November 18, 21
Which custom floor build is going to take on the lively bumpy trails of adventure we have in store? Mr. Knightley is our Ford Transit, high roof, 350 AWD van. What is layered, leveled, sealed, and insulated to make the best foundation to strengthen, buffer and beautify the foundation; the floor? What foundation is going to meet the challenge of crazy, cool destinations, to withstand the forces of this moving house on wheels, capable of coasting over 75 miles an hour on the highway, or maneauvering over potholes and dusty, dirt roads, climbing winding terrain to high elevations in arrid, 100 degree searing sun and sand, exploring northward through snow, freezing temperatures, and reveling in the humid downpours eastward and beyond?
Well, we have tried out 3 different layers. We discovered the hard way, that we need a more stable, flat surface to lay the vinyl tile. The extreme temperatures and continuous movement of the van also requires you use the tools suggested to really make sure the edges are snapped into place, and not just assume you are stronger than the average person and can just muscle them into place.
We tried 1/2″ polyiso rigid insulation between the metal ribs and then marine plywood.
The insufficient foundation underneath the marine plywood of 1/2″ of Thinsulate. Thinsulate is GREAT for lots of things in the van but NOT the floor. The tiles bumped up at some of the seams as a result of not having a firm enough foundation and not locking them in with the proper tools. We tore it all out and tried the original rubber floor, but it had wool backing that was lumpy, bumpy and that insulated backing wouldn’t come unglued.
So we tried this one-piece rubber, diamond cut floor thinking this would be simple and solve all of our problems and we had high hopes until the sun beat inside and made the kind of waves we don’t want to experience. Ok. Next, we tried to glue it down. That might have been even worse, so WE came unglued.
With more thought after our trial and errors, more research and more glue, we added another firm layer that we originally didn’t want to add because it casuses the floor to be higher, the step up to be higher, creating more work, wah wah wah 😭 But, we took the challenge, extra work, cost and weight and added another underlayer of strength and insulation for the floor, because how firm the foundation is will determine the base for everything to stand on.
For added support and water protection, marine plywood.
Industrial strength waterproof flooring.
Using the proper tools to securely snap the tiles into place at every inch. Bill was so smart. He numbered the tiles we had cut and arranged in the van before, in case we wanted to try again.
Glued down the 0.40″ minicell between metal floor ribs, then layered three pieces of 1/2″ polyiso rigid insulation boards, 3 pieces of 1/2″ marine plywood, then the vinyl tiles. So glad we had extra and many of the original tiles because it’s sturdy, waterproof and BEAUTIFUL.
We have our gorgeous vinyl tile floor back in and it should weather the elements of our adventures and good nights on the trail. Have you noticed, we have a slightly different layout? Stay tuned to see how we perfected our living space and bed set up after several long and short trips to work out the kinks. Where is the sink going and how about that shower?