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Old 02-21-2005, 09:01 PM   #1
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cheapest insulation and flooring

Hi -

I'm about to start converting a short bus and figured insulation and flooring would most likely come first.

What are people's suggestions for the cheapest and most efficient way to do this? What type of insulation, from where? What type of flooring, from where?

What are people's thoughts on a floor type? Wood? Rubber?

Thanks a lot ahead of time --
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Old 03-01-2005, 01:50 PM   #2
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this is a great topic somone should go ahead and reply
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Old 03-08-2005, 12:35 PM   #3
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Try a search on this forum for "insulation", "flooring", etc.
Also have a look at the gallery for ideas. The Yahoo bus conversion site is also searchable.

It all depends on how you are approaching the project. Some folks like to leave the interior of the bus as-is and add insulation & flooring to what is already there. Others (including me) are nutty enough to rip out the floor, interior walls & insulation and start with a clean slate.

Personally, for flooring: Recycled rubber underlayment with either recycled rubber or bamboo walking surface.
Insulation: Cotton or other recycled batts (if I can find the correct size), vapor/reflective barrier, then (light-colored) knotty pine paneling running lengthwise. I'm aiming toward using as much recycled & ecologically sound materials as possible. But a bus does impose limits.

Best of luck!
Sean
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Old 03-12-2005, 08:19 PM   #4
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Cheap Flooring

If you are interested in doing a lot of work yourself...

Recently I collected about 300 pieces of rough 2x4 that average about 42" long...for free! I'm using them to make a picket fence, but they could have been made into flooring boards.

The place I got them from is a sprinkler (lawn, not fire) installation company. They receive loads of plastic pipe via truck, and to make handling the pipe easy, the shipper surrounds it at each end with a 2x4 frame that is held together with nails and steel banding. The frames are not a pallet, but serve a more or less equivalent function, and are made of the kind of rough lumber that goes into pallets. I ripped the 2x4s into pickets 1.25" square, and saved myself about $500 on picket material over lumber yard prices.

The boards were rough on all sides, which means that if you planed them on one face, and then shaped the sides with tongues and grooves, you could use them as 1.5" thick flooring boards.

Check around places that deal in plastic pipe for some salvage items like this.

You might also consider regular pallet boards for use on the walls or as cabinet material or as flooring. It would need planing on at least one surface, but if you have a planer you could do the work. I don't have a planer, which is why I ripped the boards to 1.25" dimensions on the tablesaw: it left me with four smooth sides.
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Old 03-14-2005, 08:47 PM   #5
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wow thanks!

i guess it sounds like whatever is lying around and would lay on the floor of a school bus is cheapest.

i'm inclined to leave the floor as is, for simplicity's sake. it's just dirty as heck and everytime i clean it, more black comes off. i'm wondering if the black will ever stop coming off..

i'm liking the headroom, so i'm not inclined to lay more layers of flooring on top, and i don't have the contruction skills (yet) to do what SeanF likes to do. I have no doubt i could rip it out.. just getting something back in it's place securely and properly..

guess i'll just browse some homes that are being demolished to see if i can come up with any free insulation.

thanks for the tips and personal likes!

keep those wheels turnin!
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Old 03-15-2005, 01:02 AM   #6
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Insulation and flooring

One thought that I have had about insulation for the floor is applying it beneath the bus. It would have to be waterproof under there, so some kind of closed cell or otherwise sealed product would be necessary. Of course, heat would be a factor in locating insulation, and it might be best not to place it directly above the exhaust system or near any other hot components. Mechanical travel in the various parts would also be a factor. The advantage to insulating beneath the bus would be that it would not cost any headroom inside the bus. Rigid urethane foam with heavy polyethelyene glued around it for waterproofing might be a good choice. Maybe Tyvek -- I don't know if any glue will adhere to polyethelene film. It would be a bear to fit a lot of foam panels between the framing under the bus, and you'd want to get fairly good contact between the face of the panel and the floor in order to make the insulation effective. Air circulation between the insulation and the floor would make the application of insulation pointless. Builder's adhesive or cheap acrylic caulk might work as a good bar to air circulation if applied in a perimeter and grid pattern over the face of the insulating panel before it was fitted tightly to the bottom of the bus.

Heat loss is mostly upward, though, so it would be more cost effective to focus on insulating the ceiling, which is also the greatest source of heat gain. Maybe just lay a half inch of a foam on the floor internally, and cover that with cheap 1/2" CDX plywood (not that it's really cheap), and then put an inexpensive vinyl product over that. You'd lose an inch of headroom, but gain about R2 to R2.5 in insulation in the floor, probably enough to keep the chill out on a cold winter morning --- once you got the rest of the bus heated up!
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Old 03-31-2005, 03:45 PM   #7
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flooring coming out, most likely

i'm getting really tempted to take out the rubber and plywood flooring and replacing it with insulation and plywood.

at first i didn't want to bother, but then i said, hey, i don't want to freeze!

and i inspected the floor a bit and it's grungy nasty and i can't see below the rubber so i'm not sure the condition of the plywood.

in any case, since it'll be my full-time home, i'm willing to put more time into it and do it right, before i add all the stuff into the bus like stove, sink, bed, shower, etc..
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