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Author Topic: Underlayment for a hardwood floor....  (Read 4278 times)
NCbob
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« on: September 15, 2006, 02:30:37 PM »

I did a search of the archives and could only come up with one thread on the subject....all that being said...I found it a bit confusing.

Jack recommended a product which he said he used with lead shielding but no source for the lead.  Dallas made a recommendation in words too big for this country boy to comprehend.

Here's my situation... I would like to put a 3/8' - 1/2" plywood floor over the existing bus floor in my MC5A and kill not only the hollow chamber effect of the storage bays and also end up with a reasonable amount of insulation and vapor barrier because we plan on installing a glue down hardwood floor throughout the bus.

We live in Podunk, USA and have only a Lowes where the former hamburger flippers from Mac Donald's go to round out their retirement...not a lot of viable information there.

So, if you've been where I am and can offer any advice of a NAMED product, and perhaps a source, I'd be most appreciative.  I only want to do this job once...I don't have another bus in me...so me and m'darlin' would be most appreciative.

Jump in here...let's kick this thing around and put something worthwhile in the archives........ Wink

Thanks,

NCbob
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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2006, 02:46:40 PM »

Bob,

Depends on how much insulation you want to put in and how much headroom you are willing to give up.

If not much I would put the underlayment for Laminate floors.  About and 1/8 thick and has a vapor barrier.

They sell it at all Lowes....Even in Podunk... Cheesy Wink

Cliff
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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2006, 04:01:52 PM »

I am in the process of putting down a floor in my mc5 also. I was thinking of 1" of foam with 1/2" of plywood. At my hight I would still have head room.
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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2006, 04:08:10 PM »

Gears,

If you do the 1" foam, make sure amd put some wood strips of the same thickness at at least 2'  on center below your plywood.

Even though the foam is dense it can compact over time, the strips will prevent this. (credit to Jack Conrad)

I did it on mine and am very happy with the results and "feel" of the floor.

Cliff
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2006, 04:25:28 PM »

One of my first concerns is the toxicity of and of the closed cell foams...and consequently I'm staying away from them.

My wife is handicapped and I'm not a youngster and while we don't anticipate a fire of any sort...I don't want to have to bail out of a window and have her fall on me in order to save our lives from suffocating.

FWIW

NCbob
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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2006, 07:42:12 PM »

NC

There are a lot of "foams" that will not burn with the toxic fumes and they are available most everywhere.

I am thinking mostly of glass fiber insulation that is used under concrete slabs.

Insulate and you will be much happier

Melbo
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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2006, 11:25:05 PM »

I was planing on using strips. When you put a floor down should I keep the center accessible?
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« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2006, 04:03:07 AM »

Gears,

Can't speak for you MCI-5, but I made several access panels to under floor areas.

On mine there is muffler bolt, fuel tank (top), clutch linkage, wiring pull point.

You know the rule "If you make access, you will never need it.  If you dont!...."  Shocked

Cliff
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« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2006, 08:54:40 AM »

When I put down my laminate floors I used 1/4" cork underlay that was 2ft x 4 ft. Cork has good sound transmission seperation and insulating quailities. The floor are warm and we can't hear anything from the bays or tires.
Ron
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« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2009, 11:17:52 AM »

Is there a big difference when you insulate the floor?

I was thinking about just plywood over the original.

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« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2009, 12:53:16 PM »

Here you go Bob,

http://www.thermotec.com/products/full/14100/14100.html

http://www.b-quiet.com/index.html

http://www.b-quiet.com/brownbread.html


http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10001&langId=-1&catalogId=10001&productId=17973

I used the bruce hardwood 3/8"x3" and nailed it down to 1/2" ply over the oringinal 3/4" floor.
Insulate the ceilings in the bays.
I tried the pergo real wood 3/8x3" but I didnt like it.
I know=
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« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2009, 01:02:29 PM »

Bob, there are many ways to approach the subject, the most effective sound barrier is a lead based product, it's available as a 1/8 to 1/4 inch sheet 4 ft wide     http://www.soundproofing.org/infopages/flooring.htm    The most cost effective way to go is a cork based sheeting tho, it's reasonably quiet and will insulate to a degree, kinda hits both side of the coin without dipping deeply into headroom options, (that uses up all my big words tho lol) Now what I did was to sandwich a layer of 3/4 inch foil faced foam board between my subfloor and finished floor, I used 3/4 in furing strips set on 2ft centers to maintain the integrity of the foam. 
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« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2009, 01:07:22 PM »

NCBob,

A number of points you made are out of the "mainstream" as I know it.

1.  Lead sheeting is a superb noise barrier.  I have only seen/heard of it being applied over the engine bay/compartment where it has performed amazingly well.  1/16 - 1/8 and glue it6 down securely with contact cement that needs lacquer thinner for cleanup.  Rubber mallet it in around rivets and seams and over corners.  With the mallet it stretches/compresses and forms a perfect bond/contour.

2.  I have never heard any mention of "booming" of the bay chambers.  I think I understand full well what you are talking about, however.  Today your bays are empty and make superb echo chambers.  When your bus is completed those bays will be full of "stuff" like tanks and generators and pers. items, etc.  I think the BOOMING will go away or we would have heard a lot more about it around here.  The booming "must" be coming up through the bottom of the bay and that being unloaded it will act more like a drum head than after "stuff" is on it.

3.  Put foam sheeting on the floor of the bays and plywood over that.  Insulates the bay and indirectly the floor a little.  Your wet bay should be insulated on the floor, overhead, sides and doors.  And it needs to be heated somehow.  Planning!

4.  I think you need to get over your missgivings about foam sheeting as an insulator for the floor.  I don't know of anybody that has insulated their floor that has done it another way.  Remember CLOSED CELL only and that Isocynurate stuff with foil is the best.  None of the foam approved for homes will "sustain fire" but it all can be burned.  Some of it outgasses a particularly lethal substance but they will all kill you.  They have to be burning pretty hot before that happens and if you are still in there you are long dead by that time.  Carper and pad will both add to the insulation but both produce lethal gases when burnt.  Aircraft us the most "non burning" stuff in the world and it will still kill you when it gets hot enuf.  Your concern for your wife's safety and well being is thoroughly admirable.

5.  Concerned with sound/quiet?  Then you must be going to "spray foam" the walls and ceiling...right?  The absolute best move for insulation and quieting.  Find a co that does it someplace you can drive to and get bids.  You need closed cell and I don't know which version of that is best.  Beware....there is a new water based stuff out there that absorbs water and is open cell.  DO NOT USE THAT STUFF.

6.  You NEED smoke detectors at both ends of the bus, propand detectors near the furnace outlet and CO someplace.  Read the mfr's suggestions for location.  Put over temp sensory in the engine bay and baggage compartments especially the generator compartment. Fire extinguishers are a must have item and more than one is needed at at least both ends of the bus for obvious reasons.   RVSAFTYMAN is on this board and he sells nontoxic extinguishers, engine and generator and bay overtemp alarms.  Recently a Knut had a overtemp situation in his gen compartment and the system RVSAFTYMAN sold him saved his generator and probably his bus.

7.  Buses, like all RVs, get extremely hot in sheer seconds with a fire breaking out.  The imperative is to GET OUT IMMEDIATELY....no matter the drop out the window.  You can't even run 10 feet towards the fire to use the door.  Move away and get out the emergency exit.  With your wife's condition I would be paying a lot of attention to how that emergency exit worked.  Remember, the temp at the ceiling gets incredibly hot in seconds so staying low is an imperative.  I sound like a Fireman and I'm not.  Get cozy with RVSAFTYMAN and no he and I are not related.

8.  Read GUMPY's site extensively.  HUGE store of info there.

Keep posting and more will come up on each post from many Knuts.

Good luck and we all look forward to following your adventure closely.

John
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« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2009, 12:48:02 PM »

Is there a big difference when you insulate the floor?

I was thinking about just plywood over the original.



Do it your way.  My bus was done like that by PO and I have to recommend not doing that way if possible, if you are at the stage of pulling up plywood.

-taking up old plywood
-cleaning thoroughly( you'll see why if you look under there)
- seal all around top of wheel wells( driving in rain and trapped dirt makes a place for things to grow Shocked Embarrassed) then spray foam all around them.
- figure out how you can use the extra space, extra freshwater tank etc.
      -maybe make below deck cabinet under center aisle
-run wire, extra conduit back to front for later  use if needed,

then go back with your choice of multilayer insulation and plywood.

your call, just hope this info of my regrets helps
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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2009, 01:19:40 PM »

KnuB,

I have heard your expression of regret many times on this matter.  MANY.  I didn't get that he was contemplating leaving the original floor down and not getting that nightmare of old corruption out from under the center isle.  I was told that in wet weather you cannot stop the foul odors from emanating from that XXXX...guess that was your experience as well.  Nice of you to warn him....I missed it,

Thanks,

John
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« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2009, 01:35:16 PM »

There is a way to seal your floor you know. The smell will not come through the wood as far as I know.

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« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2009, 03:28:48 PM »

O.Version,

Sooooo many have failed to do so that thought it could be done.  Given the work involved and that all understand that, I personally take it to heart when the "old Hands" say, "get the old floor up and clean the thing and install your cable chases and water lines and hydraulics."  It is a ton of work.  Ultimately you do this your way within your budget constraints and time limitations.  And we will all God bless you and continue to help in any way we can.

Now if you have a method to seal that off, please share that.  Maybe someone has something to add to what you are planning.

Good Luck,

John
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« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2009, 06:18:13 PM »

I believe NCBob's bus is mostly finished so he isn't going to pull up the original floor if it is still in there.

I replaced the original floor in my bus, but I really didn't have to.  I don't have a tunnel like an MCI and none of the wood was rotten or anything.  If I was doing another Dina I might leave the original floor in place as it was LOT of work to replace.  The main reason I started on the floor replacement was to get rid of the seat rails.  It turns out the seat rails helped support the floor and even 3/4" plywood is slightly springy in places where the supports are spaced every 27 inches.

I didn't add floor insulation as I need every bit of head room I have.  I did put epoxy paint on the bottom of the plywood to seal it, but the plywood is only exposed over the bays in my case.
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« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2009, 06:53:04 PM »

I went directly over my bus floor and I have no odors from the previous bus usage. No sealers used, just 3/8 plywood and finish material on that! I too had seat rails but my plywood covered them just fine!

Ace
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« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2009, 07:16:36 PM »

There is a way to seal your floor you know. The smell will not come through the wood as far as I know.



I understand not wanting to cutout the floor and it is your bus and your project and it maybe a lot of work that you were not planning on doing and i am by no means telling you what to do.

I do highly recommend cutting a hole or pulling up the center ramp at the front and have a look in that cavity before you decide.  Yours may not be that bad so you may be ok. Definately worth a check,

you may also want to figure out a way to use that space.  Maybe a flip up hatch for storage, tank, or with the inverter in it for access, will still have air for cooling but be out of the way and not in the bay.  a lot of wasted space there. space becomes more of a premium as you fill your bus up Smiley.  This area is mostly at the front, maybe you don't need to pull all the floor up just some spots.,  the bays and engine area you can see the bottom so your call.

If you use an RV dinette that makes a bed and the table mounts to the wall,  a hatch in the floor there would be good because you can lift the table out of the way to get to it.  Just a thought.

at least cut out around the wheel wells and seal or cut small holes and fill with spray foam them up to seal them.  If I drive in the rain, I sometimes end up with mushrooms growing up from the wet dirt Embarrassed Shocked there a little while later.  I don't think they cleaned the old floor when they put down the plywood Tongue  (could be from BS at the non-rally Cheesy Grin)  I haven't noticed a smell from there, at least not yet.  I did peek under there one time and noticed the dirt, yukkey!  If you are leaving the bus air you'll be treating it different.  Sealing the plywood is a good idea too.  Be sure to keep the engine hatches not only accesible but where you can get to them when there open too.

How bout some pics on your progress, you know we likes pics!!! Smiley

Do it your way!!!



NCBob, since you started this, what did you end up doing?  hows the winterfest going? Smiley


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« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2009, 08:57:08 PM »

How many inches should I place the supports when using 3/4" plywood? 24"?


I believe NCBob's bus is mostly finished so he isn't going to pull up the original floor if it is still in there.

I replaced the original floor in my bus, but I really didn't have to.  I don't have a tunnel like an MCI and none of the wood was rotten or anything.  If I was doing another Dina I might leave the original floor in place as it was LOT of work to replace.  The main reason I started on the floor replacement was to get rid of the seat rails.  It turns out the seat rails helped support the floor and even 3/4" plywood is slightly springy in places where the supports are spaced every 27 inches.

I didn't add floor insulation as I need every bit of head room I have.  I did put epoxy paint on the bottom of the plywood to seal it, but the plywood is only exposed over the bays in my case.
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« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2009, 03:42:35 AM »

Just thought I would mention someting regarding insulating the floor; the floor in my bus has a foam insulation material that was stuck on the underside of the plywood when the bus was built, which is something that anyone could do when replacing their floor as part of their conversion, and would avoid the problem of losing headroom by laying insulation on top of the floor.

The foam material on mine is probably 2" thick, and has the bottom surface sealed with a rubberised coating. I have bought identical foam sheets myself from acoustic foam suppliers. It would appear that Plaxton simply stuck the foam over the whole surface of the plywood floor, placed the plywood sheet into postion and fastened them down in the normal way (obviously drilling and putting fastenings through the foam), The foam squashes down (and forms a useful 'gasket' I guess) wherever the plywood touches a support beam or whatever, and the foam sheet also effectively seals and protects the wood floor from water or dirt from below.

It's probably not an idea that would otherwise have occured to me, but having seen it done I would definitely do the same myself if I ever had to replace any of the plywood

Jeremy
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« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2009, 10:00:46 AM »

Guys, if you read the date on my original post you'll not that it's dated 2006. Someone resurrected the topic through research and brought it up again.

My hardwood floor has been down for a year and all is well in Podunk, USA.

NCbob
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« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2009, 10:03:34 AM »

How many inches should I place the supports when using 3/4" plywood? 24"?

The maximum span for 3/4" plywood flooring is 24".  If you have to add support I would probably go less than 24" to make the floor even more solid.

My question would be why you would need to add support unless something you are removing something like the chair rails that was supporting the floor?  Didn't the original floor have enough support?  My chair rails that I removed also supported the plywood floor which is why my spans are a bit too wide now.
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« Reply #24 on: February 19, 2009, 10:12:52 AM »

because I have decided to put 1" foam under the plywood.
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« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2009, 10:17:48 AM »

Quitcher bellyacheing bob and just redo it lol, I know that you and cliff did a fantastic job on your floor but what does that have to do with this, we feel you should just redo it the way we want lol.  Oh and say hi to jackie for us lol.
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« Reply #26 on: February 19, 2009, 04:21:54 PM »




Bob  It must have been brought up because we all miss you on the board.   

Give Jackie a hug for me tonight

uncle ned
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« Reply #27 on: February 19, 2009, 07:31:35 PM »

I cut 3/4 inch strips 11/2 wide and put them on 16" on center with 3/4 foil faom board and 3/4 over that and its real solid
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« Reply #28 on: February 20, 2009, 08:01:32 AM »

Where did you get the foil foam board (Isocynurate stuff ?)

The only stuff I can find is Extruded poly from Home depot
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« Reply #29 on: February 20, 2009, 10:22:04 PM »

Iso is not an exotic material.  It is the best, however, of the sheet foam board goods.  Let your fingers do the walking to find it.  Home Depot "should" be happy to quote you a price and order it for you.  Calling them is better than a visit cause you talk to one of their procurement guys, thatway.  Lots of it in the 2 X 4 X 8 inch version but you should be able to order anything you want.  Find out what the correct spelling is and look on the net....can't hurt.

John
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