Metal Floors (Part 2)
Picking up from where we left on in my previous post on metal floors (https://thederelictebus.com/project-update/2019/2/26/metal-floors-part-1), I covered rust removal and had painted layer upon layer of Rustoleum’s Rust Reformer on the floor. So, back to it!
When school bus manufacturers create a bus for their clients, though most of them make truly quality vehicles, they still have to cut corners and achieve the lowest cost possible for the purchaser. As a result, when they’re installing the seats, they actually bolt them directly into the metal floor. This is problematic for those of us who want to eventually make homes out of our buses, but it is structurally the most sound way to install seats on a bus. So what is there to do about holes in the bus?
I tried to find some steel circles online, but it just wasn’t going to be practical to source them that way. Small metal discs were all I needed so I figured, why not coins! I shied away from pennies being higher in copper content than other coins and ended up using dimes to cover the holes. I bought an epoxy kit at Home Depot and used it liberally to cover the coins and the metal around the holes. If applied correctly the epoxy should last a VERY long time. Also, assuming I covered the coins completely (which I did), the metal won’t corrode with the steel carriage of the bus. I had to cover 119 holes in the floor and though it took some time, doing this is absolutely worth the time to protect everything inside the bus. I may go back and seal the holes from the bottom of the bus eventually, but I have the feeling that it won’t be necessary after almost a year without issue.
Disclaimer: This is not destruction of Federal currency, as I can absolutely get the coins back in circulation. It would just be a lengthy process to comply if requested…
After getting the coins down, I found some other metal seams and some very small gaps for which coins would not seal the hole. I bought a tube of roof flashing. Roof flashing goop is heat-proof, cold-proof, weather-proof, wind-proof, vibration resistant, flexible, and has an estimated life of ten years on a roof. The bus shouldn’t test it even close to that much wear and tear, so I felt confident using it liberally anywhere else. The stuff sticks to everything (good) and smells terrible (annoying but it goes away), so I’m willing to accept that.
I then applied an acyrlic top coat to seal in all of the metal I worked so hard to protect. It looked so pretty, but soon I was going to be covering it up with the subflooring for what would eventually be my favorite part of the bus build: My hardwood floor
Since I’m covering steel on the bus, I’m also going to go over the installation of walls on the bus.
Due to the roof raise, the windows on the bus no longer fit. This isn’t a problem, as school bus windows are terrible. They’re notoriously drafty, leaky, and surprisingly hard to replace if they break. RV windows are still drafty, but at least don’t leak and are easy to replace. I think we all remember struggling with the windows on school busses as children, so I had no qualms moving towards RV windows. RV windows are not 1-to-1 replacements for school bus windows, however, so I’d need to be able to mount them eventually and protect everything in the bus while I worked on it. I purchased 8 sheets of 4’ x 8’ 12 gauge steel from a local welding supply company. These were heavy and a huge pain to move around. The guys at the supply company helped me load them in the bus and then I drove them to my work area. I took them off and painted them using the same metal prep and procedures I documented in the first post.
I wish I had taken pictures of us getting the steel sheets on the bus, but it was done so quickly! I asked a buddy to help me hold the sheets in place and had a local welder tack them into place so I could rivet them in place later. I made sure to paint over the tacks with spray paint rustoleum rust reformer so that the metal wouldn’t rust in these vulnerable places. And just like that, the bus had walls!
It finally felt like it could really be a house.