DIY Projects, Life, Skoolie Bus Conversion: Week 1 – Demolition & Sub-Flooring October 16, 2017

Bus Conversion: Week 1 - Demolition & Sub-Flooring

Start of the Bus Conversion

On September 22nd, we went to go look at a school bus, and the very next day, the bus we looked at was being delivered to Jared’s parents house.

Just only a week ago was when we announced our plans to the world – we are converting a 40ft school bus – less than 200 square feet – into our full-time home!

I have already answered the main question in my last blog post, so I am just going to start with my first promise – to explain and document the process of the bus conversion.

Demolition

When the bus was being driven to Jared’s parents house, Jared and I made the mutual decision for him to move back down there temporarily and work on the bus. We are giving ourselves a time-frame of December to get this done, so it just seemed like the most logical decision.

When Jared got there early Saturday afternoon, the bus was delivered and he immediately got to work.

Nothing was taken out, so first thing’s first – we needed to get this thing gutted!

He and Roy (his step-dad) took out all the seats before they called it a night. It took most of the afternoon and evening, but the bus looked pretty good and spacious once it was cleared out!

Bus Conversion: Week 1 - Demolition & Sub-Flooring
After the seats were gutted and before the rotte plywood was removed!

So much room for activities!

Sunday, they got to ripping up the flooring and the rotted plywood. That was also a process because that stuff was stuck pretty good to the bottom of the bus floor.

You can also see they took off the A/C units (all three of them) and later on, they took off the top metal paneling so they could explore the wires and get them sorted out.

Bus Conversion: Week 1 - Demolition & Sub-Flooring
The bottom of the floor! And the A/C units have been removed

Weekend one was a success for the guys! Demolition was done in less than 2 days time! 

Sub-flooring

During the week, Jared was able to really scrub the rust on the floor. After that, he painted the floor with white rustoleum paint. Then he sealed the holes from the seats with pennies and put a second coat of rustoleum on it.

Bus Conversion: Week 1 - Demolition & Sub-Flooring
Rustoleum done! Pennies to seal holes done! looking nice and clean.

I came down the weekend of the the 30th and set to work with them. They hadn’t gotten anywhere close to taking the panels at the top off, so that was half a day’s job right there.

Those bolts that hold almost everything in on a bus are no joke! If you are converting a school bus, you know exactly what I am talking about. I have seen just about everyone struggle with those suckers. 

Bus Conversion: Week 1 - Demolition & Sub-Flooring
Removing the paint and decals! So tedious, but needs to be done

Once that was done, Roy got to tying up the wires so they wouldn’t be a long, veiny mess. While he did that, Jared and I scraped the paint off the window and started to take the decals off the sides/front/back of the bus.

That was tedious, to say the least.

 Framing

Then, the fun part started! Actually building/framing something – the floor! Jared didn’t want a sub-flooring, and I think it was because he didn’t research it like Roy and I did. 

Bus Conversion: Week 1 - Demolition & Sub-Flooring
That’s me helping Roy with the framing!

Roy and I have basically been on the same page this whole time. We are the ones watching the YouTube videos to help us and get ideas, and Jared is just coasting on by. I send him the videos I watch, and I am 100% sure he ignores them. He’s a go-getter, and I want to learn and do this this the right way! 

Bus Conversion: Week 1 - Demolition & Sub-Flooring
Selfie while we continue to frame! This was a long process

Anyway, back to the sub-flooring. Also called a floating floor. The way this is created is by framing out the entire floor of the bus (after it is prepped with rustoleum – you do NOT want rust to be eating away at the floor of your home, so this is beyond important. This is crucial).

We framed ours and glued each piece of wood down with liquid nails. That stuff is a skoolie essential. You other skoolies KNOW. LOL. I think the framing of the floor doesn’t get enough attention. At least not ours anyway.

Roy carefully cut out each piece of wood. And this was BIG to us, because if you know a bus, you know that NOTHING is straight. Everything has a curve, even the corners of the floor. The ceiling is a whole other topic. Don’t even go there.

He did such a great job at matching the curvature of the flooring when we framed it. So impressed. He takes his work very seriously, so I know we are in good hands!

There was a method we used when framing, and we put just enough 2x2s and 2x1s within the framing that the plywood would be easily nailed into the wood instead of the insulation and the metal part of the floor of the bus.

Bus Conversion: Week 1 - Demolition & Sub-Flooring
The end of our framing work. Looks really good!!!

Insulation

Once it’s framed, you have to insulate it.

This gets very hard and tedious. And this mainly happened the week after I left. The guys cut out squares to fit every hole, nice and snug.

You want it to be snug because this is the insulation. This is how you maintain the air in the cabin, and it is IMPORTANT! Insulation is like the number one thing to me. I don’t want to be freezing in Michigan and dying of heat in Arizona because of half-assed insulation. Just not going to happen.

For the insulation, we used RMax Thermasheath. It’s on the pricier side, but a small cost for getting a little bit of sound proofing as well!

We decided against spray-foam because that is way out of our budget, and we didn’t want to have to worry about it bubbling up since it does expand. 

Bus Conversion: Week 1 - Demolition & Sub-Flooring
Look at that finished insulation! Starting to look like something!

We also insulation the tire wells to prevent sound/road noise – that is what you see on them. Everything is secured down with foil tape!

The guys did a wonderful job on the insulation and once the plywood was secured down, it looked like we actually had a real floor!

While I was there the weekend after the first, I did a lot of cleaning and prepping for paint, I helped peel and take off the decals around the bus, and helped with the first half of the sub-flooring.

Bus Conversion: Week 1 - Demolition & Sub-Flooring
Close up of the insulated wheel wells.

Week 1 – Over and OUT

I so wish that I could be there during the whole process of the build, but I am working in Dallas and riding out our lease (ending in December) and the bus is being worked on South of Waco, which is about a two hour drive.

Instead, I am the researcher. When they have questions, I figure them out. I search all the conversion groups I am in on Facebook, I google it, I check out YouTube. Because if we are running into something, chances are we are not the first. And hopefully, someone as documented it!

Bus Conversion: Week 1 - Demolition & Sub-Flooring
ANDDD the plywood is down! It really makes a world of a difference

We are complete newbies when it comes to creating a skoolie from scratch. As is almost everyone I have seen online who does this crazy of a thing.

I don’t claim that what we are doing is right, or perfect. And it most likely is not. But it’s ours and it’s home!

If you have any tips or tricks or resources (I love to follow others on Youtube and Instagram!), then just shoot them my way in a comment! 🙂

Bus Conversion: Week 1 - Demolition & Sub-Flooring
Roy’s face totally mirrors everyone’s faces once the plywood was down!! LOL – way too excited!!

Also, feel free to ask any questions. I can try to answer them as clearly and informative as possible!

Check out our busgram for more real-time updates and I also answer questions there, too!

Peace, Love and Skoolie Out, Jordan

 

P.S. I am hoping now since we have told everyone, we can start working on videos to upload. I think they are a lot easier when documenting, and YouTube just seems to be the way to go.

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