Creating a (sub)floor as part of the conversion of a cargo van is a fairly straightforward process. Yet many construction types and materials have to be chosen in advance, to head off any unexpected complications that can influence the integrity of the entire project.
The first line of attack in a van conversion is often the installation of a (sub)floor system; the base of the vehicle, that has to support most of the interior modifications. In an RV the floor performs different functions and before tackling this project, you should stand still and decide which features to put in and then research the available materials you’ll be using to complete your floor.
Many of your future additions, such as cabinets, bed(s) and/or sofa, are partly or completely attached to the floor and you have to make sure Continue reading The Ultimate Guide To Flooring
I never liked tile or vinyl floors. Of course, the quality of vinyl flooring has improved substantially over the years, yet getting up in the morning and having my warm feet struggle with the coolness that a tile floor can bring, still raises my anxiety level.
And then there is the cleaning: whether it’s a footprint, a smear or some random dust, one always has a broom nearby, just in case…
No, nothing to compare with the warm feeling of carpet and the once-a-week vacuum… Until now!
The constraints posed on electricity usage in the van conversion led to the exclusion of a vacuum, and made me decide to go with Trafficmaster Allure Ultra, a heavy vinyl flooring material.
It took a while, getting used to. It’s moisture resistance is a great feature, but the amount of dirt accumulating in such a small area is extraordinary. Until I realized that it could have been hiding in that plush carpet! It would be invisible, but the carpet would never really be clean.
It’s a new day and I’m a happy b(r)oomer.
From the beginning I planned to replace the carpet by a similar product but a little compacter and sturdier. But during my last trip I was reminded how quickly such a small place can become dirty. So I started looking around for alternatives. A floating wood floor was attractive, but not practical when the floor is always moving. Probably the best solution was vinyl, but that is not my first choice, until my research on the net, resulted in vinyl planking. Other RV’rs were using a Home Depot product called TrafficMaster Allure Ultra, although Lowes has a similar product.
It’s almost indestructible and looks quite a bit like it’s wooden counterpart with the same type of interlocking mechanism. Hopefully fewer scratches and more flexible. Only negative was it’s weight, which will amount to approx. 70 lbs. Choice quickly made.
However, I was depending on the carpet underlayment to hide the subfloor screws. So first thing was to make them flush with the plywood.
The actual installation was a breeze; there is no glue or fasteners. Adjusting the width or length is easily done by scoring the surface of the vinyl with a sharp knife and then breaking it off. For inside corners I also used a really small hand saw.
As always, I am already thinking about and preparing for the next phase in this project.
Before going any further, I’ll have to finish the floor covering. The easy way to go is a cheap, lightweight carpet, but soon I started thinking about office carpet for its durability. Then other choices popped up:
- Carpet: regular, berber, office.
- Vinyl or vinyl tiles.
- Wood floor.
- Any rubberized materials?
I have to keep in mind that with a rigid material, like tiles or wood, that the vertical coverings such as the motor hub in the front of the van will need an alternative product.
What innovative materials would you suggest? Poll closed.
First thing I noticed was some water damage to the subfloor, which is to be expected after 20 years of use. It will be replaced with a regular ½ inch plywood panel.
The wood is attached with a couple of metal screws to the metal floor.
The rear 4 feet doesn’t have any insulation at all. That is something I’ll improve on with the new underlayment.
The remainder of the carpet is a snap, because there is no ply involved and the ½ inch insulation remains in place. I’ll leave the carpet in the cabin in place, until I’ve decided on the replacement material.
Today’s first is the passenger side, large window frame. A fairly simple job, just a lot of screws. I’ll set this frame apart until I have the correct paint to redo it.
Now we can see a little of the insulation used, some wire of the valance lighting which will be removed, and the former seat belt connection bolt.
I’ll use the latter as an attachment point for my dog’s leash/harness, when he’ll travels with me.
The remaining rear seat belts are still attached to a heavy metal bar underneath the carpet.
Lifting up the carpet, quickly reveals the bar which is attached with bolts to the chassis.
At the end of the day I have some more spare parts.
I have started preparing the wood for the bed in my workshop, which takes up one half of my garage. I’ll have to glue up thinner boards to get to the right thickness for the wood in the frame of the bed.
In the meantime, I am getting the rear belt systems out. Removing the valance resulted in access to the top connector, which is primarily a big bolt connected to the frame.
The belt roll-up mechanism had to be accessed both from the inside and under the van, which as the only person working on it, posed some problems, but after several attempts, that worked out fine.
This opened up the wheel casing. Time to get rid of the carpet glued to its surface. Careful peeling revealed the casing and reinforcement plate; after removal of the latter, I temporarily taped up the resulting hole from the belt mechanism, until a more permanent solution is applied.