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Old 10-20-2010, 01:54 PM   #1
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Floor / Flooring questions....

Hi all,

So I am restarting work on my ShortBus project, customizing my 1979 Ford/Carpenter bus for touring/tailgating and other assorted and sundry fun.

My first major work has been to take out the seats and the carpeting (yuck - was FULL of years of residual gunk) and now that I'm down to the metal floor underneath I have some questions regarding flooring options and next steps

1) What kind of flooring? Key needs are something easy to clean and durable. Was thinking of something like the basic ribbed rubber (?) flooring in city buses. Is there something else I should consider? I go desert camping as well as in a number of places where the likelihood of getting a lot of dirt tracked in is somewhere between 100-150%.

2) Is there a benefit to putting down plywood on top of the metal flooring? If so, should I put any additional barrier between the metal flooring and the plywood?

3) I am planning on building some bench seats along both sides of the bus. Should I build these first, then floor around them, or floor the entire bus and build the benches on top of the floor?

Any and all suggestions appreciated.
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Old 10-20-2010, 02:26 PM   #2
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Re: Floor / Flooring questions....

I did use a layer of plywood and a foam layer underneath my flooring. I think it helps what ever you put down to lay flat. We do a lot of beach camping and we love our fake wood laminate floor. It is cheap, durable, and looks pretty good. Really in my opinion it is up to you simple is cheap and it might be best to drop a barrier rubber on top and roll with it. I put the floor in my bus first and then build on top of it . Has had it's benefits and drawbacks really it is a matter of what you think is the easiest and suits your needs. I know I will be changing my bus layout many times so I wanted a constant floor throughout so if I remove a wall it was on top and it still will look nice and be easy to customize.
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Old 10-21-2010, 11:04 AM   #3
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Re: Floor / Flooring questions....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
Search function....it's your friend

Seriously, try the search, and I bet you get a couple hundred returns......many times over than you'll get in replies. This is an often discussed topic.

Smitty

I did search, found a few, but was hoping for some more direct advice my particulars.

Thanks,

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Old 10-21-2010, 12:39 PM   #4
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Re: Floor / Flooring questions....

What kind of floor you put down depends on what kind of traveling you have in mind. For tailgating, where you aren't building in a lot of stuff and not actually living in the thing, a simple, non-insulated floor is likely fine. If you want to do any cold weather trips the effort to put in an insulated floor (and walls and ceiling) will really pay off. Just remember that installing a floor in an empty bus is a piece of cake while re-doing that same floor after all the creature comforts have been installed is a major undertaking.

Most here have done some variation of the following:

1) Pull up the old flooring, wirebrush the rust and seal with rustoleum
2) Lay down rigid insulation sheets (from 1/4" up to an inch is common. Headroom may be a consideration)
3) Cover with plywood
4) Lay down finish flooring

Seems to me that the ribbed rubber flooring would be a major pain to keep clean.
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Old 10-21-2010, 01:07 PM   #5
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Re: Floor / Flooring questions....

Quote:
Originally Posted by roach711
Seems to me that the ribbed rubber flooring would be a major pain to keep clean.
Hmm..you may be right on this last point. I'm just starting from the point of NOT wanting carpet again (the carpet I pulled out felt like it had about 10 lbs. of dirt and gunk in it per square foot). Want the probably impossible combination of "Cheap, durable and easy to clean". Whatever I can find that most closely fills this bill.

The more I think of it, I will probably do some thin insulation. We DO plan on camping in it, for as much as a week at a time, but most of the time in better weather.

Anybody have any thoughts on any other barriers, etc on top of the metal floor before the insulation? Is is necessary/desirable to put down tyvek or some such barrier?

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Old 10-22-2010, 10:35 AM   #6
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Re: Floor / Flooring questions....

Sheet steel and rustoleum would be more than an adequate vapor barrier below the insulation assuming all those screw holes have been sealed. Standard procedure in home building is to put the vapor barrier on the warm side of the insulation (where the people are, not where the hot asphalt road is, lol) to keep vapor out of the insulation. The whole point of a vapor barrier is to stop moisture from penetrating the insulation, condensing on the cold outer walls and rotting/rusting the structure. Not sure whether this would apply in a bus environment but I'd be more inclined to put a plactic sheet over the insulation but under the plywood. Come to think of it, something impermeable like linoleum would probably be all the vapor barrier you'd need.

I need to check whether that pink insulation board is permeable or not. I'm guessing it is. Good excuse for another trip to Home Depot!

Tyvek is a moisture permeable wind barrier, not a vapor barrier. It's installed on the outside of the house to keep wind out but still allow moisture to escape.
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Old 10-22-2010, 09:50 PM   #7
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Re: Floor / Flooring questions....

If we're talking houses I know exactly where to put the vapor barrier. In a bus I gotta admit that I have no idea where it should go or even if it's necessary at all. I'll have to defer to those with way more experience than me
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:35 PM   #8
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Re: Floor / Flooring questions....

Quote:
Originally Posted by roach711
1) Pull up the old flooring, wirebrush the rust and seal with rustoleum
2) Lay down rigid insulation sheets (from 1/4" up to an inch is common. Headroom may be a consideration)
3) Cover with plywood
4) Lay down finish flooring
That's what I did. I do have concern about water leaking from plumbing and pooling on the steel deck. I put in some drain plugs.
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:29 AM   #9
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Re: Floor / Flooring questions....

We are getting ready to install the new floor also. We are painting the underside of the plywood with several coats of epoxy paint before installing it and then will install laminate over that. Any thoughts on this?

(I thought I had already posted this - but my post seems to have disappeared.)
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Old 10-26-2010, 02:25 PM   #10
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Re: Floor / Flooring questions....

i have had very good luck with the fake hard wood floating floors. they look great, clean easily, and they are very durable. carpet runners are easy to come buy and help out a great deal in the winter. the 1/2" pink insulation compacts after a wile and you get spongy spots in it down the road. i would suggest letting a good hard rain hit the bus before installing the floors (to check for leaks), in the winters i had water running down the walls from condensation.
i would also think about holding off on the floating floors until you were ready to install base cabinets and base plates for your walls (one tap on the brakes and your floor will slide as well as anything on them). anyway hope this helps, good luck. ps. i dont think your gonna find a flooring solution without its pros and cons. ive been living in mine over a year and no serious issues.
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Old 10-26-2010, 02:45 PM   #11
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Re: Floor / Flooring questions....

Thanks Vega12 and everyone else for their input,

Right now I am solidifying my flooring plans....still need to remove all of the glue residue from the carpeting (any suggestions there? Right now my plan is heatgun and scrapers), then will move on to sealing holes and rustoleum. While I am working on that I'll look at insulation and finally the flooring options.

I've determined, based on the feedback to cover the entire floor first, then build up benches, etc. from there.

If anyone has any other suggestions on the flooring process or floor coverings, please do still chime in.

Thanks,

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Old 01-17-2011, 10:59 AM   #12
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Re: Floor / Flooring questions....

So,

A few months of slack due to illness and life intruding on bus rehab and I am now finally ready for the flooring project.

Just wanted to double-check for any additional info/suggestions from folks on my plan.

1) Clean Metal Floor & brush with angle grinder
2) Paint Floor with Rust-Oleum
3) Caulk Holes
4) Lay down 1/2" x 4" Furring Strips
5) Lay down 1/2" Pink Foam insulation between Furring Strips
6) Screw down 1/2" OSB into furring strips
7) Add flooring (right now my top candidate is a raised coin or diamond patter garage flooring, but still deciding)

So, the only questions I am still pondering are...

Is there any reason 1/2" OSB would not be sufficient for the flooring (want to limit the amount of headroom loss)?
What do people suggest in terms of spacing the furring strips for the floor?
Anything I've missed?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 01-17-2011, 12:39 PM   #13
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Re: Floor / Flooring questions....

David said.... 1/2" decking needs 12" OC furring strips. Are you sure you want to do 1/2" insulation? That's pretty low?

If you are using a flooring material that is 3/4" thick (like wood floor) then you would not need the 1/2" decking. You do need the decking if putting down a thin floor material, no matter what it is made of.
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Old 01-17-2011, 01:08 PM   #14
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Re: Floor / Flooring questions....

Thanks for your reply.

As we don't expect to be using the bus for extended living in extreme temps, the insulation is more for med temp fluctuations and sound insulation.

The final flooring will be fairly thin rubber/vinyl -type garage flooring, so we will need to do the furring strips. Now leaning more toward 3/4" OSB for the subfloor for structural strength for the benches etc connected to them (unless someone tells me reasons otherwise).

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Old 01-17-2011, 01:28 PM   #15
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Re: Floor / Flooring questions....

My recipe(read my profile) is; steel floor. red rosin paper,then 1/4 inch foam then 1/2 inch plywood, last; wood, vinyl, marble, carpet etc. finish floor. No need for furrow strips unless you pipe in radiant heaters. If you can afford it go with plywood instead of osb because osb swells. Other people do it different but that's cool too.
The rosin wicks away moisture and condensation from the steel (the actual moisture barrier), and contains it until the moisture can migrate up and out.
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:23 PM   #16
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Re: Floor / Flooring questions....

Quote:
Originally Posted by mightybus
My recipe(read my profile) is; steel floor. red rosin paper,then 1/4 inch foam then 1/2 inch plywood, last; wood, vinyl, marble, carpet etc. finish floor. No need for furrow strips unless you pipe in radiant heaters. If you can afford it go with plywood instead of osb because osb swells. Other people do it different but that's cool too.
The rosin wicks away moisture and condensation from the steel (the actual moisture barrier), and contains it until the moisture can migrate up and out.
I used the same recipe as Mightybus, and with my 6'6" ceiling, and me being 6'4" my head is just clearing the ceiling. I really don't want to be bending over, and also wasn't up for a roof raise, so this recipe was a compromise. I will probably spray some insulation on the outside of the floor at some point. One issue is that any time I need to attach something to the floor I have to screw all the way down through the metal because the 1/2" plywood is not really thick enough to screw into except for very light items. But I'm fine with that, as the metal obviously provides a more secure mount than the wood alone. It's just a bit more work to drill into. That being said, if I didn't have headroom issues, I would have gone 1/2" insulation and 3/4" plywood. I know an extra 1/2" doesn't sound like much to fuss about, but that extra 1/2" would have put my head right on the ceiling, and crouching is not an option I'm willing to consider due to back problems, and as I indicated earlier, a roof raise was just not something I wanted to deal with.
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:13 PM   #17
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Re: Floor / Flooring questions....

Smitty,

Good question. My thought was the idea of furring strips would help keep the floor even all the way across (not 'spongy').

My plan is to now go with 3/4 tongue and groove plywood for the subfloor, with the rubber/pvc floor on top

Metal floor > Red Rosin Paper > 1/2" rigid foam insulation > 3/4" ply > raised coin flooring.

Any folks with experience with and/or without furring strips?
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:16 PM   #18
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Re: Floor / Flooring questions....

I had this odd idea but not sure if it is feasible. Comments please

Rather than lay down framing around the insulation sheets/boards, can't I put in pvc rings? Cut rings slightly higher than the thickness of the sheets and set them into the sheets. Probably have to cut out a ring in the sheeting then fill with cut out (trimmed down) sheeting. Not sure if that makes sense.
More work than framing but I've tons of 2" piping etc around here and this would mean more insualtion, less wood.
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Old 01-19-2011, 02:16 PM   #19
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Re: Floor / Flooring questions....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeria
I had this odd idea but not sure if it is feasible. Comments please

Rather than lay down framing around the insulation sheets/boards, can't I put in pvc rings? Cut rings slightly higher than the thickness of the sheets and set them into the sheets. Probably have to cut out a ring in the sheeting then fill with cut out (trimmed down) sheeting. Not sure if that makes sense.
More work than framing but I've tons of 2" piping etc around here and this would mean more insualtion, less wood.
Damn! Not sure if it would work or not, but I don't see why it wouldn't. I likes it!
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