Well, it's been an interesting 6 months. We thought we were going to get the bus and gut it and get it insulated and run the wires and the plumbing, then put the wall coverings up, the flooring down, build the rooms and move in. But, no...not us... we bought the unique bus! You know, the one with different windows than anyone else. The one with a solid wood floor; and, the one with Wet-Wall construction. Yep, wet walls in between the outer skin and inner skin. The water that runs off the windows, runs down the inside of the walls and out the bottom of the frame....IF the drain holes in the frame haven't been plugged by thirty years of dirt.
So, how do you insulate that? The easiest thing would be to replace all the windows. But that is a spendy proposition, even using the special order ones from Home Depot. So, we were stumped... we contemplated selling the bus and getting different one. That didn't sit well. Our bus chose us and we love him. He has become family and you just don't give up on family! So, we spent the rainy months re-doing our floor plan....about 6 times! Do we want a bunk room in the back for the kids and Mom and Dad use the couch bed? Or does Mom and Dad want a private room in the back? Do we really need a couch or can the kids just sit on someone's bottom bunk? When we got right down to it, these are the things that helped us decide on our floor plan:
- Dad wanted a private room
- Our teenage daughters needed some sort of privacy from their elementary aged brothers (bunks staggered, instead of across from each other and definitely with curtains)
- This is our home, not something we are taking out for weekend camping. I NEED it to feel like our home. Therefore, I do need a couch of some sort.
- Dad wanted a private room (oh, did I already mention that????)
With these three/four main points in mind we finally settle on a floor plan. It is not ideal, but we feel it will be workable. I do not have the floor plan online, but I will attempt to scan it so I can post it at some point.
So, it had been a couple of months since we went out to the bus and when we did, we discovered lovely Oregon mildew. Now, we are a pretty natural kinda family so my solution for most challenges is to use good old organic apple cider vinegar. I know it kills mold, so that's what I did. I sprayed that mildew and left it to sit overnight. Went out the next day to wipe it all away and was greeted by a lovely shade of rust instead. Duh! Years ago I used to create "vintage" rusty finishes on steel patio furniture the hubby created by using vinegar. Um, yeah, totally forgot how the steel bus would react to my vinegar bath! So, instead of moving forward like we thought....we were back pedaling to get Max back into good condition. That little job is almost complete.
Since we've had some good weather for this early in March, the hubs has been out working on Max. Since we have that lovely solid wood floor and do not want to take away any of our interior height, we have chosen to insulate the floor from underneath the bus. The framing for the bus floor is 2" I-beams, so we put 2" foam insulation in that space and filled in the gaps with expanding foam. We still have to finish around the back of the bus, but that will be a bit more difficult to get it up above the transmission. Here is a picture of the insulation Under the bus:
Here is a picture of the amazing space we have to work with under the bus. The frame you see in the front of the picture is where the spare tire went. We will be using that area for our batteries and possibly our generator:
He has the supports for one of our storage boxes welded in under the bus. You can see it just forward of the rear wheels.
So, what have we decided to do about those windows, you ask? Well, we can't afford to replace them right now and we can't afford to wait around until we can. The hubs decided to add rain gutters inside the walls. yep, you read that correctly. We have rain gutters inside our bus walls and it is working! We added 2" rigid foam insulation behind the chair rail along the bottom of the wall, but our window needs to descend into the wall, so we put in the foil covered bubble wrap between the outer skin and the window and we created half-pipe gutters that collect the water run-off and divert it down a tube that extends trough the foam insulation, through our storage boxes under the bus and out the hole in the bottom frame. Can you say Jerry-rigged??? We are about one third of the way through this project and hope to complete it in the next few days. We will then add 1"foam insulation on the inside edge of the wall with furring strips to attach the paneling to. Not sure if that makes sense. It's difficult to explain, so I'll photo document it as we go.
Here is a picture of three windows in progress. the whole frames and windows have to come out in order to put the puzzle back together appropriately. Notice that the foam insulation is angled to assist in the flow of water to the drain tube.
Here is a close up of the gutter system:
Here is a picture of how the window descends into the wall with the insulation behind it:
Well, that's what is up with us. maybe not how others would do it, but it's what we are doing and can't wait to get beyond this challenge and start picking up steam. We are supposed to be out of our house at the end of April. Feeling a bit pinched for time.....