Since it was already cut to the right size around the wheel arches and the sides, it makes so much more sense to use what is already provided – especially since it’s heavy-duty ply. 💪 The floor was four years old, but it was so dirty and uneven all over, so of course, we broke out the power sander and got cracking!
1. ASSESS THE DAMAGE (REPAIR IF NEEDED)
Having already unbolted and taken out the old floor, we noticed that it was in pretty good nick, considering it has had five years of wear and tear.
Aside from the bolt holes, there were no other holes in it, and although the surface looked worn out the ply underneath was good as new. ✨
2. SAND, SAND, SAND, SAND, SAND
Even though we weren’t going to see the floor, we still wanted to clean the five years of dirt and stains that had formed.
Also, having a nice temporary floor for the rest of the build seemed like a good idea. So it was our job (mostly Polly’s work) to sand the surface to get it ready for a new paint job. 🎨
Problem: It was 0°C outside, so we had to do it in the house! We taped up the dining room and got to work. It took around 8 hours…Polly’s arm was hurting for a week afterwards. 🤕
Having a power sander here really saved us a lot of time!
Doing this task with regular sandpaper would have taken us weeks. Instead, an orbital power sander easily saved us days of work, and although it still took 8 hours, it was very much worth the investment.
Not to mention how useful this tool was for the rest of our van conversion. Highly recommended!
3. FILL ANY DAMAGE/HOLES
We decided to keep the original bolt holes free and open since we may end up passing pipework or wires through them anyway. But there was no other major damage.
If you do have rotten/damaged flooring, now is the time to fill in and repair it with wood filler or replace it with spare 9mm ply.
4. VARNISH AND PROTECT
We had some spare deck sealant lying around, and since we wanted this ply to be weatherproof (due to moisture in the air and years of temperature changes), we decided it was worth it.
Honestly, anything that waterproofs wood will do, and sanding it beforehand, really helps since the varnish has something to bond to.
Also, since this is going to be our work floor for the majority of the build, having it waterproof makes it more hardwearing and gives us peace of mind.
If you’re not going to put anything over the top of this, you might do a few coats to make it look nice. Since this was just our underfloor, we did one thick coast and left it to soak in. ⏱️
5. BACK IN IT GOES
Despite it being cold, dark and raining, we needed to get the flooring back in, so in it went, and 20 minutes of manoeuvring later, it was in place. (Honestly, it was much easier than getting the damn thing out).
We knew it would fit perfectly since it was already cut to size.
Eventually we will secure it…
6. MARKING THE WOODEN BEAMS (OPTIONAL BUT RECOMMENDED)
Despite not screwing the flooring to the wooden beams, we did mark out where they are since we covered them up, and they aren’t visible.
We did our best with masking tape to mark out where the beams were beneath.
This will not only help us know where to screw the floor to the beams but also the furniture to the beams through the floor.
It is best to bolt anything and everything to the beams, rather than just the floor, since the beams are stuck to the floor of the van itself, and gives it more rigitity and strength.