Stripping the aluminum walls proved to be an undertaking way bigger than expected. Now, almost a month behind schedule, were elated to move onto the next step: re-doing the flooring. Starting from the undercarriage and working up, our sad sunken in floor would be revamped into an insulated, sturdy and pretttty bamboo floor.
First things first, we removed the nasty old carpet- gross, but easy enough. The subfloor underneath presented a bigger issue. Sodden and decaying, parts of the interior came up fairly easily. However, the more in-tact boards called for much more manpower to pull up. We also found that leveling bolts around the entire perimeter of the camper required being individually cut out.
After a long day of cutting away at boards and bolts, the ragged old subfloor made its way into garbage piles outside. What we were left with underneath was a disaster: an undercarriage area nearly overflowing with rat nests and trash and… sorry to say, dead critters. 😐
So after… er, dealing with that… we were left with the bare bones of our future little home.
I got right to work sanding and painting the solid steel frame. Even after 50 years, it wasn’t in rough shape. A couple of coats of gray Rustoleum paint and she was good as new.
We used pink fiberglass insulation to stuff between the frame beams underneath the subfloor. The more insulation the merrier, right? Especially while anticipating a subzero Montana winter…
Next, another layer of foam and… drumroll… a new subfloor! How nice it felt to walk around the camper without worrying about breaking an ankle.
But, of course, no construction project is complete without something going wrong. A few weeks back, we had picked out our favorite bamboo floor: a natural, vertical grain bamboo to lighten up and lengthen the space. After purchasing it, we came to the realization it was not the lock-in tongue and groove type of flooring we were after. Instead, the installation process would require us to rent a floor nail gun and individually nail each piece to the subfloor. How we missed that piece of information, I don’t know. The salesman at the hardware store seemed to be under the same wrong impression. But oh well, we’d still have our nice floors in soon enough.
The big day came to install the bamboo. We had finally gotten the time aligned across all schedules to get the project done- until our most construction-savvy project member saw Larry and I opening our boxes of new, fresh bamboo flooring and said, “you didn’t let the bamboo acclimate?”
Apparently, it is essential that bamboo flooring be exposed to its surrounding climate for up to 7 days in order to acclimatize, or adjust to the humidity and prevent future buckling. Who knew?
So, another few days behind, we waited for the bamboo to do it’s thang. When installation day came for real, the boys worked well into the night. It was a long process, but it was well worth it.
Some shiny walls, and sunny bamboo floors later, and lil ol’ Avion was starting to get her mojo back.