We knew we’d scuff up our floors during our build process so we waited on putting in the finish floor over the already installed subfloor. But to protect the subfloor from water damage and scuffs, we applied polyurethane. Two gallons of polyurethane gave us only one coat because we slathered it on thick!
If we could do it over again, we would have done 2! But honestly, the 1 coat held up well during the build and for the first few months that we lived in the bus.
Finish Floor Installation
After two years of building the bus and then 4 months of getting used to living in the bus, we wanted to install the cheapest and least laborious floor cover. At one of the big box stores near our campground, we found an incredibly affordable carpet at $0.50 / square foot. And the color matched our color scheme!
We applied the TrafficMaster carpet with double-sided tape that is meant for adhering floors to subfloors. Another option was the gooey adhesive that one trowels on, but this carpet was meant to be temporary. Our intention was to pull up this carpet in 9 months when the weather was warmer and to install a more presentable material like engineered wood panels or vinyl slats that looked like wood.
One area in which we didn’t adhere the carpet was in front of the refrigerator. Michael still needed to do electrical work behind the appliance. and pulling out the refrigerator would just rip up the carpet if the latter had been adhered.
The bathroom is the one location we did not put carpet. It would have been a mildew and mold nightmare. In this area, we instead installed vinyl “planks” that overlapped one another by about 1/4″. Michael found the planks very easy to cut with a utility knife.
Once you install a floor, you will most likely not want to do it again.
If it’s vinyl planks you want, take the extra time and install them all at once. We didn’t want to use real hardwood because of the added height and task of sealing it. A thinner assembly such as laminated wood flooring was good option because its price is comparable to vinyl planks. Our concern, however, was that it was not scratch-proof. One can also scratch or nick the vinyl, but the imperfections are less glaring than on a laminate wood.
Carpet feels good underfoot, but the thin one that we got frayed too easily. Not just at the exposed edges at the removable portion in front of the fridge, but also right smack in middle of a field. With children and clumsy parents, lots of things spilled and it was hard to clean it up. A wipe-able floor would have been so great. The carpet miraculously didn’t smell rank with all the milk, coffee, and wine we spilled on it.