it was worth a shot to asked if there was any chance that they could discount these boxes, and THEY DID! We got 6 opened/damaged boxes of flooring with 7 dollars off EACH box. In total we picked up 11 boxes which is roughly 294 sqft of flooring for 0.58 cents a sqft foot with our discounted boxes and tax included.
Our choice was made up for us, but we are really happy about our savings afterthinking that the flooring was going to be close to $450 by itself.
We encourage you to shop around and always compare prices and value. Also, don’t ever be afraid to ask questions!