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Bus Renovation: Tearing Out School Bus Subfloor

Welcome back to another episode of Bus Blog!


If it’s your first time here, make sure to catch yourself up on our first bus blog before continuing on! Otherwise, let’s get to it!


Last time we talked briefly about why we decided to get a school bus, what we were looking for in a school bus, and how we ended up finding our home on wheels!


On this episode… stripping the bus, checking for rust, and prepping your bus floor for your new subfloor.

The first step to stripping the bus is seat removal. Before you can start tearing up the floor, the seats have to go!


Removing the seats on a bus will vary. Some people have an extremely easy time removing the seats, while others will have to put in a good amount of sweat equity and time into the project. The biggest factors? Rust and corrosion.


Each seat will usually be bolted through the floor of the bus as well as into the side of the bus. The bolts in the side of the bus are one sided and only need one person with a ratchet to remove. If the bus has little rust, most bolts will come out fairly easy. If the bus has some noticeable rust, the bolts may need a grinder in order to remove them.


The bolts situated on the base of the chairs will need two people to remove (one underneath the bus holding the washer in place, and one on the inside of the bus with the ratchet and proper socket). Again, if there is rust, save yourself some time and just start grinding down the bolt head.


Once the seats are removed, you’ll have your subfloor of the bus. The original subfloor will have the combination of rubber flooring, metal stripping, and then finally a plywood bottom.




Some of you may be asking, “Why can’t you just keep the original subfloor and start building from there?” We were wondering the same thing, and after a little bit of research the main reason was… can you guess… RUST! We grabbed our tools and began tearing away at the floor! Besides Rust, the other main reason to pull up and rebuild your sub floor is for insulation (Not so sure on this one! Our floor is ice cold in the morning even with the insulation!)



What you’ll need:


Grab that crowbar and get to work! This process definitely took more energy than we thought it would. There’s a reason we’re telling you to have some Aleve handy!


Don’t forget it!


As you get done pulling the last piece of plywood up, here’s what it will look like:


You’ll notice we had some minor rust areas underneath our floor. Both of our rustier areas were near the wheel well (A great place for water)!

Would these spots have been detrimental if we wouldn’t have pulled up the floor to find them? Probably not, but better safe than sorry!


When the last piece of plywood is removed, give it a quick vacuum and grab the following: Goof Off, Rustoleum (rust preventative paint), rags, gloves, copper wired brush, and a few tubes of liquid nail.

Last Steps!


First, with any of the rusty areas, take the copper wired brush to remove as much of the rust debris as you can. You may have to use a grinder with a wire brush fitting. It’s important to check the rust areas and determine weather the area can be simply brushed and covered (this was the case in our bus), or if your section of floor is beyond saving and needs to have a new piece of metal inserted.


Once you’ve addressed the rust, put your gloves on, grab a rag, and start scrubbing away with Goof Off. If you haven’t used this stuff, you need some. Especially if you are redoing a bus! Works great on any left over residue, adhesives, stickers and more.

After this has been done, you can apply your Rustoleum. Rustoleum is a rust preventative paint that almost everyone seems to put on their metal base layer during a bus renovation. We decided to really spice things up and go a for a cool blue paint. Here’s our floor after two coats of rustoleum, doesn’t it look pretty!


Finally! It’s time to fill up all the holes! Everywhere you took out a bolt you’ll have a hole. Make sure to take some liquid nail and fill up anywhere where you can see the road beneath you. There are more options than Liquid Nail, just make sure to it will plug up your holes and prevent any water from getting inside the bus.


Boom! You’re ready for your new sub floor baby!


That’s a wrap on this section of our bus build. Next time we will talk about building our subfloor and prepping for our first ever road trip in the bus!

Let us know how we’re doing and what we could do better! We hope you could take at least one piece of information away from this blog and we’re excited to share more of our bus build with you!

Love,

Matt & Grace


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