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Old 11-23-2011, 08:50 PM   #1
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Default Flooring question: How to deal with small spaces

Hello all,
I'm not really new here but I guess you could say I am since I think this is only my second post. I only just bought a van (couldn't find an RV I could afford). I'm now trying to turn it into a camper as simply - and cheaply - as possible.

It's an old Dodge passenger van that had been converted for wheelchair use. It has a high top (that was a priority for me, I need to be able to stand up straight) and a lot of space in the back because all the seats except the two in front are out; so is the lift.

It didn't come with carpet - probably wouldn't have been practical for chair use. There are rubber mats on the floor and it feels like some light padding underneath those. I was hoping to just put some thicker padding down and then carpet over that. But after talking about it on another forum I was persuaded to buy some plywood (I think to make sure the floor was even) and then cover that.

I bought one standard 4x8 piece, which isn't enough; this van has about 12' of space front to back. But the plywood was really expensive so I decided to wait on a second piece until I'd done some more measuring; I didn't want to buy more than I needed. Now that I've taken a closer look at the floor I see a lot of really small areas on the sides, mainly due to things like a heating vent, the spare tire, and the back battery compartment. And I'm not sure what to do with those spaces. If I don't put plywood there the floor will be uneven with just the one piece I have. But if I do I'll have to find some way to get a whole lot of little pieces cut, and that's not something I can do myself; even if I had the skills and the tools - which I don't - I live in an apartment and there's no place to work. I don't even have off-street parking for the van.

I bought the wood at Home Depot and I know they can cut it down; they actually did take about a half inch off the big piece because it was a bit wider than 4' and I wasn't sure if it would fit between the wheel wells. But I don't know if they'd do a lot of little pieces, and even then I'd be patching. I just can't think of any way around this, short of going back to the original plan of padding and carpet (in which case I'd have to sell the sheet I bought; I don't think I can return a cut piece). So I thought I'd ask here for ideas.

One other thing that may or may not figure into this: I'd decided to go with peel & stick tiles instead of carpet. There were a couple of reasons; first, I'm not sure I can lift a big piece of carpet, and second, it would be one less thing to need an electrical appliance for (I can sweep a floor; I'd have to vacuum carpet). But I guess I thought there'd be some padding under the tiles. Then at HD I discovered the tiles are supposed to stick straight to the wood, which means a hard floor to walk on until I can get some rugs down - so, even more money to spend. And I'm on a really tight budget.

Honestly, I really didn't want a DIY project; I'm working solo and just can't manage it. I was hoping to just cover the floor and start filling the inside. But this is getting way more complicated than I expected. So I thought I'd see if anyone else has been through this, and if so how they dealt with it. Any suggestions or ideas you have would be really appreciated.

I hope that makes sense. If you need any more info let me know. And thanks in advance for your help.

Meg
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Old 11-23-2011, 11:45 PM   #2
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Default Re: Flooring question: How to deal with small spaces

Hi Meg,

Take a look at this link: http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=885

It shows how Terry made a template (pattern) first and then cut the pieces for floor. Typically, you fasten in a nice flat, level floor and add cupboards etc. You don't want a lot of little pieces. Terry did a great job and sharing the photos helps everyone.

I read through your post and don't think that you want to have to do all of that. It seems to me that your floor is already finished like a passenger van. I'd try to work with that if you are not going to build in a lot of structure like cupboards, closets and a bathroom. Items in the van do need to be secured though. You don't want anything flying forward and hitting you or a passenger if you have to stop suddenly or are in an accident.

Post a photo if you can. It would give us a better idea.

I moved this post to the General forum for a better response.
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Old 11-23-2011, 11:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: Flooring question: How to deal with small spaces

Also let us know how you plan to use the van. Is it going to be for extended travel or just occasional trips?

And, is the current flooring good enough to keep/use?

The most economical solution might be to turn the van into a luxurious tent on wheels. Cargo nets can hold gear etc.
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Old 11-24-2011, 04:12 AM   #4
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Default Re: Flooring question: How to deal with small spaces

Thank you for your answers and for the move, marcopolo. I wasn't sure where to put this myself.

Here are a couple of pictures of the van, taken right after I got it a couple of weeks ago:





To answer some of your questions: This is going to be my home, at least for a while, while I do some traveling. It's not what I would have preferred for full-timing but it's the best I could do with an extremely limited budget. Once I get some more cash coming in I'd like to upgrade to either a regular Class B or maybe a B+ - or just settle down in a "sticks & bricks" in a different part of the country (and preferably not in another big city ). There is an advantage to going this way - I get to arrange it the way I like. The disadvantage, of course, is that it isn't ready to live or even camp in as is. But I was hoping to keep everything as simple as possible. You're right, I don't want to do any building; that's why I bought a passenger van and not a cargo van. I was hoping to limit the major work to the carpeting.

I did look at the thread you linked to and seeing the paper template helped; that's actually what I was thinking of using for the carpet. But so many people on the other forum kept saying I needed wood, that because the floor in my van was corrugated (they saw these same pictures) I needed something over it to even it out. I didn't notice any of that, but that might have been because I sprained my ankle really badly right after I got the van so the few times I did walk in it I was being so careful that I didn't notice anything strange about the floor. It does feel a bit uneven to me now but it's not terrible. I do think there is padding under the rubber mats; when I pulled up the piece in the back to clean it (it was under the lift and really greasy) I could see a small piece of the padding still left back there (most is gone, I suspect because it was removed for the lift). I wasn't sure if those metal bars - where the seats would be, I think - would be in the way but I thought if there was a problem I could just put extra padding between them and then cover everything with more padding. I did look at carpet padding when I was at Home Depot and it looks fairly easy to handle. Carpet might be harder, but it would definitely be nicer to walk on than tile (and more insulating too).

Anyway - I would love to not have to do anything major with the floor; I don't like the idea of lots of little pieces either, of wood *or* carpet (or tile). I won't be building any furniture or storage areas; actually, I won't be building anything. Here's what I was thinking of doing:
- platform and mattress (to be used as couch during the day and bed at night), with storage underneath
- table for computer and craft work (I work online and also make jewelry which I want to start selling); I have a folding table that I'm using now that would also be good for flea markets and craft fairs. I'd just have to be sure it was either secured or folded up before driving anywhere.
- some type of porta-potty
- an icebox or cooler, a water supply, and something for cooking (I haven't thought this through yet; so far my ideas include big water bottles with pumps and a portable stove; I'd really like a sink but am not sure I can afford one)

I'm not sure what you mean by a tent on wheels but maybe that's what I was thinking of. And I'm open to other possibilities. I just can't do a full DIY on this. And honestly, I'm already a bit frustrated; I was hoping this would go more smoothly. (I have to admit, my sore ankle isn't helping... )

Meg
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Old 11-24-2011, 05:06 AM   #5
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Default Re: Flooring question: How to deal with small spaces

I haven't studied all of your posting carefully yet. Given the limitations you list, I encourage you in the big job ahead of you. I think at the end of the job you will be happy to have a solid plywood floor over the ribbed original floor. You may not have to buy another 8 x 4 sheet of plywood; you should be able to buy smaller pieces, say 3' x 4', for the smaller areas. Or ask Home Depot to save scraps for you. If they can't, a smaller lumber store might. It may also be that end pieces of carpet could be less expensive than peel and stick?
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Old 11-24-2011, 07:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: Flooring question: How to deal with small spaces

Lots of decisions to make! A factory made B van would be so much easier and you could focus on your future plans and income instead of the van. When I was looking earlier this year I saw a 1994 Coach House Class B at $12,000 here in Canada. It had been imported from Florida. My guess is that $10,000 should get you something like that in Florida with low mileage. It would have a bathroom and a kitchen with a fridge and a furnace for heat and cupboards and counters and an air conditioner for cooling ........... and lights and electrical outlets.........and curtains.......... and battery charger/converter.............sink.........and probably a generator.

If you are going to continue with your current plan then I think the plywood floor is a good idea. Are those metal tracks for the seats removable? $45 to $60 should get you 3 sheets of suitable plywood. You could do it with 2 sheets according to my estimate of the sq footage, so $30 to $40 plus some screws. Terry used 15/32" plywood. If the sheet of plywood you already bought is thicker and more expensive you could use it for your bunk and maybe a table top.

You don't have to do that. Your idea of underlay and carpet would work. The floor would not be level and it would be a bit spongy so you'd have to be aware of that so that you don't stumble if you have to get up at night. My "tent" comment meant that the lifestyle would be similar to tent camping. You set up camp when you park and then pack stuff up when you leave. It would be luxurious compared an actual tent. Keeping it "tent like" would allow you to transfer all of your gear to a another van if the need should arise.

I don't think the stick-on floor tiles would work in the long term. They contract in the cold and expand with the heat and a vehicle can go through a whole range of temperature in a day. You'll end up with gaps or buckling.

Customs vans are harder to sell in my opinion so you don't want to put too much money into it because you probably won't get it back if you sell the van.
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Old 11-24-2011, 07:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: Flooring question: How to deal with small spaces

The van exterior looks good in the photo and I like the high ceiling height inside for extended living.

This post re: curtain tracks might interest you: http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...hp?f=12&t=1926
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Old 11-25-2011, 02:56 AM   #8
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Default Re: Flooring question: How to deal with small spaces

Thank you for your suggestions, marcopolo. I wish I could afford one of those Bs but I can't; my budget was only about $2,000 and I spent most of that on the van. I have enough left for a very minimal conversion, but I also have to budget for registration (probably in South Dakota), a mail forwarding service, and probably different internet (I have Cricket and it's notoriously bad outside of big cities). And probably also some things I can't think of right now. So I think I'm stuck with this setup for a while.

To go in order of your post: The metal seat tracks are bolted down somewhere under the van; I wish I could remove them because I think it would make the floor more even and covering it easier. But I've looked at them and can't see a way to get them out from above (getting under the van is not an option).

I did buy one sheet of plywood but it was really expensive - $32 for just one 3/4" 4x8 panel (discounted from $45 because it was slightly damaged). So if I buy any more I'm hoping to not need even another full sheet. I don't want to waste any of this. (The plywood is made with a soy-based glue that doesn't have formaldehyde in it; I think that's why the price is higher. There were cheaper options but I didn't want to use something that could release a toxic gas into my living space.) And I do have one question before I go any further: what would I use screws for?

Moving along - what you said about transferring to another van is actually the plan; that's partly why I'm not doing anything major to this one (the other reason is, I don't have any building skills). If the van had come with carpet I'd be using it as is.

Thanks for your opinion on the tiles. I was thinking of returning them anyway, just because I don't want to walk on a hard surface, it's really hard on my feet (I had plantar fasciitis for almost 2 years; hard surfaces aggravate it). Knowing that they'll shrink and expand just makes that decision easier. I'm still looking for cheaper carpet, like remnants; I wish my contractor neighbors hadn't moved away, they had some really good contacts.

I also appreciate your honesty about putting carpet down without the wood; that's pretty much what I was thinking it would be like, but to hear it from someone who knows more than I do really helped. But if I keep the wood I'm still left with what to do with the small spaces. I took a couple more pictures that I think show the inside better: (please excuse the "blueness"; I think I had the light setting wrong on the camera)





The white part in the very back is where I removed the mat for cleaning; I just haven't gotten around to putting it back down. I think there was padding there at one time; there is still a piece off to the side by the spare tire. But most of it's gone now; maybe it was removed when the lift was installed.

About the wood - I think I'd need a piece about 4'x5' for the back part and then a few little pieces for the driver's side in front of the wheel wells, and maybe a tiny piece in front of the passenger wheel well (behind the side entrance). I could maybe talk Home Depot into cutting those pieces, if I go at a time when they're not busy (they already told me that). But I don't think they could do anything other than straight cuts and I think curves might be better in some of those areas. I wish I could do this myself but I can't; it doesn't make sense to buy power tools now when I'm getting ready to move, even if I knew how to use them and had the work space (which I don't).

Question: For those smaller pieces, how do I connect them with the big piece - and with each other? Is that what I'd use screws for? Or will they be heavy enough to stay put without that, especially once they're covered?

And finally - yes, the interior height was important to me. I have a bad back and chronic neck tension and walking around stooped over would have made all that worse. I wish I could have found a conversion van with a high enough top for that; then I wouldn't have had to worry about flooring, they're already carpeted. But the only ones high enough to stand straight up in were the "handicapped" vans, and they're all plain passenger vans with no carpeting. Sigh.

I would like to get this flooring thing settled soon but I'm not going anywhere near any stores - even Home Depot - on Black Friday or maybe even this weekend . So I have a little more time to decide whether to keep the wood. I just checked HD's return policy and I think they might actually take it back, even cut, if I decide to return it.

Thank you again for all your help.

Meg
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Old 11-25-2011, 03:39 AM   #9
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Default Re: Flooring question: How to deal with small spaces

Wow, where to begin?
If you plan to situate the bed/couch at the rear, you might be able to build your bed platform without
a plywood base, but the bottom line is, you're going to need some power tools. At least a good drill, and
either a skill saw, jigsaw, or reciprocating saw to cut and drill 2x4s and the top surface, whatever you decide
to use as the base under the mattress. Then you'd only have to level the floor area between the seat backs
and the forward edge of your bed. I'd probably start building the bed, at the rear, first. I'm not sure about
sizing for water bottles and the height of a porta-potty, but if a porta-potty is 18" tall when not in use,
you might want to make the clearance under your bed 20" to allow you to store it under the bed. The spare
tire might also be better stored flat under your bed near the rear access doors. Unless you don't mind rolling
over in the middle of the night and getting a face full of Firestone.

Make a list of absolutely "must have" systems or equipment (for example: bed for sleeping/lounging/sitting,
porta-potty for obvious, water system for drinking/washing up, 12V DC electrical system for lights/chargers/
TV/Radio/DVD player, something to charge the 12VDC battery(ies?), curtains/trim for privacy, folding multi-use
table, etc.). You might think some of these examples are unnecessary or "nice to haves" but you'll have to
decide that as you go.

Then see what makes and models of that stuff you can afford. Places like Camping World and Walmart
may be able to supply some of it. You may have to visit an RV dealer, and see about getting the electrical
stuff added, depending again on what your budget is. An RV shop might have some used equipment that
might work for you (less expensive?) if someone else has upgraded something. Couldn't hurt to ask?
You'll likely need at least a battery isolator to charge the vehicle and the coach battery, and keep the two
separate. An RV service shop will be able to advise you on what you'll need, but you'll need to know how
many appliances you'll be running, and for how long. Appliances include lights/battery chargers/entertainment
devices/computers/alarm systems/smoke/propane/CO detectors and so on.

DIY-ing anything can be very frustrating, until you formulate a plan, get started and get your hands dirty,
and start to see things take shape. Then, it might just be the most satisfying thing you'll ever do.
I guess the last thing I'll mention, and the first hurdle to cross, is where to do all of this? Do you know anyone
who will let you use their barn/garage/business unit/building to start the project? Could you trade some of
your jewelry for rent or to lease a work area? This may be the hardest part of your project. It has been for
me, on anything I've decided to do that requires me to get underneath my van. I have a gravel driveway
and a carport, also gravel. Not convenient.

First thing, find your "RV factory" and then get thinking, and jot down what you need, and what priority each
system gets, then get started. Are there any "rent a bay" garage businesses in Denver? Maybe that would
work, if the hourly rent wasn't too bad. You just need warm and dry, for an hour or two, once in a while.
We had one out my way that charged $20/hour for your own garage bay, and they supplied some basic tools.
If you go this route, make sure you have a detailed plan before you drive it in and the clock starts ticking.

So, hopefully I've added some ideas, or a reason to sell the window van, and see if you can find an
in expensive pre-owned class B.
Either way, good luck.
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Old 11-25-2011, 03:51 AM   #10
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Default Re: Flooring question: How to deal with small spaces

Hi again,
I guess we must have posted at almost the same time. Having read your last post, I have a better
idea of your situation and budget. That said, you might be better off taking the wood back and hitting a
carpet store and getting the thickest underpad they've got and cutting it to size, around your obstacles.
Then lay something on top. Indoor/outdoor, or something that's also fairly thick and durable. The 2 together
will add insulation, and vacuumimg it sounds like the least of your worries. Then find an upholsterer that does
mattress foam, and see if they can cut and upholster a foam bed to your specs. If there are gaps between
the inside rear walls of the van and the bed, as long as it fits snug between the rear wheel wells, it should
stay put and that's the bed done. I had a local upholsterer create a 5'X6'X8" foam mattress for my 1979 E-150
cargo van and just used a sleeping bag on top as bedding. It fit flat on the floor between the wheel wells.
It was warm and relatively comfortable and cost less than $100, but that was 30 years ago. Measure the floor
between the rear wheel wells to determine your mattress width, and then decide how long you want it. If
you're tall, make it fit your length laying down (obviously?).

Does that make sense?

As for the rest of the stuff, toilet, water, power, cooking, craft table, that will have to fit around your bed
and budget. I'd start with the sleeping arrangement.
Hope this helps.
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Old 11-25-2011, 05:17 AM   #11
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Default Re: Flooring question: How to deal with small spaces

Hi Mike,
That last post took me so long to write that the system logged me off while I was doing it. Fortunately I know its tricks by now and copied the post to a text file while I was logging back in. So I'm not surprised to find someone else posted at the same time I did.

Thanks for the tip about the carpet. Unless I come up with a better plan I'm going to take the wood back along with the tiles. If they won't take it I'll put it on Craigslist; hopefully someone will want a cheap piece of nice environmentally-friendly sanded plywood.

About the bed: My original plan, before I got *this* van, was to put the bed across the back by the door; I was figuring there'd be 6' there and I'm 5'5" so there would be enough space. But a check of standard mattress sizes shows that a twin is actually 75" long so it wouldn't have worked. And this van has the spare tire on one side and the battery compartment on the other, which makes that space even shorter, and maybe I'm being weird here but I don't want to sleep near an electrical source. (There's no battery in there right now; it was for the lift and was long dead so the people who bought the lift removed it. But I was hoping to be able to use those wires for a new "house" battery.)

So the bed will have to go somewhere else. But I'm a little confused by your suggestion. Are you saying to get a custom size made and just put the mattress on the floor between the wheel wells? I really don't want to go back to that; I slept on a futon on the floor for many years and was very glad to finally get a frame for it because it was very hard on my back and knees getting in and out of it. Plus, a mattress in that spot would completely block the front from the back and I'd have to step on it every time I wanted to move around.

Wal-Mart sells platforms that are meant to replace box springs so I was thinking of getting one of those, putting it together inside the van along one wall, and then topping it with a twin size mattress and the 2" memory foam pad currently on my futon (it's full size but could be cut). This frame is supposed to have about 14" of space underneath for storage; if that's not enough to go over the wheel well I guess I'll have to come up with something else. Maybe a smaller futon frame would work. (I guess I need to measure the height of the wheel wells now.)

That's as far as I can go right now. This is all starting to be overwhelming so I think I need to slow down and deal with just one thing at a time. And the first thing to do is get the floor finished.

Again, thanks for your suggestions. (Guess I better copy this post too...)

Meg
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:55 AM   #12
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Default Re: Flooring question: How to deal with small spaces

Re: screws - the plywood floor would need to fastened to the metal floor using screws.

For ideas:
This is a nice rear layout for a single traveler: http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi....php?f=9&t=721
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Old 11-25-2011, 12:58 PM   #13
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Default Re: Flooring question: How to deal with small spaces

Meg,

Congratulations on your new home. It sounds like you're on a pretty limited budget. I've been there myself and still am for that matter.

The best, and easiest, thing to is remove those seat mounts. If I had to, I'd pay to have it done. Any extra padding you add will soon "break down" around them. You should be able to quickly grind off the tops of the bolts with a rented angle grinder. The "bottoms" should fall out with a helpful tap from a hammer and a small punch or large nail.

I'd also return the plywood. Frankly avoiding formaldehyde is very difficult. I've been working around the normal exterior plywood glues for years and developed a sensitivity to it. I'm only seriously bothered if I get it inside my clothes. But if I go into a carpet store, I last about 5 minutes before my eyes water so bad I can't see and I get sniffles for the whole day. Some brandy new campers affect me the same way. The cheaper plywood would be a small source of formaldehyde. If you decide to use plywood go for 1/2" or 5/8 at the most. I used 5/8" in my last van and won't go that thick again. There's no need for it and I'm getting older. Thinner is lighter.

Plywood for flooring is the standard answer. I don't know which forum said it was really required though. There are quite a few forums around with a lot of bullsh..., well, anyway, roll your pant legs up upon entering. Plywood is easier and cheaper for veteran do it yourself types. You need a place to work though. That is where the standard answer falls short. There is a product made for each different make and model vans to fill those low spots between the ridges. It isn't cheap real but it can be cut with an utility knife or heavy shears. It doesn't require a shop to work in either.

Here is J. C. Whitney's blurb about their version: "Each mat is die cut and has 1/2" form-fitted foam backing to match the interior floor ribs of the van for a smooth consistent flat finish. The anti-skid TPO composite surface acts as a shock absorber and is designed for heavy duty use. VanTred is stain resistant and holds up to harsh chemicals such as gas, oil and even acid and is backed by a lifetime warranty. Acts as a heat and noise insulator and provides an ultra tough anti-skid surface. With installation in less than 10 minutes, your van can have an immediate, like-new appearance!"

Here is the URL: http://www.jcwhitney.com/vantred-anti-s ... id=c1430j2 Sometimes links don't work there so its under "carpet and floor protection". List is about $180 but real prices are significantly lower. In your situation, I'd just carpet over the mat and try to sell the it when I changed vans. There is another less expensive version with carpeting rather than the "rubber" surface linked.

I had considered using a version of this product that came in about 1 foot wide by about 4' long strips that interlocked. These were also molded to match the floor ribs for your particular model of van. I can't find the link to this right now. There's a lady on another forum that is using one form or another of this with 1/2" plywood over. She needs sheet vinyl for her dogs.

By the way, I had remnants and/or carpet tile in my semi-converted van for easy cleaning. Just take them to a car wash and hose them off.

The peel and stick tiles don't last well if the underside is unheated. Been there, done that, and "ate" the cost of replacing them with sheet vinyl for a customer.

One of the big reasons for the ply is to allow furniture to be attached. If you aren't using built ins, there is less reason for it. I don't know how the management here is about links to other forums but there is one a bit more.. adult than the yahoo groups and the cheap rving place. Still some bull but...

Good Luck,
Bob
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Old 11-25-2011, 02:23 PM   #14
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Default Re: Flooring question: How to deal with small spaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegA
Hi Mike,
That last post took me so long to write that the system logged me off while I was doing it. Fortunately I know its tricks by now and copied the post to a text file while I was logging back in. So I'm not surprised to find someone else posted at the same time I did.
We all learn that the hard way after losing a huge reply or post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegA
Thanks for the tip about the carpet. Unless I come up with a better plan I'm going to take the wood back along with the tiles. If they won't take it I'll put it on Craigslist; hopefully someone will want a cheap piece of nice environmentally-friendly sanded plywood.
If you decide to go with the plywood sub-floor, Fleamarketeer suggested thinner is better. I agree. But it's up to you. If it were my project, "on the cheap", I'd go heavy flexible/pliable underpad in some form, either sheeted or panels, and some sort of durable short pile carpet over it. Easier to install, easier to maintain, extra padding if you're crawling on the floor, and warmer in the cold. Again, just my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegA
About the bed: My original plan, before I got *this* van, was to put the bed across the back by the door; I was figuring there'd be 6' there and I'm 5'5" so there would be enough space. But a check of standard mattress sizes shows that a twin is actually 75" long so it wouldn't have worked. And this van has the spare tire on one side and the battery compartment on the other, which makes that space even shorter, and maybe I'm being weird here but I don't want to sleep near an electrical source. (There's no battery in there right now; it was for the lift and was long dead so the people who bought the lift removed it. But I was hoping to be able to use those wires for a new "house" battery.)
Does the van already have a battery separator/isolator then? That's a break, as all you'll have to do for 12V is buy a battery. Spend the money on a deep cycle AGM, when you're ready, if it will fit. You'll be glad you did. Re the bed: Do you want the bed at the back doors, or are you planning to place it forward behind the seats? My suggestion was for a large area sleeping surface. If you can get by with a single or twin it might free up some space. If you want to have a larger queen sized mattress, I'd place it at the back and try not to worry about the battery being there. Keep the daytime space between the seat backs and the sleeping area, but that's what I'm used to with my Roadtrek's configuration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegA
So the bed will have to go somewhere else. But I'm a little confused by your suggestion. Are you saying to get a custom size made and just put the mattress on the floor between the wheel wells? I really don't want to go back to that; I slept on a futon on the floor for many years and was very glad to finally get a frame for it because it was very hard on my back and knees getting in and out of it. Plus, a mattress in that spot would completely block the front from the back and I'd have to step on it every time I wanted to move around.
Ok, didn't realize that was an issue. Yes, I was suggesting having a custom sized foam mattress made, and covered with a stain resistant fabric. Then (I would) place it between the wheel wells and use the "pockets" between the mattress edges and the inside van walls on either side for storage, in the short term. But I had envisioned a queen sized mattress, as I like the extra room. I was looking for simplest answer to the bed issue. A platform for your bed to allow you to keep stuff under it, would be preferable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegA
Wal-Mart sells platforms that are meant to replace box springs so I was thinking of getting one of those, putting it together inside the van along one wall, and then topping it with a twin size mattress and the 2" memory foam pad currently on my futon (it's full size but could be cut). This frame is supposed to have about 14" of space underneath for storage; if that's not enough to go over the wheel well I guess I'll have to come up with something else. Maybe a smaller futon frame would work. (I guess I need to measure the height of the wheel wells now.)
As I said, start the planning part, and start measuring. No matter where you go for parts/equipment and supplies, the first question is almost always "how much do you need, or how big is the space?". Draw yourself a floor plan as close to scale as possible and then you'll be able to figure out what would work best, where. Might even do a cross sectional diagram with heights of things (wheel wells, heater, etc.) as well. If a retailer can see what you're working with, with accurate measurements, they might be able to suggest some alternatives, that might work better for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegA
That's as far as I can go right now. This is all starting to be overwhelming so I think I need to slow down and deal with just one thing at a time. And the first thing to do is get the floor finished.

Again, thanks for your suggestions. (Guess I better copy this post too...)

Meg
Good luck. Hopefully you're not under any time constraints, as that can just add to the headaches. Take your time.
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Old 11-26-2011, 04:47 AM   #15
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Default Re: Flooring question: How to deal with small spaces

Hello again everyone -
Thanks for the replies. I deliberately stayed away today to get some work done; now that I have, I can answer your posts.

About removing the seat mounts: I suppose I could ask the mechanics - the ones who were going to remove the wheelchair lift - about that. I don't know what an "angle grinder" is but I'm guessing it's some kind of power tool and I'm really not up to using power tools for any of this, for many reasons - no skills, no (upper body) strength, no place to work, no place to plug them in, no way to clean up the mess they make, etc. So if those bars are going to come out the only way is if someone else does it. I wonder how much they'd charge for that...

About the plywood - the original recommendation was for 3/4"; only one person disagreed - a Roadtrek owner who said they use 1/2" so that should be good enough. I looked at both thicknesses but when I saw the price of the 3/4" - $45 for a 4x8 sheet - I thought I changed that to 1/2". But in looking at the receipt yesterday I discovered I was charged for 3/4". I think I didn't notice it at the time because it was discounted because of a minor defect so the price was different. But a quick measure today confirms that it *is* 3/4". So if I keep it I guess I need more 3/4".

But - Marcopolo, you're saying I have to fasten the wood? That's another reason to return it; there's no way I'm drilling into the van floor when I don't know what's underneath, and since I won't climb (crawl?) under the van there's no way for me to find out. (Yes, I admit it - I am a wimp. But I'm also a middle-aged wimp with a bad back having to work on a van that is parked on a really busy street.)

Fleamarketeer, I'm not sure what you were talking about after the plywood - maybe mats for if the seat mounts don't get removed? I did check out the JC Whitney page but those things, whatever they are, are expensive. And wouldn't I still have to put something over them, like wood and carpet? That's way too much to spend on the floor.

Home Depot does have floor mats. When I was there the other day I did ask about them and was shown one that seemed really thick and comfortable. It wasn't big, though; I think the guy thought I was asking about mats for in front of the seats. So I really didn't look closely at it or check the price. But maybe they'd have something else. I'll check their website after I finish this.

Moving right along... Mike, I don't know what a battery separator/isolator is; I've done a fair amount of reading about electrical stuff but it is not sinking in. I'm usually a pretty quick learner but I just can't seem to "get" this. But yes, I was thinking of an AGM; I think they may be safer than a lead-acid (they don't need ventilation, do they?). I haven't done a lot of research there, though. I think for that I'll need to talk to someone in person. Maybe Batteries Plus has them.

About the height of the wheel wells: When I was out measuring the plywood I also checked that. It looks like they're about 12" so the 14" platform from Wal-Mart should work. I'd have to be careful about what I put across from it, though; assuming the van is 72" wide at that point, which I think it is, the 39" width of a twin mattress leaves only 33" for an aisle and something else. I do wish I could put the bed crosswise but I just can't think of a good place to do that now that the very back isn't an option. Oh well.

I actually was thinking today that I should do a diagram, but work had to come first so I may get to that tomorrow. Or maybe I'll get up the nerve to go back to Home Depot; I've been avoiding going near any stores just because of the holiday shopping nonsense. But I got the impression that HD was a bit slower on the weekends, I think because the contractors don't work then. Maybe that will still be true even with all those extra people buying refrigerators and patio furniture (?) and inflatable snowmen (??!! - seriously, this is all on their home page right now). And here I thought Home Depot was for DIY stuff...

That's it for now. Time to do more internet "window shopping."

Meg
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Old 11-26-2011, 11:09 AM   #16
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Default Re: Flooring question: How to deal with small spaces

Meg,

Your van's floor has ridges stamped into the metal during manufacture. That mat is specifically made to fill those grooves. I just "made up" a van and the price wound up at $150. A cheaper, lighter duty one already had carpet over it already. Figure your cost for plywood and padding and carpet then see how it works out.

An angle grinder is about $15 at harbor freight. You're the best judge of what work you handle yourself.

Bob
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Old 11-26-2011, 11:15 AM   #17
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Default Re: Flooring question: How to deal with small spaces

OOPS! I don't see a way to edit my post but include any tools and costs associated with a workspace with the plywood. Then compare costs. Again, I haven't used it.

Bob
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:26 PM   #18
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Default Re: Flooring question: How to deal with small spaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by fleamarketeer
.................. Here is the URL: http://www.jcwhitney.com/vantred-anti-s ... id=c1430j2 Sometimes links don't work there so its under "carpet and floor protection".
Nice link fleamarketeer.

VanTred or VanRug might give you exactly what you are looking for Meg.



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Old 11-26-2011, 02:33 PM   #19
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Default Re: Flooring question: How to deal with small spaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegA
Moving right along... Mike, I don't know what a battery separator/isolator is; I've done a fair amount of reading about electrical stuff but it is not sinking in. I'm usually a pretty quick learner but I just can't seem to "get" this. But yes, I was thinking of an AGM; I think they may be safer than a lead-acid (they don't need ventilation, do they?). I haven't done a lot of research there, though. I think for that I'll need to talk to someone in person. Maybe Batteries Plus has them.
A battery separator or isolator allows your van's alternator to charge both the vehicle and house batteries when the engine is running, but only allows current flow from the vehicle battery to get to the engine/vehicle side systems, like the starter motor, headlights, radio, etc. and allows only the house side systems like house lights, to use the house battery. So it allows charging of both, but isolates which systems can draw 12VDC from them (it actually keeps the house stuff from draining the vehicle battery).

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegA
About the height of the wheel wells: When I was out measuring the plywood I also checked that. It looks like they're about 12" so the 14" platform from Wal-Mart should work. I'd have to be careful about what I put across from it, though; assuming the van is 72" wide at that point, which I think it is, the 39" width of a twin mattress leaves only 33" for an aisle and something else. I do wish I could put the bed crosswise but I just can't think of a good place to do that now that the very back isn't an option. Oh well.

I actually was thinking today that I should do a diagram, but work had to come first so I may get to that tomorrow. Or maybe I'll get up the nerve to go back to Home Depot; I've been avoiding going near any stores just because of the holiday shopping nonsense. But I got the impression that HD was a bit slower on the weekends, I think because the contractors don't work then. Maybe that will still be true even with all those extra people buying refrigerators and patio furniture (?) and inflatable snowmen (??!! - seriously, this is all on their home page right now). And here I thought Home Depot was for DIY stuff...

That's it for now. Time to do more internet "window shopping."

Meg
If the platform fits, that's a start towards getting an idea for a bed set up. Flooring first, then bed?
The diagram, with accurate measurements is always a good idea. Unless you drive the van to where you shop.
Most places will come out to the parking lot to see what you've got to work with, before suggesting something.
Never hurts to ask for an opinion. You're not obligated to act upon them.
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:38 PM   #20
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Default Re: Flooring question: How to deal with small spaces

Meg

Don't know if you saw it or not, but on 'the other forum' I suggested carpet tiles, since you aready had the plywood. The plywood could be glued to the floor with an adhesive, but choose the adhesive carefully: might be very difficult if you ever wanted to pull up the plywood again. The grooved carpet above looks good as well. Just some thoughts.
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