Bus Conversion: Day 2 – Floor Removal

Hugo the Skoolie short bus looked HUGE once the seats were out! We debated whether or not to tear up the existing floors.

Big’s little brother and little brother’s girlfriend helped remove the rubber walkway and metal trims – the wood underneath looks questionable.

Option 1: We place our insulation and flooring on top of the existing floors.

  • Pros: Less work
  • Cons: Less head room, more risk for rust, mold, and other bad news
    • We decided against this because 1. Big needs all the head room he can get, and 2. We’ll be eating and sleeping on this bus and wouldn’t want to be exposed to mold and similar yuckiness.

Option 2: We tear up just the rubber so we could assess the plywood subfloors underneath

  • Pros: Less work, less materials to have to purchase if plywood salvageable
  • Cons: Time-consuming to peel back just the rubber
    • We decided against this, because subfloors would likely get damaged while trying to remove the rubber, and we would have to get new floors anyway; plus, as they say, garbage in, garbage out, which is why we went with (SPOILER ALERT) Option 3!

Option 3: We tear up both rubber and subfloors, and start fresh!

  • Pros: Maximize head room, ability to assess metal flooring for rust spots and other structural issues
  • Cons: Time-consuming, more expensive in the short-run

Here’s a clip of us after discussing our options, then going in for breakfast! We need energy to rip out floors.

Questions to ask yourselves when deciding whether or not to keep existing floors:

  1. What is the purpose of your skoolie, ie. is it for weekend camping trips or longterm stays?
    1. Our’s will be for shorter, 3-7 day trips for the next 3-5 years, so building on top of the existing floors would have been reasonable. However, see the following questions below.
  2. Is there visible rust?
    1. The seats had noticeable rust and corrosion at the bases, as well as the stairs, so we made the conservative assumption that there was probably rust elsewhere.
  3. What climate has your bus been exposed to?
    1. Hugo was adopted from New Jersey, and has been exposed to 16 years of cold, wet weather – YUP,  RUST.
Closeup of the rubber floor and the rusty seat bolts

Cue Day 2: floor removal!

Step 1: Unscrew the flooring trim around the perimeter of the bus. This will release the rubber and subfloor.

Step 2: We used crowbars and hammers/mallets to remove the top rubber layer enough to get to the wood underneath. There was a cutout for gas tank access, so we utilized the edges of this area to get our crowbars underneath.

The camera caught me checking out Big’s booty 😛

Step 3: Remove rear heater core from floor, along with the two hoses connecting it to the engine. There seems to be a lot of pros and cons to keeping it, so Big and I will hang on to it for now. The hoses were covered by metal sheets, so we had to unscrew those from the ground and threw them into a “keep for later” pile.

TIP: It’s helpful to have a “discard” and a “keep” pile to keep organized.

Removing the screws to mobilize the rear heater core and its hoses attached
All of the flooring is out! Look at all that rust…. glad we went with our gut and chose to do Option 3

Step 4: Once the flooring is out, use a hammer or mallet to whack down any nails sticking up. There will be MANY!

CAUTION: Make sure y’all are up to date on your tetanus shots! Check out this page for more info.

Step 5:  Clean up! Make sure the bus is well-ventilated and you wear some sort of mask while you do this, because there will be a ton of dust and rust in the air. We don’t need to breathe in old skin cells from hundreds of little kids, and neither should you!

Step 6: Plan what comes next! We need to clean this bus, top to bottom, fill in these nail holes, and tackle all this rust before putting down any insulation and flooring.

Curious about why we have a bus in the first place? Check out this post. Want to see how we removed the bus seats on Day 1? Read about it here. You would rather see it in action, you say? Watch us below!

Day 1: Seat Removal

Day 2: Floor Removal

Got any other questions or suggestions? Comment below! Looking forward to hearing from you 🙂

As always, feel free to check us out on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. We also have weekly updates of Hugo’s conversion on YouTube with a new episode launching every Friday – subscribe to our channel to stay tuned 🙂

Peace & Love,

LIl & Big

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