flooring = laid.

Christian and I finally buckled down and spent a rare afternoon off together laying the wood laminate flooring that's been sitting in my garage just begging to beautify the Campbulance.

I promise I did a lot more work than this one photo portrays.

After some preliminary sanding of the seams created by the new sub flooring, we busted open the first box to gaze upon our new floor. Christian was impressed, but still not convinced that gravity alone would hold it down. (The flooring we used sticks together, but not to the subfloor itself.)

One of the many reasons I love him…

The beautiful "Rosewood Ebony" flooring.

The flooring we chose was the same flooring I'd used when redoing my 1979 Ford Econoline camper van three years ago. The simplicity and flexibility of the planks made it easy to install and no tools beyond a straight edge and box cutter were needed to cut the pieces to size.

I'd ordered two boxes. According to the square footage, it was just barely enough to completely cover the floor. Sadly, when we opened the second box, nearly half the planks were either cracked or completely broken. Discouraged, but backed into a corner by a half-finished floor, we knew we couldn't leave the job unfinished long enough to special order an entire new box. We decided to find a way to make it work and removed the sections that were broken and used a few of the cracked pieces with hopes that it wouldn't compromise the overall project.

Broken and cracked pieces of flooring greeted us from the second box.

When all was said and done, we used every last inch of usable flooring to cover the subfloor. Christian and I both have had a blast showing it off to the folks who have been around to see the project from the beginning. It's amazing what a difference flooring can make.

With the flooring project done and the hardware for building out the second half of the bed recently acquired, we're both itching to continue working on her. Rafting season is in full gear, however, so we'll have to be satisfied with having accomplished this one project for now.

cutting the subflooring.

After we tore the flooring out, and got to the steel box at the end of the rainbow (so to speak), it was time to lay some new plywood. A Home Depot run supplied us with two sheets of 3/4 inch CDX plywood. We prepped the floor by grinding away broken screws, mopping and bleaching the steel box, and filling holes left from hardware with simple silicone caulk.

OSHA can suck it.

Roughly 4 continuous feet of measurements that varied by a 1/2 inch.

The sub-flooring under the bench seat and the counters had to stay, but getting a close cut to the structure was very difficult and producing a straight cut ended up being impossible for us, given the tools and skills at our disposal. Measurements through this area were many, but we ended up needing to cut multiple times anyways. 

Measurements written on floor.

Two geniuses, hard at work.

Chelsea, Shawn, and I tried really hard to get all our cuts right, but in the end it didn't make much of a difference. Right angles and straight edges didn't play nice with the hacked up remnants of sub-flooring.

Right angles, drawn with the best intentions. 

Getting the pieces to fit tight and right was laborious, and accomplished through trial and error. Eventually, our carpentry resembled sculpting as we traded measuring tapes for sharpies and made blade-width cuts to fit around weird ridges.

Taking it back for cut number 19...

subflooring out.

Chelsea and I have been attacking this project with a motto:

Where we can do nothing, do nothing.
Where we do something, do it right.

If we don't need to fix or change a piece of the Campbulance, we won't. An example of this would be the bench seat structure and the majority of the sliding cabinets. We can't improve upon the existing structure without an unreasonable amount of effort, so we're leaving them as is.

We planned on leaving the majority of the flooring by simply peeling off the original laminate, and sanding down the 3/4 inch plywood that made up the subfloor. We spent hours on this "save-the-sub-floor" project. I suppose, in the back of our minds, we knew that the right thing to do was tear the old plywood out, but we had a variety of excuses to keep us from this.

Then Shawn showed up.

Shawn's my R2 buddy. We were rookies at Vail together on Mountain Safety, and rookies at Timberline as well. He's the only one with whom I'll paddle many stretches of advanced rivers. When we're in a boat, he's the confident/overconfident one, and I'm the chickenshit. It works great. 

He was the one that pushed us to pull the floor. I'd heard arguments against it; I need to hear his for it.

Chelsea gave us eyepatches! For safety!

Shawn is performing last rites on the sub-flooring. It went quietly.

Shawn did a tricky thing. He talked us into cutting out the flooring most affected by the dry rot. After the first, the first, move towards removing any peice of the sub-flooring, I was hooked. It was coming out of the Campbulance, and it was coming out now.

Neither or us could figure out how the magical cutting wheel worked. We used it anyways.

Sawdust is an excellent foreground.

With our powers combined...

We didn't know it, but we're fighting a screw.

We used a circular saw, many pry bars, even more hammer, a ball joint separator, and sweat to pull the floor out. We thought that it was only held down by adhesive, because we couldn't see any screws, but lo and behold it was the exact opposite. No (useful) glue, and hidden screws everywhere.

No adhesive. Just hidden screws.

Very proud.

HEY ASTRAL (maker of that shoe), SPONSOR ME.

That's a seam, not a cut.

Pulling hard, but didn't want to break anything.

That cut became a HUGE problem.

Cutting along the cabinet line.

Pulling it out as hopefully one place.


All I see is a reduction in allergens.