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  • Writer's pictureSusan Byers

Flooring 101 - Prep School

What some of you probably know (because most of a new blog’s readers are friends and family) is that my posts so far (except for the last one about building a dividing wall at my daughter’s) are catching up; we’ve had the camper almost 3 years, and after months of planning, have been working on it as we could for about a year and a half--and we've made huge changes. But I just started actually writing about it. However I’m so excited about the floor going in, I’m going to jump ahead!

Prep, as I’ve mentioned, is the biggest, hardest part: removing cabinetry and carpeting; pulling, prying, being stuck by and swearing at a gazillion staples; sweeping, vacuuming, sweeping again … It’s been endless. But we finally got around to actually laying the floor last week, and the main part of the living area is now done except for quarter round. It looks really good, so I can’t wait to share it with you!

But first, the rest of the prep:

With the carpet and the staples gone, I had to fix a bad corner, where a seal had leaked and the subfloor had just pulverized. I got out my handy-dandy oscillating multitool (which I actually bought specifically in anticipation of doing this mend, but have used a on a bunch of other things already) and opened up the hole a bit.

If you’ve never seen one of these (and I hadn’t until recently), look it up. It is just about the handiest little workhorse in my whole tool kit! It scrapes, digs, saws, sands, grinds … Gotta undercut door trim to fit new flooring? Easy-peazy. Cut puzzle pieces out of vinyl flooring to fit around cabinet feet? Piece of cake. Cut a bad piece of subfloor out so you can repair it? Like buttah. Sand tight spaces and details? Mmmmhmmm. Destroy a shelf or cabinet that won't come out? Oh, baby. This …

and this handy little scraper/pryer/peeler/wrench/poker thing (I guess that makes it a multitool, too)…

have become two of our favorite--and most-used--tools of late!

Anyway, I pulled out some old, blackened insulation … and some acorns. A handful of acorns! Mice had, at some point, nested happily inside the floor, and their larder was well-stocked. At that point, my honey handed me some gloves and I started groping into the dark and mysterious corners under the floor, pulling out a small grocery bag of bedding, insulation and acorns--and praying there was nobody still living there.

Once the nest and acorns were gone, I used the multitool to trim the left side far enough to expose a bit of wood bracing, and to dig out anything rotten.

I added 2x3 cross-bracing to support my patch and stuffed in a bunch of new pink puffy stuff.

I finished it off with a patch of plywood (that extra patch over the slide brace didn't work out so you won't see it in later pics).

Then we used leveling compound to soften any edges.

Aaaaaaannnddd of course there were still a few stray staples to be pulled, pried, stuck by and sworn at ... but finally, it was time to put down FLOOR!!!

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