School Bus to Tiny Home – Flooring and Floor Insulation

If you’re reading this, I’m in the process of designing the flooring system. So my notes and ideas are shown in real time in this blog.

Once I commit to a strategy and implement it, this blog will explain of the floor’s design and the implementation process.

Later, once we spend more time in the home, I’ll share my results here. Thank you for reading.

To Remove Existing School Bus Floor or Not to Remove

From the looks of our existing floor, it seems like we might not need to take it out. I can’t see any places where the flooring is in terrible condition.

school bus tiny home conversion floor removal1

school bus tiny home conversion floor removal2

school bus tiny home conversion floor removal3

That said, we’re building something that we want to last for at least 100 years. I can’t make the assumption that everything is fine under there. We’ve decided to take the existing flooring out so that we can seal the existing metal floor with anti-rust paint and rebuild a bulletproof strategy for going forward.

Rust Proofing the Existing School Bus Metal Floor

I’m going to experiment with bondo and epoxy to plug any existing holes in the floor. We want to the bus to be water tight. All the holes made to secure seats will need to be sealed in a bulletproof manner.

Once the floors are all sealed up, we will be using Rust-Oleum 7792 Gloss White paint  to seal the metal school bus floor.

The paint we will use to seal the floor

Flooring Insulation and Finishing

Choosing School Bus Conversion Insulation

We would like this bus to be rated to live in Lake Tahoe in the winter so we are going with the upper range of Zone 5 as recommended by the US Department of Energy (DOE).

School Bus Conversion Insulation Guide
US Department of Energy Insulation Guide – We will build for Zone 5

This means the following insulation ratings for our walls, floor and ceiling if we’re to spend much of our time in the Lake Tahoe area:

  • Floor – (R25 to R30)
  • Ceiling – (R49 to R60)
  • Walls – (R15)

So it turns out that in order for us to get that DOE rated insulation, we will need to extend the roof of the bus. To get simple R15 insulation, the best thing I could find is 3 1/2″ inches deep which is too little insulation in too thick of a space.

I couldn’t find any R50 insulation that is 2 inches or less in thickness. Indeed, we would need another foot in the roof to get close to the reccomendations suggested by the DOE. This doesn’t seem prudent to me.

Also, the DEO is writing these requirements for relatively large homes. The heating expense of this bus will be a fraction of what a normal house would require.

School Bus Roofing Space

School Bus Roofing Space2

The Plan for the Ceiling Insulation

We are very lucky with our bus. The existing insulation is in excellent condition. There isn’t a drop of mold on any of the main parts. The biggest weakness to the existing insulation is that it doesn’t fill the roof cavities entirely.

To solve that, I plan to buy some spray insulation to fill the gaps left from the regular insulation. I’m exploring the following products:

* This spray foam could be used on the bottom of the bus as well as the product brags that it adheres to metal

Floor Material Design

We don’t want to build up with floor height much as there is limited vertical space in the bus. That said, the bus needs to be as comfortable as possible. Here is how I see the plan for floor materials:

  • Vinyl Plank Flooring (1/16″ – 5/16″) – Floor & Ceiling
  • Plywood (3/4″)
  • 1.5″ Insulation (link) + Framing (2×4 s are actually 1.5″ thick)
  • Existing School Bus Steel Painted with Rust-Oleum

I Hope You Found This Useful

Please let me know any thoughts or comments you have in using the links below. I’m done on the computer for the day, it’s time to go out and remove the rest of that floor in the bus.

Final Seats and Spray Painting the Tools Gold

So one of my favorite YouTubbers is a guy named Jimmy DiResta. In one of his videos he talks about how he uses white spray paint on many of his tools as a way for him to engage his audience. I think this is genius.

My Favorite Gold Spray Paint

Rust-Oleum 1910830 Metallic Spray, Gold, 11-Ounce

Can I Spray Pain My Cordless Drills

Also, I’ve never been a big fan of rocking brands. No matter if it’s skiing, running, programming, fashion or anything else. At the end of the day, I like having no logos on my stuff.

Finally, I think having golden tools will inspire some more interested YouTube audience people who like the idea or hate it.

So in this video we spray-paint the tools gold and cut out the rest of the seats in the bus.

Gold Spray Painted Grinder

Thank you for watching, I hope you enjoyed it.

How to Apply Grout – Another Maker Series by Ian Robinson

This is a tutorial on how to apply grout.

How to Apply Grout 3

Specifically, I’m using 1-Quart Simple Premium Grout which is pre-mixed so I don’t have to mix it myself. This is most useful for when applying grout to a small area. This project is about a 4 square foot area, so it’s a very simple application.

Equipment Needed to Apply Grout

  • PreMixed Grout – http://amzn.to/2mruyxD

How to Apply Grout 1

  • Grout float – http://amzn.to/2mucKS

How to Apply Grout 3

  • Soft Grout Sponge – http://amzn.to/2mJRPf0
How to Apply Grout 2
Sorry this photo is out of focus

How to Apply Grout – Just the Steps

  • Get all your pieces together.
  • Set the tiles using ready set cement and spacers.
  • Take the grout from the quart container and push it into the spaces between the tiles. Do this for about 1-3 square feet.
  • Use a sponge to wipe the unnecessary grout away. Try to keep the sponge as dry as possible. Only sponge the grout once or twice, then rinse and squeeze dry your sponge.
  • Change water often. As the water gets dirty, you’ll be less effective in cleaning up the tile.
  • Repeat across all surface area that you want to be grouted.
  • Once you have the project covered, wait four hours for the grout to cure.
  • Once grout is cured, go back over the whole project and clean up all the unnecessary grout. Especially make sure to wipe off the haze on your pretty tiles.
  • That’s it. Once you clean it up for the final time, let the grout sit for 48 hours. Then you’re done.

How to Apply Grout - Grouting is Fun

Overall Thoughts on the Product

This grout isn’t excellent. I’ve noticed a bit of chipping since installing the floor. Because we put corrugated steel siding behind the stove, we had to stand on the tile to get the steel working. Maybe if we had waited another day the grout would have hardened up better.

Also, the wood to tile joints don’t seem to be quite as strong as the tile to tile joints.

I like the simplicity of just opening up the container and grouting. That is far easier than doing it the traditional way. Traditionally, you mix up grouting dirt with water using a drill with a mixer attachment on it. That requires more tools, more focus and more experience. This pre-mixed grout is far more approachable, especially if you’re new to grouting.

Anyways, that’s all I’ve got for now. I hope you find this useful. If you have any questions leave a comment down below.

How to Apply Grout 4

My First Blacksmithing Project

Kyle Pastrell makes these beautiful Damascus Steel Knifes. For months before that I was geeking out on his awesome knives and finally, the other day we set a date to spend the day at his Dad’s black smith operation in the garage of his house. It was awesome.

That said, my blacksmithing skills are 100% beginner. That was the first time I set a piece of metal into a forge and hit it with a hammer.

Of course, there is no better way to learn something than doing it, so the first day we committed to making a single day knife. Kyle makes really nice knives… but they always take him a few days at the least. So the idea of making a knife in a day was a stretch, but stretching feels good.

Lessons Learned

Overall workmanship on this knife is average at best. The steel is a bit soft because we didn’t have time to temper the blade in oil quite like Kyle would have preferred.

We also forgot to eat so I got pretty shaky towards the end of the day. That’s why my epoxy job was just about as disgusting as it could have been.

We did get lucky in that the knife is well balanced. It’s centered almost perfectly so it actually feels excellent in hand.

It seemed cool to me to keep the old railroad impressions on the butt of the knife. That maintained it’s crude look.

It would be possible to bandsaw the handle off, reforge and grind a little more and make this blade something really special. Perhaps I’ll reforge this one every time I make another 9 knives so this one could become a Damascus beauty like the ones Kyle makes.

That’s a really long way away for me.

Videography Notes

Autofocus is problematic with maker videos. Even though I love some of the beautiful depth of field shots that I get from the d70, it’s the G7X that I find to be the trustworthy camera to shoot with. Best of all, the G7X makes video files that work well with my version of Adobe Premiere.

I love the versatility and indestructibility of my GoPro Silver, but my footage is REALLY hard to edit. For some reason, that footage kills my editing software. It takes way too long to render. There had to be a better way, but so far GoPro software seems really unhelpful.

Thank You

Big thanks to my friend Erik who showed me the first few maker videos. Also, bit thanks to Diresta, Primitive Technologies and Birth of a Tool for your amazing movies. Finally, and without precedent, thank you again to Kyle Pastrell. It’s a huge complement to receive an invite to come work with you for the day buddy. I look forward to future projects.

This one isn’t great, but I feel like it’s a good start.