Bus Build: Vinyl Floor Planks for our Bus Conversion – S03E45

We would have loved hardwood floors, but that is not very practical in a moving vehicle.

We did a lot of research on different floor planks, and decided Vinyl Floor planks were the best option to cope with the specific needs of the bus as a moving vehicle and last a long time in our home.

Why we chose vinyl plank flooring

  1. Easy installation 

They have a floating installation. You simply click them together, similar to tongue and groove planks.  No need for any adhesives. You need to leave a ¼ to ½ inch gap between the wall and your planks to allow for some movement (to expand and contract) which can be covered up with a floor molding.  

This installation technique I believe does well in a moving vehicle as opposed to peel and stick or glueing flooring down which can cause cracking with the movement.  Something important to note when picking out floor planks, for a conversion or RV, is that it should be thin and flexible to cope with this movement.

  1. 100 % waterproof

There are likely to be spills or leaks so this gives us some piece of mind that our floors will not be ruined, nor the subfloor beneath them. The way they lock together should ensure that no water can seep through.

  1. Durable

They are made for commercial use and can withstand temperatures as low as - 25 to 155 Degrees Fahreinheit without warping or buckling. They do suggest you store them and install them at temperatures between about 55-85 for best results. With the bus being so small, the foot traffic will always be going down one narrow path so finding something that will last was important to us.

  1. Scratch proof and pet friendly

With 3 cats running around in a small space, these floors are easy to clean and will not get scratched up from sharp claws.

  1. Noise reduction

Have an acoustical pad for noise reduction. Always a bonus in a bus.

  1. They look great!

We are thrilled with how they look, giving the appearance of hardwood floors.

When to install your floor planks

Traditionally in a house build you would install your floor planks last.  There are many bonuses to this like - your floors won’t get ruined during construction and you save money on floor planks.  We are not living in a traditional home however. After listening to other tiny home builders advise, we chose to put our floor planks in first.  These are our reasons for choosing this option:

  • We are building a complete shell with walls, floors and ceiling throughout the bus so that at any point should we want to renovate we do not need to patch anything together. Living in a tiny home is different from a normal size home.  Often you only realize once you are living in the space how you could make it more convenient, which leads many people to renovate.

  • We would like to have toe kick drawers under our kitchen cabinet to utilize the space. In order for these to be able to open the cabinets need to be raised to the height of the floor planks, so laying the floor planks underneath solves this problem for us.

  • We learned about CeraTex (ceramic fibre paper which acts as insulation or a thermal break) after we had installed our subfloors.  Ideally we would have installed the CeraTex between 2 layers of plywood to help keep our feet warm in winter, but at this point in our build we chose to just put it on top of our subfloors (not going to rip them back up at this point) which meant we needed to install our floor planks immediately.  The CeraTex would definitely not survive the construction to come. 

  • It made installation really easy as we were not cutting complicated angles around all our furniture.

Was this the best method? Only time will tell. Being such a tiny space we are ok with the added cost of installing floor planks throughout, it was not that much extra for us. We have laid down construction paper to protect them plus with them being so durable we hope to not have any problems with this.


Up Next
We finish building the very back wall in the bus and share what we learned so far in our bus build and what we would do differently next time.

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CeraTex 3170
We have used CereTex throughout our bus build. This is a High Temperature Insulation made from Ceramic Fiber Paper. Ceramic blankets and papers are used in high-end RVs and motorhomes. 

By Mela & Don

Mela and Don are sharing their journey as they make conscious decisions to live a more healthy, environmentally friendly life together.

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