Week… whatever: Putting it down


As many of you can imagine, and most certainly predicted, and have definitely been complaining about, I have been so thoroughly engrossed with working on the bus I couldn’t be bothered to share my progress with everyone. My deepest apologies.

As of the last update, oh so many fortnights ago, I had stripped the bus to its rusty shell, prepped the steel, and was ready to put down the floor…

Before I could prime the steel and start installing my new floor, all I had to do was mop up the residue left from the phosphoric acid used to treat the rust. After mopping the floor with piping hot water, and pulling up a ton of residue, I decided to do one more pass to ensure it was ready for paint…

But as I started a second pass, nothing was happening. The mop wasn’t picking up any material, or even pushing it around. How could this be? There was no way the first round… and then it hit me: I had just turned the bus into a skating rink.

A thin coat of ice covered the entire floor. This is a problem. In order to move forward I have to not just melt, but also evaporate the water. This is difficult to do when it’s 10 degrees outside, and there are giant holes in the floor. Even if I could get rid of the ice, I would need the warmer temperatures to apply the primer. There was really little I could do until the temperatures on the bus were above freezing.

In the meantime, I was researching types of flooring. My instinct was to have a warm-looking wood floor, and to do it on the cheap with simple 1×6 pine boards. As I hunted through the lumberyards in town, I realized that it was not going to be as cheap as I anticipated, and was going to be significantly more labor than I was hoping for. Panic started to set in… and then I found this:


At a lumber yard in Northeast named Siweks, I stumbled into this odd panelized sheet of hardwood flooring that looked like it had been cut out of an old basketball court. I asked an employee about it, and he tells me “Oh yeah, they just cut that out of an old gym floor. We’ve got a whole pile of that stuff outside.”

I tried to maintain my poker face: must stay calm. It’s probably way out of my price range. “How much is it?”

“Oh, it’s just $1 a square foot.”

My eye started twitching, and I resisted the urge to hug him. Here’s a material that has a solid maple surface, comes pre-panelized with a sub-floor, is pre-finished, has great character, re-use street-cred, has fantastic character, and they’re going to sell it to me for $1 a square foot. I almost cried.

So I ordered a big pile of the stuff, and they delivered it for stupid cheap ($42!).

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After taking delivery of this hefty pile of wood, I became impatient for warmer weather. I bought large wad of thin plastic sheeting that I was able to tape around the outside of the bus to trap a pocket of air underneath. By trapping this air, I was able to raise the interior temperature above freezing with just a few small heaters. I was back in business.



So here’s a look at the inside right before priming…

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… and after.

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Sooo much nicer to look at. Granted, there are still some terrifyingly large holes in the floor, but that’ll get all patched up with some galvanized sheet and some silicone and be good to go!

At this point, it’s almost time drop in the gym floor. I just have to decide how important half an inch is. You see, the interior of the bus is rather short, around 6’2″ fully stripped. Every inch of “stuff” that I add makes it that much shorter. The gym flooring has not one, but TWO layers of plywood attached to the back. If I remove the second layer, it will be easier to install and give me an extra inch of height. On the other hand, it means I’ll have to grind off 1000’s of tiny staples so they don’t destroy the insulation below.

Well throwing sparks everywhere is kind of fun, so I opted for the extra half inch of head room, and tore off the back layer of the flooring.


The process was a bit arduous, but once the panels were trimmed to length, they dropped beautifully into place, with the original tongue and groove stitching it all together into an almost seamless floor.

First, you can see those shiny pieces of galvanized steel patching the myriad holes that were in the floor…

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Then you lay a healthy dose of adhesive…

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Drop in your insulation….

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And flop down a piece of floor on top of it.

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…Until it’s done!photo (6)

I know! Right?

I’m extremely pleased with the result.

Since the floor has gone down, I’ve been working on the wall and ceiling systems. It’s taken some finessing to get everything packaged properly, but I’m rather pleased with the direction it’s headed.

Updates soon. Or not. You know.

One thought on “Week… whatever: Putting it down

  1. Update more! I love reading about the bus! I spent like a month worried that you were not going to have a house-bus, but an ice bus. I can’t wait for the next installment.

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