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Old 12-27-2006, 03:02 AM   #1
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Hardwood Laminate Flooring

Just wanted to hear from anyone who has put laminate flooring in their bus. We are thinking about doing it, but have been getting warnings that we will have to be really careful with keeping spills and moisture off of it. Also what was your build up between the sheetmetal and flooring? (sheetmetal - 1/2" plywood - foam - flooring)

Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-27-2006, 09:31 AM   #2
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Glad to see your question as I'm researching it too.

I followed SeanF's bus conversion (in Flagstaff) in which he was going for really good insulation.

I've written in my notes that his floor layers were:
- Sheetmetal base
- 1/2" rigid foam insulation
- 6mm vapor barrier
- 1/2" 5-ply plywood
- Hardwood flooring (the real stuff) they scored a deal on.

I'll likely follow that approach but I'm thinking of using the laminate flooring instead of the hardwood. As long as the reports are good!
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Old 12-27-2006, 09:53 AM   #3
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Hey, cool...my site is useful! Woot!

That being said...our floor is usually pretty cold in the AM. Warmer than outside temps, but dang chilly. I can only recommend having as much insulation as possible between the walking surface and the metal base.

Oh, and the wood flooring has been great. It only creaks in on place, where we were not careful enough about having the plywood flat. Gives it that rustc ol' house feeling. Other than that, zero complaints in the 5 months we've been living in the bus.

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Old 12-27-2006, 10:33 AM   #4
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I'll add that I'm considering the laminate over the hardwood approach to keep the floor level at the absolute minimum as I have a headroom issue if I reduce it much at all. The only other solution (to get all that great insulation in the floor) is to raise the roof; I'm not sure I'm ready for that.

I got lots of great info from your site Sean...it's very nicely done and I keep checking on it to see what's new.
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Old 12-27-2006, 11:37 AM   #5
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how about in floor heating?

in my next bus, (and perhaps in a small area of this bus for R&D) I want to install in-floor heating.

hot water can come from the engine while running, and a separate hot water source when parked. A standard household propane water heater can provide plenty enough heat and it much lighter than a boiler. boilers are expensive new, but can be had for free used if you keep your eyes open. One huge advantage of the boiler is that it burns diesel fuel so you don't have to carry large quantities of propane. I suppose a 3rd option if you are at a campground or someplace that gives you free electric is to use an electric hot water heater.

I would like to incorporate a heated floor with forced air heat. With my jacuzzi inside, and people in and out all the time, the door and some windows are often open even when it's freezing outside. Having a fan blow through a radiator filled with hot water works great for heating the air in the bus.

ok, i'm rambling now
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Old 12-27-2006, 05:32 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the responses. I not to concerned with the insulation as much as I am about the durability of the lamanite. I would hate to put it down and find a spilled drink (overnight) got into the cracks and swelled the floor. I want to put something in right the first time while the bus is empty.

Thanks again for all the thoughts of bus wisdom, out there.
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Old 12-27-2006, 11:28 PM   #7
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I have a small amount of laminte flooring, but it is only going under the dining area. I'll use the rest of it on the sidewalls around the stairway by the entry door, I think it'll look really good there!!
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Old 12-28-2006, 02:02 AM   #8
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As all of us, I thought about this as well...really for me it came down to which one i want to put my feet on when its cold as hell outside...carpet won hands (feet?) down...course going with a good low pile (I believe thats the term) makes more sense than something like shag carpet....
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Old 12-28-2006, 09:12 AM   #9
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After I pulled up the wall-to-wall carpet in our house to replace it and saw what was under the rug and padding (and we had the carpet since new and thought we were really taking care of it) I'll never have permanent carpet again. Yuck! We left the wood floors in the house bare after that.

I'm going laminate or hardwood flooring, then if I want carpet I can use a throw rug or, for the space involved, I can get a cut-to-fit rug that's bound around the edges that can be taken out and cleaned (and the floor under it as well). I'll use vinyl or lino in the bathroom area with non-skid throw rugs.

For warm feet I'd go the route TomCat did; he installed heated mats under his kitchen and bathroom floors called Nuheat. It's on his web site here, as is a lot of other nifty stuff. I like the idea but I'm used to wearing slippers...nice warm ones!
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Old 12-28-2006, 10:26 PM   #10
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I full time in my travel trailer now, and the bus is being built to replace the trailer. I found out VERY quickly just how cold the floor gets in the winter. I wound up putting berber carpet down inside the trailer. The bus will have some tiles in the bathroom, and some laminate in the dining area, and maybe a narrow strip of tile in the kitchen in front of the sink and cabinet there. But there will be carpet in the living area, and run right down the middle of the bus to the bedroom...I want to be able to walk from the bed to the dashboard in bare feet without my toes freezing before I get back to bed again!!

The idea of putting the laminate flooring around the stairwell walls I got from someone on RV.net that had done that. It looked good, and from what I can tell wouldn't hurt to have some wood there, otherwise it's just a thin piece of sheet metal between the inside and outside....need something to buffer the outside temps with in that area!!
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Old 12-30-2006, 01:18 AM   #11
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Has anybody considered using Flex Watt heating tape used for heating reptile tanks? I have a couple of ball pythons and I use a foot of heating tape under each of their tanks. The tape is 11 inches wide and you can get it in a roll for however long you want. It takes 20 watts per foot at full power. At full power, it's pretty hot. I use a rheostat switch on my tape to keep the heat down! I'm running about 10 watts to heat the floor of my snake tanks to 85 degrees. If you were to do it right, you could lay it down on top of the plywood in your bus where your walkways will be. Lay your laminate over that and build on top of it. But, say you have 20 feet of walkway in your bus, and you lay down two 11" wide strips where your walkway is. Basically, you have 40 feet of heat tape at 20 watts per foot. That's only 800 watts to heat your floor. This stuff is seriously only as thick as a few sheets of paper. Even if you don't try it, I am going to! I'll be installing it in my bus in a month or two when I start on the floor. I'm going to lay down some of that laminate wood flooring from Home Depot. It's about 1/8" thick and just sticks down. Anyways, here's a link to the heat tape!

http://www.bigappleherp.com/Reptile_Sup ... 19105.html
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Old 12-30-2006, 01:27 AM   #12
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Oh yeah, the heat tape is about $3.89 per foot. If you bought 40 feet of it, that's about $155. A small price to pay for a nice heated floor. I looked and the thickness is .012"! You can also cut this heat tape into sections. There are metal strips on each side and you just solder the pieces together with wire or directly to each other. I'd imagine that you wouldn't want to hammer nails through it or anything. I will definately be trying it on my bus and letting you guys know the results!

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Old 12-30-2006, 09:36 AM   #13
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Might also be a great product for keeping under bus tanks and plumbing from freezing.

Do you know the maximum length the material is available in? I checked your link and it didn't really say. I'm just wondering if you order 20' of it is that all one length or made up with say five 4-foot units or something along those lines?
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Old 12-30-2006, 03:21 PM   #14
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I've seen it in the pet shop on a roll that was about two feet in diameter! It's very easy to connect pieces. I have also thought about heating tanks with it, and plan to do it with my tanks. I am going to get my tanks from http://www.plastic-mart.com and do it like VonSlatt did his tanks. I've taken a lot of inspiration from his site by the way. Anyways, I'll use bed rails to hang the tanks. The tank will be sitting on a 1/2 inch thick piece of plywood and I'll put the heating tape between the plywood and the tank! I would definately want the tanks to be heated while I'm going down the road too. Even if it only kept the water heated to 40 degrees on a 15 degree day, that works! I do a LOT of camping when it's cold out (hunting). I had a travel trailer for a couple of years that I bought brand new. I couldn't even take water with me when it was below 25 degrees. It would still freeze even though the tanks were supposedly heated. I was pretty disappointed with my trailer. They all seem like they're slapped together in a hurry. But I did learn a LOT about how everything works or SHOULD work. The whole time I had the trailer, I would think to myself, "I could build this a lot better if I had done it myself"! I met a guy at a dirtbike race with an airport shuttle that he had converted. Then I found this site and it was all over for me.
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Old 12-30-2006, 04:03 PM   #15
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Then I found this site and it was all over for me. Very Happy
Its not over, its just the begining...
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Old 12-30-2006, 07:49 PM   #16
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I agree! It's a great place for inspiration and information.
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Old 01-05-2007, 02:07 PM   #17
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flooring

I installed Laminate flooring in our bus. Tip to tail before anything else went in, then built on it. My bus has a solid metal floor, then stock 1/2" plywood, stock rubber floor, combo insulation/vapour barrier 4mm, then the laminate. Heat wise, not a great insulation. However it is better than just the rubber.

Durability was great during the build process. Very strong and scratch resistant. All was going well until I tested the water system, and had a couple of leaks. I was ready with towels and sopped up the mess right away. The problem was that moisture was trapped between the vapour barrier and the flooring. I did what I could to dry it, but it did raise the seams and cause it to warp. Some area's worse than others. The main living area that gets the worst foot traffic is still in great shape. We camp in all sorts of weather with two big dogs (moisture sitting on the floor is common) and it has held up well.

So If I were to give advice, it would be ensure the entire floor surface is sealed. Good tight seams, and use a flexible sealant like clear silicone on the edges where the floor meets the walls. This way it still allows the floor to float, but reduces the chances that the same problem will occure that I encoutered.

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Old 01-09-2007, 01:35 AM   #18
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Thanks Captain

That was just the post I was looking for. It's only 1 Week to late. I am so glad it has been working for you. We DID decide to put it in and it turned out better than expected. Took some time going around the wheelwells (4 of'em). The stuff we put in was 8mm and WATER RESISTANT (pressure treat green through-out). I still have 2 more questions thou, maybe you can help with them?
1 - Did you do your stairs, and if so have they held up good with the HIGH traffic.
2 - I was wondering with bolting through the floor to hold everything down in the bus, being a floating floor, does it not need to float. Will it buckle, or bords lift if it grows or expands, don't reeally know if it expands.??

Thanks again appreciate the post.
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Old 01-09-2007, 02:22 PM   #19
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I had diamond plate steel custom shaped to copy the stock stair treds. The driver's area is carpeted. The laminate starts at the edge of the stairs.

As far as the bolting through or having weight on them, it's tough to say. I have not had any buckling because of the free floating aspect, however I think the water damage I have would have been lessened had the floor had more room to expand. The worst damage is the area below the bed in a highly restricted (walls and tank) spot.

We also used 8mm but it did not specifically state that it was pressure treated water resistant. It sounds like a good product.

Of all the work I have done on the bus, the floor is what wow's the majority that see it. Which is funny because it was the easiest part to do.

Post some pictures so we can follow along. Take a look at the www button on this post to see pics of my bus if haven't already to see the stair layout. I have since done more work on the area with an oak sill that a "trapdoor" sits on so in transit I don't hear the road noise from the unisulated stairwell and the passenger has somthing to rest her feet on. My dogs also think it's a great place to sit and watch the world go by.

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Old 01-09-2007, 10:15 PM   #20
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Hey I checked out the site. Pictures, bus and especially the floor all look great. What is the material you used on the walls we are still kicking around what we are going to use (originally we were thinking wainscotting) but I like the way that stuff looks.

Pictures are on the way, probably 2-3 weeks when we take a few more and have a little more progress.

Thanks again.
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