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Old 11-02-2016, 02:36 PM   #1
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insulating floor then using luxury vinyl plank

I have an Airporter style shuttle bus a 99 Ford E450 aprox 23' long.
It is my second bus, the previous being an 88. It has the rubber type floor with the alum channel inlaid into plywood.

I have been looking for some definitive advice on how to insulate the floor and prep it for peel and stick luxury vinyl plank. I have purchased the flooring, got it on clearance, combined with a no tax special and a discount for being a veteran.

Pulling up the vinyl floor and the alum channel is a bitch. The question is too, what kind of insulation sandwich do I make?

One approach would be to lay down a grid of 1x1 or 2.2, put bubblewrap reflectix in the bottom and then rigid foam, topped off with a .75" acx or particle board. Final layer being the peel and stick.

I could just leave the rubber flooring and go over the top of the rubber floor and alum with a grid, then same as the other.

I question the need for reflectix at all in the floor?

I live in the moist puget sound, but try and get the bus out on the hiway for an hour or so, to keep the oil flowing in the engine and dry out the interior.

Anyway, would love to hear your advice about insulating the floor. The primary goal is a good surface for the peel and stick and the next to insulate the bus since the walls and the ceiling will be insulated as well.

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Old 11-02-2016, 04:20 PM   #2
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I used 3/4" poly-iso insulation board in ours. The aluminum channel is sunk into the floor in ours so I left it in place and built the floor over it.

How much insulation you need depends on how and when you'll be using your bus. If you're mostly a three season camper in campgrounds with hookups you may not need insulation at all. But remember, it will never be easier to insulate the thing than right now.

I laid my insulation sheets between 7/8" x 3/4" runners to support the floor. The conventional wisdom is that I could have left out the runners and laid the floor directly over the insulation and many here have done exactly that with no issues reported.
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Old 11-02-2016, 05:01 PM   #3
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All of those ideas are doable but I would question the particle board as the surface to stick the LVT to.
The OSB/particle board is a very rough finish and over time could start to seperate,swell and many other things especially if any moisture gets in it or just being in a humid climate?
I don't think you need 3/4 thick but it would be ridgid enough.
I would go with a standard finish plywood or a finished birch wood type just cause any screw head. Little piece of gravel,dirt ar anything like the inconsistency in the particle board are going to show once the LVT gets settled down. Especially the walk path.
Where the seams in the boards are and any screw holes you can countersink the heads a little and use a wood putty to level anything back out before laying the tile.
Those are my thoughts anyway?
Good luck
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Old 11-02-2016, 08:10 PM   #4
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Not to detract too much with my off topic post.
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Old 11-02-2016, 09:05 PM   #5
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I have not insulated my floor yet but, being northern Minnesota the weather swings from high 90's with 90+% humidity in winter to -30 zero with under 6% humidity.

I removed everything from the floor, rubber, rails, wood, rust. Plugged the holes with cut down nails welded into place as plugs in the seat bolt holes.

My best idea what to do is, paint the floor top and bottom as best as possible. Lay a vapor / moisture barrier, rigid insulation panels, another vapor barrier, wood.

Pending the flooring the rough plywood OSB would need to be treated sanded or covered with thin panels of some type. A friend suggested 0.25 inch finished panel just to better secure tile, carpet, laminated flooring, etc.

Personally, to avoid thermal breaks I want to use thinner rigid panels and over lap the seams and tape.

Good luck and have fun.
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Old 11-02-2016, 09:52 PM   #6
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Home Depot lists Owens-Corning FOAMULAR extruded polystyrene foam boards on their web site in both 1-inch thick FOAMULAR 150 and 2-inch thick FOAMULAR 250. Owens-Corning has a physical properties document for these two products on their web site. It lists the compressive resistance as 15 psi for the 150 and 25 psi for the 250 product (1.30 lbs/ft3 density for the 150; 1.55 lbs/ft3 for the 250). It's plenty strong to stand on as-is without crushing so long as the shoe lands flat on the surface.

Good points have already been made about OSB and particle board. I'd think a half-inch plywood would be more than adequate for spreading loads so as to not deform the foam. Quarter-inch luan would give a nice smooth underlayment surface for the vinyl, but might be a bit aggressive on thickness.. ACX is probably a fine choice. Stringers underneath for support aren't necessary; I'll bet the foam directly below a load carries that load before the plywood can bend enough to transfer it out to wherever the stringers are. It'd be pretty easy to throw a sheet of foam and plywood down on the driveway and run a loaded hand truck or wheelbarrow.. or car.. over the top to verify performance.
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Old 11-02-2016, 10:12 PM   #7
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So far no one has mentioned using reflectix on the floor. My guess was that it was not needed due to the floor being in the shade so to speak where as in the ceiling and the sides, having that heat barrier would be effective, interested in any comments about putting reflectix in the floor?
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Old 11-03-2016, 03:17 AM   #8
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The only benefit I could see to doing that is if you park on an asphalt or concrete surface that has been exposed to the sun all day long and is blistering hot..... it would help keep the heat from the asphalt from coming up through the floor to a higher degree than regular insulation. But that's only really an issue in areas where it regularly hits 100 degrees or close to it on a daily basis.
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:21 AM   #9
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Don't forget that heat can travel in or out. An un-insulated metal floor (a large area) can easily transfer any heat you are generating inside to chilly air outside.
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